Best 277 quotes in «exploration quotes» category

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    The known is finite, the unknown is infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to claim a little more land.

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    The map? I will first make it.

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    Then he opened the Bible Queen Alexandra had given them and ripped out the flyleaf and the page containing the Twenty-third Psalm. He also tore out the page from the Book of Job with this verse on it: Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of Heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone. And the face of the deep is frozen. The he laid the Bible in the snow and walked away. It was a dramatic gesture, but that was the way Shackleton wanted it. From studying the outcome of past expeditions, he believed that those that burdened themselves with equipment to meet every contingency had fared much worse than those that had sacrificed total preparedness for speed.

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    The Piri Reis map of 1513 features the western shores of Africa and the eastern shores of North and South America and is also controversially claimed to depict Ice Age Antarctica--as an extension of the southern tip of South America. The same map depicts a large island lying east of the southeast coast of what is now the United States. Also clearly depicted running along the spine of this island is a 'road' of huge megaliths. In this exact spot during the lowered sea levels of the Ice Age a large island was indeed located until approximately 12,400 years ago. A remnant survives today in the form of the islands of Andros and Bimini. Underwater off Bimini I have scuba-dived on a road of great megaliths exactly like those depicted above water on the Piri Reis map. Again, the implication, regardless of the separate controversy of whether the so-called Bimini Road is a man-made or natural feature, is that the region must have been explored and mapped before the great floods at the end of the Ice Age caused the sea level to rise and submerged the megaliths.

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    The night sky was clear, but he drew clouds across it, combers that roiled like waves above him.

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    The old adage tells us that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” but the math tells us why: the unknown has a chance of being better, even if we actually expect it to be no different, or if it’s just as likely to be worse.

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    There were only three names on the map of the region we had brought with us, but we now filled in more than two hundred.

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    There is a misconception of those who explore; it is not answers they seek, but the longing for another question.

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    There is a saying, if any stranger enquire of the first met of Maan, were it even a child, “Who is here the sheykh?” he would answer him “I am he.

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    There is this common notion that people are shallow and ignorant until they go out and see the world. I, on the other hand, went out and in comparison realized I was in pretty good standing.

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    There’s no matter here you can’t re-matter into love.

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    The ship reacted to each fresh wave of pressure in a different way. Sometimes she simply quivered briefly as a human being might wince if seized by a single, stabbing pain. Other times she retched in a series of convulsive jerks accompanied by anguished outcries. On these occasions her three masts whipped violently back and forth as the rigging tightened like harpstrings. But most agonizing for the men were the times when she seemed a huge creature suffocating and gasping for breath, her sides heaving against the strangling pressure. More than any other single impression in those final hours, all the men were struck, almost to the point of horror, by the way the ship behaved like a giant beast in its death agonies.

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    There is a difference between what I actually want and what I want to have fantasies about. (...) There is a part of my imagination which is a playground, a playground in which I am queen. It fulfils my need to have a fantasy land, and that need may be born of creativity as well as lack or repression. Our fantasies are about exploration and experimentation and the power of the imagination. Looked at intelligently, they can reveal a great deal. But there is a difference between fantasising and thinking about our hopes for the future.

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    There was certainly much to be said for being at the mercy of the primeval elements, to be swept along by circumstances one could not in any way control, but it was good to return, to feel one's identity expand again, unchecked.

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    There were the sounds of the pack in movement—the basic noises, the grunting and whining of the floes, along with an occasional thud as a heavy block collapsed. But in addition, the pack under compression seemed to have an almost limitless repertoire of sounds, many of which seemed strangely unrelated to the noise of ice undergoing pressure. Sometimes there was a sound like a gigantic train with squeaky axles being shunted roughly about with a great deal of bumping and clattering. At the same time a huge ship’s whistle blew, mingling with the crowing of roosters, the roar of a distant surf, the soft throb of an engine far away, and the moaning cries of an old woman. In the rare periods of calm, when the movement of the pack subsided for a moment, the muffled rolling of drums drifted across the air.

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    The simple act of sailing had carried him beyond the world of reversals, frustrations, and inanities. And in the space of a few short hours, life had been reduced from a highly complex existence, with a thousand petty problems, to one of the barest simplicity in which only one real task remained—the achievement of the goal.

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    The spokes on the wheels whooshed forward in triumph, ready to explore the world around me.

