Here’s the deal: I like pretty photos with inspirational photos as much as the next person. Hell, I’ve got a Pinterest board that focuses on nothing but those little gems. But — and this is a big but — those inspirational travel quotes that are circulating nonstop? Can they just stop?
Before you roll your eyes at me, or close this post, hear me out.
Why I Can’t Stand the Inspirational Travel Quotes
Some travel quotes, I love. I stand behind them. But others drive me up the wall. I am quite fortunate I have had the ability to travel as extensively as I have in my life. However, not everyone else has that same fortune.
Quotes like these literally make me tense. Not because they aren’t inspirational — they are — but because they imply that someone cannot live without traveling; that their life is less grand, less impressive, less fulfilled, than those who have the opportunity to travel.
Let’s look at the worst offenders:
The issue: Yes, travel while you can. Absolutely. Live life with no regrets.
Here’s the thing though: in order to travel, one NEEDS MONEY. Those plane tickets aren’t going to fall magically out of the sky. And, those travel experiences being touted don’t grow for free on trees.
Repeat with me: “You need money to travel.”
Yes, people can travel without a lot of money — many people do and do so very successfully (see: Matt Kepnes’ book How to Travel the World for $50 a Day), but let’s not forget, travel is not free.
And, when a person comes home from traveling, being penniless often times isn’t an option. (Note, I have an entire post coming on why it is important to have money when traveling, this is just the start since it is one of my biggest issues).
There are plenty of options to save money/not spend money while traveling, but always keep in mind that there should be an emergency fund, a secret stash, because you never know when that extra cash is necessary to fork over.
Experiences are more valuable than money, but being broke and stranded in a foreign country and starting a crowd-funding campaign to get home is a horrible Plan B.
The issue: This drives me bonkers because it implies that a person’s life isn’t as fulfilling or as complete without traveling. Some people live their whole lives in the same city where they were born and know nothing else.
Is it how I choose to live? Nope. But, I would never suggest that a person who hasn’t traveled or doesn’t have the ability (or desire) to travel is missing a chunk of their life and learning experiences.
I have learned a lot from traveling the world and being exposed to the ways other live. It is humbling, it is awe-inspiring. However, I would never tell someone that if they don’t travel, they are less complete of a person who haven’t learned as much about life as I have.
Learning experiences come in all shapes and sizes. Traveling is simply one such way to learn.
The issue: This is the quote that bothers me the most because it implies that anyone who doesn’t travel isn’t living.
There are other parts of life that define truly living, like family and friends. Sure, travel is an amazing thing, but it doesn’t mean that if a person can’t or doesn’t want to travel that they are living life any less than someone who can travel. Different strokes for different folks.
The issue: Travel doesn’t bring power or love back into life — the individual does. Whether or not someone finds this power or love while sitting on a deserted beach at sunset in an exotic tropical island or while taking the bus to work, it exists within US and not a place. While travel can certainly be a catalyst for rediscovering lost parts, it can also bring grief, stress and more into life.
For many people — including myself once upon a time — travel is a means to an escape. It is running because the job/relationship/life isn’t working the way it is supposed to in our heads. But, the thing about running is everywhere we go, there we are.
Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a part of travel that allows for some amazing self-discovery, but it isn’t all gumdrops and lollipops, and often times a person has to go through some serious work to have that power and love in their lives. I know I have. It’s called therapy.
The issue: When in doubt, dig deeper and find out why there is a doubt in the first place. Travel doesn’t solve problems, although it can help open someone up to different experiences and certainly take someone down a different path. But, it isn’t a catch-all.
The issue: Yes, it is too much to ask for.
Quotes like this provide goals which are attainable to only an elite few (and even then, I don’t know that they are actually living a life as chilled as this).
Something a bit more realistic would be: “All I really want to do is spend my life traveling the world (after working my ass off to save the funds to do so), reading books that take my breath away, drinking all kinds of tea and occasionally write something (because I am definitely going to need money at some point, since traveling and books and tea all cost money). I mean is that too much to ask for (someone tell me it isn’t.)”
The issue: Travel is only one piece to the puzzle of being happy. Travel does not equal happiness; just ask some of the people out there who travel all of the time. Happy ebbs and flows and is not a constant. Happy comes from within, not from the outside world.
While traveling can certainly bring elements of happiness into a person’s life, it does not mean that booking a ticket, heading to a destination abroad and exploring the world will equal happiness.
