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Latest — And Quietest — Travel Trend: Silent Retreats

Whatever The Reason, Some People Just Need A Vacation -- From Their Mouths
More and more Americans are going on silent retreats ti escape from the stress that comes with speaking every day. (Photo: CBS 2)

More and more Americans are going on silent retreats ti escape from the stress that comes with speaking every day. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — You go on vacation to take a break from work, but how about taking a vacation from talking?

It’s the latest travel trend — silent retreats – and they are gaining popularity with everyone from office workers to celebrities, CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported.

Manhattan real estate agent Steven Kopstein said he is always on the phone, on his computer or “on” in person.

Tired of all the talking, Kopstein said he decided to try something different.

Silence.

He embarked on a 10-day silent retreat in Massachusetts.

“When you arrive, you have to give up everything, including your computer, your phone, any books, pencils, pens, paper,” Kopstein said.

Perhaps most importantly, he had to give up his voice.

“We spend 10 days together in the same room without talking,” Kopstein said.

Travel experts say silent retreats are growing in popularity because they’re offering people what they really need — the chance to shut up.

“I think it’s because we’re just so completely bombarded with texts, Facebook, Twitter messages, e-mails, phone calls … it’s endless and sometimes as human beings we just need to unplug and get away,” said Kathryn O’Shea-Evans of Travel + Leisure.

Marketing executive Jayne Charneski said the benefits of her five-day silent retreat speak volumes.

“I thought it would give me a way to take inventory,” she said. “It’s a really powerful feeling to be, really be, in the know, to really be in the know and really be experiencing what’s before you.”

There are many silent retreat options from bare-bones accommodations–to luxury resorts–with pricing that reflects both.

“Spa treatments, hiking, canoeing, amazing meals, just reading,” O’Shea-Evans said.

Some allow group interaction while others encourage you to spend time on your own.

“The meal times were very interesting. It was like being a monk,” Kopstein said.

Kopstein’s retreat required total silence, while others have select silent periods. The goal is always the same, said Nat Reid, director of the Silent Retreat Center in Maryland.

“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,” Reid said.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was also one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Kopstein added.

Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow are also touting the benefits of silent retreats, saying it helps with stress.

Is this something you would try? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …