Why We Travel By Paul Theroux – Example of Article Review

Why We Travel By Paul Theroux: Prejudices and Traveling

Paul Theroux in Why We Travel explains why humans travel to various places, ranging from developing countries to dangerous locations. Paul Theroux supplies readers with enriching encounters of visiting places with complex political histories and with deep and current discords. Theroux claims we travel to either find ourselves or lose ourselves, and through travel experiences, we open up our consciousnesses (Theroux, 1996).

Theroux opined about the great pleasure of changing air, and a possibility of transformation. The reasons why people travel vary on different people’s perspectives. Some may travel due to being banished from a place and they need to move on. Theroux gives us an example of a noble Roman General who loves to speak his mind (Theroux, 2006). The Roman general gets banned from Rome claiming there is a world beyond Rome. This story motivated Theroux to start traveling, working as a lecturer at a local university that did not approve of him. He left his job – his three year contract was never renewed.

The excitement of waking up early and getting into his car to start on another one of his expeditions is what kept Theroux exhilarated. His wrote much about the dangerous places he had been and how no real harm came to him. These accounts could be interpreted by some individuals as bragging. Yet studying such information can shift a reader’s mind and therefore be enlightening (Theroux, 2011). The joy of simply traveling is aptly displayed. For example, taking Spanish language lessons in Mexico while on one of his travels, or cooking classes in Italy brought him immense satisfaction.

The maxim, “Never take the same road twice” is juxtaposed by Theroux, claiming that he gains a particular thrill in revisiting select locations. As an example, he is nostalgic about Vietnam, as he claims it one of the most peaceful places in the world (Weich, & Powells 2000).

Theroux insists on eliminating the fear as a barrier to travel. He advises that one should not be afraid to visit or even have vacations in tyrannical countries. These places of conflict create such an awe-inspiring experience, as shocking as it may seem at first. The reality of being a bystander in a sudden social or political change can be frightening. But then again, the enrichment an individual gets from such experience is gained maybe once in a lifetime and is unforgettable (The National Paragraphic. 1985, April 22). Theroux’s destinations are not based on places that are out of fashion. His thrill is in visiting places that are associated with people being engulfed in fear or being announced in the news for tourists to avoid.


The National Paragraphic. (1985, April 22). New York magazine, 18 (16), 144.

Theroux, P. (1996). The Pillars of Hercules: A grand tour of the Mediterranean. New York: Fawcett Books.

Theroux, P. (2006). The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Theroux, P. (2011). The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Weich, D., & Powells.com. (2000). The Powells.com Interviews: 22 Authors and Artists Talk about their Books. Lincoln, NE: IUniverse.com, Inc.