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.
A 10 to 15 minute Question and Answer session follows each daily presentation. Questions from the participants will be reviewed and a few selected during this informal wrap-up conversation.