Languages are fascinating, there are words related to travel that do not have a precise translation. They are untranslatable words that contain a deep meaning that in other languages it is necessary to express with one or more sentences.
Some concepts of nostalgia, well-being, desire, expectations and emotions related to travel can be summarized with a single word.
To get to the heart of the languages and understand the shades of thoughts that some words convey, we need to look closely at the mentality and culture of a country.
Every language can express different meanings, convey values and beliefs of a culture.
For example, the wellness therapy in a quiet place among the trees typical of the Japanese culture, the warm feeling while enjoying the good things in life in Scandinavian culture. And also a nostalgia for something that we have not experienced yet according to the German philosophy and the determination to react to circumstances and face adversities in Northern countries.
Let’s learn 35 beautiful travel words that cannot be translated into English.
1.Resfeber – Swedish. Meaning: A mix of fear and excitement you experience before a trip.
2. Friluftsliv – Norwegian. Meaning: Living in the open air in connection with nature. The term indicates the feeling of peace and serenity when spending time immersed in nature.
3. Hygge– Danish. Meaning: The warm, relaxing and cozy feeling while enjoying the good things in life with friends or sitting in front of the fireplace during winter days. The term indicates the mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.
4. Gökotta– Swedish. Meaning: To wake up early in the morning with the purpose of hearing the first birds singing or going outside to appreciate nature.
5. Solivagant – Latin. Definition: Wandering alone. A solitary adventurer who enjoys exploring the world and wander alone.
6. Eudaimonia– Greek. Meaning: A state of being happy, health and prosperous. This word can be used to express that intense excitement and appreciation you feel when traveling and everything feels great.
7. Vorfreude– German. Meaning: The feeling of joy that comes from imagining future pleasures. In other words, the meaning is comparable to the quote of the philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: “To await a pleasure is itself a pleasure”.
8. Wabi-Sabi – Japanese. Meaning: A world view or aesthetic, centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. In Japanese culture, it is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
9. Komorebi – Japanese. Meaning: The sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.
10. Serendipity– English. Meaning: Making pleasant and desirable discoveries by chance.
11. Onism – Danish. Meaning: Awareness of how little of the world you will experience in a lifetime. The term refers to the frustration of being stuck in just one body that can only inhabit one place at a time.
12. Hanyauku– Rukwangali / Namibia. Meaning: Tiptoeing across hot sand
13. Metanoia – Greek. Meaning: Changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life. It conveys the sense of a profound, usually spiritual transformation or conversion.
14. Sisu – Finnish. Meaning: Determination to react to circumstances and face adversities. The term indicates a fusion of courage, resilience and perseverance that helps to face life’s challenges.
15. Sturmfrei– German. Meaning: Being alone at a place and having the freedom and ability to do what you want. The term is generally used when you are at home but can also be applied to travel.
16. Hireath – Welsh. Meaning: A homesickness or a nostalgia for past places or happy moments that you would like to live again with the same intensity.
17. Saudade – Portuguese. Meaning: the emotional state of nostalgia for someone or something distant. The state of profound longing for something, experiences, places, or events. It conjures both sadness for the missing, and happiness for having experienced the memory.
18. Mono no aware – Japanese. Meaning: An empathy toward things. The term indicates the awareness of the impermanence of things as nothing lasts forever.
19. Ayurnamat– Inuit. Meaning: The philosophy that there is no reason to worry about the things cannot be changed.
20. Flâneur– French. Meaning: Strolling with no purpose but enjoyably, observing life and the surroundings.
21. Koselig– Norwegian. Meaning: Nice, lovely and cozy things such as spending time with friends, eating a nice meal or simply relaxing in front of the fire. The term defines something, someone or a pleasant atmosphere that makes you feel a sense of warmth, simplicity and comfort.
22. Goya– Urdu. Meaning: Empathize with a story when someone tells it. It happens when fantasy is so realistic and powerful that it temporarily becomes a reality.
23. Waldeinsamkeit– German. Meaning: The feeling of being alone in the woods. A feeling of enjoyment, peace and calm you experience when alone in the forest.
24. Dépaysement– French. Meaning: The feeling of not feeling at home. The sense of disorientation felt in a foreign country or culture.
25. Coddiwomple– English Slang Word. Meaning: To travel in a purposeful manner towards an unknown destination.
26. Yūgen– Japanese. Meaning: An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional deep responses. In other words, it is a profound and mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe.
27. Eleutheromania– Greek. Meaning: An intense and irresistible desire for freedom.
28. Livsnjutare– Swedish. Meaning: Someone who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme.
29. Schwellenangst– German. Meaning: Fear of crossing a threshold to begin a new chapter. Schwelle “threshold” and angst “anxiety”. This term explains that feeling you get before deciding to set out on a new journey or going anywhere unfamiliar.
30. Shinrin-yoku – Japanese. Meaning: Forest bathing. The term is not considered as trekking or a simple excursion but as a wellness therapy in a quiet place among the trees to get into contact with nature. Read the post “The benefits of nature“
31. Smultroställe – Swedish. Meaning: The green field where wild strawberries grow. A metaphor for the special place each of us can feel free, relaxed and far from sadness.
32. Wanderlust– German. Meaning: A strong, innate, impulse or desire to travel the world. Lust “desire”.
33. Fernweh– German. Meaning: Being homesick for a place you have never been or a longing for far-off places. This word means an ache to get away and travel to a distant place, a feeling even stronger than wanderlust. Fern “far”, Weh “ pain”.
34. Heimweh– German. Meaning: Homesickness, longing for home. This term reminds us of the feeling of melancholy and separation we experience when we are far from our family and close friends. Heim “house”, Weh “pain”.
35. Sehnsucht– German. Meaning: A wistful longing and yearning for a place, person, and a far land one can identify as one’s home. It can be a nostalgia for our home, a longing for a far-off country. Other times it indicates a longing for someone or something.
So, are you ready to travel? What are you waiting for?
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