Intrepid explorers will swear by these Jack Kerouac travel quotes. 

By Kate Bratskeir
Updated: February 13, 2019
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Jack Kerouac is best known for his novel “On the Road,” a work of fiction heavily influenced by his real life road trips and adventures. Kerouac wasn’t just a talented writer, but a talented sportsman: He earned a football scholarship to Columbia University, which brought him to New York City at the age of 17. He was taken by New York, especially its jazz scene in Harlem, and was heavily influenced by music. His football days didn’t last long, as he broke his leg in one of the first games he played, and was benched even after he recovered. Kerouac ultimately dropped out of school, working odd jobs and briefly enlisting in the military (he was honorably discharged after just 10 days).

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Kerouac and his work defined the Beat Generation, a literary movement that explored American culture and politics after World War II, throughout the 1950s. He surrounded himself with several other prolific writers, including Alan Ginsberg and William Burroughs, who led the Beat Generation movement with him. Many of Kerouac’s afamed quotes are bursting with courage and this seemingly unquenchable desire to explore. His words continue to inspire readers to get out and see the world, and to make travel a foundation of their lives. Below are some of our favorites.

Jack Kerouac Quotes on Road Trips, Travel, and Seeing the World

“So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

— Jack Kerouac, “Desolation Angels”

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

― Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

“The best teacher is experience and not through someone's distorted point of view”

― Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."

― Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

“All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.”

― Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

"Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree."

― Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going 'till we get there.'

'Where we going, man?'

'I don't know but we gotta go.”

― Jack Kerouac, “On the Road”

“...be a loner, travel, talk to waiters, walk around, no more self-imposed agony...it's time to think and watch and keep concentrated on the fact that after all this whole surface of the world as we know it now will be covered with the silt of a billion years in time.”

― Jack Kerouac, “Big Sur”

"It always makes me proud to love the world somehow — hate’s so easy compared."

― Jack Kerouac, “Big Sur”

"I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.

― Jack Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums"

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