Meditations in Nature: Quotes to Inspire and to Live By

Originally posted on The Trek on September 13th 2016

I feel that sometimes in life, people need a little inspiration. Many find that through books and movies. Hell, I think just to name two, “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson, and “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, both had a huge influence on getting people to go out on a hike in the wilderness in order to find themselves. We’re romanced by media and a lot of times get stuck daydreaming without actually getting our feet wet or making the plunge (depending on how big of a leap of faith these dreams are to you).

One thing that I’ve used for encouragement and inspiration would be quotes. It doesn’t matter who they are from so long as the words speak true to the way I want to think and live. It sounds silly, but it’s really that simple. A few words can help rewire your brain and once you change your thinking, things start to look up. Simultaneously, hiking the trail with all the words of wisdom embedded in me has pulled me out of a funk that I was stuck in for decades. The trail itself can heal the soul, but that’s step two. Step one is putting on your helmet, getting a gentle smack of encouragement on the butt, and getting in the game. Many dream of hiking the trail, but never will because they quit before they’ve even started.

Below I posted some quotes that were inspiring to me. What you do with them is up to you. Write them on post-it notes and stick them all over your house, add an app or join a mailing list to receive new quotes daily, or stare blankly at your monitor or handheld device as you scroll through them, then get on with your day. It’s entirely up to you! But if you’re dreaming of a thru hike or anything else for that matter, remember that life flies past you quickly, and a life spent strictly working to the bone rewards you with nothing but regrets. Don’t hesitate for too long, and don’t forget to get out there and live damnit!

Quotes for Getting a Move on Already! 


“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” ~ Frank Herbert, novelist

“In order to kick ass you must first lift up your foot.” ~ Jen Sincero, “Badass” author & success coach

“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life which is never not now.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, writer & public speaker

“The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.” ~ Vance Havner, author

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” ~ Walt Disney, animator & Entrepreneur 

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the U.S.

Quotes to Get Your Butt on the Trail


“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” ~ Dr. Seuss, cartoonist, writer, & animator

“You can’t plan for everything or you never get started in the first place.” – Jim Butcher, author

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” ~ Edward Abbey, novelist

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” ~ John Muir, naturalist, writer, & philosopher

“I was fat and sassy – for I have always done my conditioning on the trail.” ~ George L. Ziegenfuss, hiker quoted in Roland Mueser’s book, “Long Distance Hiking”

“We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home, in towns and cities.” ~ George W. Sears, writer & conservationist

Getting Through Drawbacks and Dilemmas


“I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.” ~ John D. Rockefeller, business tycoon & industrialist

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Winston Churchill,  former Prime Minister of the UK

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, writer & founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” ~ Greg Child, mountaineer, author, & filmmaker

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” ~ C.S. Lewis, novelist & scholar

“What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” ~ Oscar Wilde, playwright & novelist

Transformations On the Trail


“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, naturalist, essayist, & philosopher

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.” ~ Cindy Ross, author

“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” ~ Walt Whitman, poet & writer

“It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.” ~ Edmund Hillary, mountaineer & philanthropist

“After more than two thousand miles on the [Appalachian] trail, you can expect to undergo some personality changes. A heightened affinity for nature infiltrates your life. Greater inner peace. Enhanced self-esteem. A quiet confidence that if I could do that, I can do and should do whatever I really want to do. More appreciation for what you have and less desire to acquire what you don’t. A childlike zest for living life to the fullest. A refusal to be embarrassed about having fun. A renewed faith in the essential goodness of humankind. And a determination to repay others for the many kindnesses you have received.” ~ Larry Luxenberg, author

“A significant fraction of thru-hikers reach Katahdin, then turn around and start back to Georgia. They just can’t stop walking, which kind of makes you wonder.” ~ Bill Bryson, author

Please feel free to share any quotes that inspire you below! Happy hiking!

6 thoughts on “Meditations in Nature: Quotes to Inspire and to Live By

  1. I’m a sucker for quotes and your words resonate with me. I agree that they are motivation and can rewrite of brain in an instant. Plus you mentioned two of my most favorite movies besides “The way”, also hiking related.
    I’m glad I stumbled across you “Stubbs”, our soul seems to have the same things in common. 😉
    Beautifully written btw.


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