My other love aside from travel is reading about people who have travelled. Here are some of my favourite inspirational quotes from famous travel writers.
“If you’re brave enough to leave everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally) and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along your way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you,” Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love.
While some may think EPL is too new age-y and preachy, I really did enjoy the book. I love this quote because it helps to raise the awareness on why a lot of people travel. Outrightly, most people won’t admit they are travelling to go on a ‘truth-seeking journey’ but that is what we are all doing. Not every traveller’s life is falling apart before they embark on their overseas experience, but something is amiss, hence why we leave to go find it. This quote is a good reminder that we learn something about ourselves or the world in every person we meet, and through different travelling experiences we learn much about ourselves.
“I tell myself it’s healthy and good for the soul, but I’m not sure yet that we’re meant to be alone. Humans, I mean. It feels too much like a test, like surviving in the wilderness. It’s a good experience to have, one is pleased to have succeeded, but it’s still not the best.” Freja Kristensen – Us by David Nicholls.
While I am completely on side with solo-travel, this quote that I found hidden in a large body of text, is a gem and explains in quite simple terms the downside of solo travel.
While this quote was directed at living life unattached, the protagonist learns this while on a solo trip around Europe. Sometimes solo travel does suck. You are experiencing all these amazing new things and it’s nice to share this with another human rather than on Facebook or Instagram. This was the realisation Christopher MaCandless (and many other solo travellers) came to at the conclusion of his travels, though sadly, it came too little, too late.
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe, I was strong- I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me,” Cheryl Strayed – Wild.
Travelling alone can be frightening at times. You have to do everything for yourself whether you’re sick, exhausted, hungover, angry or depressed. It takes a lot more energy than normal life. You don’t have a base, the people you rely on are often backpackers you’ve met that day, and getting used to using different products and eating different food can have all kinds of negative effects on your body. You are relying on yourself 100 per cent for survival.
While, in the extract above, Cheryl is referring to camping out in the wilderness where there are rattlesnakes, black bears, and coyotes- real life threatening factors. She touches on a sacred point. Women are taught from birth that we are the physically and emotionally weaker sex. We have to work much harder at being brave. Our biggest enemy can be our own mind, but it can also be our strongest ally. Her advice is one all women should take: tell yourself a different story to the one you’ve been told all your life. It really is true that what you think about you bring about; there has even been several studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of positive visualisation. Fuck stereotypes and ideologies. Be a bad-ass, Amazonian Goddess.
“But in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a person than a secure future. The very basic core of a person’s living spirit is their passion for adventure,” – Christopher MaCandless
Okay I made some slight edits to the above, but YES. Yes. Go on adventures! You have your whole life to make a plan, live by the rules, settle down, go to work. Your youth should be dedicated to adventuring (though in saying that, it shouldn’t just be reserved for youth). You don’t have to travel half way around the world to have an adventure either.
Go to the beach, go for a hike, get up early and watch the sunrise. Be in nature, turn off your phone, and just look. And think. Feel. Not all adventures involve adrenaline. Get out of that shitty routine and allow yourself to be amazed.