Travel tips Travel words

Published on February 3rd, 2014 | by Geckos Tales Team


24 Travel Words That Describe Travel Better Than You Ever Thought Possible

Read time: a bit over 2 minutes

We love travelling and we love words, so imagine our surprise when we came across a massive treasure chest of travel words that describe how we feel before, during and after we travel better than anything we’ve ever seen, ever.

These literary gems make ‘wanderlust’ look like an overrated show pony. Which it is.  Travel brochures of the future will be littered with the likes of resfeber, eudaimonia and fernweh. At least, they will if we have anything to do with it.

1. Trouvaille (n.) 

Origin: French

Something lovely discovered by chance, like stumbling on a waterfall in Costa Rica.

2. Dérive (n.)

Origin: Latin/French

Lit. “drift”; a spontaneous journey where the traveller leaves their life behind for a time to let the spirit of the landscape and architecture attract and move them.

3. Numinous (adj.)

Origin: Latin

Describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted- the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired.

4. Cockaigne (n.)

Origin: French, medieval trope

An imaginary land of luxury and idleness.

5. Schwellenangst (n.)

Origin: German

Fear of embarking on something new; fear of crossing a threshold.

6. Strikhedonia (n.)

Origin: Greek

The pleasure of being able to say “to hell with it”, just before.

7. Resfeber (n.)

Origin: Swedish

The restless race of the traveller’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; a ‘travel fever’ that can manifest as an illness.

8. Vagary (n.)

Origin: Latin

An unpredictable instance, a wandering journey; a whimsical, wild or unusual idea, desire, or action.

9. Eudaimonia (n.)

Origin: Greek

Lit. “human flourishing”; a contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous.

10. Quaquaversal (adj.)

Origin: Latin

Moving or happening in every direction instantaneously.

11. Novaturient (adj.)

Origin: Latin

Desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behavior, or situation.

12. Sehnsucht (n.)

Origin: German

“The inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know now what”; a yearning for a far, familiar, non-earthly land one can identify as one’s home.

13. Ecophobia (n.)

Origin: English

A fear or dislike of one’s home.

14. Eleutheromania (n.)

Origin: Greek

An intense and irresistible desire for freedom. Pretty much describes every picture of the Greek Islands we’ve ever seen.

15. Livsnjutare (n.)

Origin: Swedish

One who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme.

16. Solivagant (adj.)

Origin: Latin

Wandering alone.

17. Saudade (n.)

Origin: Portugese

A nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and then lost; “the love that remains”.

18. Eunoia (n.)

Origin: Greek

Beautiful thinking; a well mind.

19. Sturmfrei (adj.)

Origin: Germany

Lit. “stormfree”; the freedom of not being watched by a parent or superior; being alone at a place and having the ability to do what you want.

20. Yoko meshi (n.)

Origin: Japan

The peculiar stress of speaking a foreign language (literally means ‘a meal eaten sideways’). If you’ve ever tried to order ramen in one of Tokyo’s laneway bars, you’ll know exactly what this means.

21. Selcouth (adj.)

Origin: English

Unfamiliar, rare, strange, and yet marvelous.

22. Fernweh (n.)

Origin: German

An ache for distance places; the craving for travel.

23. Yūgen (n.)

Origin: Japan

An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words.

24. Commuovere (v.)

Origin: Italian

Only in Italy would you find such a sensual word meaning to stir, to touch, to move to tears. Possibly while eating a giant slice of thin-crust pizza.

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About the Author

We run awesome trips around the world. But when we're not on the road, we're sitting here and writing loads of travel-related insights, tips, information and advice. Geckos Tales is your go-to source for whenever you need to find something out about pretty much anything.

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