Paul Theroux on the importance of traveling by road


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“Flying from one capital city to another is not travel to me. Travel, especially in Africa, must be overland and must involve the crossing of borders — negotiating on land, usually on foot, the national frontier. That experience teaches a great deal about the state of the country. Of course, it’s sometimes dangerous and always time-consuming. Anyone who has traveled in Africa and not crossed a national frontier has truly missed the necessary misery and splendor of the journey. Crossing an African frontier alone suggests why any sort of development is so difficult. I do not recommend this to the faint of heart — even traveling by road from South Africa to Mozambique is no picnic; but from Ethiopia to Kenya, Kenya to Uganda, Tanzania to Malawi, and Malawi into Mozambique (customs post under a mango tree on the Shire River) you learn a great deal.”
–Paul Theroux, Peace Corps Writers interview, March 2003

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