Pico Iyer Journeys

Why We Travel

The Photographer and the Philosopher

The traveler, I decided one day, is part photographer and part philosopher: His aim, as he sets out, is to catch some aspect of his subject—a tilt of head, a glint of eye—that exists out of time, and so to show us, as a portrait-painter might once have done, that aspect of a place that […]

The Shock of Arrival

Slowly, the plane begins to descend, lower, still lower, till the pattern of fields and roads, visible from above, becomes a particular tree, a slow-moving car, a figure on a sidewalk. There is a sudden bump, a violent deceleration, and then you are out, in a slap of tropical air, the smell of clove cigarettes […]

A Place I've Never Been

You come in over a grey, flat desert that looks like lunar emptiness: the great shrine of the Ayatollah Khomeini as you pull out of the southern suburbs of Tehran, a mosque here and there along the road, and then, for hours on end, nothing but the no-color, arid vacancy. Your mind grows almost numb […]

Travel Writing in America

American travel writing is about looking for the light. Or so, at least, I told myself, rather loftily, as I landed in Atlanta on my first trip to the city, got into a new Aspire and proceeded to drive around the “Phoenix of the South.” I passed Perimeter Point and Perimeter Mall, drove through a […]

Why We 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 […]

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