The issue: Yes, quit your job. I did. Twice. But, not before I knew I had enough money to back my life of travel up.
Buy a ticket. Yup, got to do that, too.
Get a tan (sunscreen, folks!), check. Fall in love. Never return.
Just because a person: 1. quits their job, 2. buys a ticket, and 3. gets a tan does not mean that they will fall in love. Of course, people can fall in love with life, but not everyone’s stories equal love, particularly in the relationship sense.
As for never returning? Does that mean there are enough funds to finance a life of travels? Or, does that mean working while on the road, scrounging together jobs and eating Ramen? This quote is such a romantic (and unrealistic) idea of what travel is.
The issue: Gag.
This is the quote I see the most and the one which bothers me the most. It’s such a romantic notion and one that serves far more as an outlet for escape versus a realistic idea of travel. I don’t doubt people aren’t in love with cities they have visited and people they have never met, but it just seems like a huge cop out in terms of a reason to live a life of travel and justify heading out. To be honest, there are far better reasons to go and travel than being in love with an idea of something.
Let’s Share These Quotes Instead
Why I love it: This quote truly embodies the spirit of who we are and being mindful. It isn’t about escaping, or thinking travel will solve all of the problems.
It is about the notion that with new eyes and a new perspective, things can be discovered and people can change.
Why I love it: This is so true!
My entire life has been a series of events where I have been exactly where I needed to be in order to be where I am today. I regret nothing because every experience has shaped me into the person I have become.
Yes, travel has been a part of that, but I am where I am because it is where I need to be. Everything falls into place. Believe it. And, while life isn’t always easy, those struggles shape us all to be exactly who we are meant to be, living the lives we were meant to have.
Why I love it: I’ve said it a million times: happiness is in us.
It isn’t up to outside forces to create happiness (although they can certainly create moments of Happy). In general, if a person isn’t happy, getting to Friday, summer or falling in love won’t change that.
Why I love it: OK, this is a bit of a travel-y quote, but it applies to every aspect of life.
If people aren’t willing to take risks, they will never know what life could be. Those risks require bravery, and that comes in all forms. Whether it is jumping out of an airplane, or simply going up to talk to a stranger, bravery is everywhere in life. But, to achieve any goal, that first step needs to be stepped.
Why I love it: Life isn’t perfect. Life isn’t always beautiful. But, it is life.
It is up to each person whether or not they choose to have pity parties or talk about “how life could be” or be mindful of every moment and appreciate all of the blessings … even the tiny ones.
Why I love it: Nothing is perfect. I don’t believe “perfect” actually exists.
But, “wonderful” does.
I know for me, I’m not in the place where I thought I would be growing up, but that is OK. I wake up every morning grateful for where I am and the people in my life.
Why I love it: Fear is our greatest excuse and our greatest inhibitor. Without conquering fear, it is impossible to get what we want. So, take that fear, embrace it, address it, and then conquer it.
Why I love it: Money, a big house, a fancy car … none of that matters if a person is miserable. The less crap I have in my life (both monetary and emotionally), the happier a person I am. It works for me; it may not work for everyone.
However, taking a moment each day to be grateful, to share the love a person has with another person (and I’m not talking about just romantic love, it can be as simple as smiling at someone on the street who looks sad), can be phenomenal for those endorphins.
Why I love it: I’ve been learning a lot about the art of letting go and being mindful (can you tell?).
This is the most important nugget of wisdom to consider. We live in our heads, we imagine scenarios, we play them over and over again. The thing is: most of those things can’t be changed by us. There are external forces at work, so focus on the things which you can change as an individual and accept the things which cannot be changed, and let them go.
Note: for more on mindfulness and letting go, I highly suggest reading The Power of Now. That, and therapy, changed my life for the better.
What are your favorite/least favorite quotes?
35 thoughts on “Why I Hate Travel Quotes”
It is true that travel quotes can be quite dumb ,as if they were not even quotes, but some are quite true. I like one by St Augustine. ” Life is like a book, but if you don’t travel it’s as if you only read the first chapter”.
I have to say the title of this post definitely caught my eye and intrigued me. Why would anyone hate travel quotes? They’re so inspiring and have you dreaming of a magnificent life. Just because they are unattainable to most does not mean that someone can’t dream. I do agree that some of them are stupid. But I also think that some you chose are specifically geared for those who wish to travel, and not for the general public. Overall a good read, and I liked how you gave your reasons for each so I could understand.
