by Pico Iyer An unexpected truth from a celebrated travel writer: Stillness just might be the ultimate adventure. Alfred Hitchcock tells the tale of an established business man, rich with opinions, status, and money, who gets thrown into an adventure because of a case mistaken identity in North by Northwest. Paul Theroux supplies readers with enriching encounters of visiting places with complex political histories and with deep and current discords. Walk just six blocks, in Queens or Berkeley, and you’re traveling through several cultures in as many minutes; get into a cab outside the White House, and you’re often in a piece of Addis Ababa. Abroad, we are wonderfully free of caste and job and standing; we are, as Hazlitt puts it, just the “gentlemen in the parlour,” and people cannot put a name or tag to us. I, like many people, tend to ask questions of the places I visit, and relish most the ones that ask the most searching questions back of me: In Paraguay, for example, where one car in every two is stolen, and two-thirds of the goods on sale are smuggled, I have to rethink my every Californian assumption. Not the least of the challenges of travel, therefore, is learning how to import—and export—dreams with tenderness.”, “…the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new places but in seeing with new eyes. For what we all too often ignore when we go abroad is that we are objects of scrutiny as much as the people we scrutinize, and we are being consumed by the cultures we consume, as much on the road as when we are at home. All the photos on this site, other than the one on the Welcome page, are taken by Pico Iyer. But more significantly, we carry values and beliefs and news to the places we go, and in many parts of the world, we become walking video screens and living newspapers, the only channels that can take people out of the censored limits of their homelands. ( Log Out / Read the full story here: Pico Iyer - Why We Travel Quotes that I love & why: "We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. This, I think, is how tourism, which so obviously destroys cultures, can also resuscitate or revive them, how it has created new “traditional” dances in Bali, and caused craftsmen in India to pay new attention to their works. Thus travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty. — confesses to devoting her travel magazine column to places that never existed. It’s not enough to go to the ends of the earth these days (not least because the ends of the earth are often coming to you); and where a writer like Jan Morris could, a few years ago, achieve something miraculous simply by voyaging to all the great cities of the globe, now anyone with a Visa card can do that. Travel much like love at times can be impulsive when we truly travel Pico Iyer explains that when truly traveling we can fall in love with the idea of a place and the fact we have freedom; and in many times no boundaries. The placemats offer maps of the great temples of the city, and the posters all around broadcast the wonders of San Francisco. Anyone witnessing this strange scene would have drawn the right conclusion: I was in love. If travel is about the meeting of realities, it is no less about the mating of illusions: You give me my dreamed-of vision of Tibet, and I’ll give you your wished-for California. I like that stress on work, since never more than on the road are we shown how proportional our blessings are to the difficulty that precedes them; and I like the stress on a holiday that’s “moral” since we fall into our ethical habits as easily as into our beds at night. Why We Travel is a classic essay from the world’s greatest living travel writer, Pico Iyer. “The sovereign freedom of traveling comes from the fact that it whirls you around and turns you upside down, and stands everything you took for granted on its head. And the way in which each culture takes in this common pool of references tells you as much about them as their indigenous products might. And the first lesson we learn on the road, whether we like it or not, is how provisional and provincial are the things we imagine to be universal.”. The most distant shores, we are constantly reminded, lie within the person asleep at our side. And technology, too, compounds this (sometimes deceptive) sense of availability, so that many people feel they can travel around the world without leaving the room — through cyberspace or CD-ROMs, videos and virtual travel. In a sense, we are “finding” what we like in others in order to determine what characteristics and behaviors we want to have ourselves. Services. He became a travel writer to communicate the magic of foreign places to readers. Thus Bruce Chatwin’s books seem to dance around the distinction between fact and fancy. