When I first travelled alone, I used to find every way to ensure that my travel was validated by writers, bloggers and individuals who have journeyed landscapes to find themselves and find a thread of relatability. It is a daunting adventure for many solo travellers who are concerned about safety and loneliness but finding courage is never easy. I found solo travel quotes to have powerful ways of uplifting one’s soul, inspiring you to take that solitary leap into the unknown.
It helps ease the hardships of travel, and share the joys, and makes you grow as a person when you can hypertune your intuition.
It is tricky to find the right balance between safety and freedom when you’re on the road and here are some travel writers who have underlined their favourite solo travel quotes that have changed the way they look at life, freedom and travel.
The Best Solo Travel Quotes That Define Freedom
1. “Table for one, food for two, please.”
I’m a big fan of unconventional inspirational quotes that just make me laugh because they’re both funny and accurate. And my absolute favorite quote about solo travel is this one. Why? Because I love food, all types of food and a lot of it.
As a solo traveler, one of the hardest things is the first time asking for a table for one. The first time is the hardest because after that you will realise that dining alone is actually not that bad.
In fact, I love having some time to myself. But most of the time, asking for a table for one opens up a lot of doors for new connections. Because you are more approachable for other solo travelers, who will often stop for a chat or ask if they can sit down with you.
It’s asking for a lot of food even though I am by myself that makes me feel embarrassed. Because I realise normal people only eat half the portion of what I do. But then I just think about this quote, smile and order a whole lot of food anyway. Which is why this is the most accurate solo travel quote for me.
By Lara, Both Feet On The Road
2. "To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice." – Elizabeth Gilbert
I thought I was doing everything right. I went to university, studied for a master’s degree and pursued a career I absolutely enjoyed. But, I was itching to see the world.
I spent time on short holidays when work allowed, but I couldn’t help but think of changing up my lifestyle completely and living on the road as a digital nomad. When I finally left the 9-5 to travel, it changed my life.
Many solo female travellers find themselves in Bali. For me, it was Siem Reap in Cambodia. I spent my days eating delicious Khmer curries and exploring the temples of Angkor Archaeological Park. Visiting Angkor made me feel as though I had been transported back in time – it was magical!
Sure, I do look back and wonder, how far would I have come if I had pursued my career? But, that’s when this quote comes to play. How I feel when I am travelling and seeing new sights is how I want to spend my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
By Delilah from Our Travel Mix
3. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
It’s never easy picking just one quote to encapsulate a feeling or a fleeting moment. But there’s one that stands out, mainly since it’s not only wrongly credited but because it adorns many a living room wall across the world. As the quote goes:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Those last three words must be some of the most famous in recent history: sold as cushion covers, covering the face of coffee mugs and printed, framed and hung on walls to inspire wanderlust in all who encounter it. So it’s interesting that the quote is not only usually shortened, but that many credit it to the prolific writer, Mark Twain.
The real story behind this famous solo travel quote? It was penned by author H Jackson Brown Jr in his book, ‘PS. I Love You’. And rather than echo his own sentiments around travel, he attributes it to his mother, Sarah Frances Brown.
Regardless of the history, the quote is one that is perfect for the solo wanderer. Painting visions of sailing away to a foreign land in search of adventure, taking a junk boat in Vietnam, navigating the spits in Australia or hopping onto a yacht in the Caribbean. Whatever your destination, it’s about dreaming of far-off places, exploring the untouched corners of the globe and discovering more about what the world has to offer, and your place within it.
By Lee from Best Quotes and Captions
4. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world.” - Freya Stark
As a solo traveler, this is the quote that resonates with me the most for several reasons. There is no feeling like being alone but enjoying it; it's strange and in many ways counterintuitive. As humans we seek to belong but to awaken in a new town, completely alone goes against that and pushes is into a new reality.
It makes you feel free from perceptions people in previous locations had about you, it's a clean slate it's complete freedom because there are no expectations on you, you are simply untouched and this may be the closest we can come to a pure state without any judgements, restrictions and assumed roles making us act a certain way. It's a fresh start in a new city every time you have a 'day one' in a new location. It's a moment where you realise no-one in that town cares about you yet, no-one knows you yet. For now you are the unknown.
By Jackson from The Journey Era
5. “Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, Smile Because It Happened” - Dr Seuss.
One of the toughest parts of travelling is when it comes to an end and my favourite travel quote to help me through these times is ‘Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, Smile Because It Happened’ Dr Seuss.
I first came across this quote towards the end of a trip to South Africa. My wife and I had been there for three weeks, two of which we spent on safari in the Kruger National Park. I was in a job I wasn’t enjoying at the time, one that involved me staying away from home a lot. I knew when I got back to the UK this was facing me and, despite the fact we had a few days to go I kept being dragged out of the present into the future.
