Huzzah! April 23rd is William Shakespeare’s birth and death day. Every literature nerd knows this fact. As for me, believe it or not, I have a love/hate relationship with the Bard. I can already see your raised eyebrows. I know. I feel like I should have my MA in English Literature revoked for admitting my (occasional) lukewarm thoughts about poor ol’ Bill. Aren’t I supposed to love him unconditionally?
Eh. It’s complicated. Shakespeare’s tragedies, like Macbeth and Hamlet, never fail to “wow!” me. I’m still waiting for the day when I can finally see Macbeth performed live on stage. The violent tragedy about the Scottish King was my absolute favorite required reading in high school, and I even credit the story for convincing me to major in English at university. So lots of love there.
However, I wrote my Masters thesis on Measure For Measure, which is one of Shakespeare’s darker comedies. I have nothing against the play itself, but the thesis was hell on earth. Seriously, endless annotations, rough drafts,
way harsh constructive criticism, and sleepless coffee-fueled nights not only took an incredible toll on my sanity, but would’ve made Satan cry twenty-four hours a day.
Back on topic!
Shakespeare is one of the most influential writers eveeeeer, regardless of my personal feelings, and honestly, some of his quotes make me wanna pack my bags and go on an epic adventure far, far, far away.
Furthermore, I hope these Shakespeare Travel Quotes strike a “wanderlusty chord” with you! Or maybe his words of wisdom will just encourage you to see a Shakespeare play? Haha, I sure hope so. I need some literature lovers in my life after my students despised Julius Caesar so much. You can’t win them all.
1. “Boldness be my friend!” – Cymbeline 1.6
You can’t allow fear to stop you from seeing the world. If you’re bold, you’re willing to take risks – even big scary ones – to achieve your dreams. And don’t confuse “bold” with “outgoing” either. You can be a super bold person, pushing yourself beyond personal limits, and still not act like the life of the party (or the hostel).
Shy or not, travel requires us to act bold. We’re forced to leave our cultural baggage behind so we can learn new ways of looking at the world. Language barriers and unfamiliar foods exist (sorry, I still gotta get over that food poisoning fear...). Nothing is certain.
We walk down the wrong alley or board the wrong subway train, and then, glancing around, realize that we’ve no earthly clue where the heck we are. And then we walk so much that blisters form on the bottoms of our feet. Of course, we forget to pack bandaids too. Need that icing on the “whoops!” cake.
But if you’re bold, these risks are worth the rewards. And the rewards? Are great. So be bold.
2. “There is no darkness but ignorance” – Twelfth Night 4.2
Erm, this quote is rather appropriate for the times, huh?
Anyway, travel helps crush ignorance or lack of knowledge. When you meet people from all over the world, stereotypes suddenly break down into itty bitty pieces. I know, for me personally, I now view American politics and society a lot differently than I did as a teenager. Crossing these manmade boundaries empowers us, because at the end of the day, we all want to feel like we belong. Empathy becomes second nature to us.
By booking that ticket and encountering new people and cultures, the darkness in our minds melts and transforms into a spellbinding light of new information.
I firmly believe ethical travel makes you a better, stronger, more compassionate person.
3. “This above all: to thine own self be true” – Hamlet 1.3
Argh, for goodness sake, remain true to your wishes and dreams and goals. You only have one life. Yours. So don’t waste it on garbage. I hate to sound so demanding, but I’m passionate about not squandering the limited time we have on earth. I don’t want to lie on my death bed, gasping for air, as my weak mind thinks about a long list of pathetic regrets.
I know, I know. Way easier said than done. It’s convenient to fall into an orderly line and just do what everyone else expects of you. Honestly, I think following the crowd is easy too. I might act like a sassy loudmouth online, but ughhhh, I absolutely hate disappointing my friends and family. Heck, I even have a hard time saying a polite “no” to co-workers, haha.
However, if you want to travel for three years and see the world, do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Will you need to save money? Yes. Will you need a life plan? Yes. But don’t let your dreams stay dreams forever.
4. “Cowards die many times before their deaths” – Julius Caesar 2.2
I recently talked about how solo travel helped my anxiety. I’m a work in progress, but I’m slowly improving my mental health.
But the sad thing is I wasn’t always like this.
According to … well, all my family members, I was a crazy and wild kid. Nothing scared me. I’d climb trees and jump into the ocean’s waves without a single care in the world. Death wasn’t even in my vocabulary. I was apparently so freakin’ nuts that my parents were relieved my younger brother was so calm, because it proved not all toddlers had my energy.
So, for me, every time I cave to my “what if’s” and allow anxiety to win, I feel a small part of my fearless childhood self dying forever.
Facing your fears abroad liberates you. Don’t let those shiny brave parts of you die. Go surfing. Go camping in the desert. Jump off that mountain in Slovenia. Kiss that beautiful girl/boy under the stars.
5. “The course of true love never did run smooth” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1.1
Haha, I’ll skip over the obvious romantic meaning of this quote. I’m 99.99% sure we’ve all been there.
But what about love for a career or hobby? What about love for travel? Yup, that particularly type of love never ever runs smooth either, does it? I’m notorious for ridiculous screw ups at home and abroad. I never had a “mistake free” trip.
Not to mention, travel costs a boatload of money. You can find cheap flights, you can go couchsurfing, you can eat ramen noodles the entire time (ew), but let’s not kid ourselves: travel is an investment and long-term travel, where you’re not employed as an expat or studying abroad, requires a break from either school or work. Life is interrupted.
However, if it’s true love, travel is worth the sacrifice.
6. “Love all, trust few, do wrong to none” – All’s Well That Ends Well 1.1
Self explanatory, really.
I travel solo most of the time and for safety reasons, I don’t blindly trust strangers who say they’ve my best interests at heart. However, I’m always polite and I never do anything “wrong” to those I encounter on the road. I really don’t want to cough up money for a lawyer and then watch my “Locked Up Abroad” story appear on CNN.
Be smart, my friends.
Do you have any favorite Shakespeare quotes or plays? Did any of these quotes “speak” to you? Share in the comments. For even more inspiration, check these 50 travel quotes.