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    The suspicion that certain ancient authorities possessed good knowledge of the real shape of the Atlantic and its islands, and of the lands on both sides of it, must also arise from any objective reading of Plato's world-famous account of Atlantis. [...], this story is set around 11,600 years ago -- a date that coincides with a peak episode of global flooding at the end of the Ice Age. The story tells us that 'the island of Atlantis was swallowed up by the sea and vanished', that this took place in 'a single dreadful day and night' and that the event was accompanied by earthquakes and floods that were experienced as far away as the eastern Mediterranean. But of more immediate interest to us here is what Plato has to say about the geographical situation in the Atlantic immediately before the flood that destroyed Atlantis: 'In those days the Atlantic was navigable. There was an island opposite the strait [the Strait of Gibraltar] which you [the Greeks] call the Pillars of Heracles, an island larger than Libya and Asia combined; from it travellers could in those days reach the other islands, and from them the whole opposite continent which surrounds what can truly be called the ocean. For the sea within the strait we are talking about [i.e. the Mediterranean] is like a lake with a narrow entrance; the outer ocean is the real ocean and the land which entirely surrounds it is properly termed continent ... On this land of Atlantis had arisen a powerful and remarkable dynasty of kings who ruled the whole island; and many other islands as well, and parts of the continent ...' Whether or not one believes than an island called Atlantis ever existed in the Atlantic Ocean, Plato's clear references to an 'opposite continent' on the far side of it are geographical knowledge out of place in time. It is hard to read in these references anything other than an allusion to the Americas, and yet historians assure us that the Americas were unknown in Plato's time and remained 'undiscovered' (except for a few inconsequential Viking voyages) until Colombus in 1492.

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    The symbolism seemed so apt. The same technology that can propel apocalyptic weapons from continent to continent would enable the first human voyage to another planet. It was a choice of fitting mythic power: to embrace the planet named after, rather than the madness ascribed to, the god of war.

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    The totality of human endeavor is nothing when set against the stars.

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    The whole undertaking was criticized in some circles as being too "audacious." And perhaps it was. But if it hadn't been audacious, it wouldn't have been to Shackleton's liking. He was, above all, an explorer in the classic mold—utterly self-reliant, romantic, and just a little swashbuckling.

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    They thought of home, naturally, but there was no burning desire to be in civilization for its own sake. Worsley recorded: "Waking on a fine morning I feel a great longing for the smell of dewy wet grass and flowers of a Spring morning in New Zealand or England. One has very few other longings for civilization—good bread and butter, Munich beer, Coromandel rock oysters, apple pie and Devonshire cream are pleasant reminiscences rather than longings.

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    They glided out of the heat-haze on their camels like specters. There were twenty of them, and they were Tuareg. Their faces were hidden by black veils that left only slits for the eyes, and they wore purple robes that fluttered in the desert wind. They carried swords, muskets and seven-foot iron spears, and wore stilettos in sheaths on their left forearms. They were an impressive, sinister sight.

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    They were for all practical purposes alone in the frozen Antarctic seas. It had been very nearly a year since they had last been in contact with civilization. Nobody in the outside world knew they were in trouble, much less where they were. They had no radio transmitter with which to notify any would-be rescuers, and it is doubtful that any rescuers could have reached them even if they had been able to broadcast an SOS. It was 1915, and there were no helicopters, no Weasels, no Sno-Cats, no suitable planes. Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out—they had to get themselves out.

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    They might be drugs that alter the states of consciousness, or they might be states of transcendence reached in meditation. They might be moments of orgasm, or fugue states, or day-dreams that take you momentarily to a rewarding fantasy and escape from responsibility. All of these are treasures of the spirit or psyche that allow exploration along paths which are undefined and completely individual.

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    Those people who shoot endless time-lapse films of unfurling roses and tulips have the wrong idea. They should train their cameras instead on the melting of pack ice, the green filling of ponds, the tidal swings…They should film the glaciers of Greenland, some of which creak along at such a fast clip that even the dogs bark at them. They should film the invasion of the southernmost Canadian tundra by the northernmost spruce-fir forest, which is happening right now at the rate of a mile every 10 years. When the last ice sheet receded from the North American continent, the earth rebounded 10 feet. Wouldn’t that have been a sight to see?

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    We found, before the hands of the dial had taught us the lapse of a week, that this would be something not to be endured. The sun sank lower every day behind the crags and silvery horns; the heavens grew to wear a hue of violet, almost black, and yet unbearably dazzling; as the notes of our voices fell upon the atmosphere they assumed a metallic tone, as if the air itself had become frozen from the beginning of the world and they tinkled against it; our sufferings had mounted in their intensity till they were too great to be resisted.

