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What Travels Have You Been on Recently?

hill travel is oxygen

Travel is oxygen. The last few years I haven’t really been out and about, because writing novels on deadline, both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon has taken it all out of me. This year, I’m back to India, and to run a few errands I ended up in a small hillside town.

It landed on me what a life of noise and stress I live in big-city Singapore. In the hills, all I heard for a few days were birdcalls and silence. Yes, silence has a sound. It is a soothing lull, like white noise inside your mind. The air adds to that lull, smelling like pine and crisp linen and empty blue skies.

One morning I followed a red-billed  blue magpie as it flew from tree to tree, trailing its long tail, picking at autumn berries from shrubs on the hillside. My body loosened. The cricks in my neck disappeared. I slept through the night for the first time in weeks. My anxiety-ridden body and mind got some much-needed respite.

It could be the lighter air in the hills, the complete absence of any mechanical noise, or the looming hill jungles around us– I felt like I could just loll about and forget about the tense exchanges that have been my lot this year. This was a blessing, because no matter what I did, I couldn’t get away from it in my everyday life.

To those of you who stay in green locales with no mechanical noises around you, you’re blessed beyond belief. To everyone else, it’s not always feasible, but I recommend getting away from it all in a clean, green place, with more trees than people every once in a while. I’m determined to do this now from time to time as and when I can afford it, as a regular healthcare routine.

What about you? When did you travel last? Did it help heal you or was it a stressful experience?


My literary crime novels, The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon are on Kindle Unlimited now. Add to Goodreads or snag a copy to make my day ! And if youโ€™d like to read a book outside the series, you can check out You Beneath Your Skin.  Find all info about my books on my Amazon page or Linktree.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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26 Comments

  • Wonderful photos, and oh, that lack of noise. Isn’t it awesome? I tend to seek that experience too, Damyanti. Mountainous panoramas, the sounds of nature, and loads of fresh air. It’s the best way to unwind. I’m glad you had that chance. Here’s to more of it in the new year!

  • Denise T says:

    Totally agree. The other day I spent about an hour standing on a low bridge over a fast-moving brook while water roughly cascaded over rocks. I was just below a busy interstate highway yet the rushing water ๐Ÿ’ฆ drowned out everything mechanical. It was bliss that I desperately needed. Thanks for the reminder to #getoutside on a regular basis.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Nature is such a wonderful remedy. I’ve been unwell recently, and being outside has been an absolute balm to the soul. Your recent experience sounds magical!

  • slfinnell says:

    Oh my goodness! I can relate!! Grew up in rural Missouri but spent many weeks this past year in large cities. Such a vast difference! I cannot find the silence in St. Louis. Still searching ;

    • DamyantiB says:

      I’m lucky enough to live in a city which loves its greenery, but I completely understand what you mean! The beautiful silence during my holiday made such a difference, and it’s something I can hardly ever find in Singapore. I hope you find the silence you’re searching for!

  • jlennidorner says:

    Silence most certainly does have a sound, or an absence of one. It’s very noticeable during a power outage. A quiet forest has a lot of tiny sounds many people never hear.
    Our most recent travel, with my spouse, was a horrible trip. The passing of a family member and then having to clean up… it was a mess. Too much drama.

    What book did you most enjoy this year?
    May joy, peace, and goodwill be with you this season and always.

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝ or ๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿฝ they/them) ~ Speculative Fiction & Reference Author and Co-host of the April Blogging #AtoZchallenge

    • DamyantiB says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that! My condolences, and I hope any future trips are much less stressful for you. And about the book I enjoyed most this year — that’s a difficult question! I read and loved so many, that it’s almost impossible to choose a favorite.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – mine was a long time ago … essentially to Canada, I guess, … now I travel vicariously – fortunately I live by the sea so can get away to just the swish of the tide … I have to post my review for you onf your excellent new book: The Blue Monsoon … cheers Hilary

    • DamyantiB says:

      That sounds so lovely, Hilary! The sound of the waves is one of my favorite parts of going to the beach. I’ve been online a lot less recently, mostly because I’ve been traveling and ill, but being in the middle of nature has really helped. Thank you so much for being so supportive of The Blue Monsoon, and thank you for stopping by!

