For the souls that travel, description takes on new meaning. For the nomads that want to feel different soils crunch beneath their feet, for the hearts that yearn for their eyes to gaze upon new horizons, simply recounting experiences with plain English is almost impossible. Telling someone how it felt to have your heart race with reckless abandon as your plane left the runway, whisking you off on yet another adventure, yet another fresh journey, is insufferable. Trying to recount what it was like to have the Pacific ocean lap at your shins as you caught your first wave, or how its cobalt salt water tasted upon your lips as you came up from under its cheek to the kiss of sunshine, is unbearable because language cannot do any of those experiences justice.
What is beautiful is that there are untranslatable sayings from different countries that perfectly describe what it is like to give yourself to the world. These next few verses depict language that moves, language that relates perfectly to the art of adventure.
Derive (n.) French : a spontaneous journey where the traveler leaves their life behind for a time to let the spirit of the landscape and architecture attract and move them.
What is enchanting about this word is that it simply means “to drift” – when you connect with that it perfectly sums up the sentiment of travel. You are fleeting, wandering, drifting through new places, allowing for them to inspire you and open your eyes. You are winding through old museums, rolling hills, you are rootless, nomadic, and there is nothing more invigorating than that.
Sehnsucht (n.) German: the inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what; a yearning for a far, familiar, land one can identify as one’s home.
As a traveler we often experience what is best described a farsickness. Our whole being craves the mountains, the sea, the sunshine between the trees in the forests of the Earth, even if we don’t know what to expect from the landscapes and the cultures themselves. We long for experience, and are filled with the need to discover all that our bones can soak up.
Yugen (n.) Japanese: an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words.
When we travel with a completely unguarded heart, wee truly expose ourselves to the enchantment of this planet. There are moments when we are fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted – we are filled with a powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired. Some people feel this at the tops of mountains, others feel this in the middle of the ocean, but the common thread that links every occurrence of this word is that we are left with this immense sense of magnificence within ourselves, we experience a sensitivity to the bigness of this Earth, we unite with the vastness of its scope and beauty.
Saudade (n.) Portuguese: a nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, the love or the feeling that remains.
When we experience different cultures and have them move us in indescribable ways, that feeling stays with us. We can be sitting in a coffee shop a thousand miles away from Rome, but its smells can still linger, its energy can still ignite. We could be in a completely different country, but the sights of Paris will still swirl within our blood like a vitality that will never cease to move us. Saudade is the lingering distance that lives within every traveller’s heart, the love for those places that we have allowed to burrow within us like old friends.
Resfeber (n.) Swedish: The restless race of the traveler’s heart before the journey begins.
This is the word that describes the excitement inside our cells that dances within us when we get ready for a trip, the heightened sense of awareness that comes with sitting in a plane seat on the first leg of the journey, knowing what awaits, knowing that the next few days or weeks or months will be completely bewitching. This feeling, in which every traveller has experienced, is completely nauseating in the most beautiful way. It is anticipation, it is a sickness that is bred from the need to search, it is an eagerness, a ruthless dedication to a voyage that is just beginning.