Anyone who knows me knows that I am just a little bit obsessed with world travel. Independent travel and backpacking in particular. In fact it really doesn’t take all that much to get me eager and excited about my next adventure, but despite this incurable addiction to wandering the globe there are still some inspirational quotes in the literary world that still inspire me and never fail to stir that sense of unbridled wanderlust. In no particular order here are just some of my favourites.
This quote completely encapsulates the advice that I give to everyone who is dreaming of taking a gap year or backpacking trip. Just go. Take that step. All the doubts, fears and insecurities you have running through your mind before you go will simply disappear once you do. I can help you with all the practical advice and logistical information you need, but you are the one who has to take that first step yourself. You can’t reach that mountain summit without stepping over that first rock! The world is infinitely huge and wonderful, and just full of amazing things for you to discover for yourself. So if you are dreaming of world travel, go take that single step to the most amazing journey of your life!
This is my all time favourite quote, I absolutely love it and it is a personal mantra that I always try to live my life by. I am a nurse by vocation and I have seen far too many lives cut tragically short and far too many people reach the end – literally – and look back on their lives with regret on all the things they had not done for this quote not to ring true. Life really is very short and very fragile and you should make every single day as meaningful as possible and not put off your dreams until some nonexistent time in the future. One thing is for sure, I am not going to reach the end of my life and look back and say ‘I wish I’d travelled more’. When my life finally flashes in front of me, it’s sure as hell going to be worth watching!
There have been a few variations of this quote over the years, this is just one that I happen to like on an aesthetic level, but it is the sentiment behind it that I absolutely agree with! We only have a limited time on this Earth, a limited number of days, and that number just keeps shrinking all of the time. But it isn’t how much time we have, it really is how we use that time that is important, what we devote our time to that makes the difference between a life worth living or one that is simply mediocre. Ask yourself when you look back over the last few years have you really filled that time with as much life as you can grab hold of? Have you filled that time with experiences that will shape you, define you and change your outlook on life forever? Have you taken the risks? Done the things that scared you and pushed the boundaries of your own existence? Life is not meant to be lived meekly, it is not meant to be lived by playing it safe and staying in your tiny little comfort zone. Life is meant for living, and that means throwing yourself headlong into it!
Fill your time trying to follow your dreams, whatever they are. If those dreams involve travelling the world and seeing all the amazing and wonderful things this planet has to offer then get of your backside and grab life by the proverbials! Take that risk, buy that plane ticket, push your limits and climb that mountain. Or you can stay at home and vegetate in front of the TV. Again.
This is something that really resonates me more and more the longer I travel. I have been backpacking for over a decade now and in that time I have learned to travel increasingly slowly, to enjoy the place I am in and explore it more thoroughly. One thing I have learned is that no matter where you go, no matter the amazing destinations and tourist attractions that you specifically travel to see, you always find something unexpected. It could be a hidden island you didn’t know about, a town or city you hadn’t planned on visiting or even a whole new experience that you had never thought of before. That is why I always advocate not packing an itinerary too tightly, to leave a lot of room for flexibility so that you can explore those new opportunities, visit those new islands or attractions, stay a little longer in a place you fall in love with. You never know what surprises world travel has in store for you.
I first heard this quote many years after I started my first backpacking trip but it completely encapsulates exactly how I felt on that day I set off for the first time. That undeniable feeling of absolute freedom, like the whole weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. The world was my oyster and it was up to me to choose who I wanted to be in that world. I took that step to take charge of my own life. I felt that I had broken the chains that society had weighed me down with, broken free of all the societal norms and pressures, and from that point forward I could be who I wanted to be. I didn’t want to settle down and get a mortgage and live the same boring life that everyone around me was complaining about. I wanted to travel, to live my life the way I wanted to despite all the social pressure to conform. Backpacking for the first time gave me all that. Independent travel showed me that I make up the rules that govern my life, no one else. I choose to live my life the way I want to live it. I choose the path my life follows.
And I am a hell of a lot better off because of it!
What about you? Do you like these literary quotes? Do they inspire you to travel? Or do you have a particular favourite of your own that isn’t on this list? Leave a comment below and let me know.