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. And since no one I meet can “place” me — no one can fix me in my risumi –I can remake myself for better, as well as, of course, for worse (if travel is notoriously a cradle for false identities, it can also, at its best, be a crucible for truer ones). Not the least of the challenges of travel, therefore, is learning how to import — and export — dreams with tenderness. The one day a week we take off becomes a vast empty space through which we can wander, without agenda. But it does.” No wonder the travel-writer narrator — a fictional construct (or not)? (And if nowhere is quite home, we can be optimists everywhere.). So where Morris, in effect, was chronicling the last days of the Empire, a younger travel writer is in a better position to chart the first days of a new Empire, post-national, global, mobile and yet as diligent as the Raj in transporting its props and its values around the world. ( Log Out / You can teach them what they have to celebrate as much as you celebrate what they have to teach. Read the full story here: Pico Iyer – Why We Travel, “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. Isabella, her family, the inhabitants and even la isla itself are creations of the author’s imagination.” On Page 172, however, we read, “La isla, of course, does exist. To quicken their dreams may, after all, be to match-make them with an illusion; yet to dash them may be to strip them of the one possession. There is Africa and her prodigies in us.”. Novels are often journeys as much as travel books are fictions; and though this has been true since at least as long ago as Sir John Mandeville’s colorful 14th century accounts of a Far East he’d never visited, it’s an even more shadowy distinction now, as genre distinctions join other borders in collapsing. Besides, even those who don’t move around the world find the world moving more and more around them. → I love his idea that a diploma can be a passport and that a passport can be a diploma as a crash course in culutral relativism. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. through ¨ Why We Travel¨ by Pico Iyer Have you ever felt chained to you`re your mundane reality. When you go to a McDonald’s outlet in Kyoto, you will find Teriyaki McBurgers and Bacon Potato Pies. More often than not, monkey see monkey do, we learn our behaviors from the example of others. All the photos on this site, other than the one on the Welcome page, are taken by. There are, of course, great dangers to this, as to every kind of freedom, but the great promise of it is that, traveling, we are born again, and able to return at moments to a younger and a more open kind of self. “Why We Travel” by Pico Iyer. And even as the world seems to grow more exhausted, our travels do not, and some of the finest travel books in recent years have been those that undertake a parallel journey, matching the physical steps of a pilgrimage with the metaphysical steps of a questioning (as in Peter Matthiessen’s great “The Snow Leopard”), or chronicling a trip to the farthest reaches of human strangeness (as in Oliver Sack’s “Island of the Color-Blind,” which features a journey not just to a remote atoll in the Pacific, but to a realm where people actually see light differently). I admire him for his wisdom and romantic view of travel and its revelations. Today, Pico Iyer has become one of world’s most revered travel writers, respected for the way he muses about journeys, stillness and the intersection of culture. And the first lesson we learn on the road, whether we like it or not, is how provisional and provincial are the things we imagine to be universal. It’s like a retreat house that ensures we’ll have something bright and purposeful to carry back into the other six days. And in the process, we also get saved from abstraction ourselves, and come to see how much we can bring to the places we visit, and how much we can become a kind of carrier pigeon — an anti-Federal Express, if you like — in transporting back and forth what every culture needs. And — most crucial of all — the young people eating their Big Macs, with baseball caps worn backwards, and tight 501 jeans, are still utterly and inalienably Japanese in the way they move, they nod, they sip their Oolong teas — and never to be mistaken for the patrons of a McDonald’s outlet in Rio, Morocco or Managua. […] “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.”, “And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. And we travel to fill in the gaps left by tomorrow’s headlines: When you drive down the streets of Port-au-Prince, for example, where there is almost no paving and women relieve themselves next to mountains of trash, your notions of the internet and a “one world order” grow usefully revised. At the very least, we are objects of speculation (and even desire) who can seem as exotic to the people around us as they do to us.”, “These days a whole new realm of exotica arises out of the way one culture colors and appropriates the products of another.”, “Travel, then, is a voyage into that famously subjective zone, the imagination, and what the traveler brings back is—and has to be—an ineffable compound of himself and the place, what’s really there and what’s only in him.”, “The most distant shores, we are constantly reminded, lie within the person asleep at our side.”, “So travel, at heart, is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile and awake. Why We Travel By Pico Iyer Analysis. None of them was by any means blind to the deficiencies of the places around them, but all, having chosen to go there, chose to find something to admire. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.”. We travel to bring what little we … For seeing without feeling can obviously be uncaring; while feeling without seeing can be blind.”