Do you ever find yourself at a loss for words when you’re traveling? Often, frequent travelers find themselves having emotions they simply can’t describe, despite their vivid experiences.
If you struggle to describe the experience of traveling — or perhaps just want some new words to use when telling your friends about your trip — here are 10 travel terms that may help.
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Peregrinate is a verb that means “to travel on foot.” First used in English in the late 16th century, this word comes from the Latin term peregrinatus, which means “to wander in a foreign place.” So, “peregrinate” is the perfect word to reach for when you’re backpacking or exploring a new country.
Perhaps, you’re enjoying the experience of peregrinating through the bustling streets of Paris, or you peregrinated alone along the Appalachian Trail last year.
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This Swedish term is something almost anyone who has traveled can relate to. It means “to feel nervous, anxious or jittery” before you leave for a trip. While traveling can be a thrilling experience, your excitement can often turn to nervous jitters, especially right before you leave.
So, when you’re anticipating what could go wrong, fretting about your travel documents, and checking that you’ve packed everything you need — you’re experiencing resfeber.
That said, this word doesn’t just encompass the emotions associated with pre-travel logistics. It also refers to the excitement and anticipation you feel as you wait to leave on your journey. The unique combination of restlessness, anxiety, and excitement is the essence of resfeber.
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Have you ever felt as though you’re stuck in a rut and want to shake up your life? If so, you have novaturient desires. This term has its roots in the Latin word novus, meaning “new.” Today, it’s frequently used to describe the feeling of wanting to change your life and experience new things.
The word would also describe anyone who quits a conventional job to travel. Novaturient people aren’t satisfied with life as is — they want to shed their old routines and explore the world on their terms.
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The word “numinous” is derived from the Latin word numen, which means “divine will.” Although there’s a spiritual component to this term, it isn’t limited to religious connotations. Rather, this term can be used to describe the feeling of awe, mystery, and inspiration you may experience when visiting certain types of places. It may be a numinous experience, for example, to see the Swiss Alps.
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While this interesting word may make you think of the English “derive,” the French term dérive actually refers to a particular frame of mind that empowers you to take things as they come. You may give yourself to the experience and allow yourself to be guided by the architecture of your surrounding landscape.
This word literally means “to drift,” but there is more to it than meets the eye. In essence, dérive is a way to consciously connect to how you’re moved by the sights you encounter.
This term was coined in 1956 by Guy Debord and was intended to describe how people connect and interact with their surroundings in modern cities.
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This Portuguese term has many meanings and is a difficult word to translate. At its core, saudade is a sense of wistfulness and nostalgia, frequently for a place you’ve never visited or a moment you’ve never experienced. Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo defined saudade as “a pleasure you suffer [and] an ailment you enjoy.” If you’ve ever felt a sudden longing for a place you’ve never visited, you’ve likely experienced the elusive feeling of saudade
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Vagary, a Latin term, refers to something that is unexpected, surprising, and unpredictable, often in a whimsical sort of way. When you travel frequently, you become well-accustomed to this sort of unpredictability, which can often result in happy accidents and experiences you never expected to have. To use this term correctly, you’ll generally use it in its plural form — for example, “This unexpected detour is a great example of the vagaries of travel.”
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This ancient Greek term is often translated as “happiness.” However, it actually refers to something much stronger. As it was originally meant to be used, “eudaimonia” refers to the deepest possible happiness a human can experience. When you are experiencing eudaimonia, you are truly connected to the world around you and functioning at your best.
Eudaimonia relates particularly to travel because it’s meant to be considered in the context of an activityyou participate in, rather than simply an emotional state. Eudaimonia is achieved by honoring your values and exploring the world around you in a conscientious way.
Do you often prefer to travel alone, exploring foreign lands with no travel companions? If so, you prefer the solivagant experience in your adventures. This word, which comes from the Latin roots soli (alone) and vagus (to wander), means precisely what you’d expect: a solitary wanderer.
While traveling with friends and loved ones is definitely fun, traveling alone offers its own rewarding experiences. When you’re on your own, you can follow every whim you have. You can stay a little longer at that amazing museum, take that unexpected trip to the next town over, or walk the city instead of driving. The solivagant person prefers to fully focus on all aspects of the travel experience.
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Many travelers have experienced what this German term describes, which translates to a yearning that cannot be fully expressed in words. Similar to saudade, sehnsucht refers to a deep longing for something you may not even be able to define.
There are many reasons people travel — to experience new cultures, to meet new people, and to see the world. However, sehnsucht taps into one of the deeper reasons you may enjoy traveling: because you experience a strange yearning for a past that’s encapsulated in a long-ago culture. When you experience sehnsucht, you become overwhelmed by the feeling that there is something more out there and that you’ll find it somewhere along your travels.