  • Well the hill countries of Bharat Mata are the only places there you can have such a tranquil surroundings. The only real places there where there is an environment for meditation and that is why there are so many ashrams. Yes Singapore is a place on the move for most of 24 hours but Mumbai and those large cities can beat it for noise. I stayed in all the major cities there in my travels and can vouch for that though I have to say after a while the body adjusts and blocks out that background noise and you can sleep well at night. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • DamyantiB says:

      It’s good to hear that, Ian! Even now, the noise still wears me out. With all the traveling, I’ve been offline more often, so this trip really gave me the space I needed to take a breather. The beautiful hills worked their fair share of magic, too!

      • Nothing can compare with the beauty of the himilayas and foothills leading up to them. The Far Pavilions as they are known as there and made famous in the movie. You can take a early morning flight in Nepal to see them in their early morning glory and that is a sight never to be forgotten.

  • Mark Twain wrote: โ€œTravel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” All my traveling is on blood runs throughout Southwest Louisiana saving lives and taking the beauty of the world around me. Best of sales and may these next days be healing.
    https://rolandyeomans.blogspot.com/2023/12/the-magic-formula-for-writing-bestseller.html

    • DamyantiB says:

      A beautiful quote. It’s lovely to hear about your experiences with travel, and how much you accomplish by it. Thank you for your kind words and wishing you all the best, Roland!

  • I absolutely agree, Damyanti. Out of my office window (where I write), the view is all trees. I paid way too much to have the window enlarged so I could see more of the backyard. Nature is so calming.

    • DamyantiB says:

      It really is, Jacqui! And that’s a wonderful idea — I might do the same to some of my own windows. It’s been a difficult time for me recently, health-wise, so I could definitely do with nature’s healing powers!

  • I stick pretty close to home these days. The last trip I took was to a book fair in Burlington, Vermont, which is a three-hour drive for me. I’ll be going back the week before Christmas to the University of Vermont library to do some research for my current novel-in-progress. As cities go, Burlington isn’t bad. But good luck finding a parking space!

    • DamyantiB says:

      A book fair sounds lovely, Liz! I find that even traveling close to home can lead to some wonderful adventures — I’ve lived in Singapore for so long, and I still find myself discovering new things. I’ve never visited Burlington before, but I’ll remember the parking problem if I do visit! Best of luck with your novel, and may the library have everything that you need.

      • Thank you very much, Damyanti, on all counts! The books I need are in the special collections catalog and available on the open shelves.

  • Kaye Spencer says:

    Iโ€™ve lived in large, bustling, people-filled cities, which created visual, aural, and emotional stressors that wore me down. However, for most of my life Iโ€™ve been fortunate to live in less populated locations. I now live in a small rural town/county in the far southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Colorado. I am surrounded by open prairie, which offers opportunities to get away from the town noises, which are not much due to our small size. According to the 2020 census, our county (2555 square miles [6617 sq km]) has 1.4 people per square mile.

    I travel infrequently nowadays by choice.

    • DamyantiB says:

      I’m glad you found a place which suits you, Kaye! Being in an environment which causes nothing but stress and anxiety can be absolutely exhausting, and it’s good to hear that you’ve managed to get away from the big-city bustle. It was a relief for me to get away from the noise and take some time to just wallow in the silence. It’s been some time since I last visited a country far from home, so this trip really reminded me of how much I missed traveling.

  • Debbie D. says:

    Communing with nature is wonderful for stress relief and relaxation! Glad you could get away, Damyanti. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do plenty of relaxing at home, (the joys of retirement! ๐Ÿ™‚ ), so for me, travel is all about sightseeing and absorbing local culture.

    • DamyantiB says:

      Thanks so much, Debbie! Being surrounded by the birds and trees did me so much good. And your travel-style sounds like fun! I’m looking forward to doing just that, and ticking off some places on my bucket list in the future.

  • Getting away from all noise is really difficult where I live. Glad you were able to find some peace. And some sleep!