Since the beginning of human civilization, great authors and speakers have pondered the joys, struggles, and meaning of travel. Today, their words remain as tiny jolts of illumination, inspiring people with wanderlust to get out of the house and into the world. Whether you’re dreaming of vacation rentals close to home or adventures in far-off lands, these quotes can provide the motivation you need to embark on your journey.

Classic Quotes

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“Not all those who wander are lost.”— J.R.R. Tolkien

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by.”— Robert Frost

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

On Searching

mountains
Source: Flickr/Tony

“All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper just running down the edges of different countries and continents, looking for something.” — Elizabeth Bishop

“For me, a place unvisited is like an unrequited love. A dull ache that – try as you might to think it away, to convince yourself that she really wasn’t the right country for you – just won’t leave you in peace.” — Eric Weiner

Beautiful Discomfort of Travel

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“It’s hard to go. It’s scary and lonely…and half the time you’ll be wondering why the hell you’re in Cincinnati or Austin or North Dakota or Mongolia or wherever your melodious little finger-plucking heinie takes you. There will be boondoggles and discombobulated days, freaked-out nights and metaphorical flat tires. But it will be soul-smashingly beautiful… It will open up your life.” — Cheryl Strayed

The Joy of New Places

birmingham city streets
Source: Flickr/Chris Hoare

“There’s something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.” — Charlotte Eriksson

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure. You have no idea of what is in store for you, but you will, if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it.” — Freya Stark

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The Time to Go is Now

vermillion cliffs
Source: Flickr/Bureau of Land Management

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”— Anthony Bourdain

“Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realize how important it is to use the time I have.” — Viggo Mortensen

Ancient Travel Wisdom

Elgin Cathedral
Source: Flickr/John Loach

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” — Confucius

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

Travel Changes You

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“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

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

On Being a Nomad

death valley
Source: Flickr/Scott Taylor

“To belong nowhere is a blessing and a curse, like any kind of freedom.”— Leah Stewart

“A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places.” — Isabelle Eberhardt

On Wanderlust

argentina mountains
Source: Flickr/BentheCM

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”— Leonardo da Vinci

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”— John Muir

Traveler vs. Tourist

Kaiping Diaolou towers
Source: Flickr/Kevin Poh

“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”— Gilbert K. Chesterton

“The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes ‘sight-seeing’.” — Daniel J. Boorstin

It’s All About the Journey

Source: Pixabay/FrankWinkler

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” — Lao Tzu

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” — John Steinbeck

Choosing Travel Buddies

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Source: Flickr/Hamza Butt

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” — Ernest Hemingway

Finding the Exotic in the Everyday

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“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

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” — Freya Stark

Misattributed Quotes

Amboy Crater landmark
Source: Flickr/Bureau of Land Management California

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —  H. Jackson Brown Jr. (frequently misattributed to Mark Twain)

“It is better to travel well than to arrive” is often misattributed to Buddha. The actual quote reads:

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

 
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