There is a quote about travel attributed to the writer Paul Theroux:

Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.

This quote is used by a lot of writers on the Internet, but there is no citation information.

According to Wikiquote this quote is from an interview with Theroux in the British newspaper the Observer (London, October 7, 1979).

I've tried finding this interview by doing research at the library but with no luck.

Can this quote/interview be found in any published collections of Theroux's work?

1 Answer 1


Searching the Observer archives for 7th October 1979 shows that it wasn’t an interview, but just a quote in the quotations column:

Scanned fragment from the Observer: "TRAVEL is glamorous only in retrospect.—Mr Paul Theroux"

However, Google Search easily finds the original interview, "Paul Theroux, Restless Writer Of the Rails" by Paul Hendrickson, in the Washington Post, 20th September 1979:

Now that he thinks about it—he has finished breakfast and is sitting erect; his tinted glasses bounce yellow light—what does travel have to do with fun anyway? Fun isn’t the point. The point is discovery. Discovery has its own rewards. “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect,” he says, a little resignedly.

I updated Wikiquote so that it has the original source.

  • Since it was just the quote and not an article I now understand why I didn’t have any luck finding the source article for “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect” in the Observer. I’ve Googled for this quote before, but did not find the Washington Post article. I wonder if this is a relatively new thing where the Post is putting their old content online?
    – Scribbler
    Aug 3, 2018 at 15:03

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