Don’t underestimate the power of quiet and solitude.

Photo: -Delphine – / Feature photo: Let Ideas Compete

Pondering your next travel destination usually incites visions of bustling new cities, taking in as much gorgeous country landscape as possible, and becoming wrapped up in a culture other than your own.

But as writer Jill K. Robinson recently discussed over at Vagabonding, there is an often-overlooked aspect to traveling that really is necessary to staying sane: quiet time.

At some point in the day, especially after a few days of uninterrupted madcap adventures, it’s time to settle down and process. For Robinson, she notes:

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.

I too prefer mornings before the world wakes up, wherever in the world I am at the moment. Sometimes it feels as if even nature is quiet and resting, and the air hangs heavy with sleep. You can almost taste the food, conversation, and movement from the day before, and feel the hazy rise of the day to come.

You don’t have anywhere to be, and you get to really feel your surroundings in your bones.

Time to Rejuvenate

But what does quiet time give us beyond a more felt sense of place? It rejuvenates the body and the soul – no matter how young and able you are, we all need time off, including from fun. I know, it’s shocking, but this idea is similar to what I said the other day about happiness: in order to truly know what happiness is, we must feel sadness. To truly feel alive, we must have rest.

And finding some quiet time alone, even when we are traveling as a part of a group, can teach you a lot about yourself, things you might miss while caught up in the fanfare of moving to the tune of others. As Cameron Karsten wrote in 10 Things To Learn About Yourself When Traveling Alone:

To travel alone is to find the answers you’ve been seeking and discover the questions to all your unfounded thoughts. It is your world. It is your adventure.

Even if that’s only 30 minutes alone in the morning or late in the evening, it can make all the difference in the world – and all the difference in your travel experience.

What do you do for quiet time during your travels? Share your thoughts below.