Wanderlust Words from Around the World
I feel wanderlust in the depths of my soul. My husband… not so much. He’s happy to tag along, but if it were up to him, he’d be ensconced in his favorite chair with a good book. At home. I’ve tried explaining wanderlust to him, that deep-seated desire to see the world, to get out and explore. Driving past the airport is a special kind of torture to me, imagining and plotting my new escapes and the corners of the world calling my name, while knowing I’m headed to work instead. My husband scarcely notices the airport exists. In an effort to describe this feeling, I put together a list of my favorite wanderlust words from around the world.
Fernweh is becoming almost as popular as wanderlust (a word any traveler has likely heard). Fernweh is an ache to travel, almost a homesickness for places you’ve never been. It’s a bone deep longing for travel.
Coddiewomple is a beautiful word meaning to travel towards an as yet unknown destination. My husband and I spent six weeks together in this fashion before we had kids. We had a plane ticket to Germany and with absolutely no planning, we explored Europe. Despite numerous eye-opening encounters, we had a fantastic time coddiewompling our way without any particular destination in mind.
To me, vacilando goes hand in hand with coddiewomple. A vacilando is someone who travels with the knowledge that their journey is more important than their destination. When we take road trips, we often have an end-goal in mind, but the rest of the itinerary is open ended. Sometimes those rutted dirt roads or the second left turns after the big oak trees are the ones that lead you to the best adventures.
Smultrostalle is a place that holds a special part of your heart, a destination that, once found, you return to again and again because it brings you peace or the fondest of memories. There’s a little beach house on the California coast that is my smultrostalle. The stairs creak, the faucets don’t work quite right, but it’s stocked full of board games and hot cocoa, and from the window seat in the living room, you can watch gray whales on their migration. It’s magic.
Novaturient is a need to seek a powerful change in one’s life or situation. It might be the pursuit of happiness for some, restructuring priorities or making concrete plans for change. For me, this meant becoming an independent contractor so that I could work from any location with a laptop and WiFi. While I might still be at my desk more often than not, we have the freedom to visit Belize or Hawaii or Tennessee.
Schwellenangst is the fear of embarking on something new. My transition from full-time scrub-wearing employee to have-laptop-will-travel independent contractor was filled with angst and anxiety. I was very much afraid of embarking on this journey. One might also experience schwellenangst on the way to a new country, or the first time traveling solo. Sometimes fear is a healthy dose of realism, and sometimes that fear is meant to be conquered.
Livsnjutare applies to someone who lives their life to the fullest, who has such a joy for life that you have to smile when you look upon them. My daughter has this joy – almost every picture I have of her and water, any ocean or sea or river, her arms are flung wide, like she can hardly contain herself. It’s this joy that keeps us traveling, ready for the next adventure.
Numinous is a powerful feeling of being inspired yet overwhelmed, a striking mix of fearful and fascinated. I felt this so strongly cave diving in Belize. We were 500 feet below the surface of the earth, surrounded by glittering stalactites and serpentine limestone structures. We’d just scrabbled to the top of a waterfall, a CAVE waterfall, and our guide told us to leap from the top of it into a subterranean river. I stood there, so enthralled by the water and the sound it made trickling and whistling through the cave system, and absolutely terrified of jumping into water illuminated only by my headlamp. As I stood there trying to sort out a way to the surface that did not involve this insane leap, my 10-year old gave a whoop of joy and hurtled past me. He evidently did not feel so numinous.
Eleutheromania is an irresistible desire for freedom. I never feel so free as when I reach the top of a mountain, where I can sit and breathe in that fresh, crisp air and see all the world spread out in every direction. (I also feel the need to shout “top of the world!” in such situations, even if we’ve just climbed a hill).
Sehnsucht is a deep yearning for alternative experiences. This is just like wanderlust to me, almost an ache for something I’ve yet to do. Last year we fed jaguars at a preserve – indescribable and absolutely incredible. Stepping into a bazaar in Central America, trying my first German pastry, taking a train through the Alps or a chicken bus in Guatemala, all brought forth that same delicious culture shock. Doing things you’ve never done or seeking out these experiences that are foreign open up whole worlds to travelers. Beware – it’s addicting!
Resfeber is that restless, wonderful tangle of anxiety and anticipation before the journey begins. It’s like waiting for Santa when you’re little, or setting your alarm for that 4 a.m. flight to somewhere you’ve never been, when you’re so eager you can hardly sleep for all the scenarios running through your head.
Strikhedonia, simply put, is the joy of not giving a damn. It’s strapping a kayak to the roof of your car and having an adventure, even if there are 14 loads of laundry at home. Not that I speak from experience…