From the beaches of Bali to the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the outback of Australia to the mountains of Tibet, best-selling author and acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer has seen it all. He's spent a lifetime traveling the globe, landing his dream job reporting on world affairs for Time Magazine in 1982.
So where does someone who has seen every corner of the world say is the best place to visit?
Nowhere, it turns out.
In his latest book, The Art of Stillness, Iyer writes:
In an age of speed, I began to think nothing could be more exhilarating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still. You can go on vacation to Paris or Hawaii or New Orleans three months from now and you will have a tremendous time, I'm sure. But if you want to come back feeling new, alive, full of fresh hope, and in love with the world, I think the place to visit may be nowhere.
In the above "Super Soul Sunday" clip, Iyer explains why being present is far more beneficial than jet setting around the world.
"I often think we're most happy when we forget the time," Iyer says. "When we're completely absorbed in the conversation or a movie or a piece of music."
At the age of 29, Iyer gave up his glamorous life in Manhattan to move to Kyoto, Japan, in order to embrace a quieter life of contemplation. What we really crave, Iyer discovered, is intimacy and kindness.
"They found surveys that when somebody is standing in a street with a hand extended in need and people are walking past or stopping to talk to that person, the one factor that determines whether they'll stop and help the person or not is not income or background or race or any of that. It's just whether they have the time or not," he says. "If you don't have time, you don't have enough kindness in your life. You don't have the chance to open yourself up."
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