Ah, Pico Iyer. What a romantic guy. If you don’t know him, he’s the author of such seminal travel classics as, Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East and The Lady and the Monk. He also recently did a TED Talk on The Art of Stillness.
I made this photo up on Akiyoshidai plateau in the Quasi-National Park (best designation ever) in Yamaguchi, Japan.
Travel is definitely like love. Or a dream. Sometimes I’d be biking in Japan and think, “Is this even real?”. The world is so small and yet so large. There are some parts of it that feel like a different planet, they’re so removed from our daily network of perception.
I have a theory though, that the more you travel, the more you see, the wider your net is cast. It is hard to really perceive something you’ve only experienced through media. There are people in board rooms all over the world making decisions that influence places they can’t even perceive. This is one of the greatest disconnects of our time.
Not everyone can travel, but those that can have a responsibility of bringing home the smallness of our world to others. “Here. This is how tiny our planet is. When you do this, this is what’s happening.” Sometimes, you might feel as though you’re trying to explain the third dimension to a 2D someone from flatland.
Pico’s observance of the traveller’s state is something we could all do to try and imitate. When we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed, that’s when life will truly delight and surprise us.