Alan's not on a pleasure cruise in A Hologram For the King. Eggers places his character squarely in the middle of the desert so he can do some serious soul-searching about how he got to this impoverished place in his life.
But despite the implied hand-wringing, Alan has moments of discovery—about himself and the world—that are almost transcendent. (And yes, we know how much he would hate us using that word).
He's able to muse on his purpose in the world, the perpetual conflicts between man and machines, and the unnecessary beauty (and harshness) of the natural world. His friendship with Yousef leads him to a remote village, where he faces the brutality of Nature and the sense of his own limited life.
He doesn't figure it all out—not by a long shot. But it's not bad for a business trip, really.
Questions About Exploration
What does Alan hope to achieve by going to Saudi Arabia?
Why does Alan so love the idea of KAEC?
In what ways is the trip with Yousef to his ancestral village a turning point for Alan?
How does Alan's exploration of KAEC and Saudi Arabia impact the way he sees himself and his place in the world?
Chew on This
Although Alan expects his journey to Saudi Arabia to solve his problems, his exploration of that land opens up a whole new can of psychological worms for him.
The Saudi Arabian landscape leads Alan to a whole new understanding of humanity's relationship with Nature.