These words describe your travel feels better than wanderlust

by Kelly Spillane

 They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but we at The Guidebook beg to differ. Add these terms to your vocab to reignite the art of conversation and be the ultimate wordsmith explorer…

As any globetrotter knows, travelling is confronting. Wondrous and weird experiences greet travellers every step of the way, leaving them speechless in awe and even incredulity. With these lost-for-words moments in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favourite words from the English language and beyond that aptly describe your travel experience. As rare and unique as the most far away corners of the planet, these are the perfect terms to whip out when your adventures have rendered you speechless.


words travel wanderlust

Colin Frith, Unsplash


Solivagant (Latin)

A person who enjoys wandering alone, preferably to destinations they haven’t previously visited.


Dépaysement (French)

The disorientated feeling of being removed from one’s home country and placed in foreign, unfamiliar surroundings.


Hanyauku (Kwangali, Southern African language)

The act of walking on tiptoes across hot sand.


Traveller solitude

Paul Gilmore, Unsplash

Waldeinsamkeit (German)

Made up of two words, “Wald” meaning forest, and “Einsamkeit” meaning loneliness or solitude, Waldeinsamkeit is the feeling of being alone in the woods. This term describes the solitary connectedness to nature one feels in forests and woodlands.


Dustsceawung (Old English)

The “contemplation of dust”. Dystsceawung describes the act of reflecting upon past civilisations, people and places, with the knowledge that all things will eventually crumble and turn into dust. So, pretty much how everyone feels after watching the film Troy for the first time.


Resfeber (Swedish)

This term favoured by the Swedes, describes the nervous excitement one feels before undertaking a trip. Resfeber is the mixed feeling of both anxiety and anticipation.


travel words

Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash


Fernweh (German)

Literally ‘far-sickness’, Fernweh describes the ache for travel. The opposite of being homesick, those experiencing fernweh long for the places that they’ve not yet seen.


Yugen (Japanese)

Translating to “aesthetically mysterious”, Yugen is an awareness of the universe that triggers an emotional response too deep or powerful for words.


Dendrophile (English)

A lover of trees, a dendrophile is a person who finds inner peace and tranquillity among the forests and woods.


travel words

Averie Woodard, Unsplash


Trouvaille (French)

A lucky find, something lovely discovered by chance.


Trúnó (Icelandic)

The act of having a private, confessional conversation with someone you don’t know well, often fuelled by alcohol. We’ve all been there…


Boketto (Japanese)

The act of idly gazing into the distance. This one often results in a pensive, Instagram-worthy picture.


Now over to you, what words do you use most on your travels?  

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1 comment

Danielle January 24, 2018 - 12:16 pm

A list of beautiful words for those experiences we often struggle to communicate in English. I love the simplicity and depth of Yugen. This is a solitary pleasure that the traveller often seeks, or finds by chance (trouvaille), one that is tangible and enforces the power of the natural world.


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