Stop what you’re doing and listen here. I’ll tell you the best places to go far and near. But don’t just take my words for it because I’ve compiled this list from all other lists. I even added my own top 16 for which this comprehensive destination tally consists. Using all the sources listed at the end of this post, I counted the destinations common to them all. Then the ones that got the most “votes” made it on this honorary 2016 top destinations wall. If you’re an enginerd like me, you’ll appreciate the data collections. If you hate stats, then just feast your eyes on these delectable picture selections.

Giant picture of the data that’ll hurt your eyes

data showing which source chose which destinations

data showing which source chose which destinations


An even bigger picture that shows the results

results showing the top destinations as voted by various sources

results showing the top destinations as voted by various sources


AND THE FINAL RESULTS ARE:

1. US National Parks

US National Parks top this year’s best destinations as it is the centennial of the National Parks founding – so go out there and explore these places astounding.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

2. Australia

With sunshine aplenty, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities for you to enjoy.

Beautiful Australia - by Hai Linh Truong

Beautiful Australia – by Hai Linh Truong

3. Cuba

With relations between Cuba and America opened, now’s the time to see Cuba!

4. France

Love is in the air, and so is the aroma of fresh French baguettes and wine.

France by Dennis Jarvis

France by Dennis Jarvis

5. Japan

Cherry blossoms, sushi, and everything in between – what else can you ask for?

Japan by amira_a

Japan by amira_a

6. Spain

Beautiful coastline and beautiful people.

Spain by Les Haines

Spain by Les Haines

7. China

Great Wall, Beijing, Kung-Fu, and Chinese food.

8. Hawaii

Get lei’d. ‘Nough sei’d.

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9. Brazil

2016 Olympics.

 

10. Italy

The birthplace of the gelato I hope – they have some good wine and olive oil too.

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11. England

The Queen lives there – or something like that.

England by Ian Muttoo

England by Ian Muttoo

12. Morocco

Culture, sights and sounds that’ll overwhelm your senses.

Morocco by Jamie McCaffrey

Morocco by Jamie McCaffrey

13. California

NorCal versus SoCal – let the debate begin!

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14. New York

New York is more than just the Big Apple, you jerks – there are also small apples.

New York by Henry Hemming

New York by Henry Hemming

15. South Africa

Let’s forget about the vuvuzelas okay?

South Africa by Celso Flores

South Africa by Celso Flores

16. Ecuador

Nature surrounds us all!

Simon Matzinger

Ecuador by Simon Matzinger

 

These beautiful images are provided by the talented people of Flickr, please check them out!

Travel on my friends!

Links where you can find the various media outlets’ rankings:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel/countries/1

https://www.yahoo.com/travel/your-travel-bucket-list-the-top-places-to-go-in-044732480.html

http://travel.usnews.com/gallery/Worlds-Best-Places-to-Visit-in-2015-16/

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2016/

http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-12-29/the-top-16-places-to-go-in-2016

http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-places-to-travel-in-2016

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/01/11/travel/52-places-to-go-in-2015.html?_r=0

http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/fodors-go-list-2016

http://www.afar.com/magazine/the-top-10-destinations-on-our-2016-travel-list

http://www.frommers.com/slideshows/848069-frommer-s-best-places-to-go-in-2016

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2016/01/01/travel-trends-2016-destinations-hotels-airlines/77966862/

http://mashable.com/2015/09/04/travel-books-2016/#4QM7ZdQ1aEqE

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2015/12/29/the-ten-best-budget-travel-destinations-for-2016/

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/best-places-visit-2016-top-10661343

http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/the-16-best-places-to-go-in-2016/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/chelseypippin/18-places-you-must-travel-in-2016#.gr4kGP7d1

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My college career was a blur. I don’t remember much except for the many bowling pins struck, many a Frisbees thrown, and many friends met. Mike, one of my long time friends, has lived quite an adventurous life after we graduated and it’s my pleasure talking with him now about being the most interesting man in the world. Follow him on Instagram @mhhicks for amazing pictures of his travels near and far – and for pictures of his regal dog Amador.

