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Top-Five Stories

Quotes and proverbs of wisdom from Norwegian Vikings and famous explorers!

2006-09-22
Quotes and proverbs of wisdom from explorers have guided me on my journeys around the world. Some of them are from Norwegian Vikings, and other are from great travellers as Captain James Cook, Thor Heyerdahl and Rudard Kipling. First of all I will say these quotes are for wisdom, but also for inspiration, motivation, attitude, behaviour and humour.

Photo. Sigbjørn, a Viking traveller from Norway, following wise advises from his forthfathers, The Vikings. His favourite moto on his journeys is: Smile to the world, and the world will smile to you.

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step", according to an old Chinese Proverb. The first step in my opinion is gathering useful information for the journey, but if you consider the world as a book there is another proverb for this: "The world is a book. He who does not travel only reads one page" (St. Augustine). Actual, travelling is about learning of life: "He that travels far knows much".

I have collected some quotes especially suitable for travelling. It could be a good idea to keep these quotes in mind when you are travelling and communicating with people with another lifestyle and cultural background. The mentioned explorers show way for others, and we can learn many things from them.

Sayings of the Vikings from The Havamal or Book of Viking Wisdom, Wisdom inspired by and from the Icelandic Sagas:
The Vikings had some wise quotes from The Havama. One of them goes like this:
Our most important baggage on our journeys is wisdom!

A similar quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn goes like this:
"Own only what you can carry with you;
know language, know countries, know people.
Let your memory be your travel bag."
Other Be your friend's
true friend.
Return gift for gift.
Repay laughter
with laughter again
but betrayal with treachery". 

Other sayings of the Vikings from The Havamal:

One should not ask more than would be thought fitting.

Never break the peace which good and true men make between you and others.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

James R. Cook quotes:
James Cook, known as Captain Cook: 1728-1779, was a British navigator and explorer who commanded three major voyages of discovery, charting and naming many islands of the Pacific Ocean. He also sailed along the coast of North America as far north as the Bering Strait. Captain James Cook is widely renowned as an explorer, pioneering navigator and preventer of scurvy.

You are never giving, nor can you ever give, enough service.

The Journal of Captain Cook - Second Voyage:
"... I had ambition not only to go farther than any one had been before, but as far as it was possible for man to go ..." - James Cook, R.N.
 

“Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.” - Captain James Cook.

Rudyard Kipling quotes:
The Just So Stories for Little Children were written by British author Rudyard Kipling. They are highly fantasised origin stories and are among his best known works. The stories, first published in 1902, are fantastic accounts of how various natural phenomena came about. A introduction to these stories is "How Fear Came" in The Second Jungle Book (1895), in which Mowgli hears the story of how the tiger got his stripes.

"I Keep Six Honest Serving Men ...":  

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

The original editions of Just So Stories were illustrated with woodcuts by Kipling himself, though later editions have included illustrations by other artists. Each story is accompanied by a poem, in a somewhat ballad style. The poem after "The Elephant's Child" is particularly widely quoted; it opens:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Here are some quotes from the Norwegian explorer and adventurer  Thor Heyerdal:
We have always been taught that navigation is the result of civilization, but modern archeology has demonstrated very clearly that this is not so.
Thor Heyerdahl

In my experience, it is rarer to find a really happy person in a circle of millionaires than among vagabonds.
Thor Heyerdahl

It is also rarer to find happiness in a man surrounded by the miracles of technology than among people living in the desert of the jungle and who by the standards set by our society would be considered destitute and out of touch.
Thor Heyerdahl

Thor Heyerdahl  from Norway was a great explorer and adventurer. He was a real friend of the world.

It says in the Bible, in plain words, that God made a self-portrait. He created man in His own image - man and woman - for God is Love.Why should we start thinking of a god up in the clouds with wings, if He dwells within us in the spirit of Love?!
Thor Heyerdahl

One learns more from listening than speaking.And both the wind and the people who continue to live close to nature still have much to tell us which we cannot hear within university walls.
Thor Heyerdahl

Other quotes:

Alas! Alas! Life is full of disappointments; as one reaches one ridge there is always another and a higher one beyond which blocks the view.
Fridtjof Nansen

I demolish my bridges behind me - then there is no choice but forward.
Fridtjof Nansen

It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport.
Fridtjof Nansen

Never keep a line of retreat: it is a wretched invention.
Fridtjof Nansen

Never stop because you are afraid - you are never so likely to be wrong.
Fridtjof Nansen

The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer.
Fridtjof Nansen

The Norwegian tour operator Svalbard Villmarkssenter, who organise adventure trips at the arctic island Svalbard in Norway writes on their webiste:
"Don`t go where the path may lead you, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail".

Francis Bacon: A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.

Believe you can and you`re half way there, Theodore Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt: The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

An example of an expedition goal from the Norwegian K2 Expedition - Cecilie Skog:

Motives:
- The expedition group want to be the first Norwegians reaching the top of the world`s most challenging mountain K2, which is 8.611 meter high.
- The expedition want to do by fair means, it means without extra oxygen and without assistance of porters above Base Camp.

Goals (translated from Norwegian based on information from their website (Norwegian K2 Expedition):
1. Everybody shall return home alive and in good condition.
2. We shall return home as better friends than before we started our tour.
3. One or more shall reach the top of K2.

"The best climber in the world is the one who's having the most fun."
--Alex Lowe, professional mountaineer

Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination."
--Roy M. Goodman

"Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but rather a manner of traveling."
--M.L. Runbeck

"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour."
--Unknown

"The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time."
--Colette, Paris From My Window (1944)

* "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
--Unknown

"If you don't climb the mountain, you can't see the view. "
--Unknown

A traveller without observation is a bird without wings.

Hopefully this selection of travel quotes and proverbs, may provide some inspiration advise for your journey ahead.

Stein Morten Lund, 21 September 2006 (updated 5 June 2011)

Additional information
Read about unique travel explorations and adventures on our website Travel Explorations: www.TravelExplorations.com.

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