. We must in turn do our country justice and be responsible representatives for the hope and kindness that our country can offer. — is partly the reason why so many of the great travel writers, by nature, are enthusiasts: not just Pierre Loti, who famously, infamously, fell in love wherever he alighted (an archetypal sailor leaving offspring in the form of Madame Butterfly myths), but also Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence or Graham Greene, all of whom bore out the hidden truth that we are optimists abroad as readily as pessimists as home. Change ). I find that I always take Michael Jordan posters to Kyoto, and bring woven ikebana baskets back to California; I invariably travel to Cuba with a suitcase piled high with bottles of Tylenol and bars of soap, and come back with one piled high with salsa tapes, and hopes, and letters to long-lost brothers. Both of them insist on the fact that reality is our creation, and that we invent the places we see as much as we do the books that we read. Pico Iyer was 28 years old when he began the trip that would be explored in “Video Night in Kathmandu,” a landmark book that instantly established him as one of the world’s leading travel writers (the book was No. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. At the same time, as all this is intrinsic to travel, from Ovid to O’Rourke, travel itself is changing as the world does, and with it, the mandate of the travel writer. From their, our sense of “real” is thrown into question and thus changed to create a new perspective on world affairs, cultural diversity, maturity, self-awareness, truth and love. We are advocating for them every time we speak of them to our friends and family back home. Even when I’m not speaking pidgin English in Hanoi, I’m simplified in a positive way, and concerned not with expressing myself, but simply making sense. “So travel, for many of us, is a quest for not just the unknown, but the unknowing; I, at least, travel in search of an innocent eye that can return me to a more innocent self. It just feels as if it doesn’t. Some of the most profound – and beautiful – truths about travelling have been put down in words by Pico Iyer in his timeless article “Why we travel”. iBooks Best Book of the Month. That doesn’t mean I like to invade their privacy, but it offers a unmistaken sense of reality. V.S. But there is, for the traveler at least, the sense that learning about home and learning about a foreign world can be one and the same thing. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. Chained to a day to day average lense that only permits us to look rather than notice. So is empathy. For in traveling to a truly foreign place, we inevitably travel to moods and states of mind and hidden inward passages that we’d otherwise seldom have cause to visit.”, “Abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love. Travel in that sense guides us toward a better balance of wisdom and compassion—of seeing the world clearly, and yet feeling it truly. And in truth, many of us, even (or especially) the ones who are fleeing America abroad, will get taken, willy-nilly, as symbols of the American Dream. Travel, then, is a voyage into that famously subjective zone, the imagination, and what the traveler brings back is — and has to be — an ineffable compound of himself and the place, what’s really there and what’s only in him. I tend to believe more abroad than I do at home […], and I tend to be more easily excited abroad, and even kinder. So, if more and more of us have to carry our sense of home inside us, we also — Emerson and Thoreau remind us — have to carry with us our sense of destination. We travel, then, in part just to shake up our complacencies by seeing all the moral and political urgencies, the life-and-death dilemmas, that we seldom have to face at home. On the most basic level, when I’m in Thailand, though a teetotaler who usually goes to bed at 9 p.m., I stay up till dawn in the local bars; and in Tibet, though not a real Buddhist, I spend days on end in temples, listening to the chants of sutras. Yet for me the first great joy of traveling is simply the luxury of leaving all my beliefs and certainties at home, and seeing everything I thought I knew in a different light, and from a crooked angle. The issue then when deconstructing an article like this is whether to view and critique it upon its effectiveness for the intended reader or in a more holistic view. “We travel, then, in part just to shake up our complacencies by seeing all the moral and political urgencies, the life-and-death dilemmas, that we seldom have to face at home. All of us feel this from the cradle, and know, in some sense, that all the significant movement we ever take is internal. “Erewhon,” after all, the undiscovered land in Samuel Butler’s great travel novel, is just “nowhere” rearranged. Why we travel: Pico Iyer on his transformational trip to Tibet The author and memoirist recounts a powerful journey through Asia that culminated on the high plateau of Lhasa among prostrating pilgrims, in the shadow of the Potala Palace — the former winter palace of the Dalai Lamas. Eventually, I had to stop giving my imput and reasons for loving these quotations because I was