I just had the pleasure of learning of a writer I had never heard of before, Pico Iyer.
He’s a British-born essayist and novelist best known (except to me) for his travel writing. He’s written both non-fiction books and novels, including these intriguing titles: Video Night in Kathmandu and The Lady and the Monk. His latest book is The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere. I don’t know which to order first.
I listened to an interview with him last night and fell in love. Then, I listened to a TED talk this morning. In both, he didn’t talk directly about his book, about his concept, “Going Nowhere.” Yes, odd for a travel writer.
“Nowhere is magical unless you can bring the right eyes to it. You take an angry man to the Himalayas, he just starts complaining about the food.”
He’s a keen observer with a subtle sense of humor. He said that the best way he could develop more attentive, more appreciative eyes, was by going nowhere. It was the only way he could “sift through the slide-show of his life,” and make sense of it.
Going nowhere can be as simple as taking a few minutes out of your day, or a few days out of each season, or even taking a sabbatical in order to sit still long enough to find out what moves you and where you are happiest.
I’ve noticed that when I’ve come back from a trip excited and wanting to share everything, I paint a picture with really big strokes, and a lack of focus. After I’ve had a week for things to percolate, I am more fully aware of the feelings and flavors of where I’ve been, and of what I’ve experienced.
For three weeks now, I have been sitting still for 10-15 minutes each morning and evening. I started as a way to bring more peace and focus into my life. Because of Pico Iyer’s talk, I look forward to using my new awareness the next time I travel.
I’ve included a link to his podcast on TEDtalks below. (It’s the first time I’ve done this, fingers crossed that it works!)
Please do check him out.
I hope you enjoy him as much as I did!