The Most Inspirational Travel Quotes of All Time: Plus an Escape Plan to a Life on The Road

 

I live to explore the inner and outer realms. Here is a collection of some of my favorite travel quotes that Inspire me to get off my butt and discover something new in myself and the world. Hope you enjoy.

Part 1: Inspiration

1. “A wise man travels to discover himself.” – James Russell Lowell

For me this is my main motivation to travel. Traveling has been one of my greatest teachers. The right attitude is key if you are to make some wonderful discoveries of yourself. Have an attitude that is open to the world, welcome it, and let go of your past.

In the beginning not having your usual environment will cause many of your psychological attachments to fall. When they start falling all the time and energy you put into these mental pictures will cause you to feel like you are losing yourself. Be fearless, know deep in your heart that the only thing you can lose is what is false. Whatever is true and intrinsic to your nature can never be lost. When the dust settles you may find yourself in a whole new landscape. You may feel lost, confused, try not to run away from this emptiness, this is your opportunity to encounter yourself for the first time.

 2. “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Learning another language is like installing another operating system in your brain. The only way to really understand a foreign country’s culture and people is by learning their language. It is really fascinating how each language frames how you see and interact with the world. Each language expresses itself in its own unique ways and until you get really intimate with a language, the people you encounter will remain on the periphery. Learning another language also helps you appreciate and understand your native tongue much better.

3. “You have to get lost before you can be found.” – Jeff Rasley

Like I said above, for many of us we will need to lose our usual sense of self to really feel the need to explore the mysteries of our own psyche. A country that forces you out of your comfort zone is a great tool to help you question everything you have ever known. If you don’t question you will never learn to really think for yourself. You will live out a life that was given to you from the outside.

4. “What gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we all have.” – Elizabeth Benedict

Fear of the unknown is what keeps people where they are. Once we settle into our routines, we take great comfort in the apparent ‘certainty’ that it brings. Even if that comes at the expense of our lives becoming extremely dull and monotonous. But what you have to realize is that ‘certainty’ is only an illusion, life by its very nature is uncertain. Each moment is new and anything can happen. When you learn to embrace the uncertainty of life, your deepest fears will start to lose their grip on you. In the absence of fear, you can learn to pay attention to your inner wisdom, you can follow your hearts desires. Your intuition will help guide you each step of the way.

5. “Traveling outgrows its motives. It soon proves sufficient in itself. You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you – or unmaking you.” – Nicolas Bouvier

Yes, in the beginning you may just be seeking excitement and adventure, that’s perfectly fine. But you will be doing yourself a huge disservice if you leave it at that. Use travel as a springboard to a new way of thinking, a new way of living. Let it help you discover your life’s work.

6. “Move to a new country and you quickly see that visiting a place as a tourist, and actually moving there for good, are two very different things.” – Tahir Shah

I always try to encourage those close to me to opt out on a touristy vacation and really immerse themselves in a new country. One shows you a glimpse of another world and the other totally changes you and helps you understand yourself and the word with a greater all encompassing vision.

7. “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” – Anthony Bourdain

The feeling I hate the most is that of stagnation. This life is all about moving. While your alive, take action, it’s what we’re here for. In movement you learn, in stagnation you cease to grow and degenerate. Movement keeps you young in both body and mind. Let’s keep it moving.

8. “It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.” – Danzy Senna

For me home is where the heart it is. I had the similar experience that home no longer feels like any particular geographical location. I am comfortable in my own skin, so wherever I go I am at home. I am a citizen of the world.

9. “Travel brings wisdom only to the wise. It renders the ignorant more ignorant than ever.” – Joe Abercrombie

You attract what you “are”. If you are generally a grumpy and mean person, you’re going to be a grumpy and mean person anywhere in the world. Get clear on the reasons why you want to travel, make sure it’s coming from a meaningful place.

10. “Personally I like going places where I don’t speak the language, don’t know anybody, don’t know my way around and don’t have any delusions that I’m in control. Disoriented, even frightened, I feel alive, awake in ways I never am at home.” – Michael Mewshaw

Having been in this situation many times, I can easily say that one day looking back these moments will be some of my fondest memories. Not having your usual comforts from home you are forced to be alert and awake. Being stripped of your name, your usual identity, you are free to create.

11. “I didn’t know that the world could be so mind-blowingly beautiful.” – Justina Chen Headley

Being temporarily free of your normal conditioning’s, you see the world with clearer eyes. You will have many moments where you really wonder why you never noticed certain things about the world. You see the beautiful simplicity of the world around you. If you know how to look beauty is everywhere. Your most beautiful realizations will be found in the subtle and hidden.

