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Secret Gardens

by Savannah Lunt

Photo by Pexels

Four years ago, I wove through the swarm of people trying to get onto the next train and fought to make my way up the stairs and out of the underground. The city sprawled out around me and I blinked, adjusting my eyes to the sudden daylight. London. A city of chaos, industry, and noise. It’s nearly impossible to hear yourself think. It’s always teeming with life—horns honking, people shouting, engines running.

I walked a few blocks until the noise dissipated, so slowly I didn’t notice its absence until it was gone completely. On a forgotten corner on an almost forgotten street, there stood an old church building.

At over 900 years old, the St. Dunstan in the East chapel had seen repairs numerous times. After the World War II bombings, the City of London decided that instead of completely rebuilding the church, they would turn the remains into a public garden space.

Inside the forgotten building, everywhere I looked there was greenery covering the archways and vines snaking around benches and up walls. Alone and away from the crush of people, it was peaceful. For once, it was quiet.

Finding a quiet place amid London’s noise was a profound experience for me, as it helps me remember the city as more than its busy, must-see tourist spots. Regardless of how the world is changing, it’s important for us to carve out and protect these quiet places—not only as we live day-to-day, but also as we travel and explore.

This special edition of Stowaway serves to present our new mission statement: wander wisely, explore ethically, and search sustainably. Because quiet places can remind us of our place in the world, we want to travel in a way that will preserve them and allow us to open our eyes to new cultures.

We hope this edition of Stowaway inspires you not only to be a more eco-conscious traveler—but also to carve out some quiet places of your own around the world.