And don't let any inspirational quote tell you otherwise, says Oliver Pelling.

Inspirational travel quotes are an oppressive force and should be banned immediately.

You can't move on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram without seeing them. They're everywhere - plastered across photos of good-looking people enjoying sunsets in good-looking places, reaching into our lives like a self-help coach we didn't want or need.

They're on billboards paid for by beer brands, brochures paid for by travel companies and even tattooed on to the bodies of devout converts to the Church of Wanderlust.


But don't you ever feel the urge to just tell them all to piss right off?

I'm talking about "inspirational" travel quotes - platitudes and cliches that are supposed to inspire us to get out and see the world but actually, I think (and will imminently be arguing) have a more detrimental effect. Far from being a force for good, I actually think they're a force for bad. Yes, a force for bad. Quote me on that. I do this for a living.

And though it would be easy to dismiss me as such - I promise I'm not a totally miserable bastard. A bit miserable, yes, and maybe 64 per cent bastard but not totally. I have my rhyme and I have my reason.

Picture the scene: you're on the train, on the way to your job that you quite enjoy, scrolling through your preferred social media feed, not a care in the world, enjoying the comfort that comes with your everyday routine and then BAM: "IF YOU THINK ADVENTURE IS DANGEROUS, TRY ROUTINE. IT'S LETHAL." You scroll a bit more, then THWACK: "LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE."

The f***ing nerve, right?

Now, despite being relatively content in what you were doing right up until the moment Aunt Sharon and Generic Travel Company Name decided to unleash their wisdom into the world, you're now second-guessing yourself. You feel a bit like what you do on a daily basis - your Regular Life™ - isn't good enough. Like, if you're not travelling, all you're doing is making do with your routines, waiting for your next opportunity to get out of Dodge.

The "making do" - italicised above for impact (clever, I know) - is the thing that gets me. These pointless platitudes injected into our lives have the cumulative effect of making us feel as though our everyday lives are worthless. Or at the very least, not as good as time spent travelling. And that, my friends, is horseshit.

Regular Life™ is beautiful. It should be embraced and enjoyed with the same verve that we embrace and enjoy our travels, and I will flick anyone who suggests otherwise - especially Big Travel Companies who try to make us feel as though not travelling is the same as not living - right on the earlobe.

If there's one thing travelling has taught me, and I hope has taught you, loyal readers of the New Zealand Herald's fantastic Travel magazine, it's not that more travel is going to make me happier, it's that every single moment - whether it's experienced at home or travelling - should be grabbed, loved and squeezed until there's nothing left to get out of it. That is literally the whole point of everything, ever.

Yeah, travelling is amazing. It's one of my favourite things to do. Probably one of yours too - that's why you're reading Travel, right? It's rewarding. It helps you grow and can even help you become a better person. But you know what? Reading a good book can do all of those things. Getting a dog can do all of those things. Having a child can do all of those things. Going to the Asian supermarket that's been in your town for like 20 years but you didn't even know it was there can do all of those things.

Volunteering can do all of those things. Talking to a stranger on the bus can do all of those things.

The point is, travelling is one of many rewarding things we can choose to do with our spare time, not the only option. If we allow ourselves to be tricked into the idea that travelling is the only way for us to access Real Life™, we'll miss out on everything that's right in front of us. And that would be throwing one of travelling's most important lessons back in its proverbial face.

If any good-looking person on a beach on a billboard wants to suggest otherwise, I will flick them squarely and firmly on their two-dimensional earlobe.