12. “It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancolies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling.” – Gustave Flaubert

This can give one the right attitude of learning to let go and just  live the moment fully for its own sake. Such is the nature of life. If we could stop clinging to the past and be born anew to each moment then life would be a constant adventure.

13. “My dream is to walk around the world. A smallish backpack, all essentials neatly in place. A camera. A notebook. A traveling paint set. A hat. Good shoes. A nice pleated (green?) skirt for the occasional seaside hotel afternoon dance.” – Maira Kalman

When you travel for an extended amount of time, you may realize how little you actually need to live. Most of my belongings are still all packed up in my parents basement since I graduated. All I need is a suitcase of clothes and my laptop. I occasionally miss driving my car, but for the most part I love not having to deal with it.

14. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

One of greatest discoveries you can make, Is learning to see the world with eyes of wonder. These are eyes free of the past, innocent, pure. You need to discover and transcend the invisible veal that colors and distorts your view of the world as it is. As you learn about yourself at a deep level you will see that as you change the way you see the world will accordingly change.

15. “to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

When I got my initial glimpses of what traveling did for my personal growth, I knew I needed to make it a major part of my life. When I graduated from University it caused much turmoil among my family as I chose to live an unconventional life. I knew I had to do what my heart told me was right for me no matter the cost.

16. “To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen

Traveling helps you take a break from your usual way of life and reminds you of the simplicity of what living actually means. It can remind us how we have unnecessarily complicated our lives in favor of things that don’t really fulfill us.

17. “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”? Mary Anne Radmacher

One of my most beautiful memories was on the remote beaches of Tortuguero, Costa Rica, where I was reminded of our planets magnificent beauty and our miraculous existence. It was late at night and I was all alone, no city lights anywhere in sight. As the waves where crashing on the shore I saw a huge leather back turtle make its way back into the sea, and slowly disappearing into the water as the moon illumined the whole oceans surface. It was so beautiful it hurt. The sky was also a sky I had never seen before. There where so many visible stars and I felt a sense of beauty well up within me that I could not contain. I felt such an intimate connection with the universe. My body’s boundary’s dissolved and my inner space became externalized. Oneness was all I could see and feel.

18. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

It’s crazy how living in our own self created bubble we lose sight of our place in the World. We can become incredibly selfish. It’s important to realize that in the grand scheme of things we are quite insignificant. If our planet disappeared the Universe wouldn’t even blink. Traveling helps you see the scale of things, and helps you see how far down you are. Your problems may seem quite trivial and petty after you understand your place in the universe.

19. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

It’s not a coincidence that some of the kindest and most open minded people I have met have all been well traveled. People who tend to stay in one spot all their lives limit their understanding of life in so many ways without even realizing it.

20. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

The world has so much to offer and for me one page ain’t going to cut it. When it’s all said and done I want my life to be a “Lord of The Rings” trilogy.

21. “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

Seeing how other people live in other parts of the world, especially when their situations are much more different than yours can be quite a sobering experience. We all live in our own private worlds and we imagine things to be this way or that. Seeing the actual reality of things can help you destroy some of your illusions and really push you into inquiring why you are the way you are.

 22. “Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty-his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley

When you no longer run away from boredom, you have arrived, you are completely at ease with yourself. Running away from boredom means your afraid of encountering your true self, your inner emptiness. Life on the road is not always full of excitement, when boredom comes, welcome it. If you really allow it to penetrate you without running away with any type of entertainment you will make the most amazing discoveries.

 23. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

Being constantly off balance may force you to look within where eventually you will find a place inside you that cannot be shaken by any outside circumstances. This place is lovely.

 24. “A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

Observation is the key to understanding yourself and the world. To really observe you must be alert and innerly sensitive.

25. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

26. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Every moment is new, it is us who makes it old. Traveling can help you see that in time many of us end up taking our very own existence for granted. In traveling (life) the greatest thing you can do is learn to be present to your own presence.

27. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

The only way to grow is by leaving the old in favor of the new.

28. “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

 29. “Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe” – Anatole France

When I lived in the Czech Republic everyday I would spend countless hours wandering and contemplating life’s mysteries along the magnificent cobble stone streets of Prague. In those quiet walks I was living in a blissful timeless dimension. I had so many amazing insights.

30. “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

 31. “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

 32. “I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith

To me the journey within is the only thing that matters and is what will make your experience in the outer world even more enjoyable.

33. “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

Here in Korea, one of the things that really bugs me is seeing many of our US Service men thinking that the world revolves around them. I have seen countless times people at restaurants expecting its workers to know English and then getting frustrated and even tease them for not understanding. When you go to another country you need to adapt and learn as much as you can.

