Wise Words

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” — Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” — Wade Davis, The Serpent and the Rainbow

“She always had that about her, that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and of thoughts that wander off the edge of the world.” ― Joanne Harris, Chocolat

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“What does freedom mean if we accept the fundamental premise that humans are social beings, raised in certain social and historical contexts and belonging to particular communities that shape their desires and understandings of the world?” ― Lila Abu-Lughod, Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

“You are still young. Free,” he said, spreading his hands apart for emphasis. “Do yourself a favor. Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will regret it. One day it will be too late.” — The Namesake Jhumpa Lahiri

— Jack Kerouac, On the Road

“The first commandment for every good explorer is that an expedition has two points: the point of departure and the point of arrival. If your intention is to make the second theoretical point coincide with the actual point of arrival, don’t think about the means — because the journey is a virtual space that finishes when it finishes, and there are as many means as there are different ways of ‘finishing.’ That is to say, the means are endless.” ― Ernesto Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

“Time is priceless, but it’s Free. You can’t own it, you can use it. You can spend it. But you can’t keep it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” ― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

“You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing,” and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.” ― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”” — David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

— James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation…” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Everywhere I went, sultans asked me about my home and about my travels. Under warm African stars, I found the words I needed and told them all I could. Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” ― Ibn Battuta, The Travels of Ibn Battutah

“…Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this. Every native would like to find a way out, every native would like a rest, every native would like a tour. But some natives—most natives in the world—cannot go anywhere. They are too poor. They are too poor to go anywhere. They are too poor to escape the reality of their lives; and they are too poor to live properly in the place they live, which is the very place you, the tourist, want to go—so when the natives see you, the tourist, they envy you, they envy your ability to leave your own banality and boredom, they envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself.” — Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (…) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” ― John Green, Looking for Alaska

“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.” — Ram Das, Be Here Now

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” ― Kim McMillen, When I Loved Myself Enough

“Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh, You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos