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.
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 people of Hong Kong are criticized for only being interested in business but it’s the only thing they’ve been allowed to do.
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.’
It’s only when you’re alone that you realize where you are. You have nothing to fall back on except your own resources.
Friendship is also about liking a person for their failings their weakness. It’s also about mutual help not about exploitation.
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.
The Peace Corps is a sort of Howard Johnson’s on the main drag into maturity.
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.
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 began to make some money I really wanted to have a home.
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.
Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation and travel so broadening at first contracts the mind.
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.
The amount of hassle involved in travel can be overwhelming.
Tourists don’t know where they’ve been travelers don’t know where they’re going.
Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.
Travel works best when you’re forced to come to terms with the place you’re in.