9 Unusual Words That Will Make a Traveler Think “Same”

As a writer, I adore words. As a traveler, I have strong feelings for well – travel. Why not combine both? There are copious words that define aspects of travel that are not included in the daily vocabulary. I just finished an six month sojourn around Europe. Needless to say, I have feelings on the matter. I burrowed deep to find fantastical words that a peripatetic can relate to.

#1 Metanoia

Changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life

A Greek word. My mom always said that I read the rule book in the womb. I’ve always known who I was and what I was about so, travel became less about soul searching. My personal travel experience evolved into questing for knowledge and adventure. However, midsummer Lana Del Rey crooned ‘Change’ and it became my temporary anthem. Akin to my travel experience I learned not to dread a solitary existence and that I was lucky enough to take myself out on a date. My independent nature amplified. Whether the fierceness of my existence is beneficial or consequential is yet to be discovered. I vow to always seek knowledge and personal growth.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#2 Dépaysement 

Being out of your element, a fish out of water.

 From time to time a traveler will stick out like a sore thumb. It can be painfully awkward but, you get used to it. Those of us hailing from the United States are the easiest to identify. We smile at everyone. We are loud. We demand English menus. I’m speaking broadly of course. It’s uncomfortable to feel like an outsider but, it’s an important feeling. It’s a growing experience and forces one to be observant.

The cure:

  • Learn some of the local language, at minimum learn the magic words: hello, good bye, please and thank you!
  • Pay attention to fashion.
  • Research local foods to better identify menu items.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#3 Numinous

The powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired

The Latin word. Stepping off a plane in a foreign country is an adrenaline rush. Travel is dangerous considering today’s social and political climates especially, for a solo female. There is a whole separate list of rules that a woman should follow to keep safe. In the end, nobody is waiting to murder or rape you. Majority of the population is minding their own business and going about daily life but, there is always an inherent risk. Danger can come in many forms and usually when you least expect it. The danger you could be worrying about could manifest as several herds of wild boar while hiking in Austria. This was my ‘oh shit’ moment. Travel attracts the brave. Part of being brave is overcoming fear and staying calm in the face of danger.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#4 Eudaimonia 

A contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous

A Greek word. My skin glowed. My legs toned. And freckles were erupting from my cheeks. Flourishing was exactly what happened. Traveling for five months changed the way I look at health and wellness. I learned to walk everywhere and carry my fresh, locally grown groceries from the market. To be truthful, I thought I’d shrivel up and suffer from malnutrition considering the stress of being alone in a strange environment. Fortunately, the opposite happened.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#5 Seigneur-terraces 

Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money.

A French phrase. People watching becomes somewhat of a hobby while traveling long term. You learn to sip an Americano or a cappuccino and make up stories about the other patrons in the cafe.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#6 Livsnjutare 

One who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme

A Swedish word. Loving life so deeply forces people to break the mold. Experience cultures and environments that are less understood.  I love life so much it hurts.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#7 Quaquaversal 

Moving or happening in every direction instantaneously. 

A Latin word. My best friend once described her love for orange juice as a popping balloon full of sparkle confetti. My orange juice is travel. Wandering my way into old town Prague emitted serious feelings both of awe and exhilaration. The need to visit every single corner made me wish I could split myself in two as to cover more ground.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#8 Yoko Meshi

The stress of speaking a foreign language.

A Japanse word. “Toire wa doko desu ka?” Oh wait. That’s Japanese. I didn’t go to Japan. When tripping through language barriers the brain decides to fall back on familiar phrases. I took four years of Japanese in high school. Besides my native English asking where the bathroom was in Japanese seemed like second nature. My server looked just as confused as I when I realized that trying to speak Japanese to a Croatian. Another time, I rehearsed and perfected my lunch order in German only to be thrown off my “Wie gehts?”. I studied German! “Wie gehts” is one of the first things you learn! Language barriers are stressful and the most frustrating aspect of travel but, it’s all about patience.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

#9 Ennui

A feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

A French word. It’s not about aversion to home in anyway. Post travel blues are about the loss of an incredible time in your life and the longing for more. Ennui means an overall sadness and may even be confused with temporary depression. My six-month ramble around Europe covered nine countries and over twenty cities which I have come to know and love. Now, I feel like I’m in a constant state of distraction and lethargy.

The Cure: Mix it up.

  • Find local shops, restaurants, or museums you have never been to before.
  • Pick a regional dish that you loved abroad and recreate it at home!
  • Get outside. Get back in touch with nature.

Travel Scout Kate Marra

What are your favorite travel words?


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Travel Scout Kate Marra

31 thoughts on “9 Unusual Words That Will Make a Traveler Think “Same”

Add yours

  1. Fantastic article! I really enjoyed reading it especially #4 Eudaimonia – A contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous and #5 Seigneur-terraces – Coffee shop dwellers who sit at tables a long time but spend little money. This made me laugh, so true!


  2. Numinous and eudaimonia describe to me what travelling should be all about. And I wish I had more time to be a seigneur-terrace! This is such a unique perspective on the business of travelling.


  3. I love those words! Especially Seigneur-terraces could pretty much describe me. I’m one of those people who can just happily watch other people 😀 My favorite travel word is German though : Fernweh. Literally it means “farsickness”, It’s basically the antonym for the word “homesick” 😀


  4. That’s an interesting post and I can relate to few of them too. Seigneur-terraces is what I would love to do if I have some more time.


  5. I love that there are words that perfectly describe these feelings and experiences. I also spent four years studying Japanese (except I studied it in college), so I’m familiar with the struggle of finding situations where one language has a word for something whereas another does not — like trying to translate “がんばて (gambate)” or “我慢 (gaman)” into English. I’m glad to have founds word that allow me to better express myself (even if they’re not English, haha)!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love all of these words and certainly can relate one way or another! I also enjoy your “cures” especially when feeling a bit depressed after being on the high of travel. On the last one, “Ennui” we started to cook some dishes we enjoyed abroad and that was fun but also taking inspiration on decorating based on what we saw and enjoyed in other countries. Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eudaimonia is my word for life these days! Living in the Whitsundays in Australia has meant my skin now glows, my legs are toned from walking 50-60kms a week, from eating fresh and healthy locally sourced produce and just generally loving where I am at.


  8. I like words and I like travel too 🙂 Did not know those words yet but felt “same” 😀 You have been to Germany! How cool! Wie geht’s dir jetzt? I love Prague just the same as you do! It is such a mystical city ❤
    Where are you going next?


    1. Sehr gut! und du? Meine Deutsch ist “okay” :-).Ich würde gerne nach deutschland gehen. Aber ich besuche Österreich! I’m home in the US for the winter now but, I’d like to spend another summer in Europe! I have so many places I want to visit, I never know where to start 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I live in Arizona! You will LOVE it. Southern Utah is spectacular as well. Let me know if you need any help planning!!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I definitely identify with #8, the stress of learning a foreign language *nervous laugh*, I’m living in Spain for the year and even though my Spanish is pretty good, it can be difficult when you have to deal with errands or paying rent or going for a haircut.

    Liked by 1 person

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