Expedia.com

[hr]

Up Up and a Bear: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Mike: I grew up in possibly the best place on Earth: Marin County, California. I studied Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at UC Davis. I then moved to San Francisco and decided to use my brainpower to promote clean technologies and clean energy. For most of my career I worked on building and growing SolarCity, which is now one of the largest solar energy companies in the world.

I’m very passionate about preserving the planet but also exploring it. In 2013 I took a “mini-retirement” for over two years to travel all over the world. It has been the highlight of my life and the best decision I have ever made. I’ve seen and done incredible things and feel like I’ve gained more intelligence and wisdom in the past two years than I did in the 29 years before that.

I’m a big believer in not waiting until old age to travel. My motto is YOYO: You’re Only Young Once.

hanging out with babes in Copenhagen

hanging out with babes in Copenhagen

Up Up and a Bear: YOYO – you should really trademark that! When did you start traveling, as a child or very recently?

Mike: I traveled a bit as a child because my parents also liked to travel but I didn’t travel extensively until I was in college. I was studying engineering at UC Davis and I really wanted to do a study abroad program but none were offered for engineering students. So I just made it happen myself, without the studying part. I traveled to Italy by myself for a month in the summer of 2005 and had the time of my life. Italy was so vibrant and different that it changed my perspective on everything, and I was hooked on traveling after that. Even today Italy is still my favorite country to explore.

My motto is YOYO: You’re Only Young Once.

Up Up and a Bear: Make your own study abroad program – genius! Tell me about your mini-retirement – how did you travel at that time?

Mike: I didn’t do a full year abroad like some people do. Instead I broke it up into several 2-3 month trips coming back to San Francisco between journeys. My longest trip was a full 3 months traveling through Western Europe for the whole summer of 2014. I’ve done several other 2+ month trips but this one was the longest one and I visited the most countries. I was 29 and had never seen the rest Western Europe besides Italy.

I started my trip in Lisbon, Portugal, which I highly recommend. I then did a loop through Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, back to France, and then onto the UK. Traveling around Europe was especially good because I had already traveled to other places and made friends with Europeans whom I stayed with for parts of my trip. I loved Europe so much that I went back for the summer of 2015!

South of France

South of France

Up Up and a Bear: That sounds epic. How did you pull it off financially?

Mike: Travel is expensive and I couldn’t have afforded to do so without having extra cash. The company I previously worked for had an IPO and I received a good payout and used some of the money I made to travel. It was money well spent. In Europe I stretched it by staying mostly in youth hostels, cheap hotels, and with friends. But I made sure to splurge on food and more expensive experiences. Especially in Italy and France – spend your money on food!

Up Up and a Bear: What did you learn while on this trip?

Mike: I learned that it is impossible to see and do everything. There are more places to see in the world than anyone has time for in their lifetime, so I learned to pick my battles. I usually choose a place to spend several days in, and I spend a lot of time enjoying the sights, culture and food.

…it’s risky to NOT travel.

Up Up and a Bear: What was the craziest thing you did on this trip?

Mike: I arrived in Copenhagen during the summer solstice, the biggest party week of the year. During this week young adults graduate their version of high school and they come to the city to party like crazy. It got pretty wild and it seemed like the whole city was drunk and celebrating. To top it off, they have a tradition where, after graduating, they will jump into the water naked. So at about three-o’clock in the morning there were dozens of naked Danes jumping off the walkways and into Nyhavn Harbor wearing only their white graduation caps. It was crazy.

Vernazza, Italy

Vernazza, Italy

Up Up and a Bear: Of course! How else would anyone celebrate graduation? Any other way would be barbaric! In light of what you’ve learned from your trips, what would you say to people hesitant to travel?

Mike: Just do it. People put off traveling because they think it’s risky to travel but the truth is it’s risky to NOT travel. You risk living your whole life having never done what you wanted to do. Do you want to live like that? Neither do I. So go do it.

Up Up and a Bear: Do you think the world would be a better place if more people traveled? How so?

