13/06/2024 11:20 PM


Tour The Wise Choice

Seeking Silence in Wadi Rum

Condé Nast Traveler

Noting that “at the societal level, noise is our most celebrated addiction,” Marz and Zorn set out to investigate how we can get back to silence, a restorative place in which we’re not distracted by noise and, instead, have the time and space to connect with ourselves, discern what’s important to us, and calibrate our path forward. 

And isn’t that why we travel, too?

Beyond being devoid of noise, the restorative silence of quiet places has a presence. You might recognize it in moments of experiencing religious or spiritual awe, getting into a flow while playing the guitar or running, spending time in nature, or going through profound events like taking a life-changing trip. In these moments, you might feel spacious and expansive, akin to floating outside of time and space.

Spending time in places with minimal sound, but also few mental distractions, allows us to better immerse ourselves in travel experiences. 

Juli Kosolapova/Unsplash

I feel this way when I travel to Wadi Rum. My quiet place is not always without sound: sitting on a dune at dusk, I hear the soft rustling of the wind against the grains of sand. Leaving my tent at sunrise, I notice the bellows of camels as they return from their daily excursions. A crackling of the fire fills the long pauses in the unhurried conversations at night. The presence of this silence is a salve that helps me connect to the core of who I am.

Marz and Zorn agree: “While we both enjoy finding silence in auditorily quiet settings—amid the untrampled snow of the Sangre De Cristo mountains of New Mexico or deep in the wilderness of Alaska—we also find a certain kind of silence in immersive activities where we let go of all ruminative thoughts,” says Marz. 

Numerous studies have shown that experiencing silence has real, tangible benefits. It’s been linked to reducing stress and anxiety levels and leading to better sleep, improved focus, and increased creativity. And humans are not the only ones who need silence to thrive: growing noise pollution is disrupting long-established patterns for numerous wildlife species ranging from caterpillars and hummingbirds to dolphins and whales.