I came across the quote in a newspaper article and it great helped me state of mind. I stopped thinking about the tough times to come and started reflecting on how luck we were to have taken the trip! It was a real game changer!
I now remember it when I get to the end of any enjoyable event, holiday or sabbatical and I find helps me to feel grateful for the experience.
By Ben Reeves from The Sabbatical Guide
6. "Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show"
This is one of my all-time favourite travel quotes. The reason why it resonates so much with me, as a solo traveller, is because it reminds me of the time I completely changed my way of thinking.
Instead of travelling to all the places I'd dreamed about, I was more interested in modern comforts. Things like living in a large apartment, driving flash cars, watching premium channels on my new TV and all the gadgets I'd accumulated over the years.
I completely turned my life upside down when a personal event happened a while back. I moved to a smaller place, sold the TV, and re-evaluated all the material things (or crap) I had collected.
Rather than buying things, I preferred to save money for epic experiences like hiking the Inca Trail. I didn't have as much stuff to show but I had unforgettable stories from my travels, such as the time I was in India for Holi!
Today, I don't travel solo anymore - I get to share my experiences with somebody who believes in the same philosophy as I do.
The only thing we like to show now are photos of our travels, and the memories that go with them.
By Jeff from A Life of Y
7. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure.” - Freya Stark
British explorer and travel writer Freya Stark (1893-1993) wrote this at some point in her extremely long and adventurous life.
I love this quote because Freya Stark wrote it -- she’s someone who has inspired me -- and because it captures the essence of travel and adventure. Dame Freya Stark travelled extensively in the Middle East, going many places no European had gone before, worked for the British Ministry of Information during WWII, and wrote two dozen entertaining and insightful books about her travels.
There is nothing like the exhilaration of waking up somewhere new and unknown. And to do so alone, with nothing but freedom and adventure in front of you, is just about the pinnacle of existence for a female solo traveller like myself. I do most of my solo travel in India, so I have had this experience many times, all over the subcontinent. I can vividly remember the first time I woke up in Udaipur, for example. I had arrived the evening before, so didn’t see the city until the morning, when I leapt out of bed, and pulled back the curtains to see shimmering Lake Pichola and all the stately buildings that line the banks. It was like waking up in a dream world.
By Mariellen Ward from Breathedreamgo
8. “Solo travel not only pushes you out of your comfort zone, it also pushes you out of the zone of others’ expectations.” - Suzy Strutner
I read this quote a few months before my solo trip to Colombia. I have been traveling solo occasionally for the last 15 years, so my friends and family were already past the shock (and horror!) of my doing such a thing. But Colombia! Now, that was pushing them to their limits. I didn’t hear a lot of disapproval, per se, but lots of concerned questions about safety. In the end, I went anyway and had an amazing time as I’ve learned not to rely on other people’s approval for my decisions.
It made me think back to my first solo trip to Paris. No one I knew approved, especially my mother. She refused to speak to me for weeks! I went anyway and had an amazing time. From that point on, I knew I had to listen to my gut, push past the discomfort, and just do it. There’s a huge world out there to see and not only do I need to get out of my comfort zone to see it, but the important people in my life now know what I’m about and accept it.
Sam from My Flying Leap
9. “Open your heart to the world. It’ll dazzle you in ways you never thought possible.”
I really like this quote because it’s no secret that solo travel can be scary. There can be lots of unknowns and not having the relative safety of another traveller close by can compound those fears and anxieties. However, it’s so important to remind yourself that there are more good people out there than there are bad people. Often, travellers you come across on your journey can be counted on for advice and in times of need. They might even end up becoming your good friend.
This quote resonates with me because I have travelled to countries solo and ended up having an incredible time because of the connections I made. It reminds me of the time I travelled to Stockholm, Sweden and was put in touch with a friend of a friend. This incredible local connection was there to support the journey, offer his knowledge, and even open up his home to me for dinner.
Obviously it is good to be cautious and pick and choose who you connect with on the road. However, if you take a chance and open yourself to others, there’s a good chance they will be open in return.
By Eric from Penguin and Pia
10. “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time” - Steven Wright
Back in 2018 I embarked on what ended up being one of the most incredible month-long journeys of my life - walking the 800km long Camino de Santiago. So used to travelling with my girlfriend (which I love doing by the way) it was a unique chance for me to spend an entire month pushing myself to complete a major feat on my own.
The total journey took me 30 days, and looking back it really is incredible to see just how far it meant walking day in and day out. This quote perfectly sums up much of the experience for me. The entire walk usually takes at least 4 weeks. Of course, you can really push yourself to the limit and perhaps cut a week off, but in the grand scheme of things it makes little difference.
