80 Quotes About Exploration (With Pics) for Every Explorer

The word exploration or being an explorer is often related to sailors, colonizers, or missionaries. Nowadays, it’s what we call biologists, hikers, or astronauts. But if you’ve found your way onto this website, it’s likely that you too are an explorer. Whether you’re a traveler, an adventurer, a writer, it’s likely you do a bit of exploration of your own.

Today we bring you an array of exploration quotes meant to inspire and uplift your spirits. Having trouble coming up with the perfect caption for your Instagram travel pictures? We’ve got you covered! Get motivated by renowned explorers, words of literary geniuses, and other thoughts on exploration by some of the greatest thinkers.

Grab a notepad and a pen because you’ll be wanting to write these quotes about exploration down!

Best quotes about exploration

While exploration is the act of searching in order to discover, it doesn’t always refer to land or science. Some explorations are meant to be done within ourselves. Throughout this selection of quotes, you’ll find that sometimes the only way to grow is by venturing out of your comfort zone.

Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” 


I’ve heard this quote a long time ago. I couldn’t really agree with it as backed then I had no passport and every bit of changed I managed to save up would go into buying new books. It was after I became an adult, got myself a passport and started exploring that I finally understood: books give us a peek into anothers mind and imagination, but none of those stories are ours… The best stories are the ones we make from memories – after all, we are the protagonist of our own lives.

Live your life by a compass, not a clock.”

Stephen Covey

Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” 


This quote definitely rings differently in the time we currently live in. People are often too preoccupied trying to obtain things thing that add little (or nothing) to their lives. But there’s one thing my great-grandfather used to say that comes to mind here… He said that when you’re about to go, you won’t be thinking of the things you have as you can’t take them with you. You’ll remember the life you lived, the people you met and the places you’ve seen – and I couldn’t agree more.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Andre Gide

The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands.”

Sir Richard Burton

I have worn the dust of many foreign streets, but to brush it off would surely be a crime. I have memories of many foreign adventures, but to forget them, would surely be a sin. So, breath in the dust, and keep the memories in.”

Rowland Waring-Flood

This is one of my personal favorites. Like, may take you many places. Sometimes, those will not leave the best impression, either because of something you experienced or someone you met. But you can’t deny they’ve made you grow, made you look at things from a different perspective. I’m a firm believer that every experience is a learning opportunity. So it’s okay to remember even the bad times for they will make you realize how far you’ve come.

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” 

Dalai Lama

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

John A. Shedd

This is the more poetic alternative to you’ll only start living when you step out of your comfort zone. Like ships, us too are born to be explorers, to venture, learn and discover.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” 


“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”

Lawrence Block

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Hellen Keller

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.”

Mark Twain

Not all classrooms have four walls.” 


Adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you.” 


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

St Augustine

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” 

Susan Sontag

If you’re a travel-lover like me, like all of us at Hey Explorer, you’ll definitely relate to having an endless list of dream destinations. It’s almost like everytime you check another off, a couple more creep their way onto it.

Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted.”


Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.”

Oscar Wilde

The goal is to die with memories not dreams”


Again, this one ties real nicely with the advice I mentioned earlier. It’s great to dream, in fact, dreams should be encouraged. But a dream is nothing but an unfulfilled wish if you don’t make it real. So let your dreams guide you throughout your life and always try your best to turn them into memories.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”


We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.”

Hilaire Belloc

Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.” 

Jaime Lyn Beatty

Blessed are the curious for they will have adventures.” 


“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.” 

Roman Payne

This is a great reminder that we’re not meant to be a sedentary species. It doesn’t necessarily mean we should all be traveling the world (although I definitely think we all should). It means we’re not meant to stay still for a long time. We need to go outside from time to time, enjoy nature, give our bodies a chance to move beyond the limitations of a four-walled room.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” 

Eleanor Roosevelt

In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” 

Ansel Adams

Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown.”

Claude Berna

Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” 

Michael Palin

Exploring is an innate part of being human. We’re all explorers when we’re born. Unfortunately, it seems to get drummed out of many of us as we get older, but it’s there, I think, in all of us. And for me, that moment of discovery is just so thrilling, on any level, that I think anybody that’s experienced it is pretty quickly addicted to it.” 

Edith Widder

Until you cross the bridge of your insecurities, you can’t begin to explore your possibilities.” 

Tim Fargo

Seize the day boys, make your life extraordinary.”

John Keating, Dead Poets Society

This quote is from a life-changing movie I watched in my early teen years. Professor John Keating was the teacher I never had but wish I did. I admired him so much that I considered following in his steps and someday become a teacher too. And with this, he reminded us of how fragile life is, how we never know how much time we have left. So we should always strive to make each day another step into our extraordinary life.

