The impact of the quotation arises from the fact that it is
applicable to a wide range of different types of situations
where something needs to be done. It is by no means restricted
to travelling. Not surprisingly, therefore, many languages have
proverbs which express this insight, emphasising the 'first
step' as the one that counts. In this translation, we have a
neat counterpoint between 'thousand miles' and 'single step'.
The rhythmical parallelism is reinforced by the contrast in
vowel length and consonant sonority: note especially the long
vowels and liquid consonants in 'miles', and the short vowels
and plosive consonants in 'step'. The force of this quotation
lies in its final word.