Lost in Translation

Trying to describe the feelings you get from travel, or why you do it can be tricky.

To really get your passion across requires some eloquent choice of words. Throughout the world though some nations have really nailed this with beautiful and often quirky words. Here’s our run down of our favourites for you to throw into conversation.

  1. Numinous (Latin, adjective) – An experience that makes you both fearful and fascinated, overwhelmed yet inspired


Think bungee jumping, hiking a big mountain and stepping outside of your comfort zone. This is a fantastic word for all these things, or even just a curious exploration that you didn’t expect to be taking.

  1. Yūgen (幽玄) (Japanese, noun) – An awareness of the universe triggering responses too deep or mysterious for words


I love this word, one of my favourite feelings is when you look out at a landscape or up at the sky and realise our own insignificance in this world. A small blip in the history of the universe, inconsequential to the bigger plan. Moments of yūgen put all life’s problems into perspective and encourage living in the moment.

  1. Fernweh (German, noun) – An ache for distant places and travel, the travel bug


Definitely one of the best German words on this list. If you are German and big travellers this is the first of a few German travel words that fit many a jet-setting occasion.

  1. Eleutheromania (Greek, noun) – A mania or frantic zeal for freedom, an intense desire to escape


Although slightly alarming sounding, this doesn’t quite count as a negative psychological condition. It makes me think of those nine to five days where all you can think of is getting out of the office and into an adventure!

  1. Dérive (French, noun) – Literal meaning “drift”. A spontaneous journey to let the landscape guide and inspire you


The French language is one that oozes poetry and romance, arguably, in my opinion one of the loveliest to listen too. This travellers gem seems particularly poetic of a need to explore and wander following your hearts guidance… ooo la la!

  1. Sturmfrei (German, adjective) – Translates as storm free; A freedom to do what you want without being watched or supervised


For those with a rebellious spirit this is probably the perfect travel word for you. Escaping responsibility and seeking out freedom away from bosses, supervisors, parents and any other judgements.

  1. Trouvaille (French, noun) – A treasure or lucky find often stumbled across by chance


Another beautiful French entry to the list, think walking along the beach and finding a perfectly formed shell, or heading out for a hike only to come across a breath taking waterfall. Travel is full of these treasures and moments so put down your phone, keep your eyes peeled, and who knows what you might find.

  1. Resferber (Swedish, noun) – The restless race of a travellers heart before the journey begins, the mix of nervous anticipation and excitement


I am a particular sucker for this, spending ages planning only to get to the couple of days before and be all agitated and nervous. The underlying excitement is always there, but I hate the build-up and just want to get going when the journey gets close.

  1. Eudaimonia (Greek, noun) – A contented state of being healthy, happy and prosperous, also described as human flourishing


Among my University friends we used to say our favourite state was happy, full and tanned. This Greek derived word is probably the closest I have found to suit us. I would wish Eudaimonia for all my friends and family whether travelling or not.

  1. Wanderlust (German, noun) – A strong desire or urge to wander or travel and explore the world.

Cape St Vincent

A classic but always a good one. There’s surely a bit of wanderlust in all of us and that’s what helps get us to new places and experience new things. Apparently it even has its own derivative; wanderlist which is something of a travel bucket list, of which mine is always growing!

So there you have it some perfect words for your travel needs. Try and throw them into conversation when you can, and impress your mates with your grasp of multiple languages!

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