Quiet time while traveling

Pena de BernalTravel can be exciting—immersing yourself in a new culture and attempting to see and do everything you’ve dreamed of. But even the excitement of a new place needs to be balanced with quiet time, and often, these moments serve as more than just time to reflect and process.

For me, those quiet hours come in the morning, before the workday begins and visitors flood popular areas of town. Roaming the empty streets, I stumble upon people sweeping, watering flowers or just sitting with a hot beverage and watching the day unfold.

A couple of years ago, I discovered that the Old Town of Dubrovnik filled up, nearly elbow to elbow, with visitors shortly after 9 a.m. The crush would dispel near the end of the day, when people went back to their cruise ships or hotels outside the city walls. I took advantage of my nearby accommodation, and spent the early morning hours hiking up stairs and wandering down alleys—crossing paths with locals beginning their day. Then, I’d use the mid-day hours to venture away from the Old Town, only to return in the evening, when things quieted down again.

Last week, while in the small town of Bernal, Mexico, I escaped my hotel for an early morning walk before breakfast—well before stores and schools opened. The massive Peña de Bernal loomed over the town, and bright colors slowly emerged in the sunlight. I passed few people, none of them in a hurry, some of them just sitting still. Sure, I enjoyed my afternoon discovery of the town the day before, when I ducked into shops and restaurants, and watched kids walk home from school. But it’s the quiet morning walk that will stay in my memory longer.

Do you revel in quiet hours while traveling? What do you do? If you haven’t already heard about No Music Day (Nov. 21), consider studying up.

Posted by | Comments (5)  | November 20, 2009
Category: General

5 Responses to “Quiet time while traveling”

  1. Meg Says:

    This post really spoke to me. My husband and I just returned home from a year-long trip during which I discovered that my favorite time to explore and wander (especially in hectic places) is at dawn or just after. There’s nothing like watching a city wake up, setting up shop, enjoying a cup of tea and chatting with neighbors. I may not always have made it up that early, but when I did, it was always worth it.

  2. Susan Fox Says:

    One of the things, among many, that I love about Mongolia (four trips and counting), is the utter silence that I can experience in the countryside. The loudest sound I hear is the blood circulating in my head.

  3. Christine Says:

    Thanks for this post, Jill. Inspired me to write one over at Brave New Traveler about my own quiet time during travels: https://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2009/11/25/the-importance-of-quiet-time-during-travel/.