That May, a community of reporters, essayists, and travel writers in New York City coalesced around Pico's tale. They met for Bloody Marys on rooftops; they brainstormed over bagels; they threw parties to bring photographers into the project. The consensus among them was strong and clear: Pico's story represented a new species of travel tale. And so they began “going off assignment,” and challenging their favorite writers to do the same.
Scores of A-list creatives have since gone "off assignment": Gay Talese, Sloane Crosley, Phillip Lopate, Jack Hitt, Gideon Lewis-Krauss, Suketu Mehta, Ted Conover, Leslie Jamison, Marcia DeSanctis, Rolf Potts, Mary Morris, Jon Lee Anderson, Sara Wheeler, Anna Ziegler, Lauren Groff, David Farley, and Pico Iyer—who put his Reykjavik tale to the page for our upcoming print antholozine.