getting repetitive. Yet one of the subtler beauties of travel is that it enables you to bring new eyes to the people you encounter.”, “Thus travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty. Abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love. But he realizes that traveling lacks magic if you don’t have an open, receptive attitude. He looked at me astonished. For seeing without feeling can obviously be uncaring; while feeling without seeing can be blind. Pico Iyer expounds on his various experiences with traveling across the world and its transformative power on your worldview in “Why We Travel”. … This is what Camus meant when he said that “what gives value to travel is fear” — disruption, in other words, (or emancipation) from circumstance, and all the habits behind which we hide. I was, in short, a traveler at birth, for whom even a visit to the candy store was a trip through a foreign world where no one I saw quite matched my parents’ inheritance, or my own. Madonna in an Islamic country, after all, sounds radically different from Madonna in a Confucian one, and neither begins to mean the same as Madonna on East 14th Street. Comparison Between Pico Iyer's Joy Of Travel And Alfred Hitchcock And Why We Travel 1497 Words | 6 Pages. Travel is the best way we have of rescuing the humanity of places, and saving them from abstraction and ideology. The world and the numerous cultures it houses completely contradict such a thought. Though it’s fashionable nowadays to draw a distinction between the “tourist” and the “traveler,” perhaps the real distinction lies between those who leave their assumptions at home, and those who don’t: Among those who don’t, a tourist is just someone who complains, “Nothing here is the way it is at home,” while a traveler is one who grumbles, “Everything here is the same as it is in Cairo — or Cuzco or Kathmandu.” It’s all very much the same. George spoke with Pico Iyer, a writer whose perspectives on globalization and modern day travel have been amassed in several beautiful books, among them, … Pico Iyer’s essay “The Joy of Quiet,” The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counterintuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer The place that travel writer Pico Iyer would most like to go? ”, “Traveling is a way to reverse time, to a small extent, and make a day last a year—or at least 45 hours—and traveling is an easy way of surrounding ourselves, as in childhood, with what we cannot understand. these statements from Pico Iyer are strong, powerful, and filled with truth that resonates strongly within me. And precisely because we are clarified in this way, and freed of inessential labels, we have the opportunity to come into contact with more essential parts of ourselves (which may begin to explain why we may feel most alive when far from home). In addition, travelling uncovers the other cultures with a way that hearing or reading about cannot cover. I am, in many ways, an increasingly typical specimen, if only because I was born, as the son of Indian parents, in England, moved to America at 7 and cannot really call myself an Indian, an American or an Englishman. I am a visual person, and in order to understand the hardships of an individual I like to see them with my own eyes. Pico Iyer reveals how stillness can act as a creative catalyst, and advocates for a way of living that counters the frenetic design of our modern lives. Don’t let anyone fool you about that. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end. As Santayana, the heir to Emerson and Thoreau with whom I began, wrote, “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.” Romantic poets inaugurated an era of travel because they were the great apostles of open eyes. Do you encourage their notions of a Land of Milk and Honey across the horizon, even if it is the same land you’ve abandoned? The article “Why We Travel” by Pico Iyer talks about his opinion on why people travel to foreign places and what they expect to gain from their trips. And what this metaphor also brings home to us is that all travel is a two-way transaction, as we too easily forget, and if warfare is one model of the meeting of nations, romance is another. → Humility is one of the most attractive characteristics of a person. → I love the distinction made here, because I never want to be a “tourist.” It wouldn’t fall in line with my dream of being a global citizen. “For me the first great joy of traveling is simply the luxury of leaving all my beliefs and certainties at home, and seeing everything I thought I knew in a different light, and from a crooked angle.”, “Though it’s fashionable nowadays to draw a distinction between the “tourist” and the “traveler,” perhaps the real distinction lies between those who leave their assumptions at home, and those who don’t: Among those who don’t, a tourist is just someone who complains, “Nothing here is the way it is at home,” while a traveler is one who grumbles, “Everything here is the same as it is in Cairo—or Cuzco or Kathmandu.” It’s all very much the same.”