Why Should You Travel – Quotes to Inspire

Exploring the world one village at a time

Travelling the world seems to be the latest craze going around. So many people out there tell us we should go, but why? What is so good about it? Why should you bother? Why not just stay at home where it’s comfortable? Why take the risk and spend the money? Well, take it from someone who has literally spent her whole life travelling… there is nothing like it. There are no words to describe the beauty, the exhilaration and wonder of experiencing a new place, being exposed to new languages and cultures and people, to open your mind to new ways of thinking and living. No, there are no words to describe… but people have tried. I’ve compiled a list of inspirational quotes to help you open up your heart to the idea and maybe begin to dream and even plan a journey to somewhere new.

Why do I travel?

African border crossing by canoe

My father was Australian, my mother is Dutch and I was born in England and had literally lived in five countries already by the time I was ten years old (not to mention all the countries I had visited by then). I was born travelling, live a life of travel, and will continue to travel until my time in this world is done. Because of my unique childhood, I caught the travel bug and it is incurable. There is nothing so magical as seeing somewhere new that your eyes have never laid eyes on before; of walking down a busy marketplace hearing vendors call out in strange, exotic languages you cannot understand for the life of you; of meeting new people and learning about their very different cultural practices; of tasting new foods with a fifty-fifty chance of either moaning with delight or cringing and hoping you don’t vomit it back up; of hurrying through a bustling airport to catch a plane to a new destination; of waiting at a border customs hut in the middle of nowhere, Africa, waiting with bated breath to see if the customs officer will stamp your passport or not. Why live a life of comfort and stale familiarity when you can live a life of courage and chaos and endless, magical beauty? I will never be free of the travel bug and nor do I want to. And I will try my hardest to encourage as many people as I can to catch the bug – to take a step out the front door and see where the path before your feet will take you. Hopefully, my travel bug is contagious. Hopefully, you will catch it too.

Why should you travel?

Boat trip up the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls

So why go? Why bother with all this travel nonsense? You’re too busy for that. You have a job, children to look after, a nice home. What is the big deal anyway? When we remain in our own neighbourhood, influenced only by our own culture, surrounded only by familiar people and language, we run the risk of remaining closed off to the beauties, wisdom and insights of the many, many cultures and people of the world. It is easier to become hardened to the plights of others, harder to find compassion and understanding for our fellow humans around the world, and easier to become isolated and elitist… “My way is the only right way.” And of course, we miss out on being touched and inspired by the many wonders of this world we live in. When we allow others to enter into our lives, suddenly a whole new experience of life erupts into our hearts and touches us in ways that can change us forever. We are suddenly interacting with our fellow humans, teaching them and learning from them, sharing our experiences and rubbing off on each other. We lose our fear of the unknown. We shake off the bigotry and superiority and allow the world to touch us. We are no longer afraid of someone because they don’t think the way we do. We find joy in smaller things and shake off the stress of daily life. We breathe in life and can be forever changed. I would never discourage anyone from travelling for those reasons. The world, although it is getting smaller and smaller through technology and travel is also becoming more and more distant through the same technology: social media and smartphones that keep people looking down and in instead of up and out. So lay down your life and take that risk. You won’t regret it. And if you don’t believe me, here are some quotes to hopefully get you going. You will make memories that are richer than your most expensive belonging.

Travel quotes to inspire you on your journey

Flying over Pemba, Mozambique

“A ship in harbour is safe – but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” – Erol Ozan

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

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.” – Jo Watson

“The border means more than a customs house, a passport officer, a man with a gun. Over there everything is going to be different; life is never going to be quite the same again after your passport has been stamped.” – Graham Greene

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

Experiencing life in Africa

“The lust for comfort murders the passions of the soul.” – Khalil Gibran

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things 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.” – Unknown

“I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.” – John Green

“He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” – Dutch Proverb

“I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.” – Roman Payne

“…there ain’t no journey what don’t change you some.” – David Mitchell

“Now more than ever do I realise that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” – Isabelle Eberhardt

Maringanha Beach, Pemba Mozambique

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” – Anita Desai

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevensen

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float

To gain all while you give

To roam the roads of lands remote

To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Anderson

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” – Carl Sagan

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.” – Babs Hoffman

Landcruiser tackling potholes in Central Mozambique

“The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton

“Don’t listen to what they say, Go see.” – Chinese proverb

“Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” – Unknown

“Without new experiences something within us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert

“Everything I was I carry with me, everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.” – Ma Jian

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevensen

“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” – Paul Coelho

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

Magical quotes from J.R.R. Tolkien

Dhows on the Indian Ocean, Mozambique

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

“Home is behind, the world ahead,

and there are many paths to tread

through shadows to the edge of night,

until the stars are all alight.”

“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Travel quotes to challenge by Mark Twain

Meeting the Makonde Tribe, Northern Mozambique

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

“There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage.”

“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.”

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”

Song quotes to get your toes tapping

Four wheel driving in Tanzania

“Gonna travel, gonna travel wild and free; I’m gonna pack my bags because this great big world is calling me.” – Elvis Presley, Harem Holiday

“I’m leaving on a jet plane; Don’t know when I’ll be back again.” – John Denver, Leaving on a Jet Plane

“I wanna run, I want to hide

I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside

I want to reach out and touch the flame

Where the streets have no name.”

– U2, Where the Streets Have No Name

“Done laid around, done stayed around; This old town too long; And it seems like I’ve got to travel on.” – Bob Dylan, Gotta travel on

Quotes to get you dreaming of Africa

Elephant wanders the road at Kruger National Park

“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Africa has her mysteries, and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them.” – Miriam Makeba

“To get lost is to learn the way.” – African proverb

“I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same.” – Suzanne Evans

“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe the magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths?” – Brian Jackman

“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.” – Richard Mullin

“You cannot leave Africa,” Africa said, “It is always with you, there inside your head. Our rivers run in currents in the swirl of your thumbprints; Our drumbeats counting out your pulse; Our coastline, the silhouette of your soul.” – Bridge Dore

Your turn

Sailing the dhow in Mozambique

After so many inspiring words to encourage you, what are you waiting for? I have been writing this post, sitting outside under the vast African skies, sipping on a glass of wine as the strength of Africa’s sun embraces me, and I’m inspired to get back on the dusty road and explore new places. Now it’s your turn. All you need to do is take that first step out of your front door and see what happens. It’s your choice. The world awaits.

3 thoughts on “Why Should You Travel – Quotes to Inspire”

    1. Your expression is marvellous, Ros – so inspiring. How wonderful to read your blog just as I’m anoit to undertake my first Big Adventure. I have bought a house in Aude, France, and I’m going to move when my youngest has finished school (4 years). Then I will use it as a base to explore. Not quite as dramatic as your adventures, but definitely a start. Your stories have helped quell the niggling worries like, “Am I doing the right thing?” and “Am I being selfish by taking off like this?”
      Thank you 😊

      1. That’s so awesome! I’m so excited for you… and really happy I could have helped a little 🙂 Go and live the dream – it’s going to be wild!

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