A Minute With: Paul Theroux on the art of travel

Wed May 18, 2011 2:54pm EDT
 
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Author Paul Theroux began globetrotting 50 years ago which led to the publication of his first travelogue "The Great Railway Bazaar" in 1975, considered by many as a classic in travel writing.

In his newest work, "The Tao of Travel," published in the United States next week, he collects the best in travel writing over the past decades, as well as his own enlightenments.

Theroux, also the author of acclaimed novels such as "The Mosquito Coast", talked to Reuters about the art of travel, loneliness and being agitated at the age of 70.

Q. How does "The Tao of Travel" reflect spirituality?

A. "I think of it is as both spiritual and secular. It is the rules of travel. If you talk about journeys in general, travel in general, you really are talking about a big concept. Because it is like going through life, the average difficult trip is like living a life, overcoming obstacles. But it is also all the things I never read about in other travel books. It is a personal book; it is not just an anthology of quotations."

Q. You extend Chekhov's quote, "If you're afraid of loneliness, don't get married" to "If you are afraid of loneliness, don't travel"?

A. "A lot of travel is lonely, it is solitary. It is probably why people do take their wives and children and expedition members with them. But solitary travel is lonely, but it is also rewarding and that kind of solitude, which is a rarer and rarer thing in life."

Q. Apart from travel, writing is also a solitary experience. Did you become at ease with your own loneliness?   Continued...

 
<p>Author Paul Theroux, shown in this undated publicity photograph, began globetrotting 50 years ago which led to the publication of his first travelogue "The Great Railway Bazaar" in 1975, considered by many as a classic in travel writing. REUTERS/Copyright &copy; Steve McCurry/Handout</p>