A wild sense of adventure has been in Pico Iyer’s blood ever since he was a little boy. Born in Oxford, England to Indian parents and moving to California as a young child, he became fascinated by foreign places and notions of belonging from a very young age. For him, he never feels freer than when he is in a strange, new place that’s nothing at all like home. If you read his work, you’ll soon realise that he is full of tales, from being stopped at gunpoint in Yemen, to meeting the Dalai Lama. Today, Pico Iyer has become one of world’s most revered travel writers, respected for the way he muses about journeys, stillness and the intersection of culture. Here, in these 15 quotes, Pico Iyer reveals just how transformative travel can be and how it really is a voyage full of magic.
15 Pico Iyer quotes that explain the magic of travel:
We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.
A person susceptible to “wanderlust” is not so much addicted to movement as committed to transformation.
And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, in dimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.
Travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty.
Travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.
Anybody who travels knows that you’re not really doing so in order to move around – you’re traveling in order to be moved. And really what you’re seeing is not just the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall but some moods or intimations or places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you’re sleepwalking through your daily life.
As soon as I’m on the road, I see, often palpably, that I know nothing at all, which is always a great liberation.
For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with.
Travel, for me, is a little bit like being in love, because suddenly all your senses are at the setting marked “on”.
Adventure today means finding one’s way back to the silence and stillness of a thousand years ago.
Visiting a new town is like having a conversation. Places ask questions of you just as searchingly as you question them. And, as in any conversation, it helps to listen with an open mind, so you can be led somewhere unexpected. The more you leave assumptions at home, I’ve found, the better you can hear whatever it is that a destination is trying to say to you.
We travel, in essence, to become young fools again – to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.
We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.
The beauty of being foreign is that it snaps you awake.
Traveling is a way to reverse time, to a small extent, and make a day last a year – or at least forty-five hours – and traveling is an easy way of surrounding ourselves, as in childhood, with what we cannot understand.
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