That is my issue — they have people dreaming of a magnificent life — but travel doesn’t make life magnificent necessarily. I fully encourage people to dream and aspire to fulfill their dreams. I just wish that quotes like this didn’t make it seem that travel solves every problem, because it doesn’t. Or, that people who don’t travel don’t live amazing lives. I’m glad you took the time to read it. Thank you! 🙂
OK, I definitely get your point on some of these, especially those that throw shade at people who don’t get to / choose not to travel, but you immediately lost me when you said you hated ‘I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met’, so much so that I’ve not finished the rest of the list yet. I scrolled down a few more and then the urge to comment was to strong.
I LOVE THIS QUOTE.
It’s nearly midnight so there is no way in hell I’m going to be able to articulate all of the things I love about it, but I love the promise, the mystery, the ambiguity of it. It expresses everything I love about travelling, the possibility of discovering something that you never knew existed, or finding the world’s best garlic bread shop, and meeting people that had no idea you existed, that you can no longer live without. I’ve done all these things (aside from the garlic bread shop, dammit, so evasive) and I’m sure you have too. I know it’s super over-publicised but I like it, it makes me smile on a daily basis when I see it on my Pinterest feed.
Please excuse any typos in this, I’m too tired to proofread.
I’m sorry you didn’t finish the post, but am glad you commented!! I know many people who love this quote!! For me, I don’t like it. It’s all opinion, and I respect yours. You bring up some very valid points, in fact. It does express so many things people love about traveling. I think my issue is I see it every day, too, and after awhile, I think there are better ways to express this, like the way you did! If you get a chance, read the other quotes I shared. 🙂
I went back and finished, don’t worry! I liked the alternative ones at the end for sure 🙂
Funny I just wrote a bit about this in a blog post yesterday as well! I love travel quotes, but I hate how gimmicky they can be. Love your writing style and your breakdown of each. And Sara I’m with you on that quote, but to each their own. In fact, one of my travel anthems is Someone New by Hozier because when I’m traveling a fall in love with something or someone new every day.
Thank you!! And, that Hozier song is fantastic!!
I love this post. The whole “just quit everything and travel” is a lovely mantra, but only if it’s possible and if that’s something you want to do (and obviously that’s not for everyone). Just before I got to the quotes you actually love I immediately thought of the quote by Marcel Proust. It shows that travel isn’t just about where you are, but about your attitude and perspective, and anywhere, even home, can be a new exciting adventure if you are open to possibilities.
Yes. I have found a few more quotes I absolutely love. Perhaps will put together another post later with those.
My thoughts exactly! Although, to be honest, I’m starting to hate ALL picture quotes (travel, fitness, business, inspiration – all of them!) because they’re so ubiquitous now that they just come across as trite, and sometimes a little bit smug, depending on how they’re shared.
It seems that a quote isn’t really inspirational any more unless it’s written in an interesting typeface and slapped onto a Canva background!
It’s still the quickest way to convey a positive attitude or a different perspective though… and I did like the ‘Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful’ quote, so I guess they must work!
The more I see them, the more I just start to roll my eyes at all of them, too. You are right, they do come across as all of those things. And, you are also right that it is a quick way to convey a positive attitude. Rock/hard place, eh?
Finally! I’m glad someone dared to say this. You exactly get the point with those unrealistic quotes, designed to generate a smile, a sigh, a “oh that’d be wonderful”, before making another cup of tea and go back in to that accounting task you need to prepare by EOD.
I think it all starts from online travel agencies or booking sites. They don’t want you to “travel”, but just book an all inclusive week in Sharm or a weekend in Prague.
No one dared me! I got to the point where my entire Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest feeds were filled with them and just couldn’t take it anymore! I don’t know where it starts from, really — travel agencies and booking sites, or bloggers selling their blogs to get more readers who dream of traveling, or destinations painting the prettiest of pictures and trying to entice you to travel because it is the only way in life you will ever be truly fulfilled.
This is a FANTASTIC post! We always love an original thought, and when an original thought like yours is combined with a divergent opinion, it makes us smile.
Here’s our favorite quote: “Experiences are more valuable than money, but being broke and stranded in a foreign country and starting a crowd-funding campaign to get home is a horrible Plan B.”
That kind of mentality doesn’t help anyone — it doesn’t help the traveler, it doesn’t help the countries to which they travel and it doesn’t help the family and friends of travelers. It tends to be self-center and, dare we say, irresponsible.
