If you’re stumbling across this page via a search engine or direct link, you may have missed my previous article about how many of the most famous and well-loved travel quotes were actually never uttered or penned by their supposed authors. You’ll find thousands of lists on the internet of the best and most inspiration travel quotes, and while some of the quotes are real, it’s mostly the same quotes repeated over and over. With so many amazing books about travel out there, it’s time to add a few quotes into the mix that haven’t gotten the press they deserve. A great travel quote can be that little morsel of inspiration that we need to get through the rest of the work-day. It can ignite the wanderlust lingering in all of us and be that little push we need to finally make travel plans!
In my search for authentic travel quotes that we can be sure a real author actually wrote, I resorted to the time-honored tradition of simply reading as many travel books as I could get my hands on. These are some of the best real travel quotes, attributed to the authors who really wrote them, and the books they wrote them in! Reading is nearly as grand a journey as travel itself — if you find these quotes inspirational, you’ll find the books they’re from to be a gold mine of travel inspiration!
Do you have a favorite travel quote that you don’t see listed here? Share it in the comments below and we’ll consider adding it to the list!
“I followed my wanderlust. It bruised me sometimes, and took me to all kinds of highs. Now that my thirst is slaked, I get to start anew.” — Elisabeth Eaves in Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents
“The country of the tourist pamphlet always is another country, an embarassing abstraction of the desirable that, thank God, does not exist on this planet, where there are always ants and bad smells and empty Coca-Cola bottles to keep the grubby finger-print of reality upon the beautiful.” — Nadine Gordimer in A World of Strangers
“Travelers learn not just foreign customs and curious cuisines and unfamiliar beliefs and novel forms of government. They learn, if they are lucky, humility.” — Paul Fussell in The Norton Book of Travel
“On Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends we travel for miles on these roads without seeing another vehicle, then cross a federal highway and look at cars strung bumper to bumper to the horizon. Scowling faces inside. Kids crying in the back seat. I keep wishing there were some way to tell them something but they scowl and appear to be in a hurry, and there isn’t…” — Robert M. Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
Travel challenges truths that we were raised thinking were self-evident and God-given. Leaving home, we learn other people find different truths to be self-evident. We realize that it just makes sense to give everyone a little wiggle room.” — Rick Steves in Travel as a Political Act
“I returned home changed by my experience. The acute euphoria of my trip faded, but my sense of self lingered and went deep. And so I began to travel, not for work, but for travel’s sake.” — Andrew McCarthy in The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down
“Later, I’ll look back and recognize this rush of excitement as my first glimpse of what exactly it means to travel alone in a faraway land: I can go anywhere. I can do anything. And the all-important: I can be anyone.” — Rachel Friedman in The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure
Of course I should love to throw a toothbrush into a bag, and just go, quite vaguely, without any plans or even a real destination. It is the Wanderlust. — Vita Sackville-West in Letters
“The wish to disappear sends many travelers away. If you are thoroughly sick of being kept waiting at home or at work, travel is perfect: let other people wait for a change. Travel is a sort of revenge for having been put on hold, having to leave messages on answering machines, not knowing your party’s extension, being kept waiting all your working life – the homebound writer’s irritants. Being kept waiting is the human condition.” — Paul Theroux in Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown
“For some reason, we see long-term travel to faraway lands as a recurring dream or an exotic temptation, but not something that applies to the here and now. Instead — out of our insane duty to fear, fashion, and monthly payments on things we don’t really need — we quarantine our travels to short, frenzied bursts.” – Rolf Potts in Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
“Anyone who lives in a city will know the feeling of having been there too long. The gorge-vision that streets imprint on us, the sense of blockage, the longing for surfaces other than glass, brick, concrete and tarmac.” —Robert Macfarlane in The Wild Places
“Wanderlust, the very strong or irresistible impulse to travel, is adopted untouched from the German, presumably because it couldn’t be improved upon. Workarounds like the French passion du voyage don’t quite capture the same meaning. Wanderlust is not a passion for travel exactly; it’s something more animal and more fickle – something more like lust. We don’t often lust after very many things in life. We don’t need words like worklust or homemakinglust. But travel?” — Elizabeth Eaves in Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents
“Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common every-day beauty.” – John Muir in The Mountains of California
“Travel is a vanishing act, a solitary trip down a pinched line of geography to oblivion.” — Paul Theroux in The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas
“I was simply restless, quite likely because of a dissatisfaction with the recent trajectory of my life, and if there is a better, more compelling reason for dropping everything and moving to the end of the world, I know not what it is.” — J Maarten Troost in The Sex Lives of Cannibals
“For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.”
— Aldous Huxley in Along the Road: Notes and Essays of a Tourist