Who doesn’t love a good inspirational quote? Before I went travelling for the first time, on a 1.5 year solo backpacking adventure, I read a LOT of travel literature. The words of famous adventurers throughout history really inspired me to get out and see the world and their most poignant quotes, especially about travelling alone, can help to assuage some of the fears that you naturally have before travelling alone for the first time.
I truly believe that while travelling with others can be a lot of fun, travelling alone is an experience that is second to none. The freedom you have to choose your own path and make all of your own decisions and mistakes is extremely liberating and will also teach you so many valuable lessons about yourself and the world.
Keep on scrolling down to find some of my favourite quotes about travelling alone, along with a brief overview of the author and why I think they are so good. Let me know at the bottom if I have missed any gems!
The Ultimate Collection of Inspiring Quotes About Travelling Alone
1: “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure. You have no idea of what is in store for you, but you will, if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it.” – Freya Stark
Freya Stark was an extremely daring and intrepid explorer, she travelled alone through areas of the middle east in the 1920s that may have never before been seen by western eyes.
She continued to travel alone on daring adventures until well into her 70s. Freya Stark wrote numerous books about her travels and I would highly recommend reading them for some inspiration into just what you can accomplish if you dare.
You may have seen the shortened version of this quote by Freya Stark but I have included a few extra lines here because for me this whole passage is so beautifully written and the second part is arguably the most important.
When you travel with others you are always restricted in some way as to where/what you can do; when you travel alone however you can “let yourself go on the stream of the unknown”, and that truly is the best feeling in the world!
2: “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.” – Henry David Thoreau
Henry Thoreau was an American writer and philosopher who famously built a cabin in the woods to live in solitude for several years and learn the lessons that it can bring. While not a great traveller like others in this list, he wrote beautifully about spending time alone in his book ‘Walden’, whose lessons are perfectly applicable to travelling alone.
This quote is pretty much self-explanatory! When I was first planning to backpack I was just as nervous as most people and looked for friends to join me. I spent several months waiting for others and wasting time before realising that I would probably be sitting around waiting forever if I didn’t just take the plunge.
I have read ‘Walden’ a couple of times as it is not only beautifully written but also demonstrates the clarity and realisation you can have when you embrace some level of solitude. I would encourage anyone to read it prior to travelling alone to get some affirmation of just what a beautiful and enlightening experience it can be.
3: “I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.” – Thomas Jefferson
I don’t imagine Thomas Jefferson needs much introduction, one of the founding fathers of the United States and former president, he also spent time as a minister to France. He was one of the main authors of the constitution of the United States and known for having great wisdom.
I think this particular quote is easy to brush over but is actually very important. The key word in this quote is ‘usefully’; you need to look at why you want to travel and what you hope to gain.
The great ‘use’ for travel is as an education, learning about yourself, your culture, beliefs and values, and those of others. This you cannot gain without reflection, and having the time to reflect effectively is much easier when you are on your own.
4: “There are three basic rules of travelling. Travel on the ground. Travel alone when possible. Keep notes. That’s it.” – Paul Theroux
There are so many fantastic quotes from Paul Theroux it is hard to pick out my favourites! He is a prolific travel writer and has been on countless adventures in pretty much any part of the world you would care to name. He is also a great proponent of travelling alone and as such has many perfect quotes about just that.
I am a huge fan of Paul Theroux’s work and I have always favoured the type of travel he espouses. Travelling on the ground is the best way to see a country, and when you travel alone (which is rule number 2), it is a much easier way to meet people and make friends.
5: “If you follow the crowd, you will likely get no further than the crowd. If you walk alone, you’re likely to end up in places no one has ever been before.” – Alan Ashley-Pitt aka Phil Wernig
The origins of this quote are quite interesting, often attributed to the name of ‘Alan Ashley-Pitt’, this was actually a pseudonym for a number of authors who wrote captions for greeting cards and posters for a particular company. This particular caption, part of a longer paragraph, was written by the American author Phil Wernig.
These days it is hard to go places that literally “no one” has ever been before but that is not important. In the modern world it is too easy to compare ourselves to the whole collective group of humanity, which is far too great a goal.
How about going places no one in your family, friend circle or maybe even town have never been before? If you do what everyone around you is doing/wants to do then you will never get to push the boundaries of what you can do or what you are capable of.
6: “I have no reason to go, except that I have never been, and knowledge is better than ignorance. What better reason could there be for travelling?” – Freya Stark
I just had to throw another one in here from Freya Stark because they are just so good. Have you ever wanted to go somewhere and people ask you: ‘why would you want to go there?’, ‘what’s there to do?’ or ‘Isn’t it dangerous?’.
This quote perfectly captures that deep inner drawing of the true traveller, to see places and experience new things just for the sake of experience itself. Leave those people behind who are waiting for a reason to go or a pre-packaged experience, travel alone and you will find reason enough on the road.
7: “It seemed an advantage to be traveling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by the company we keep, for we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others…Being closely observed by a companion can also inhibit our observation of others; then, too, we may become caught up in adjusting ourselves to the companion’s questions and remarks, or feel the need to make ourselves seem more normal than is good for our curiosity.” – Alain de Botton
Another longer one but just so insightful and perfect for the person needing inspiration to travel alone. Alain De Botton is a Swiss/British author and philosopher and he wrote this quote in his book ‘The Art of Travel’. I am a big fan of his work, which relates philosophy to everyday life and how you can use it to improve your own.