Instead, completing a journey like this is all about committing time to the task. Taking each day as it comes but realising that overall it is simply a matter of persistence over many days. It’s also inspired me to think about even bigger adventures that I now want to take on, such as the Appalachian Trail. This is about 3500 kilometres long, more than 4 times longer than the Camino! But though it sounds daunting, I suppose it really is possible, so long as you have the time.
By Bradley from Dream Big, Travel Far
11. “Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” by Robin S. Sharma
My 20s flew by, through a mixture of college, part-time work, university, full-time work. It felt like an endless treadmill. I knew I wanted to travel, however, it never seemed to be the right time. I either had no money, because I was spending all my time studying or when I did have money, I was so fixated in hoop-jumping through to the next level, that I couldn’t even see a window of opportunity to go travelling.
It wasn’t until I hit my 30s that I realised that this needed to change. At the time I was working as a secondary school teacher. I was in a good school, with plenty of opportunity for career progression and I had worked my way up to the top of my pay scale during my time there. Life was comfortable.
However, I had this realisation that I could still be doing this in five years and STILL have never taken the opportunity to see the world. Within a matter of weeks, I’d handed in my resignation and booked my flight to Australia to begin my adventures. That was in 2013 and I’ve never looked back.
And THIS is why I love this quote by Robin S. Sharma.
By Becki from Meet Me In Departures
12 “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”
As travel bloggers, we have had all kinds of experiences - swindlers, mugging attempts, fistfights. On a road trip, someone even tried to take-off with our car. But we survived it all and emerged stronger. So much so, at the slightest prospect of travel, we start packing. We do not let our past scare us. We know that we do not have the luxury of living in the past, good or bad. We have to move on.
Looking forward is the key. In fact, travel has refined our perspective even more. We are open to new experiences. If something does not go as per plan, it is still a lesson learnt. No wonder we have selected the quote "Don't look back. You're not going that way" as our mantra. We apply this philosophy to all walks of life. For example, let us take exercise. We start a regime and discontinue in a few days. When we start again, we try not to be influenced by our earlier setback. We adopt a positive mindset and approach exercise afresh. And, with some positive self-talk, it works!
Incidentally, the words "Don't look back. You're not going that way” are sometimes attributed to artist Mary Engelbreit, but we have not found any conclusive reference in connection thereto.
By Sundeep Bhatia from Delhi-Fun-Dos
13. “Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures” - Lovelle Drachman
I have a passionate curiosity for other cultures and countries. I love people and I am always curious to see how people around the world live. My love of food has led me to be curious about trying new foods when travelling.
This quote stayed with me when I travelled to China for the second time, but this time by myself and not on a tour. I travelled to Pingyao, a small city that was about 3 hours away from Xi’an by bullet train. This was the birthplace of modern banking. I was very curious to see how the city’s architecture was impacted by banking.
I had the most incredible adventure travelling to Pingyao. The buildings were beautiful and the food was delicious. If I hadn’t been interested in seeing the effects of banking on an ancient city, then I never would have had such an amazing experience.
By Beth Jarrett from Frugal Female Abroad
14. “Courage is not the absence of fear, its inspiring others to move beyond it.” - Nelson Mandela
This quote is something that has helped me a lot when I first began to solo travel. As I spent a lot of my life being told this was something I couldn’t do. This is because where I grew up people don’t really ‘travel’ they do two week beach package holidays. And so I spent a lot of time having people project their fears of my solo travelling, onto me.
And when I finally went on my first solo trip to Bali in 2018, I had to use a lot of courage to show myself and those who love and care for me that I can do it. That I am capable of travelling alone and strong enough to face whatever comes my way. And by doing so I have been able to inspire others to push past their fears and not let it get in their way.
By Charlotte Blackburn from Bursting My Bubbles
15. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” - JRR Tolkien
This quote from JRR Tolkien’s famous novel ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and it's implications of fear, anticipation and the unknown, resonates with me and my experience of solo travel. Frodo was not an obvious adventurer; delicate in stature, a softly spoken introvert - but ultimately curious, moral and strong in nature. I live abroad full-time but ultimately often feel scared and don’t relate to the empowering solo travel stereotype, so Frodo’s unlikely adventure rings somewhat true. That said, he WASN’T a solo traveller most of the time. For any LOTR fan reading this and thinking of solo travel, you’re going to have to learn to be Samwise to your own Frodo.
