Travel: Pockets of Peace


Dave Deruytter offers options for holiday destinations and pockets of peace where silence is golden. There are more than seven billion of us and yet there are still places where you can travel miles every day without seeing a fellow human being. Scary for some, peace of mind for others.

When travelling the world these days, there is no lack of choice. What a wealth of possibilities compared to our parents’ or grand-parents’ time. Back then, many people never travelled further than 10 miles from their home, unless war or disaster forced them to. How small must their worlds have been? How large can ours be?

More countries seem to be opening up to the world – the possibilities for the curious traveller are still increasing. Recently Myanmar, a pretty much closed and military run country until 2012, has becoming a hot holiday destination for the more experienced South East Asia traveller. A river cruise of one or a few days to the city of Mandalay is a must.

But one will have to go soon, before the masses arrive, to get the authentic feeling of the country and its people. Popular holiday destinations can indeed be very crowded in summer time or in the high season. The touristic sector has built huge infrastructures over the past decades and ever more people can afford to travel.

Many people like active vacations in the midst of the hordes of fellow holidaymakers. But stressful professional lives are helping to make calm and quiet holidays a growing niche. The ‘Relais du silence’ hotels have existed for many years, but that is not always what young, active professionals are after. They prefer something more dynamic, preferably in a faraway place.

Try travelling the thousand islands of Finland for example, where you will meet no one. After several days you will start to talk from desperation to the local reindeer, which outnumber the Finns in the North of the country.

Some people find quiet places with no one around scary and even just a few days there they think they are going mad. Others need silence to find the balance in their life again, given that they are in daily contact with too many fellow humans during their working days.