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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
#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.
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.
What are your favorite travel words?