Mike: The environmentalist in me says “don’t travel” because transportation contributes so much to global warming. But culturally I think it would be a huge benefit for people to see the way other people live. The only geographical region I think is truly internationally cultured is Europe. People from other parts of the world like North America and Asia just don’t get as much exposure to other cultures as people do in Europe. It would be so beneficial for our country if more Americans traveled. It is eye opening seeing how people in other countries live and behave so differently around the world.

…when you visit one place you suddenly realize you want to go to two or more places!

Up Up and a Bear: Agree with you 100% there. There were several quotes from my previous post, 99 epic travel quotes that will inspire you to travel, that I truly believe in. One of my favorites is “Traveling – you realize that differences are lost…” by Italo Calvino. When we’re isolated, we only understand as much of the world as the media and our circle of friends could tell us. When you travel and interact with people from different corners of the world, you come to realize that we’re all the intrinsically, but it’s our cultural differences that make life so beautiful. Anyway, I digress much. What’s your traveling style – slow and relaxed or fast and furious?

Mike: I like to travel slowly – if I’m traveling and I really like a place then I will stay there for a few days. In Copenhagen this summer I decided I was going to hang out there with my friends and explore the city more so I rented an apartment and stayed for an extra two weeks. When I was in Southeast Asia I relaxed on the Gili Islands off of Bali for three weeks and read a couple of books and learned how to free dive. You may see fewer things this way but it is so much more satisfying to travel slowly.

bro-ing on the beach in the South of France

bro-ing on the beach in the South of France

Up Up and a Bear: So what’s the next epic trip, back to the bridge where the Danes jump off for graduation?

Mike: I don’t know yet! In Greek mythology there is the legend of the Hydra – if you cut off one head then two will grow back. Traveling is the same way, when you visit one place you suddenly realize you want to go to two or more places! Come to think of it… I want to go to Greece and Croatia next!

Up Up and a Bear: Mike, thank you for your frank responses. It’s been a pleasure interviewing you. It’s clear that traveling has made a significant impact to your life. Thank you for spreading the gospel and good luck on your next journeys.

You can find and follow Mike on his next adventures on Instagram @mhhicks or http://instagram.com/mhhicks. Fun fact: Mike’s favorite supermodel Petra Nemcova follows him on Instagram – so you should too!

You can find Mike’s upcoming iOS app, Daily Good, with daily challenges to do good for the environment at www.DailyGood.us.

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Welcome to 2016! I’ve compiled 99 inspiring travel quotes to spark that desire adventures. Let this year be the year you see more of the world than you’ve ever done before. Please comment below to let me know your favorite(s) or if you have some that aren’t shown here. If this inspired you, please share so that others might be inspired too! Thanks and have a wonderful 2016!


 

1. 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 to understand each other, we might even become friends. – Maya Angelou

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2. To travel is to evolve. – Pierre Bernardo

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3. We travel not to escape life, but for life to not escape us. – Anonymous

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4. Travel makes on modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. – Gustave Flaubert

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5. Reading ten thousand books is not as useful as traveling ten thousand miles. -Chinese proverb

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6. Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shores. -Andre Gide

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7. The real voyage of discovery consists of not seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

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8. We do not take a trip; a trip takes us. -John Steinbeck

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9. Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

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10. Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. -Ibn Battuta

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11. We shall not cease from exploration, and to the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. -T.S. Eliot

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12. Better to see something once, than to hear it a thousand times. -Asian proverb

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13. I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little. -Alexander Sattler

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14. There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars. -Jack Kerouac

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15. For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci

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16. To travel is to live. -Hans Christian Andersen

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17. If at some point you don’t ask yourself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ then you’re not doing it right. -Roland Gau

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18. If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. -Anonymous

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19. Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled. -Mohammed

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20. Half the fun of travel is the esthetic of lostness. -Ray Bradbury

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21. The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page. -Saint Augustine

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22. I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question. -Harun Yahya

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23. One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. -Henry Miller

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24. Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves. -Carol Pearson

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25. Adventure is worthwhile. -Aesop

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26. Certainly, travel is more than seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. -Mary Ritter Beard

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27. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime. -Mark Twain

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28. One travels to run away from routine, that dreadful routine that kills all imagination and all our capacity for enthusiasm. -Ella Maillart

