Experiencing Silence in Siberia

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Forty year-old Sylvain Tesson has been called France’s ‘most brilliant travel writer’.

After 20 years of travelling around the world, including crossing the Himalayas on foot in 1997, he decided to follow his dream of living like a hermit. He travelled to Siberia and spent six months in a cabin on the shore of Lake Baikal with the merest necessities (that included books, cigars and vodka) and a six day walk from the nearest village.

He lived from February to July 2010 in silence, solitude and cold. He discovered that to follow a certain routine was helpful, although he admits the loneliness was difficult to bear. In spite of the daily hardship he found moments of ecstasy, inner peace and harmony. He learned that “You can spend a very great moment doing nothing”… and says that the three main things he felt were the quality of silence, amazing silence, and then the aloneness and the cold.

His experiences have been published in the book Consolation of the Forest, which won the Prix Medicis in 2011.

Read more in the Guardian


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