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    Though [Marco] Polo himself states frankly that he has never visited Japan -- and thus that what he has to say about it is second-hand and perhaps inaccurate -- the notion of the mysterious island kingdom of Cipango that he planted in European consciousness at the end of the thirteenth century was later one of several powerful influences that spurred Christopher Columbus forward in his crossings of the Atlantic at the end of the fifteenth century. This was so because Columbus -- underestimating the circumference of the earth and knowing nothing of the existence of the Americas or of the Pacific Ocean -- believed that he could reach Cipango, and thence the Chinese mainland beyond, by sailing directly westwards across the Atlantic from Europe. Columbus is also likely to have calculated that Cipango would be reached after only a relatively short journey towards the west -- for he had read Marco Polo, who describes Cipango, erroneously, as lying 'far out to sea' fully 1500 miles to the east of the Chinese mainland (the true distance is nowhere much more than 500 miles).

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    Through a strange kind of geographic arrogance, Europeans like to think that the world was a silent, dark, unknown place until they trooped out and discovered it.

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    To-day a rude brief recitative, Of ships sailing the seas, each with its special flag or ship-signal, Of unnamed heroes in the ships—of waves spreading and spreading far as the eye can reach, Of dashing spray, and the winds piping and blowing, And out of these a chant for the sailors of all nations, Fitful, like a surge. Of sea-captains young or old, and the mates, and of all intrepid sailors, Of the few, very choice, taciturn, whom fate can never surprise nor death dismay. Pick'd sparingly without noise by thee old ocean, chosen by thee, Thou sea that pickest and cullest the race in time, and unitest nations, Suckled by thee, old husky nurse, embodying thee, Indomitable, untamed as thee. (Ever the heroes on water or on land, by ones or twos appearing, Ever the stock preserv'd and never lost, though rare, enough for seed preserv'd.) Flaunt out O sea your separate flags of nations! Flaunt out visible as ever the various ship-signals! But do you reserve especially for yourself and for the soul of man one flag above all the rest, A spiritual woven signal for all nations, emblem of man elate above death, Token of all brave captains and all intrepid sailors and mates, And all that went down doing their duty, Reminiscent of them, twined from all intrepid captains young or old, A pennant universal, subtly waving all time, o'er all brave sailors, All seas, all ships.

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    To have followed the speculative vision of Behaim in his famous globe, or of others like him, would have been disastrous, even though their work represents the cream of fifteenth-century mapmaking and was known to Columbus. Indeed, as one commentator has observed, if his chart had been based on the Behaim scenario, 'Columbus could not even have known of the whereabouts of the New World, much less discover it.' Yet not only does he seem to have known where he was going but, on some accounts, when he was going to get there: 'Now and then Pinzón and Columbus consult and deliberate -- mutually discuss their route. The map or chart passes not infrequently from the one captain to the other; the observations and calculations as to their position are daily recorded, their conduct and course for the night duly agreed upon. On the eve of their due arrival Columbus issues the order to stay the course of the armada, to shorten sail, because he knew that he was close to the New World and was afraid of going ashore during the obscurity of the night ... How does he know the place and the hour? 'His Genius' says the Columbus legend in explanation. But the Map? The critics will ask, what did it contain? Whose was it? What did that map contain that was so frequently passed from Columbus to Pinzón during the voyage?' I've presented my case that what the map may have contained was an accurate but ancient, and indeed antediluvian, representation of the coast and islands of Central America, notably the north-south-oriented Great Bahama Bank island, which Columbus -- no less ignorant than any of his contemporaries about the existence of the Americas -- took to be an accurate map of part of the coast of China and the islands of Japan.

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    We are a species which is naturally moved by curiosity, the only one left of a group of species (the genus Homo) made up of a dozen equally curious species. The other species in the group have already become extinct; some, like the Neanderthals, quite recently, roughly thirty thousand years ago. It is group of species which evolved in Africa, akin to the hierarchical and quarrelsome chimpanzees -- and even more closely akin to the bonobos, the small, peaceful, cheerfully egalitarian and promiscuous type of chimps. A group of species which repeatedly went out of Africa in order to explore new worlds, and went far: as far, eventually, as Patagonia -- and as far, eventually, as the moon. It is not against our nature to be curious: it is in our nature to be so.

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    We had proceeded but a few days, coasting the crushing capes of rock that every where seemed to run out in a diablerie of tusks and horns to drive us from the region that they warded, now cruising through a runlet of blue water just wide enough for our keel, with silver reaches of frost stretching away into a ghastly horizon—now plunging upon tossing seas, tho sun wheeling round and round, and never sinking from the strange, weird sky above us, when again to our look-out a glimmer in the low horizon told its awful tale—a sort of smoky lustre like that which might ascend from an army of spirits—the fierce and fatal spirits tented on the terrible field of the ice-floe.

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    To conceive the horror of my sensations is, I presume, utterly impossible; yet a curiosity to penetrate the mysteries of these awful regions predominates even over my despair, and will reconcile me to the most hideous aspect of death.