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29. The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends. -Shirley MacLaine

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30. To travel is to take a journey into yourself. -Danny Kaye

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31. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list. -Susan Sontag

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32. Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. -Mark Twain

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33. The world is the traveler’s inn. -Afghan proverb

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34. If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -Glenn Clark

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35. To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted. -Bill Bryson

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36. Travel is like a giant blank canvas, and the painting on the canvas is only limited by one’s imagination. -Ross Morley

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37. Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure. -Irving Wallace

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38. Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else. -Lawrence Block

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39. We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. -Pico Iyer

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40. Take only memories, leave only footprints. -Chief Seattle

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41. Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey. -Fitzhugh Mullan

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42. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

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43. Traveling is a return to the essentials. -Tibetan proverb

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44. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. -Lao Tzu

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45. The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for. -Louis L’Amour

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46. When overseas you learn more about your own country than you do the place you’re visiting. -Clint Borgen

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47. The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. -Gilbert Chesterton

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48. Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone. -Wendell Berry

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49. You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world. -William Hazlitt

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50. Traveling – you realize that differences are lost. -Italo Calvino

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51. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before. -Dalai Lama

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52. 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. -Jawaharal Nehru

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53. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. -Ray Bradbury

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54. He that travels far knows much. -Romanian proverb

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55. We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. -Hilaire Belloc

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56. I still make sure to go, at least once every year, to a country where things cannot be take for granted, and where there is either too much law and order or too little. -Christopher Hitchens

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57. If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal. -Paulo Coelho

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58. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. -Anonymous

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59. Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way that they have been told to. -Alan Keightley

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60. Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. -Pico Iyer

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61. A traveler without observation is a bird without wings. -Sheikh Saadi

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62. He who is outside his door already has the hardest part of his journey behind him. -Dutch proverb

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63. Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled. -Robert Frost

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64. No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. -Lin Yutang

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65. You don’t have to be rich to travel well. -Eugene Fodor

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66. A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. -Lao Tzu

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67. The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are. -Samuel Johnson

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68. Oh the places you’ll go. -Dr. Seuss

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69. To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries. -Aldous Huxley

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70. Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. -Seneca

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71. Long-term travel doesn’t require a massive bundle of cash; it requires only that we walk through the world in a more deliberate way. -Rolf Potts

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72. Travel tends to magnify all human emotions. -Peter Hoeg

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73. Wisdom can be found traveling. -Sri Lankan proverb

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74. It’s a big world out there. It would be a shame not to experience it. -JD Andrews

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75. When the traveler goes alone he gets acquainted with himself. -Liberty Hyde Bailey

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76. I am not the same, having seen the moon on the other side of the world. -Mary Anne Radmacher

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77. Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection. -Lawrence Durrell

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78. To travel is to see. -Tswana proverb

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79. A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for. -Gael Attal

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80. The further one goes, the less (one realizes) on knows. -Lao Tzu

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81. No matter where you go, there you are. -Anonymous

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82. For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. -Robert Louis Stevenson

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83. No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be. -Chuck Thompson

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84. I love the feeling of being anonymous in a city I’ve never been before. -Anonymous

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85. If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. -James Michener

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86. Live, travel, adventure, and don’t be sorry. -Jack Kerouac

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87. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. -Andrew Zimmern

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88. Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it. -Eudora Welty

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89. I traveled in the most inefficient way possible and it took me exactly where I wanted to go. -Andrew Evans

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90. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. -William

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91. How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -R. Buckminster Fuller

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92. It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. -Ernest Hemingway

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93. All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. -Martin Buber

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94. Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken. -Frank Herbert

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95. Investment in travel is an investment in yourself. -Matthew Karsten

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96. He who does not travel does not know the value of men. -Moorish proverb

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97. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. -Neale Donald Walsch

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98. The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them. -Amelia E. Barr

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99. I read. I travel. I become. -Derk Walcott

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I hope you’re as psyched as I am for the year of travel ahead. If you’ve been inspired, please share this article to inspire others. Let me know below which one was your favorite. If you liked this, you can sign up for my newsletter to get more travel inspirations straight to your inbox once in a while.

Travel on my friends!



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