Whether it is the cafés of Paris, the hills of Kilimanjaro, or the music-filled streets of Cuba, there is a longstanding tradition of the world’s greatest writers penning love letters to destinations. The best writers share their experiences in a way that not only captures the spirit of a place, but urges the reader to get out of their chair and venture forth. Truly good travel writing is equal parts voyeuristic and journalistic; informing and educating while simultaneously entertaining. It’s why we are so honored that Pico Iyer trained his eye on Mongolia, traveling with us for an unforgettable experience he chronicles in the June issue of Travel + Leisure. Iyer is indeed one of the world’s best writers. With almost two dozen books and countless magazine articles, he is also a TED Talks speaker. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying his Art of Stillness lecture, take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy the wisdom he imparts here.
A former TIME Magazine journalist who covered world affairs, Iyer left bustling New York City behind many years ago to live in a tiny back room in Kyoto, Japan. Since then, he’s circled the globe several times over and has made a name for himself studying the juxtaposition between tradition and modernity. Before he traveled with us he expressed his particular interest in understanding how traditional Mongolia, a place of nomadic herders upending their gers to follow their herds, is harmonizing with the new Mongolia, where a burgeoning mining industry and Western influences are taking root. His inimitable take on these two very different yet equally thriving sides can be read here. It is a beautiful tribute to Mongolia and its madcap mix of old and new and one that we will bask in the glow of for a long time to come.