On Travel & Stillness: Lessons & Hopes for the Post-Pandemic World With Pico Iyer - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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On Travel & Stillness: Lessons & Hopes for the Post-Pandemic World With Pico Iyer

$100 per person Online Experience
3 sessions
See Dates
$100 per person
$100 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this 3-part lecture series, we'll reflect on travel and stillness and explore how to engage both while moving into a post-pandemic world.

Course Description

This course will explore movement and stillness, the two poles of our lives, by taking us out to the farthest corners of Yemen and North Korea, bringing us back to the deepest places within, and seeing how we can balance them both so as to live with fresh clarity and joy once lockdown subsides.

Pico Iyer has been traveling the world constantly for forty-seven years, publishing many books and articles on the new global order—often visiting three continents in a week. Yet he’s also spent 33 years at his desk in Nowhere, Japan and was invited by TED to put together a book—and then a talk—on “The Art of Stillness,” drawing on the decades he’s spent living in monasteries and intimately observing monks such as the Dalai Lama and Leonard Cohen. In this unique, three-part lecture series, not possible offline, he will try to weave together his experiences to explain what a film studio in North Korea looks like and how you can organize your day in our accelerating world so as never to feel overwhelmed.

Syllabus at a Glance 

There are three total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.25 hours on three consecutive Wednesdays beginning June 2.

Session 1 (Wednesday, 6/2, 8–9:15 PM ET): The Beauty of Travel: Getting to know our global neighborhood

Session2 (Wednesday, 6/9, 8–9:15 PM ET): The Wisdom of Stillness: Stepping back and sitting still

Session 3 (Wednesday, 6/16, 8–9:15 PM ET): Out of Lockdown: Remaking habits and reorienting priorities

Between Sessions

Students will be encouraged to send questions, tips, and prompts prior to the final two sessions. Since Q&A will play such an important part in every class—it’s always the most fun part of any session, as well as the most human and engaging—everyone will be strongly urged to submit as many questions as possible in advance, with the possibility of taking further questions live.

Students will also receive reflection prompts and short readings and assignments related to the subject matter, which they may do between sessions if desired.

Pricing Options

We currently offer tiered ticket pricing in an effort to increase accessibility for all students, regardless of economic situation. Our lecture series are available at three ticket prices, with a limited number of no-pay spots available for students who could not otherwise participate. This model is intended to support a wider range of students as well as our instructors. To learn more about our tiered sliding scale pricing model, please visit our FAQ page.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Our online courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. Courses can take one of two forms: Seminars are intimate, interactive classes—capped at nine to 25 students—exploring topics and crafts through discussion, workshops, assignments, and in-class activities. We also offer lecture series that can be attended live, or viewed via a recording that will be shared within 72 hours after each session airs. Class recordings for lecture series will be available with a temporary password for up to two weeks following the final session of the course.

To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses.

For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to the class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access your course via Zoom on each scheduled date and time. 

About Your Instructor
Pico Iyer
Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer—“arguably the greatest living travel-writer,” as Outside magazine had it— is the author of 15 books, translated into 23 languages, on subjects ranging from the Cuban Revolution to the Dalai Lama, and from Islamic mysticism to globalism. You may have seen him with Oprah and Larry King, heard him with Krista Tippett, or read him in liner notes for Leonard Cohen, as well as in 250 periodicals worldwide, including constant pieces over 35 years for The New York Times, Harper’s, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, Time and The New York Review of Books. His four recent talks for TED have received 11 million views so far.

Born in Oxford, England and educated at Eton, Oxford and Harvard, Pico has been based, since 1987, in Western Japan. In 2019, he was Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, the first official Writer-in-Residence at Raffles Hotel Singapore and the Guest Director of the Telluride Film Festival. He also brought out three books that year, including twinned works about his longtime adopted home, Autumn Light and A Beginner’s Guide to Japan.

Instructor photo by Brigitte Lacombe.

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording after each session airs. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session airs, we will email all enrolled students a recording of the session, which they can watch using a temporary password for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

In most cases, instructors will use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Classroom, instructors will be using this platform to post resources, discussion questions, and assignments, when applicable.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at experiences@atlasobscura.com if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

Dates and Availability

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