- Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.
- Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.
- 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.
- 'Mustn't grumble' was the most English of expressions. English patience was mingled inertia and despair. What was the use? But Americans did nothing but grumble! Americans also boasted. 'I do some pretty incredible things' was not an English expression. 'I'm fairly keen' was not American. Americans were showoffs-it was part of our innocence-we often fell on our faces; the English seldom showed off, so they seldom looked like fools.
- The Peace Corps is a sort of Howard Johnson's on the main drag into maturity.
- Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.
- 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.
- Animal lovers often tend to be misanthropes or loners, and so they transfer their affection to the creature in their control.
- Assigning human personalities to animals is the chief trait of the pet owner-the doting dog-lover with his baby talk, the smug stay-at-home with a fat lump of fur on her lap who says, 'Me, I'm a cat person,' and the granny who puts her nose against the tin cage and makes kissing noises at her parakeet. Their affection is often tinged with a sense of superiority. Deer and duck hunters never talk this way about their prey, though big game hunters-Hemingway is the classic example-often sentimentalize the creatures they blow to bits and then lovingly stuff to hang on the wall.
- Fogeydom is the last bastion of the bore and reminiscence is its anthem. It is futile to want the old days back, but that doesn't mean one should ignore the lessons of the visitable past.
- Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation, and travel, so broadening at first, contracts the mind.
- The Japanese have perfected good manners and made them indistinguishable from rudeness.
- 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.
- You must not judge people by their country. In South America, it is always wise to judge people by their altitude.
- In many ways connection has been disastrous. We have confused information (of which there has been too much of)with ideas (of which there are too few. I found out much more about the world and myself by being unconnected.
- Even the most distant and exotic place has its parallel in ordinary life.
- You have to find out for yourself. Take the leap. Go as far as you can. Try staying out of touch. Become a stranger in a strange land. Acquire humility. Learn the language. Listen to what people are saying.