I wrote in 2007:
"Paul Theroux is not a Misanthropist"
A misanthropist is a person who dislikes or distrusts humanity as a general rule
I do not think Paul Theroux is a misanthropist.
If you google "Paul Theroux Misantrophy" you will find man author referring to him as a misanthropist.
Just the other day here in Guatemala a man asked me about my terse writing style, I made a joke.
"Curmudgeon is the word your searching for."
Curmudgeon Defined: An ill-tempered (and frequently old) person full of stubborn ideas or opinions.
My inner thoughts were,
"I am a savvy traveler surrounded by idiots, it takes all my patience to not slap people until they wake up."
(James says to make sure to cup my hand for the best result."
Doug Lansky said,
“The traveler is the one who constantly pushes themselves out of their comfort zone as often as humanly possible.”
A misanthropist, maybe a hermit, people who truly do not like people have dogs to love, and always take the same path. They do not meet new people, they only reunited with known people. They do not like people, they refuse to near any situation where they do not already know the result.
The Atlantic Interviewed Paul Theroux and asked:
TA: Your work has been noted, perhaps unfairly, for its misanthropic view of the world. Yet in a recent NPR interview, you said that the secret to being a successful traveler is, in essence, to be polite. How do you reconcile your misanthropy (if that’s a fair characterization) with your politeness?
PT: I am probably a crank, as most writers are. But far from being a misanthrope, I hold the view that you get through life best by understanding that most people have it much worse than you do—really difficult lives, almost unimaginable hardship. So I grin like a dog and wander aimlessly and am grateful for my life.
I agree, more or less with Paul, you can best understand life by meeting people who have it worst, but that is not a pleasant activity, it is for people who like puzzles.
But, as Doug stated travelers go out of their comfort zone, and I admit, there is a human reaction to not accept or even like the people we are near.
The travelers curse is to be continuously, uninterruptedly, monotonously engaging people who make us uncomfortable. That is because we love people, when you accept others into your world, good or bad, right or wrong, stupid or smart. If you are uncomfortable, then you are a traveling, enjoy the soap opera.
Phil J from has written 119 comments
Your so very correct Andy. Traveling is an exercise in getting outside your comfort zone. And it is by nature uncomfortable. I travel to meet people, see incredibly beautiful scenery that I haven't already seen and to meet new people. And a whole lot of them have lives much worse than mine. I feel their pain and have sympathy for them. But I do not let the pain of travel diminish my desire to see the world. I love travel.
And I am grateful to Andy and people like him who show the world as it is. Unvarnished truth, interesting ironies, and contrasts in life styles makes an interesting story. I read it every morning over coffee. Unless I am at La Parada Coffee house in Panajachel with Andy and James discussing the funnier aspects of life in general and laughing myself hoarse over their continuous stream of funny one liners.
Keep up the good work Andy.