It is a big and beautiful world. Most of us live and die in the same corner where we were born and never get to see any of it. I don’t want to be most of us.” 

Oberyn Martell, Game of Thrones

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” 

E. L. Doctorow

Best quotes by Explorers

When it comes to exploration, it should come as no surprise that explorers provide some great pieces or advice. These are a few notable explorers in their fields who have shared their thoughts with the world. Whether they were looking to inspire or just reflecting upon their experiences, we sure hope these will motivate you.

Edmund Hillary Quotes

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was a New Zealand explorer. In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest.

He later served as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal. He was also a navigator for the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War II. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Jump to our next article on the most inspirational quotes about mountains for even more options!

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

Edmund Hillary

People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”

Edmund Hillary

It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, not for what he may find.”

Edmund Hillary

No one remembers who climbed Mount Everest the second time.”

Edmund Hillary

I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it.”

Edmund Hillary

Sylvia Earle Quotes

Sylvia Alice Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. Earle was also the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

She was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998 and is also part of the group Ocean Elders, which aims to protect the ocean and its wildlife.

Everyone everywhere is inextricably connected to and utterly dependent upon the existence of the sea.”

Sylvia Earle

I find the lure of the unknown irresistible.”

Sylvia Earle

If you give up, it’s over.”

Sylvia Earle

Every time I slip into the ocean, it’s like going home.”

Sylvia Earle

Everyone has power. But it doesn’t help if you don’t use it.”

Sylvia Earle

Jacques-Yves Cousteau Quotes

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, filmmaker, scientist, photographer, author, and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.

He co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation, and was a member of the Académie française. He’s notably known for his series of books depicting his underwater world research. Cousteau was also the first person to win a Palme D’Or for a documentary film.

The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself”

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man, it is to know that and to wonder at it.”

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

People protect what they love.”

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.”

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

James Cooke Quotes

James J. Cooke was an American historian, author, academic, and soldier. He is known for his studies of the American armed forces during World War I.

Everybody lives an epic.”

James Cooke

Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me but as far as I think it possible for man to go.”

James Cooke

Whatever you do without confidence will be done badly.”

James Cooke

Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”

James Cooke

Remember, the greater the opportunity, the fewer are those who see it.”

James Cooke

Other great quotes by explorers

I am not afraid of the darkness. Real death is preferable to a life without living.”

Vasco Da Gama

The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore…unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible…it is with an iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors…to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown.”

Ferdinand Magellan

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Christopher Columbus

If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”

David Livingston

It was so wonderful that I do not know how to describe this first glimpse of things never heard of, seen, or dreamed of before.”

Hernando Cortes

Happiness is the struggle towards a summit and, when it is attained, it is happiness to glimpse new summits on the other side.”

Fridtjof Nansen

The path is not easy, the climbing is rugged and hard, but the glory at the end is worthwhile.”

Matthew Henson

Of the gladdest moments in human life…is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands.”

Richard Francis Burton

Exploration quotes in literature

Like I said earlier, writers are also explorers. Most of all, they allow us to explore, to venture through our (and their) imagination. The quotes below are proof of how exploration and adventure are always portrayed in books. And who knows? If nothing else, at least this list might help you find your next read.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” 

T. S. Eliot

Oh, the places you’ll go!”

Dr. Seuss

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

When you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back; the more one comes to know them, the more one seeds them with the invisible crop of memories and associations that will be waiting for when you come back, while new places offer up new thoughts, new possibilities. Exploring the world is one of the best ways of exploring the mind, and walking travels both terrains.” 

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust

Not all those who wander are lost.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring

Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.”

Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Adventure is allowing the unexpected to happen to you. Exploration is experiencing what you have not experienced before.”

Richard Aldington, Death of a Hero

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

An explorer cannot stay at home reading maps other men have made.”

Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Best Instagram quotes about exploration

And of course, no quote list would be complete without an Instagram-curated selection. These are a few short, tasteful sentences that will surely take your caption game to the next level. Choose the one that speaks to you most and share a happy memory with your friends and followers.

So much of who we are is where we have been.”

William Langewiesche

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Jennifer Lee

Don’t listen to what they say. Go see.”


If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” 

Rachel Wolchin

You can shake the sand from your shoes, but it will never leave your soul.” 


Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.”


So our list of exploration quotes has officially come to an end. I hope you were as inspired and motivated as us! Comment down below which you liked best and are most likely to use for your Instagram caption. You could also tell us your favorite quotes that we missed to add to our list.

Next, read our epic hiking quotes, waterfall quotes or quotes about long drives and road trips. And remember to always go on exploring!

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