It’s the birthday of the man who said: “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” Paul Theroux, born in Medford, Massachusetts (1941). After college he went in the Peace Corps and taught school in Malawi, Africa, and he wrote. Ten years after college graduation, he had written ten books, and it was the 10th that made his reputation: The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), a travelogue of his four-month trip across Asia. His advice for aspiring writers: “Leave home. Because if you stay home people will ask you questions that you can’t answer. They say, “What are you going to write? Where will you publish it? Who’s going to pay you? How will you make a living?” If you leave home, no one asks you questions like that.”
His advice for aspiring travel writers is the same: leave home. But without a companion, and never by plane. Theroux prefers trains. He said: “Ever since childhood, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it.”
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