 Part 2: Escape Plan

Well there you have it, at this point many of you will probably be imagining how great it would be to start an adventure of your own. If you have never lived abroad or traveled extensively before, it can be quite an intimidating endeavor. In my six plus years living abroad dozens of people have told me they would visit me. Many of my family and friends where all ecstatic and supportive and said they wished they where joining me on my adventures. And in all this time only two of my best friends actually came out to visit me.

I think most people only entertain the thoughts of a traveling adventure in their mind, but for many this is as far as they get. When I asked them why they haven’t visited, many just beat around the bush and say, “you know how it is…….life just happened, I don’t have the time, money, etc.”

The reality is most people just give excuses, of course they know it will be an amazing time, but in the end I have a strong suspicion that the fear of the unknown is what keeps them in their usual way of life.

First of all, if you know how to do it, money is not a really good excuse because there are many ways to hack your way to cheap travel. There’s ways to get cheap air fair and even free accommodation all around the world.

Don’t have time? Time is all we have, if you make a plan you can definitely work out a time table for your adventure.

For many of my close family members I think if they caught a glimpse of what traveling is really about, would wonder why they waited for so long to come alive and experience the natural high that you get from a journey off the beaten path.

I will admit, it’s not all fun and games, traveling can be a lot of work and possibly dangerous. Questions like, how will I find a place to live?, how will I make friends?, how will I communicate?, what if I get sick?, how will I make money?

All these questions are valid and may ultimately deter people from making an attempt to travel for an extended amount of time.

If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, today I want to share my online friends guide to world travel. Recently I reviewed Mark Manson’s Escape Plan, which could be ideal for someone who has never traveled for an extended amount of time.

What I like about the guide is that it is concise, well written, and takes all the guess work out of the nuts and bolts of traveling and living abroad. After I read it I actually thought, “now why didn’t I write this?”. All these years I have acquired  knowledge which I didn’t think much of. Mark made me realize just how much I have learned over the years about traveling.

Everything In the guide I can relate to and many of the ways he advocates to get abroad I have tried. I have volunteered, studied, back packed, freelanced, was self employed, and have taught while living abroad.

This guide will provide valuable advice for a broad range of people. I really don’t see how anyone would not benefit by at-least some of his advice.

The guide covers:

  • Chapter 1: Priorities
    - Considering What You Own
    - The Golden Rule
  • Chapter 2: Nuts and Bolts of World Travel
    - Passports and Visas
    - Insurance
    - Cell Phones
    - Bank Accounts and Currencies
    - International Calls and Mail
    - Electricity/Adapters
    - Prescriptions, Vaccinations, and Medications
    - When Things Go Wrong
  • Chapter 3: How to Fly for Cheap (Or Free)
    - Gaming the System
    - Racking Up Points
    - Round-The-World (RTW) Tickets
    - Buses and Trains
    - Beating Jetlag
  • Chapter 4: Accommodations
    - Finding an Apartment
    - Hotels
    - Hostels
    - The Guide to Couchsurfing
  • Chapter 5: Your Escape Plan
    - Vacations, Gap Years and Sabbaticals
    - Study Abroad
    - Volunteering and Teaching
    - Work Abroad
    - Working Remotely and Passive Income
    - How Much Money Do I Need?
  • Chapter 6: Regional Guides
    - North America
    - Western Europe
    - Eastern Europe
    - Latin America
    - Asia
    - Australia and New Zealand
    - Middle East and Africa
  • Chapter 7: Learning Languages Quickly
    - How Hard? How Useful?
    - Tips for Language Learning
    - Additional Resources
  • Chapter 8: Making Friends and Avoiding Enemies
    - What is Friendship?
    - How to Make Friends
    - Safety Concerns
    - Hagglers and Scammers
  • Chapter 9: Personal Growth Through Travel
    - The Altitude Effect
    - Homesickness and Relationships
    - Perspective and Humility
    - Chasing After the Rush

If you have had travel on your mind, but didn’t know where to start Mark’s guide will be your fast track to your next adventure. Happy travels.

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5 Responses to The Most Inspirational Travel Quotes of All Time: Plus an Escape Plan to a Life on The Road

  1. Ivan I always enjoy your writings and you know that because I have told you many times. In this particular post there is so much truth. Not only does this speak to those that are afraid to travel as you do, it also speaks to those who have fear of their day to day lfe.

    So many people hold themselves back from ever acheiving the basic happiness in life they could experience if they would just step into the unknown and trust themselves.

    We are afraid of the what might happen and never embrace the beauty and greatness that God has intended for us to live.

    Awesome Job my friend.

  2. I have never come across a travel article to which I could relate so much! Not only that the quotes are stunning and ring so true to myself, but your words also describe my experiences perfectly! Simply amazing! It is true, travel to discover myself and to taste that lovely, endless freedom it brings… Looking outwards helps me look inwards, paradoxically. Thank you for having shared this!

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