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For the last 46 years, Pico Iyer has been criss-crossing the planet, traveling from North Korea to Easter Island, from Antarctica to Bhutan, chronicling his observations and adventures in fifteen books and a torrent of articles for National Geographic, The New York Times, Granta, Time, and more than 250 other periodicals worldwide. Yet for 34 of those years, he has also been living at his desk, as a full-time, free-lance writer, savoring the sanity and clarity that come from sitting still.
Travel is how we go out into the world, expand our imaginations and remind ourselves how much we don’t know. At a time when we can see so much on-screen, it seems ever more urgent to visit Cuba, Yemen, Iran and other places in our headlines in the flesh, to give them a human face and voice. Sitting still is how we turn experience into meaning, convert sights into insights and put everything we have felt and thought into a larger perspective. Travel, you could say, is how we go out and collect ingredients, as at a farmer’s market, stillness how we put them all together into a meal.
Moving back and forth between these two essential practices, “Travel: Across the World and Deep Within” brings together much that Pico has learned over almost half a century into three evening presentations. He draws on his many years of going on retreat (more than 90 times), as well as his 46 years of talking with the Dalai Lama, to consider why travel in the new millennium is not just a luxury, but a moral obligation. He addresses why it is also more important than ever, in our accelerating age of information overload, to clear our heads and not forget what sustains us most. This last year of enforced global stillness has reminded many of us of what we love most deeply, and how much we need to stay close to that as we prepare to return to something like our normal lives.
Pico offers solo presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings on why we travel and how it deepens our sense of calm and attention, followed by answers to questions from the audience. On the third evening, as a special bonus, an intimate discussion between Pico and Santa Fe Workshops Founder and Director Reid Callanan addresses how we can deepen our experiences through images and words and how every journey is made richer by the art we try to make of it.
Day One – The Urgency of Movement
Why is it that, in the Age of Information, we sometimes know less than ever about the larger world, and in the Age of Globalism, it is often easier than ever to be provincial? Stitching together a constellation of experiences, in places near and far, Pico reminds us all of why we travel and how the most intriguing places, from Pyongyang to Teheran, are at once history lessons, crash courses in humility, and grand adventures. How, as writers or photographers, can we open our eyes to the world and, in so doing, open our hearts and, in time, our minds?
Day Two – The Movement Towards Clarity
In this presentation on the importance of attention in a world of distraction, Pico offers practical tips for remaining focused, your best self, in the midst of the clamor. Some places instantly open up space inside one’s head, and so one’s imagination; others take us back to a simplicity in which we can recall what is essential. Often, we do not have to travel far at all to step back from our overcrowded lives and see what is important. Why is it that, these days, luxury often means an empty room, a freedom from screens, and a chance to experience wonder and spaciousness first-hand?
Day Three – Bringing it All Back Home
Liberating you from a single voice, this final evening features a duet between two lifelong travelers who have tried to extend their journeys through images and words, and then to share those with the larger world. Reid and Pico have never met in person, but they are old friends on the page, and they have been waiting a long time to talk together about how travel gives us the universe and then how we, with our cameras or words, can give something back. How can our outer worlds and inner worlds come together and make something richer than the sum of their parts?
Join celebrated writer and speaker Pico Iyer, along with Reid Callanan, on a travel adventure to sustain us at home during these long winter months.
For the convenience of participants, recordings of each class session are posted privately for one month after the end of each session. Santa Fe Workshops takes the recordings down after one month to protect the intellectual property of our instructors.
Pico Iyer’s 15 books, translated into 23 languages, have made him “arguably the greatest living travel writer,” according to Outside magazine. They address everything from the Cuban Revolution to Sufi mysticism, from Los Angeles Airport to the XIVth Dalai Lama. But he has also written screenplays, liner-notes for Leonard Cohen and the introductions to more than seventy other works, including many books by some of the distinguished photographers of our time (from Alex and Rebecca Webb to Lynn Davis and from Isamu Noguchi to Steve McCurry). He is a constant contributor to The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, Conde Nast Traveler and Aperture, publishing up to 100 articles a year since 1982.
Pico has also given four talks for TED, which have received more than 11 million views so far, and was the author of the second TED Book, The Art of Stillness. A regular speaker from Bogota to Shanghai, he has been featured in program-length interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Krista Tippett and Larry King and on such television stations as CNN, Channel News Asia and NHK World.
Born and raised in England, he has been based since 1987 in Western Japan. In 2019 he was Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, Guest Director of the Telluride Film Festival and the first official writer-in-residence at Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
Reid Callanan is Founder and Director of the Santa Fe Workshops. In addition to his responsibilities leading The Workshops for the past 32 years, Reid is also an accomplished photographer who welcomes the opportunity to teach workshops whenever he can.
Reid started photographing in 1974 during a semester abroad at Richmond College in London and has been making images ever since using a variety of photographic processes including silver halide, Polaroid imagery, and now digital capture. His photographic projects include a personal diary of images called HOMESCAPES, black-and-white portraits made in Cuba and Mexico, and most recently iPhone travel images posted to Instagram.
In 1994 Reid founded the non-profit Santa Fe Center for Photography, now known as CENTER, and is currently Vice- President of its Board of Directors. He serves on the President’s Council of the Texas Photographic Society; on the Board for American Society of Media Photographers Foundation; and on the Advisory Board for Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion.