Satisfy Your Wanderlust With These Travel Terms

2 min read

Without any travel plans on the horizon, it’s easy to find yourself dreaming about an exotic getaway or a weekend escape outside town. Even if you can’t jump on a plane right now, you can still boost your vocabulary in preparation for your travels.


This early 20th-century German word has a very literal interpretation. The two words it’s comprised of: “wandern” and “lust," together mean a desire for wandering in both German and English.


English speakers know "wanderlust," but Germans today more frequently use the word “fernweh.” It has no direct English translation and has a slightly different tone than wanderlust. It refers to a sense of longing or homesickness for a place not yet visited.


In French, trouver means to find, and the English noun "trouvaille" extends this to a LUCKY find. It's pronounced (troo-VAI) similarly to the word "travel," and it's pretty much the definition of what one hopes to experience when globetrotting.

Yoko meshi

Traveling isn't always idyllic. The Japanese coined this term to describe the stress of attempting to speak a foreign language. The next time you’re abroad and trying to order a meal and feel like you’re butchering the pronunciation, at least you’ll know you’re not alone in this awkward feeling of yoko meshi!


Is it excitement or jitters? Before starting a trip, most of us experience butterflies in anticipation of the journey ahead. This Swedish word literally translates to "travel fever," but it’s meant to reflect the antsy sense of excitement before traveling rather than sickness.

Bon voyage

This French expression dates back to the 1670s and means a pleasant journey. The French word bon means good, while voyage has become part of the English lexicon to describe a long trip. The phrase was popular when transatlantic steamships were a primary form of transportation and plenty of French citizens were crossing the seas.


The most direct translation of this ancient Greek word is happiness, but many scholars suggest that it’s more akin to personal flourishing or prosperity. It’s often achieved by prioritizing your own well-being — leading to a sense of contentment. We often feel this when traveling to destress.


The literal translation of this Swedish word is "a place of wild strawberries." The more common meaning is a place you consider special or treasured and desire to return to — just like your favorite travel destinations.


Do you ever have that feeling on a trip when you wish you're back home in familiar territory? The French have a word for that — dépaysement. It suggests feeling out of your element like a fish out of water.


Calling all adventurers! This Greek word means someone who is a lover of roads or more broadly, someone who loves to trek the roads less traveled.


This Latin term crosses paths with a hodophile, but with a singular twist. If you’re a solivagant, you like to hit the road solo.

Photo Credit: David Marcu/ Unsplash

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