Pico Iyer: "The Art of Stillness"

I’m just back from Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas.This is what I was involved in.
To say it was exhausting but exhilarating is an understatement.
But, despite all that activity, and focused networking (or maybe because of it), the one person I met that impacted me most was Pico Iyer.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this world-renown travel writer and philosopher? Here’s a Ted talk he did. on the art of stillness.
Pico Iyer: The art of stillness - 26 Nov 2014
Pico Iyer: The art of stillness – 26 Nov 2014
Pico gave a talk at Virtuoso Travel Week on the “hidden luxuries of travel.” It was inspirational to me as a luxury travel advisor.
The following overview shares some of the nuggets from the talk he gave to me and other Virtuoso travel advisors last Sunday morning in Vegas.
Travel is how I decorate the house of my existence. Stillness is how I tried to give it foundation.
Experiences are the first part of travel. The second part is reflection.
“Luxury is not about what you have, but what you don’t have to think about.”
People are looking for silence, emptiness, and space. It is not a secret that luxury hotels are now offering digital detox programs. More and more, we see luxurious getaways offering campfires, they have telescopes and candlelight. Simplicity is what people are craving.
Travel is not about leaving home, but about leaving habits.”
Studies show Americans (and surely Canadians) spend an average of 8.5 hours a day in front of a screen. We are surrounded by ”

weapons of mass distraction.”
It used to be that access to information was what people sought. Now, people seek to get away from info. Freedom is the biggest thing wanted. The emptier a room, the readier you are to be filled up.
The infinity pool we all want to swim in is time.
All of us want open space in our calendars. We all want freedom from our devices. We want peace. We want time.
In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.
The goal of travel is to be sent home a different person than when you left. You should be refreshed and invigorated.
Travel should give 3 T’s – transport, transend, and transform.
You should do something on vacation that will allow you to stop, and take stock of your life.
As soon as you slow down, you remember and/or discover what it is you need to rejuvenate.
We should cherish long flights as an opportunity to decompress. Don’t work,use wifi, or watch TV. Do nothing.
Wellness travel is taking hold as the new luxury.  Luxury is about mystery. Quantity is far less important than quality.
The absence of things is what makes things glorious.
Silence is a greater luxury than the view of a private fountain
More is still more, but less is more. Less is more valuable than it used to be.
We still travel. You have to get on a plane to taste a place,smell it, sense it – you can’t rely on info you get from your iphone to experience. As soon as you arrive in a place, you ready yourself to experience it, and you should always pack your patience. But reliving the experience long after you return home, and reflecting on it, is equally important. Freeing yourself of the noise while you are at destination allows you to experience it more fully when you are there.
Luxury is not about what you carry in your hands, but everything you feel that makes you feel richer.
I walked up to Pico, and introduced myself to him, letting him know the impact of his words. I’d mentioned that I’d just left Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, so the intrinsic sense of place, and the art of stillness was something that had been emphasized there. It resonated with me.
As I walked away from Pico, I ran into Jalso of Nomadic Expeditions talking about his “5000 star hotel” in Mongolia (the Three Camel Lodge) as well as another American travel advisor who was looking to send a client to Fogo Island Inn. Synchronicity.
 Contact me to learn more about the National Geographic Lodges – or any place that I can help you get away from it all!
Sheila Gallant-Halloran