Wonderful Words for Wandering Wanderers


Borrowed from German, wanderlust comes from the words wandern which means “to hike” and lust meaning “desire,” which literally translates to “desire to hike.” But it’s commonly used to refer to a strong desire to wander or roam around.

Dutch for “to walk in the wind,” uitwaaien is probably one of the top reasons why people go on a trip. Uitwaaien refers to that break you take to clear your mind. Some sources are more specific, defining it as “a walk in the countryside to clear one’s head.”

Another German word that launched a thousand Tumblr posts and gaining popularity among travellers is fernweh. Literally translating to “farsickness,” it can be translated as “pining for far-off places.” It’s also the opposite of heimweh, which translates to homesickness.

Think about the times you can’t sleep a wink the night before a big trip – quadruple checking your luggage, doing some last minute travel blog browsing, or just because of sheer excitement – that’s the sense of the Swedish word resfeber.

More often than not, travel offers the small comfort of starting over by being anonymous. According to the book, Weird and Wonderful Words by Erin McKean and Roz Chast, xenization is “a rare word meaning ‘the fact of traveling as a stranger.’” It’s believed to have its roots from a Greek word that means “‘to entertain strangers’ or ‘to be a stranger.’

The Japanese have some of the best words to describe certain things that we’ve never thought a name for, such as komorebi or “sunshine filtering through leaves” or boketto meaning “to stare blankly into space.” Natsukashii is another one of those wonderful words. It loosely translates to nostalgia for the good old days. It can also mean that happy feeling you get when recalling a fond memory.

There is no direct translation to English of this French word and the closest to its meaning is “to wander aimlessly.” And everyone can agree that every place in France can easily turn anyone into a flâneur, lost in its beauty.

Inspired by movies like Eat, Pray, Love, Wild, and Tracks, solo travel has been gaining ground among travellers recently, especially women. So on your next solo trip, you can use solivagant, a Latin word meaning “wandering alone” to describe your journey.

This French word means “something lovely discovered by chance” which is what happens to most of us when we get lost while travelling – or more appropriately, when we allow yourself to get lost while travelling.

Most sources – meaning Pinterest and Tumblr posts – say that strikhedonia means “the pleasure of being able to say ‘to hell with it.’” But website The Word Detective, reverse-engineered the word and came up with a more solid explanation.

The “strik” appears to be an antiquated form of the verb “to strike,” which originally meant “to go, to proceed in a new direction,” a sense we still use when we “strike out” for uncharted territory. The “hedonia” corresponds to the Greek “hedone,” meaning “pleasure” (as in “hedonism,” the pursuit of pleasure), and is also found in the psychiatric term “anhedonia,” the condition of being unable to feel pleasure. Put the two parts together and you do indeed have a word meaning, roughly, “the pleasure of leaving for somewhere new.””

One response to “Wonderful Words for Wandering Wanderers

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Movies That Will Inspire You to Travel to Asia | Not Just Travel (UK)·

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