The quote reminds me of two places. Firstly, the Midlands in the UK, which is where JRR Tolkien mostly grew up (and where I also did). Secondly, New Zealand. This is where the movie adaptation was filmed and has become synonymous with the imagery of the fictional Middle Earth. Since I just moved to New Zealand for a year, it’s safe to say I’m looking forward to being swept further afield than ever before.
By Cass from Cassie The Hag
16. “Never hesitate to go far away, beyond all seas, all frontiers, all countries, all beliefs.” — Amin Maalouf
When I graduated university I took a 2 month trip around China, Korea and Japan, just before starting my graduate job. During this trip I met a Korean guy that I quite liked, after the trip we stayed in touch and he came to visit 6 months later. The next year or so we saw each other every 3 months until I decided to move to South Korea to start a new life with him. This was a huge decision and not many people around me were supportive of this. Friends and family were trying to convince me to stay as they were saying I wouldn't be able to settle or wouldn't find a job.
Now 3 years later I run my own business in Korea and absolutely love living here. That's the reason I picked this quote. If I would have listened to friends and family, I would have missed out on an incredible experience and wouldn't be where I am today. So if you really want to go across the world to start a new life, do it! What's the worst that can happen?
By Marie from her Korea Blog Be Marie Korea
17. “You never really travel alone, the world is full of friends waiting to get to know you.”
Before I went on my first solo trip to Ireland, I was worried that I would be alone the whole time. What I didn't realize was exactly what this quote says - that you never really travel alone because the world is full of friends you haven't met yet. I arrived on a new continent without knowing a single person. I left six months later with many new friends including two very close ones that I am still in touch with a decade later.
I love this quote because it reminds me of one of my favorite parts about solo travel - all of the people you meet. Since my first solo trip I've taken dozens more, and every time have met amazing new people. In my experience, I've actually made more friends traveling solo then I have when I traveled with others. So next time you are afraid of traveling solo for fear of being alone, remember this quote. It couldn't be more true.
By Lora Pope from Explore with Lora
18. “The more I traveled, the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine
This quote really resonates with me because I've learned from my own travels that the best way to overcome fears and prejudices about a place and its people is by going to that place yourself and meeting those people face to face. The first trip that my husband Nick and I took together, back in 2003, was an overland trip through the Middle East from Cairo, Egypt to Istanbul, Turkey.
At that time, he wasn't my husband yet, and in fact, we weren't even dating when we started planning the trip. He had originally planned to make the trip alone, and I invited myself along because I wanted to visit the Middle East but was afraid of going there as a solo female traveler. I had a lot of preconceived notions about what people in the Middle East were like, but those all came crashing down once I got there and experienced how genuinely friendly and hospitable the locals were. I truly believe that, if people traveled more, we would all be more compassionate and understanding towards each other.
By Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
19. “I learned my strengths and my weaknesses. I experienced the exhilaration of the ups and the despairs of the lows and most of the feelings in between… I learned courage and I learned it myself” - Ann Stirk
This quote sums up just about all of the emotions and feelings that you will go through on a solo travel experience (if you’re willing to really throw yourself into the trip). Solo travel is about exploration. Not only of a place but of yourself. When you have to make the decisions each day about what you want, like, dislike, etc. You start to realise self-truths. What do you really like, and truly dislike (without anyone’s judgement).
Courage is not necessarily about exploring untouched parts of the world. It’s about tapping into new feelings that you’re not familiar with.
I spent 12 months in South America making my way from the south to the north. This is where I learned about my own courage, and the importance of eco travel. Being able to learn from yourself is one of the most rewarding experiences possible and for me it was inspired by experiencing things and places that I’d never been to.
If you’re lucky, solo travel will teach you more about yourself than you could ever imagine.
By Vivien fom The Dharma Trails
20. "Only those who do not climb mountains ask why people climb them. For those who climb, the answer is both obvious and impossible to explain. The everyday concerns of livelihood, of social standing, overdue bills, and futureless romance all fall away before the vast and overwhelming absolute of the mountain. " Paul Watkins
As a city dweller and solo traveller, I used to constantly fall into a deep psychoanalysis to ensure I had everything perfectly aligned – everything had to be far from practical, but near perfection and provide the utmost comfort. By the time I started trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal and India, and reached the foot of the majestic mountain range, all that didn’t matter anymore.
I realised the simplicity of life and solo travel and how so much of what we think of vs. what we need in life is vanished and often fallen way under the vast and overwhelming shadow of the mountains. Watkin’s quote is a reminder of celebrating the little things and to not sweat the small stuff, as long as you stay true to yourself, seek simplicity, banish consumerism, and best of all do not conform to societal expectations.
by Pashmina from The Gone Goat
Is there a particular quote on solo travel that resonates with you? If yes, do share with me in the comments below.