Do you find inspiration from famous travel quotes from dead people from 2500 years ago? I don’t, not much. But I’m banking that you do by assembling, in 20 minutes or so, the Top 10 Greatest Inspirational Travel Quotes Made by Dead Men with Beards. It seems a popular practice for travel bloggers. And it’s really really easy to do.* (Watch the video of this list being made here.)
So here’s some quotes I found.
1. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
I don’t know who Lao Tzu is either, but you find his name — also spelled Laozi — all over the inspirational-quote race. Tons of stuff. Like “If you don’t change direction, you may end up where you’re heading,” which is funny and true. Or “To see things in seed is genius,” which seems overly botanical. He had a beard until the day he died, about 2500 years ago.
2. “I’d rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth” – Steve McQueen
Steve was an actor. I always wondered why “Bullitt,” his 1968 film, was spelled that way. And do you know that Mick Jagger profanely namedrops him in the 1973 Stones song “Star Star”? Anyway, most of the time he didn’t have a beard, then he grew one — got more interesting — and died with it on his face.
3. “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” – Henry David Thoreau
The man behind Walden Pond had a variety of beards through his career. His last words, purportedly, were “Indian… moose…” It’s believed he was referring to his guide and his company on three canoe trips through Maine’s interior. He wrote about it in his posthumous travelogue Maine Woods.
4. “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home” — Dagobert D Runes
He was a philosopher.
5. “I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad” – George Bernard Shaw
The guy’s saying just roll with it. Remember the Oasis song “Roll With It”? That was the one Brother Gallagher Noel didn’t give to Brother Gallagher Liam to sing. I remember during one short failed tour of the USA, who never embraced Brothers Gallagher, Noel (who wrote all the songs) made Liam sit out during “Wonderwall,” and sang it himself instead. Oasis was definitely not at home in America.
6. ““It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” – Ernest Hemingway
This isn’t quite “one true sentence,” and clearly the most clunky of the Top 10 list Lao Tzu, for example, made the same sentiment with far fewer syllables. (See text on #1.) But, hey, it’s Hemingway.
Incidentally, Ernest shot himself with a shotgun in Ketchum, Idaho.
7. “Travel brings power and love back into your life” — Rumi
I’m not sure this is always true. And it can be reckless to prompt yet another string of Eat, Pray and Loves. But look at this guy’s beard and hat! I didn’t know who Rumi was either, so I looked it up — a 13th-century Persian poet. Pretty heavy stuff, Masnavi is a 25,000-verse hit about love of God.
8. “It breaks my heart to see the city, I wonder why it ain’t pretty, oh, I want to cry” — Dennis Wilson
The drummer for the Beach Boys was the only Beach Boy who could surf. (They were all welcome on the beach.) He made one solo album, 1977’s overlooked Pacific Ocean Blue. This is from “River Song.” In it, he’s basically sick of LA smog and wants to get out of town to the country. Later Dennis drowned.
9. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” – St Augustine
Remember the Rush song “Freewill,” when Geddy wails that “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”? Even in my real Rush days, I couldn’t stand that song, but its point? True enough. If you choose not to read, you have made a choice not to read. August had a beard and read like a demon.
10. “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it” — George A Moore
Guess that’s why women are better travelers?
* Making this Top 10 list was incredibly easy. This video shows how I made it. Search for “famous travel quotes” on Google or Bing. I got 32.5 million results. Most are quote factories, broken into themes. I read about 18 quotes for this. Narrowed it to 12 right off, added Dennis Wilson. Scrapped one candidate — and only one — for being a barefaced man. No famous quotes I found were from women.
I hope this inspires you to travel.