I have written about this exact concept here; ‘who we are’ is a collection of stories, concepts and past actions we tell ourselves and other and which are reflected back onto us by others. I believe you cannot have a truly transformative travel experience whilst travelling with other who know and seek to preserve the old ‘story of us’.
8: “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
Andre Gide was a French author from the late 1800s and winner of the nobel prize in literature. He travelled throughout Europe and Northern Africa and was a friend of Oscar Wilde. He wrote an extensive collection of letters and fiction and is considered one of the greatest French writers.
This is a great metaphorical quote for those who travel alone. The shore can be your own hometown, state or country; but it can also be your familiar surroundings such as friends, family and companions. Sometimes the new oceans you can discover are within yourself, sometimes they are new connections with other people. When you leave the old familiar shore behind you open yourself to infinite possibility.
9: “Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.” – Paulo Coelho
For those who don’t already know Paulo Coelho, he is a Brazilian author most well known for his book ‘The Alchemist’, an international best-seller and brilliant travel fiction. Coelho had a difficult childhood and eventually dropped out of law school to live the hippie life, traveling through South America, North Africa, Mexico, and Europe.
A super common reason people give for not being able to travel is money. While a bit of money certainly helps matters, it is very true that it is almost never a matter of money. I know people who went travelling with just the shirt on their back, finding work along the way and living extremely cheaply.
Don’t let others finances pull you from your path, travel alone with courage as the quote says and things will work out. Read this post for tips on how to simplify your life to allow you to travel more!
10: Life is too important to be taken seriously. – Oscar Wilde
The famous Irish poet, playwright and author Oscar Wilde was born in the 1800s and was one of the greatest playwrights in London in his time. He also travelled through Europe and North Africa after being released from prison in England where he was sent due to being gay.
While this was not necessarily related to travel when uttered I think it fits perfectly with a theme of travelling alone. A lot of people who wanted to travel back when I did were too concerned about leaving their jobs/careers or putting off study. They always thought they would do it later and while some did, many found that life only becomes more complicated.
Don’t take it too seriously! Be free, have adventures, go crazy and let yourself experience life. Believe me that study and a career will always be there waiting for when you are ready, and when you are ready you will likely approach them with more ease and confidence.
11: “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar
Randy Komisar is an American venture capitalist and author. As an investor and by all accounts a very busy man, he knows something about risk and time management.
What he is talking about in this quote is the ‘one day’ or the ‘after retirement’ that so many people frequently say when discussing the things that they are passionate about but just never manage to do.
He is right that it’s a huge gamble; we never know what is around the corner and even if we get lucky and have good health into our twilight years, we have such a narrow time period in which to fit in travel and adventures.
12: “In The End, We Only Regret The Chances We Didn’t Take.”
– Lewis Carroll.
Lewis Carrol was the pen name of the author of the classic book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. A keen philosopher as well as logician, this famous work has many messages under the surface.
I am yet to meet any traveller who regrets the time they have spent travelling or the things they have experienced. I have however in my work as a paramedic, spoken to many elderly people who deeply regret chances not taken in their younger years.
No one will ever utter the terms “I regret not focusing more on my career” or “I regret all those adventures I had” when on their deathbed.
13: “A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu is a legendary historical figure from ancient China. A philosopher, scholar and writer, he is also reputed to have travelled far and wide however it is difficult to gain accurate information about his life due to the time that has passed.
Regardless of the exact origin of this quote, it is one of the great travel quotes worthy of any list. A tourist plans everything down to the minute and the holiday doesn’t start until you are firmly planted in your destination.
Travellers revel in every part of the journey and understand there can be joy in every part of travel. Letting go of plans and pre-conceived ideas always results in the best experiences in my opinion. Travelling alone allows you to fly on the winds of opportunity, staying longer, leaving sooner or tagging along with people you’ve met.
14: “I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” – Jack Kerouac
I just had to throw in a Jack Kerouac quote, the author of ‘On the Road’ as well as many other classics, Kerouac was a true vagabond and always managed to capture the true essence of what is in every traveller’s heart in his work.
If you have travelled alone before then you will identify with this quote, the unbeatable feeling of soaring into the air on a plane, music blasting, with everything in front of you and nothing holding you back.
If it is your first time contemplating travelling alone, then I know how hard it sometimes feels to take that step into the unknown, but believe me that when you do you will look back at how easy it was and how beautiful the sense of possibility feels.
15: He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him. – Flemish proverb
For the final item in the list I will leave you with a proverb rather than a quote just to shake things up a bit! This fairly counter-intuitive quote brings attention to the fact that sometimes the hardest part of any journey, or any undertaking at all, is overcoming the mental barrier preventing you from doing it.
This can be said of many things in everyday life (new diet, exercise regime, etc) but is especially true and difficult when making the decision to drop everything and go gallivanting around the world on your own.
So just stop thinking, buy the ticket, pack your bag, hail a cab and step outside your front door! You’ll find the fears start to melt away rapidly and are replaced by a sense of joy and freedom unlike any you’ve ever felt.
Enjoy These Solo Travel Quotes?
Pin Them For Later!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission on purchases made through these links. We only recommend products/services we have tried/love!