The Road Goes Ever On

Here you will find a collection of our favorite quotes from books about travel, the world, life, the universe, everything.

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese Proverb

“There is only one thing that is better then mountains – the mountains where you haven’t been yet” – Russian Song

 William Dalrymple – In Xanadu: A Quest

  • Friendship is a fine burden.

Tim Cahill – Hold the Enlightenment

  • Have a quest. The quest is the most significant and consequential of all travel plans. What you really want to do is meet indigenous folks, understand their concerns, find out how things work, make friends. You don’t do this in the company of traveling English-speakers. So have a quest, some bit of business that will shove you into the cultural maelstrom. Perhaps you have distant relatives in the country. Look them up. That’s your quest. It will force you to use the phone book (people in Iceland, you’ll note, are listed by their first rather than last names) and to arrange transportation to an area of the country that is not likely a tourist destination. Perhaps you’re interested in trains, or motorcycle clubs, or ecological issues.
  • An adventure is never an adventure when it’s happening. Challenging experiences need time to ferment, and an adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquility.

Rolf Potts – Vagabonding & Marco Polo Didn’t Go There

  • Regardless of one’s budget, itinerary and choice of luggage-the act of travel is still, at its essence, a consumer experience.
  • Vagabonding is about using the prosperity and possibility of the information age to increase your personal options instead of your personal possessions.
  • A vacation, after all, merely rewards work. Vagabonding justifies it.
  • Life on the road, you’ll soon discover, is far less complicated than what you knew back home — yet intriguingly more complex.
  • “One of the essential skills for a traveler,” noted journalist John Flinn, “is the ability to make a rather extravagant fool of oneself.”
  • Cultural awareness is often the positive product of rather negative experiences
  • The secret of adventure, then, is not to carefully seek it out but to travel in such a way that it finds you.
  • “Good people keep walking whatever happens,” taught the Buddha. “They do not speak vain words and are the same in good fortune and bad.”
  • “Wherever you go, there you are” says a silly adage — and simply being there shouldn’t be a very tough task. The thing is, few of us ever “are” where we are: Instead of experiencing the reality of a moment or a day, our minds and souls are elsewhere — obsessing on the past or the future, fretting and fantasizing about other situations. At home, this is one way of dealing with day-to-day doldrums; on the road, it’s a sure way to miss out on the very experiences that stand to teach you something. This is why vagabonding is not to be confused with a mere vacation, where the only goal is escape. With escape in mind, vacationers tend to approach their holiday with a grim resolve, determined to make their experience live up to their expectations; on the vagabonding road, you prepare for the long haul knowing that the predictable and the unpredictable, the pleasant and the unpleasant are not separate but part of the same ongoing reality. You can try to make vagabonding conform to your fantasies, of course, but this strategy has a way of making travel irrelevant. Indeed, vagabonding is — at its best — a rediscovery of reality itself. Thus, as the initial days of your travel experience stretch.
  • At home, political convictions are a tool for getting things done within your community; on the road, political convictions are a clumsy set of experiential blinders, compelling you to seek evidence for conclusions you’ve already drawn. This is not to say that holding political beliefs is wrong — it’s just that politics are naturally reductive, and the world is infinitely complex.
  • Travel, I was coming to realize, was a metaphor not only for the countless options life offers but also for the fact that choosing one option reduces you to the parameters of that choice.

Paul Theroux – To the Ends of the Earth

  • When something human is recorded, good travel writing happens.

Carl Hoffman – The Lunatic Express

  • It was time to go home. Time to complete the circle. Travel was only worthwhile when your eyes were fresh, when it surprised you and amazed you and made you think about yourself in a new way. You couldn’t travel forever. When you stopped seeing, when you lost your curiosity and openness to the world, it was time to return to your starting point and see where you stood.

 Ted Simon – Jupiter’s Travels

  • Custom is the enemy of awareness, in individuals as much as in societies…To be the slave of custom, at any level, is much like being a monkey, an ‘ape of the wayward senses’. To rise above it is already something like becoming a god.
  • The goal was comprehension, and the only way to comprehend the world was by making myself vulnerable to it so that: it could change me. The challenge was to lay myself open to everybody and everything that came my way. The prize was to change and grow big enough to feel one with the whole world. The real danger was death by exposure.
  • I was astonished by my confidence with strangers. Often I was able to talk to them immediately as though we had always known each other. For a long time I had been training myself to want nothing from others; to accept what was offered but to avoid expectation.
  • It is remarkably easy to do things, and much more frightening to contemplate them.
  • It was just the time of day when my hallucinations came to try me out. They were of the crassest kind possible. Usually they began with nothing more original than a cold bottle of beer. When my appetite was sufficiently inflamed I would go on to lobster, roast beef and real coffee, followed by an accidental meeting with a perfect and most loving woman in a large, clean bed. Sometimes I would conjure up the settings for these indulgences but it was hardly worth bothering. They were always roughly similar, and involved clean table linen, polished glassware, bathrooms with towels and an abundance of friendly hospitality and admiration. As the afternoons turned to evenings and I began to wonder where I would eat and sleep that night, this television set turned on in my head and subjected me to trial by advertisement, hitting me inexorably with every one of my known cravings in turn. It was not my appetite for cold beer or perfect loving women that shamed and appalled me at those times, it was the fact that I allowed these images to oppress me when they were clearly unattainable, and to make what was there and real and within my grasp seem undesirable. Under the influence of these lobster and champagne ravings I became the perfect sucker, vulnerable to the shoddiest substitutes. For lack of cold beer I would waste money on warm Coke, and hate it. I would fall prey to any hotel sign, knowing full well that far from enjoying a clean bed and loving women I would be shut up in a dirty, foetid box with a hundred mosquitoes. It is said that at three or four in the morning the body is physically at its lowest ebb, but it was at five in the afternoon, at the cocktail hour, that my morale slumped, and the temptations came to me in the wilderness. I fought them as best I could through all the years of the journey and always, when I won, I was handsomely rewarded. I carried a stock of memories of magical evenings out alone in the wild, completely satisfied by the simple food I had cooked, listening to the silence and toasting the stars in a glass of tea, and I used these memories as my blindfold against the gross sirens that beckoned with their neon smiles.

Bilbo Baggins – There and Back Again

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

One response to “The Road Goes Ever On

  1. …and the party never ends!

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