Reva's Reviews > The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road

The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux
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Jun 18, 2011

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bookshelves: medium-kindle, misc-quickies, 2011

Traveller and travel writer Paul Theroux published The Tao of Travel in as less of a traditional travel book and more of a discourse on writing about travel and about the concept of travel itself. I did not expect this book to be a collection of quotations on the misery, loneliness, and joys of travel – really, on the paradox that travel necessarily brings to a traveller given the variety of sights in the world and people seeing the sights. He includes insightful observations from centuries of travelers, from people of all nationalities, all ages, and all socio-economic levels – from Marco Polo to the teenage girl who sailed around the world. One chapter discusses packing lists, from a crushed gown at the bottom of a woman’s rucksack to many, many trunks of gear for a couple weeks in the middle of nowhere. I read the chapter on ordeals sitting at the beach in the south of France, soaking up sun and having beer brought to my chair by a shirtless French guy. He tells about those travelers who have had stones thrown at them by the locals. He describes awful stomach issues and other sicknesses. An interesting book, unexpectedly enjoyable, and obviously a quick read with many, many quotations to be recorded and looked to later for inspiration, comfort, or a good laugh.

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