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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

The Tao of Travel

I have struggled with separating myself from Paul Theroux. As much as I can’t stand the arrogant tone in his writing, I can’t help but buy another book of his when I see it on the shelf – in this case, his newest work, The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road. And, quite to my surprise, I’m for once not regretting that decision as I have with most of his other books.
The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux is just that, Theroux’s view on the way of travel. There is no doubt his ego is strong enough to offer the belief that he is the one qualified person on the planet to write a book about how traveling should be done. Certainly he has had more than his fair share of adventures, thus qualifying him as one of the few who has the background to do such a project. But, I find it difficult to stomach the thought that any one person can truly write such a book. In this case, though, Theroux didn’t do it singlehandedly – he had the help of a great many authors, having chose excerpts from dozens of travelers and writers, past and present, about their experiences while abroad.
Theroux’s ego aside, since it is a complaint of mine for any of his books, I only have one true issue about The Tao of Travel: he did not include Bill Bryson in the book. There are a great many quotes and anecdotes from a slew of worthy authors – Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Joshua Slocum, and Ernest Hemingway, for example – but, for whatever reason, Paul Theroux omitted who I believe is the best travel author of our day – Bill Bryson.
When it comes down to it, though, this omission is a small thing; The Tao of Travel is a fantastic book and a significant accomplishment on Paul Theroux’s part. Without a doubt, a lot of effort was put into not just the parts Theroux wrote, but also the imense amount of research that was necessary in order to compile so many quotations, excerpts, and other random information. It truly is a book worthy of a place in anyone’s rucksack while on the road, keeping it handy for the occasional reference.
Disregarding a few issues with editing, The Tao of Travel can easily rate as one of the best travel books I have ever purchased. By no means do I believe it to be the complete way, as the title would suggest, but it is certainly a good base from which to begin some serious adventuring. As such, I recommend this lovely leather-bound book to anyone looking to get out and explore the world past their front step.

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