You define a good flight by negatives: you didn't get hijacked, you didn't crash, you didn't throw up, you weren't late, you weren't nauseated by the food. So you are grateful.
Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going.
Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.
I have always disliked being a man. The whole idea of manhood in America is pitiful, in my opinion. This version of masculinity is a little like having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one's entire life (by contrast, I imagine femininity to be an oppressive sense of nakedness).
Friendship is also about liking a person for their failings, their weakness. It's also about mutual help, not about exploitation.
When I started writing, I did have some idealised notion of my dad as a writer. But I have less and less of a literary rivalry with him as I've gone on. I certainly don't feel I need his approval, although maybe that's because I'm confident that I've got it.
The amount of hassle involved in travel can be overwhelming.
The people of Hong Kong are criticized for only being interested in business, but it's the only thing they've been allowed to do.
Mark Twain was a great traveler and he wrote three or four great travel books. I wouldn't say that I'm a travel novelist but rather a novelist who travels - and who uses travel as a background for finding stories of places.
When I began to make some money, I really wanted to have a home.
The Peace Corps is a sort of Howard Johnson's on the main drag into maturity.
It's only when you're alone that you realize where you are. You have nothing to fall back on except your own resources.
The moment that changed me for ever was the moment my first child was born. I was happy, filled with hope, and thought, 'Now I understand the whole point of work, of life, of love.'
A travel book is about someone who goes somewhere, travels on the ground, sees something and spends quite a lot of time doing it, and has a hard time, and then comes back and writes about it. It's not about inventing.
If you're a misanthrope you stay at home. There are certain writers who really don't like other people. I'm not like that, I don't think.
When I was in the Peace Corps I never made a phone call. I was in Central Africa I didn't make a phone call for two years. I was in Uganda for another four years and I didn't make a phone call. So for six years I didn't make a phone call, but I wrote letters, I wrote short stories, I wrote books.
Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation, and travel, so broadening at first, contracts the mind.
You define a good flight by negatives: you didn't get hijacked, you didn't crash, you didn't throw up, you weren't late, you weren't nauseated by the food. So you're grateful.
The realization that he is white in a black country, and respected for it, is the turning point in the expatriate's career. He can either forget it, or capitalize on it. Most choose the latter.
Death is an endless night so awful to contemplate that it can make us love life and value it with such passion that it may be the ultimate cause of all joy and all art.
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