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Our 10 favourite travel words

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To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive. (Robert Louis Stevenson)

We love to travel just as much as we love to write. Here are Scribe’s ten favourite travel words from around the world.

Saudade (n)

Origin: Portuguese

This word expresses a state of deep wistful and melancholic longing for a person, place or love, which is distant or out of reach. It is not expressed as a feeling of sadness but rather a dreaming state of love that was lost but remains.

Dor (n)

Origin: Romanian

This word has more to do with the feelings of longing, craving and yearning associated with nostalgia. While it can be used for anyone or any place, those of us who love to travel –  and especially with a special someone – can feel this feeling while reminiscing or craving a new adventure with them. ‘Some see it as a pleasure, some as a power that moves the universe, and some like an impulse to make you find new experiences or people,’ Ana Borca, a Romanian woman, explained on bucharestlounge.wordpress.com.

Hiraeth

Origin: Welsh

This is the feeling that is associated with homesickness marked with the grief or sadness one feels over those who have been lost or have departed. It can be a travel term used for one that has left either by one’s own choice, or due to natural causes.

Banjara

Origin: Sanskrit (popularly used in Hindi and Urdu)

Banjara was a term coined for Lamani people who came from Afghanistan to Rajasthan, later settling in north-west Gujarat, western Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharastra and the eastern Sindh province of Pakistan. The term is now popularly used in Urdu and Hindi to describe nomads or – in a poetic manner – people who have unguided but strong spirits and live like they don’t have a home. The word Banjara is said to have originated from the Sanskrit word vana chara meaning wanderers of the jungle.

Nemophilist (n)

Origin: English

This word is used to describe a person who loves forests or the scenery of a forest, although it can also mean “a haunter of the woods”. This is a perfect one for those who wish to live in a cosy tree house in the middle of a forest.

Resfeber (n)

Origin: Swedish

The excitement, nervousness or other strong feelings one experiences when they are about to start a journey, caused perhaps by excitement, anxiety or anticipation. This word doesn’t always denote positivity though, and can also mean anxiousness or even feeling physically ill due to a rush of mixed feelings.

Eleutheromania (n)

Origin: Greek

It is described as the intense and obsessive desire for freedom. While it is mainly associated with the desire to travel and be free, it can also refer to the zealous feeling that one experiences while attaining freedom.

Fernweh (n)

Origin: German

This word expresses an ache for distance places; the craving for travel, it’s similar in meaning as the word wanderlust. (I, for one, feel it quite strongly in spring…)

Yūgen (n)

Origin: Japan

This word is said to be taken from Chinese philosophical texts. Depending on the situation, it can represent an understanding of greater things around us that are not easily explained in words, but it can also be described as the mindfulness of the universe that can create emotional responses too deep and mysterious to be described in words.

Numinous (n)

Origin: English

To feel fearful and fascinated, resulting in a strong personal experience that can leave you overwhelmed and inspired. I bet Tylor Swift’s I Knew You Were Trouble was inspired by being numinous…

We will end this blog with another pearl of wisdom from the great fiction and travel writer quoted above, Robert Louis Stevenson.

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.


Fatima loves cheese, bridges, lakes and bungee jumping, and sometimes all four at the same time… Scribe’s junior writer dreams of exploring professional food critiquing and space science (well, through her writing anyway). Share your dreams (and favourite star) with her at fatima@scribe.ae.