. The article “Why We Travel” by Pico Iyer is an upbeat article that could possibly interest and relate to a number of readers. That whole complex interaction — not unlike the dilemmas we face with those we love (how do we balance truthfulness and tact?) We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. We represent them wherever we go, whenever we speak of them. I think, however, that one can start out as a tourist and quickly become a traveler. Few of us ever forget the connection between “travel” and “travail,” and I know that I travel in large part in search of hardship — both my own, which I want to feel, and others’, which I need to see. I started out as a tourist most certainly, but feel confident that I am quickly transiting into a traveler the more I adventure out of the country each summer. Travel is the best way we have of rescuing the humanity of places, and saving them from abstraction and ideology.”, “And in the process, we also get saved from abstraction ourselves, and come to see how much we can bring to the places we visit, and how much we can become a kind of carrier pigeon—an anti-Federal Express, if you like—in transporting back and forth what every culture needs.”. While at first glance Pico Iyer’s joy of traveling and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller romance film might not have much in common, they actually do share several similar ideas about travel and how it changes one as a person. Naipaul’s recent book, “A Way in the World,” was published as a non-fictional “series” in England and a “novel” in the United States. → One of my favorite quotes has always been, “Life isn’t about finding ourselves, life is about creating ourselves.” Although these two quotations offer somewhat of a contradiction, I find both of their messages be true. “But more significantly, we carry values and beliefs and news to the places we go, and in many parts of the world, we become walking video screens and living newspapers, the only channels that can take people out of the censored limits of their homelands.”. If a diploma can famously be a passport (to a journey through hard realism), a passport can be a diploma (for a crash course in cultural relativism). ( Log Out / He's written over a dozen books including The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home, The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere. Buy now And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. And that is why many of us travel not in search of answers, but of better questions.”, “For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with.”, “And what this metaphor also brings home to us is that all travel is a two-way transaction, as we too easily forget, and if warfare is one model of the meeting of nations, romance is another. These days a whole new realm of exotica arises out of the way one culture colors and appropriates the products of another. Our past learning and preconcieved notions are quickly thrown away and completely remolded to include the cultures you come into contact with. Worldhum.com recently republished one of my favorite essays – Why We Travel by Pico Iyer – as part of their 8th anniversary celebration. → Even more importantly, we are a representative of our own country and are often faced with criticism or harsh feelings because of our identity and home country. And we travel to fill in the gaps left by tomorrow’s headlines: When you drive down the streets of Port-au-Prince, for example, where there is almost no paving and women relieve themselves next to mountains of trash, your notions of the Internet and a “one world order” grow usefully revised. Language facilitates this cracking open, for when we go to France, we often migrate to French, and the more childlike self, simple and polite, that speaking a foreign language educes. Pico Iyer is the author of several books about his travels, including Video Night in Kathmandu, "The Lady and the Monk," "The Global Soul" and "Sun After Dark. Why we travel It has long been said that travel "broadens the mind". 8 on World Hum’s list of the best travel books). If the first thing we can bring the Cubans is a real and balanced sense of what contemporary America is like, the second — and perhaps more important — thing we can bring them is a fresh and renewed sense of how special are the warmth and beauty of their country, for those who can compare it with other places around the globe. At the very least, we are objects of speculation (and even desire) who can seem as exotic to the people around us as they do to us. Why We Travel. Chained to an image of how we are in an office rather than an image that we … ( Log Out / In order to be a global citizen I need to learn and adopt certain practices or mantras of other cultures. The beauty of this whole process was best described, perhaps, before people even took to frequent flying, by George Santayana in his lapidary essay, “The Philosophy of Travel.” We “need sometimes,” the Harvard philosopher wrote, “to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.”. Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer (born 11 February 1957), known as Pico Iyer, is a British-born essayist and novelist, often known for his travel writing. Pico Iyer is a journalist and writer. I tend to believe more abroad than I do at home (which, though treacherous again, can at least help me to extend my vision), and I tend to be more easily excited abroad, and even kinder.
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