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Pico iyer essay on travel writer


pico iyer essay on travel writer

in Thailand, though a teetotaler who usually goes to bed at.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. Travel for me is principally a joy and an adventure a trip into the unknown and I tend not to think of anything from the business standpoint. Complement this new book and talk youve delivered for TED on Stillness? Its expanded my sense of what is possible among human beings and in terms of human kindness (and at times its opposite). And try to think what you in particular have to add or contribute. ORourke and find that hes said all the same things, only better. So I had no option but to try to make a living out of that. Even when Im not speaking pidgin English in Hanoi, Im simplified in a positive way, and concerned not with expressing myself, but simply making sense. We can make better and better contact with people across the globe, but in the same breath, it sometimes feels, we lose contact with ourselves. At every point, travel taught me that everything else paled by comparison. In closed or impoverished places, like Pagan or Lhasa or Havana, we are the eyes and ears of the people we meet, their only contact with the world outside and, very often, the closest, quite literally, they will ever come to Michael Jackson or Bill.

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. And second, to try to catch the feelings the sound, the smell, the tang, of a place immediately, before it goes. Australia still intrigue you? For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you cant quite speak the language, and you dont know where youre going, and youre pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can. If the first thing we can bring the Cubans is a real and balanced sense of what contemporary America is like, the secondand perhaps more importantthing we can bring them is a fresh and renewed sense of how special are the warmth and beauty. I have also been lucky enough to have an arrangement with Time for many years whereby I write occasional essays for them in exchange for not a huge amount of money, but enough to keep me off the streets. Having gone to all the trouble of recording this piquant or unforgettable moment or detail, I tell myself, how can I possibly leave it out? For me that speaks to the dance of changelessness and change we find in all our cities, all our lives, perhaps. Though its 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 dont: Among those who dont, a tourist is just someone who complains, Nothing here. And yet traveling helped me see this as a liberation: to live more at home as if I were on the road, to savor the freedom from a past and from possessions, and to think back on all the people I had met, in Tibet. Having taken seventy pages of notes on my two-week vacation, annotating every shop and street and sky Ive seen, I often feel compelled, after Ive returned home, to include them all. The only other abstract and impractical subject I could find to study was English, and English is a perfect qualification for nothing but unemployment.

And the bracing mix of irony and beauty. Over and over Ive gone to El Salvador or Haiti or South Africa or the Philippines, and come home with wonderfully original and different perceptions on the place, only to pick.J. On a more practical level, the only subject I could manage at school was mathematics and as soon as it involved physics, I could no longer manage even that (Im one of those people who can hardly turn on a computer without setting off. Without question, working for Lets. A million people go every month, no doubt, to the Taj Mahal, and many of them write eloquently about.


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