Yes, genuine intent to know is essential. Also, consistency in this intent, keep on keeping on...
This is, according to the late and famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, the ultimate desire once we've moved through the lower requirements of our basic needs. We move from self actualization to a wanting to know what and who we are: Self Realization.
God, or whatever the lable you wish to use for The All Knowing and All Loving, is not only near you but in you. If God is omni-present that means EVERYWHERE and you cannot be excluded from this. So seek within. You won't find God 'out there' until you've found Him/Her/It within.
You can use role models of the great religious founders as part of your guidance and many do. But remember these peope were/are Teachers. They realized their REAL SELF and point you to how you, yourself can get to that state.
But it all starts with intention.