100+ Provocative Quotes to Inspire Your Sabbatical or Amazing Adventure!

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Ireland Road Trip, 2015

As you experience any big life change, it is often reassuring and motivating to reflect on the wise words of others who have gone before you.  As my husband and I have been planning for our sabbatical, we have often relied on the encouragement and inspiration of others to keep going, to get past the fears that try to hold us back, to know that what we are doing, because it comes from a deep inward desire to really LIVE, is right.

I am a big believer that WORDS MATTER.  The well-articulated words of others can help us quell fears, find new inspiration, goad us on to fulfill the dreams we have, and to persevere.  The opposite is also true, so it is important to fill our lives with positivity and words that will take us where we want to go, not hold us back.

 “There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
Erin Hanson

Below are some quotes that I have turned to over the past year as we have embarked on our planning and brought to life our intent to jump off a metaphorical cliff into the great unknown of our year-long sabbatical.  They are organized into themes of travel, courage, happiness, and freedom.  Click on the links for more information about the authors from Goodreads.

Travel

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From a Helicopter, Hawaii, Island of Kauai, 2012

“Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don’t talk in English and don’t even want to.” ― Thornton Wilder, Our Town

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

“I ordered a coffee and a little something to eat and savored the warmth and dryness. Somewhere in the background Nat King Cole sang a perky tune. I watched the rain beat down on the road outside and told myself that one day this would be twenty years ago.”
Bill Bryson

“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” – Caskie Stinnett

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

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

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.”
G.K. Chesterton

Road to Priest’s Leap, Ireland, 2015

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”
James A. Michener

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
Pico Iyer

“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”
Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

“Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.”
Tennessee Williams, Camino Real

“See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
Jawaharlal Nehru

“There’s something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.”
Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps

“The journey itself is my home.”
Bashō Matsuo

“The farther you go, however, the harder it is to return. The world has many edges, and it’s easy to fall off.”
Anderson Cooper

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Gustave Flaubert

“Travel does not exist without home….If we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.”
Josh Gates, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter

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Grand Tetons, 2013

“We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.” ― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Augustine of Hippo

Courage

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Evergreen, Colorado, July 2013

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
William Faulkner

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Jalaluddin Rumi

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
Maya Angelou

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”
Milton Berle

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
Shannon L. Alder

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Anaïs Nin

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
George Eliot

Washington D.C., 2016

“Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.”― Matshona Dhliwayo

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Frank Herbert, Dune

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
C. JoyBell C.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Nelson Mandela

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Marie Curie

“She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.”
Shel Silverstein, Every Thing on It

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2013

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
Audre Lorde

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt, Strenuous Life

“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”
Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.”
Chuck Palahniuk

Hotel del Coronado, California, 2015

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
Jim Morrison

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”
Aristotle

Happiness

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Sister, Brother-in-law, and my two nieces on a family hike, Estes Park, Colorado, July 2015

“Laughter is poison to fear.” George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw

“Whoever is happy will make others happy.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
J. Richard Lessor

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.”
Edith Wharton

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
Oprah Winfrey

“The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Take responsibility of your own happiness, never put it in other people’s hands.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Just because you are happy it does not mean that the day is perfect but that you have looked beyond its imperfections”
Bob Marley

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ”
Epictetus

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
Dalai Lama XIV

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
Hunter S. Thompson

“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

B&B in Killarney, Ireland, 2015

“A mathematical formula for happiness: Reality divided by Expectations. There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.”
Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”
Robert Frost

“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
G.K. Chesterton

“I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Dromoland Castle gardens, Ireland, 2015

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
John Lennon

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”
Mark Twain

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get”
W.P. Kinsella

“I’m happy. Which often looks like crazy.”
David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly

“The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think.”
C. JoyBell C.

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“Hanging out” with my niece in San Antonio, 2015

The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage.”
Carrie Jones, Need

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?”
Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

Freedom

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Grand Teton National Park, 2013

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
Jim Morrison

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Marthe Troly-Curtin, Phrynette Married

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

“Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself.”
C. JoyBell C.

“Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
Anaïs Nin, Incest: From a Journal of Love

“Freedom lies in being bold.”― Robert Frost

“Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free.”
Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”
Robert A. Heinlein

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
William Faulkner, Essays, Speeches & Public Letters

Ireland’s School of Falconry, 2015

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”
David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city”
Roman Payne, The Wanderess

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
Jean-Paul Sartre

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Nelson Mandela

“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms

San Diego, 2015

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
Benjamin Franklin

“If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.”
Michael Bassey Johnson, The Infinity Sign

“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”
Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”
Rosa Luxemburg

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
Ansel Adams

“A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.”― Maya Angelou, The Complete Collected Poems

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”
Alan W. Watts

Old Church in Kellsborough, Ireland 2015

“Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running—that’s the way to live.”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”
Napoléon Bonaparte

Sunrise at Pueblo Bonita Sunset Beach, Cabo, 2016

“I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.”
Mahatma Gandhi, The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas

“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.”
Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

“He who is brave is free”
Seneca

“Chains of gold are still chains.”
Robert Thier, Storm and Silence

“Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols


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