Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village.

Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village.

Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, in his poetry collection Call Me By My True Names, says this about travel and mindfulness:

“A friend who visits you without some moonlight in his or her traveling bag is too busy. When you see such a friend, ask him or her: Do you have enough moonlight in your bag? That would be a bell of mindfulness.”

Hanh uses the term “bell of mindfulness” to describe those particular things—sounds, actions, images—that can act as reminders to stop and check in with ourselves and with the experiences we are having in the moment:

What is going on?

What are my feelings?

What are my thoughts?

What is going on with my body right now?

Can you be mindful in a crowded London train station?

Can you be mindful in a crowded London train station?

The quotes below, from famous Gentle Travelers the world over, can be the moonlight in our traveling bags. They can be our traveling “bells of mindfulness” as well. Whether you just missed your plane in Toledo, are riding down the Amazon in a rainstorm, are eating pastry in a Parisian café or just dreaming about all these things and wondering how you are ever going to get there (yep, that Paris pastry is my dream), reading these quotes can help you stay in the present moment. They can also get you geared up for travel if you haven’t packed your bags yet or can help you accept whatever is happening (even when it is unexpected) while you are out on the road.

Some of these quotes are funny, some are snarky, but all are wise because they point to what it means to fully embrace the traveling experience. Enjoy!


The Top Ten Travel Quotes of All Time

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost


A Few More Quotes

Here are a few more that I just couldn’t resist:

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

“Oh the places you’ll go!” – Book title by Dr. Seuss


Gentle Travel Tip

Print these quotes out and post them where you will see them every day. They will help you stay in the travelin’ state of mind! And share YOUR favorite travel quotes in the comments section below!