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Silent retreats becoming huge travel trend

February 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Vacations can be fun, but exhausting. And they don't always offer a reprieve from the stress of everyday life. But a new travel trend has vacationers disconnecting from the "noise" of daily life and literally turning down the volume. It's where you can find peace and quiet for days on end.

Jayne Charneski Is a busy marketing executive. She's always on the phone or on the computer and she doesn't have a lot of down time.

"I was working a lot of late nights and weekends and it was just really intense," said Charneski.

She decided to tune out some of the noise in her life by trying something different, a five-day silent retreat.

"I thought it would give me a way to take inventory," she said.

Silent retreats, where you literally take a vow of silence during your trip, have become a huge travel trend.

"I think it's because we're just so completely bombarded with texts, Facebook, Twitter messages, emails, phone calls. It's endless and sometimes as human beings, we just need to unplug and get away," said Kathryn O'Shea Evans with Travel + Leisure magazine.

Silent retreat centers can run the gamut from bare-bones accommodations to luxury resorts, with pricing that reflects both options. Some allow group interaction while others encourage you to spend time on your own. You can get spa treatments, read, or go hiking and canoeing.

While some retreats require complete quiet, others have select "silent" periods. Some also ask that you leave your technology, such as phones, iPads and laptops, at the door.

"It's our belief that by becoming disconnected in the ways we connect through our technology we can become more connected to ourselves," said Nat Reid, director of the Silent Retreat Center.

Reid says, yes, staying silent can be challenging, but it can also be transformative.

"People often talk about a renewed sense of wonder, kind of rediscovering the joy of being out on a beautiful day and maybe just watching the way the light changes in the evening," said Reid.

Gale Quick agrees. He has been going on silent retreats for 30 years.

"Get a little better focus, a little better distance from the pressures and busyness of everyday life," said Quick.

As for Charneski, she says the benefits reaped just by going once have made a big impact in her stressful life.

"It was a good chance to be quiet, sit still and see what was going on," said Charneski.


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