Program 717: Bill Bryson At Home; Pico Iyer In Search of Paradise; Walkable Cities

Release Date: 06-10-2023


Author Bill Bryson describes how buying an old house in England has made him appreciate how dramatically domestic life has changed in just a few generations. Then writer Pico Iyer explains why visiting difficult destinations can shed light on where — or what — "paradise" might be. And urban planner Jeff Speck celebrates some of the North American cities that are catching up with their European cousins in designing pedestrian-friendly streetscapes.


  • Author Bill Bryson, author of titles including "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" (Random House)
  • Pico Iyer, author of "The Half-Known Life: In Search of Paradise" (Penguin-Random House)
  • Urban planner Jeff Speck, author of "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time" (Picador) 

Additional Info

  • Bill Bryson has written a number of best-selling books on travel, language and science topics since 1984.  Rick talked with him about his 2010 book "At Home: A Short History of Private Life." (Random House)
  • Pico Iyer writes about how his travels have revealed distinctive views of the world in his book "The Half-Known Life: In Search of Paradise."
  • Pico writes about "The Trouble with Paradise" for the New York Times.
  • Pico joined us on Travel with Rick Steves program #586a in October 2022 to share his observations about living in Japan.  He also talked about his "Beginner's Guide to Japan" on program #576 in September 2019.  Pico spoke with Rick on the art of travel writing on program #656 in November 2021, and described how he was faring in pandemic lockdowns on program #611 in August 2020. Some of his earlier appearances include describing a visit to North Korea on program #412 in July 2015, and his concept of "Nowhere Travels" on #400 in April 2015. 
  • Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer based in the Boston area. His book "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time" has been updated in a tenth anniversary edition.  Links that show many of Jeff's city design projects and TED talks are provided on his website.