Exploring Patagonia – By Train And Motorcycle! My “Wednesday Bookmobile” Has Paul Theroux – And Ewan McGregor!

Old Patagonian Express La Trochita, steam train, Chubut Province, Patagonia, Argentina

Who’s Up For A Train Trip Like This?

As always, legendary Travel Writer Paul Theroux was, and the trip was one of his greatest ever. Here’s how they set it up:

“Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Theroux winds up on the poky, wandering Old Patagonian Express steam engine, which comes to a halt in a desolate land of cracked hills and thorn bushes.”

Ready to ride the rails? My “Wednesday Bookmobile” heads back in time to the bottom of the world!

“The Old Patagonian Express” was written in 1979, but I read it last year and it felt so topical, as much of it takes place in a part of the world that is literally frozen in time:

I’ve never been to Patagonia, but this is what it looks like, with Llamas always ready to pose for a photograph, and incredible mountain vistas as well:

Patagonia is literally at the bottom of the world, and that where Writer Paul Theroux headed – his goal to do the entire trip by train!

He started out from his home town in Massachusetts, grabbed a train in Boston and changed in Chicago, and travelled by train across the North American plains to Laredo, Texas. He then crossed the border and grabbed a train south through Mexico to Veracruz where he met a woman looking for her long-lost lover.

Paul Theroux is known for both his fiction and travel writing. His books include The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express.

If you’ve ever read Theroux, you know that he dives deep into an area’s culture and history, with unique perspective on those he meets.

At one point, he was forced to fly to Costa Rica where he was then able to take the train again to Limón and Puntarenas. Theroux then proceeded to Colombia and then over the Andes and finally reached the small town of Esquel in Patagonia – on this vintage train!

It’s a great book – and I was reminded of it because of an ad I saw on Apple+ for a new travel series starring Actor Ewan McGregor that begins…well, you know!

“Long Way Up” documents a motorcycle journey undertaken in 2019 by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, beginning in Patagonia! They ride from Argentina through South and Central America to Los Angeles, capturing the entire trip!

Here is the trailer:

In this time of #Wanderlust, both Theroux’s book and McGregor’s TV show make me realize there is so much of the world still to see…lucky for book fans, Theroux has captured most of it for us!

Theroux has taken trains through the most dangerous parts of Africa, and he has travelled to the top of the world by train as well:

Yes, in this book he went to the “roof of the world!”

Here are some of this greatest books about those journeys, which you can see by clicking on my story here:


Theroux is still writing today – in fact, just last year he released a brilliant memoir of his trip along America’s southern border with Mexico, then down to the southern part of that country as well:

It’s a powerful journey, as he explores the current situation along America’s southern border, digging into the truth behind the political lies…you can read more about this book by clicking on my story here:


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Categories: Art, Books / Media, documentary films, Exotic Travel, Memoirs, nature, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, TV Show

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10 replies

  1. Argentina is stunning! For a train lover (me!) Patagonia would be the trip of a lifetime. Thanks for a terrific post, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’d love both this book and the movie w mcgregor. I love a bit of real adventure

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Some of these people have led very enviable lives. The Charley Boorman series was very popular on TV here.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  4. Paul Theroux is an excellent travel writer and it’s good to see he is still writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember your previous post about this author, John. I bought the audio book called Deep South. It is 23 hours long and I plan to listen to it during my December holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

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