Your wisdom is apparent in each response you write to these sometimes inspirational, sometimes pithy statements. Thanks for sharing this!
Hahah! I LOVE that quote. I am always shocked when I see people crowd funding their travel. If you have to crowd-fund, then perhaps you shouldn’t be going. You are right, that mentality doesn’t help anyone. I appreciate your support! 🙂
you’ve made an interesting point that travel cannot solve all your problems and that it is not the only way to learn. What good is travel if you don’t explore with an open mind or carry unhappy circumstances you’re trying to escape. Travel can often be romanticized in quotes. You can be inspired by these quotes, but until you plan and save the money to get out there it won’t be a reality or meaningful.
Exactly!! Thanks for taking the time to comment!
haha I absolutely loved this post. I was smiling the entire time because I could relate to what you were pointing out. thanks for posting this!
Thanks for the support!! 🙂
Too many people use travel as a disguise for their rancid, self-serving, personalities.
Worse – many don’t have a pesonality in the first place.
You are one of the world’s best travel bloggers because you are always thinking of other people – whether it be the people you meet on your travels, or in this case, defending people’s right to NOT travel.
The world would be a better place if more people thought like you.
Aw, thank you!!! ❤
Love this post! I added it to my ‘Quotes’ board on Pinterest, which admittedly probably already lists some of the offenders above! You make some very valid points 🙂
That’s OK!! Glad some of them resonated. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Diana- I agree for the most part and glad you posted this 🙂 🙂 That one about “life is a book” has always annoyed me. It’s simple not true. I know plenty of people who don’t go off travelling but still have plenty fulfilling lives. Plenty of people have things I don’t have – a house, kids, career they absolutely love, spending more time with family (I’m always away from my family) etc. In fact, in the literal sense, they may well be better read than me because I’m always on blogs and social media and take a couple weeks to get through a book now haha! I I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like that quotation as it’s such a popular one.
I do like some of the others though. I always thought the one that ends “is that too much to ask?” was kind of tongue in cheek- I mean, it is too much to ask, obviously- but plenty of us would love to do it. Similar to that one that says- all I want to do is drink coffee and create stuff all day- (or something like that. It’s been all over my FB lately). We can’t do that but we can dream haha! The same with some of the others like “quit your job, fall in love etc” it is just a romantic ideal, but it’s sweet and fun and that’s why I like it haha! It’s like a teenage romance or something. 🙂
I definitely think there are some people that would not like any of the other quotations you shared too (the ones that you like.)- some people just don’t like peppy quotations at all. Personally I actually prefer some of the travel ones to the ones about not living for Friday or getting over fear. For some people, due to economic reasons or other reasons, they are always going to be living for Friday and not achieving dreams is not necessarily about fear, but circumstance. Anyway, that’s why life is great- we all like different things and I think we can also all read quotations in different ways and see different meanings from them. But..that book quotation though..bleugh! Haha! Thanks again for sharing D and getting a debate going- great post! 🙂
Haha! Thanks for taking the time to comment! That’s the beauty of our opinions; they are our own 🙂
Wow. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a few months now and I’m grateful you’ve articulated it so well! My husband and I have been traveling for 5 months now (6 left) and I’ll be the first to say life is easier to live at home than abroad. But easier isn’t always what we need and every day my husband and I are thankful for our decision to take this extended honeymoon. It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’s downright terrifying, but we have no regrets. We’ve changed ourselves for the better because of it!
Traveling can definitely show you how strong you are!
My issue with travel quotes is that the most common ones are recycled so frequently … has nobody said anything new and edgy about travel in the past few years that isn’t worthy of a fancy Instagram quote picture?
Haha! I guess not!
Diana, I love this post so much! A scenic photo and hand-lettering do not make a statement true. There is so much pseudo-sage junk out there, it’s hard to find the gems. This post gave me a good laugh. I wish more people would see beyond the veil of super-shiny-glossy posts and think about what the words actually say. I like your focus on this post of the many different ways people find meaning and fulfillment. While travel quotes can inspire and help us to dream big, the commanding now-or-never tone can be discouraging, not to mention impossible to apply to real life.
YES. I find it to be a VERY millenial thing, too!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS. I have always had the exact same sentiments, and I gag each time I scroll my Pinterest feed 🙂 I am so happy to know I am not alone! The feeling’s mutual 😉
Haha! You are most welcome!! 🙂