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    Today is the winter solstice. The planet tilts just so to its star, lists and holds circling in a fixed tension between veering and longing, and spins helpless, exalted, in and out of that fleet blazing touch. Last night Orion vaulted and spread all over the sky, pagan and lunatic, his shoulder and knee on fire, his sword three suns at the ready-for what? I won’t see this year again, not again so innocent; and longing wrapped round my throat like a scarf. “For the Heavenly Father desires that we should see,” says Ruysbroeck, “and that is why He is ever saying to our inmost spirit one deep unfathomable word and nothing else.” But what is the word? Is this mystery or coyness? A cast-iron bell hung from the arch of my rib cage; when I stirred, it rang, or it tolled, a long syllable pulsing ripples up my lungs and down the gritty sap inside my bones, and I couldn’t make it out; I felt the voiced vowel like a sigh or a note but I couldn’t catch the consonant that shaped it into sense.

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    To explode or to implode – said Qfwfq – that is the question: whether 'tis nobler in the mind to expand one's energies in space without restraint, or to crush them into a dense inner concentration.

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    To lovers of adventure and novelty, Africa displays a most ample field.

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    Treading the soil of the moon, palpating its pebbles, tasting the panic and splendor of the event, feeling in the pit of one's stomach the separation from terra... these form the most romantic sensation an explorer has ever known...

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    We were not pioneers ourselves, but we journeyed over old trails that were new to us, and with hearts open. Who shall distinguish?

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    Were the earth as smooth as a ball bearing, it might be beautiful seen from another planet, as the rings of Saturn are. But here we live and move; we wander up and down the banks of the creek, we ride a railway through the Alps, and the landscape shifts and changes. Were the earth smooth, our brains would be smooth as well; we would wake, blink, walk two steps to get the whole picture and lapse into dreamless sleep. Because we are living people, and because we are on the receiving end of beauty, another element necessarily enters the question. The texture of space is a condition of time. Time is the warp and matter the weft of woven texture of beauty in space, and death is the hurtling shuttle… What I want to do, then, is add time to the texture, paint the landscape on an unrolling scroll, and set the giant relief globe spinning on it stand.

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    We rode through a three-thousand-year-old country, saw the ruined capital of the Queen of Sheba and the underground red-rock city of Lalibela, fraternized with a tribe of leaden-skinned troglogytes living among the mountains, scrapped with brigands, outwitted crocodiles, and eventually emerged battered and in rags with a book of adventures and 1,000 feet of film.

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    We were like the Mount Everest climbers stepping over frozen corpses from prior climbing disasters in our quest for the summit. Like those climbers, we were motivated by a fear far greater than death—the fear of not reaching the top.

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    Whatever territory you choose to explore and then invest all your time into it, you will be amazed how easy it is to become great.

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    Whatever his mood—whether it was gay and breezy, or dark with rage—he had one pervading characteristic: he was purposeful.

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    Whatever the reason we first mustered the _Apollo_ program, however mired it was in Cold War nationalism and the instruments of death, the inescapable recognition of the unity and fragility of the Earth is its clear and luminous dividend, the unexpected final gift of _Apollo_. What began in deadly competition has helped us to see that global cooperation is the essential precondition for our survival. Travel is broadening. It's time to hit the road again.

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    What is adventure? Adventure offers every human being the ability to live ‘the’ moment of his or her most passionate idea, fantasy or pursuit. It may take form in the arts, acting, sports, travel or other creative endeavors. Once engaged, a person enjoys ‘satori’ or the perfect moment. That instant may last seconds or a lifetime. The key to adventure whether it be painting, dancing, sports or travel: throw yourself into it with rambunctious enthusiasm and zealous energy—which leads toward uncommon passion for living. By following that path, you will attract an amazing life that will imbue your spirit and fulfill your destiny as defined by you alone. In the end, you will savor the sweet taste of life pursuing goals that make you happy, rewarded and complete. As a bonus, you may share your life experiences with other bold and uncommon human beings that laugh at life, compare themselves with no one and enjoy a whale of a ride! Frosty Wooldridge from How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World

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    What the tongue wants. Supplication and the burn of crystals expanding. To be, always, a waxing, a waning, and, in waxing again, not ever the same. Waste and deferral. Accumulation and deferral. You are flesh, and you are water, though of the flesh, you are only muscle, and of the water, you are saltless and clean. Be a caution, a reckoning, be a thing that breaks before it bends.

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    When no possessions keep us, when no countries contain us, and no time detains us, man becomes a heroic wanderer, and woman, a wanderess.

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    When a Wanderess has been caged, or perched with her wings clipped, She lives like a Stoic, She lives most heroic, smiling with ruby, moistened lips once her cup of Death is welcome sipped.

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    When a thing beckons you to explore it without telling you why or how, this is not a red herring; it’s a map.