16 In Travel/ Travel Talk/ Travel-isms

Notes on Feeling Fernweh

Fernweh

[n.] an ache for travel; being homesick for a place you’ve never been

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Fernweh is a lot like wanderlust, (a strong desire to wander & travel the world) but it’s different. When I look at the definition of fernweh versus the definition of wanderlust, it feels to me that fernweh is deeper. It isn’t just that you have this desire to travel, which I have constantly. It’s something that aches. It’s that emptiness you feel after coming home. It’s craving the new, missing culture shock and feeling adventurous at essentially every moment. This isn’t a new feeling for me, but recently I’ve been feeling fernweh in a deeper way than ever before. 

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I think that root of fernweh is actually « W A N D E R L U S T ». When I got back home from Asia, I still had wanderlust, of course, but I was ready to be home. I had regular old homesickness (well, really, I had Matt-sickness). As the weeks being home have passed by my wanderlust gradually became greater and greater and the inspired feeling of wanderlust was starting to turn to a longing and a desperation for adventures and explorations of new places!

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The thing I’ve discovered about feeling fernweh is that it doesn’t go away. It doesn’t just magically get better. It’s something that can only be cured by getting out there and exploring. Nothing can cure that ache but adventures.

I’ve been trying to decide what exactly it is that has pushed me past wanderlust and has me feeling so much fernweh and I’ve narrowed it down to two different things: missing long-term travel & the desire to see the world with the love of my life.

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This trip to Asia was the first trip longer than a month I have ever taken and I miss it every single day. Is life easier at home? Yes. Do I enjoy my life at home? Very much so! But that doesn’t mean that I don’t crave the unknown and the thrill of truly living life day by day. Being at home has me settled into a routine, the way home does, and I miss the adventurous life of a wanderer. I feel like I’ve just gotten a taste of it and I know that there is so much more to see!

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Then, there’s my fiancé, Matt. This man is without a doubt the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Because I love spending time with him, there’s obviously nothing I want to do more than see the world with him! We have had so many amazing moments exploring together already. Since January we’ve been to 10 different states, hiked almost 20 miles together since July and we’ve shared amazing moments together on top of mountains, in museums and eating local delicacies (like Key Lime Pie). I’m eager to see more and do more, with him!

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We’ve started planning this amazing Round the World Trip, but we’re not positive when this is actually going to happen. However, this week we started getting down to it and had our first “map date”. We spread our world map out across the table and started an outline for our big trip and have decided to do this once a week until it’s time to take off, which just makes this love-fueled fernweh burn even stronger.

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Until then, though, I’m soaking up all the micro-adventures that I can in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with the love of my life. I’m making the most of living in a magical place. I’m feeding my soul with nature. I’m being grateful and I’m being real. This is me, feeling fernweh, aching for the road and saying that’s just fine.

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    The Soul of Seoul
    June 7, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    I totally get this feeling. I live in Asia and have for the past decade but now even going back “home” to the States is an adventure that I get that wanderlust feeling for. It’s weird to have wanderlust for where you grew up but I do from time to time. I like your use of “micro-adventure” though. Did you make that up? haha I haven’t heard it before.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      I actually think that’s pretty cool! I love the idea that going home feels like an adventure. I don’t think of Springfield, Mo as a very adventurous place so it’s basically like a giant week-long family gathering when I go home. I guess I made it up, I’ve never heard it anywhere either. Ha. Who knew?! 😜

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    June 8, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Fernweh is something I heard about for the first time and looked it up. I found that it is the opposite of homesickness, more like far sickness. I can very well understand your feelings and most of us travelers would be able to empathize with you. You get this dull ache to be out and going where the heart wants to go, to far off and exciting places!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      I’m glad you can empathize. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Candy
    June 8, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Awe!!!! Sounds like you and Matt were meant for each other. Having a travel partner is THE best. I also love this word “Fernweh”. I have never heard of it and prefer this word over “Wanderlust” 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Thank you! That’s flowery sweet of you to say! I certainly feel like we’re meant for each other. It’s definitely different, but they go hand-in-hand in my opinion. Wanderlust is my word, and has been for quite some time now, but it has gotten overused a lot in our current culture. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    June 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve never heard this word before so thanks for teaching me a new word and it’s definition today! I love the meaning because I feel it all the time myself! You and Matt are adorable together too!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 19, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      I’m glad I could help out a word that every traveler should know! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Claire Summers
    June 14, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    I can completely relate to this post! I crave that new and exciting feeling of being overwhelmed and culture shocked in a new place. Beautifully written post.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 19, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you very much! I really appreciate that. It’s good to hear that others relate!

  • Reply
    Cat
    June 15, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    This is my first time of hearing the word “Fernweh” and I can totally relate to it. I have the constant desire to be out there exploring even after coming home. Before my trip ends, I’m already planning the next one, even it is to be away from home for a weekend to somewhere nearby. Hope your fernweh and wanderlust will bring you and Matt to many more new places!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 19, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you so much, Cat! I really appreciate that and love hearing from people who can relate.

  • Reply
    Colby
    June 20, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I totally get it! A couple years I was the exact same way. I yearned to be anywhere but home. Eventually, I made my way to South Korea for a year, and then Spain for 9 months. I just recently returned home 5 days ago and I’m actually glad to be here. It feels good to have a sense of normalcy, but I know that before long I’ll be aching for new adventures.

  • Reply
    Reshma
    June 21, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Fernweh is my favorite travel word, and I just loved the way you have described how you feel it. It is the same with me, and I prefer Fernweh over wanderlust to describe how I long for travel a few days after I get home. Great to know that you have been able to travel well with the love of your life. To more travels!

  • Reply
    Daphne
    June 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve never heard about fernweh before…. Interesting to learn about this new word and to read about your Fernweh experience and how you travel with your fiance! I hope you guys can still see more and do more! 😉

  • Reply
    One Woman's Love Letter to The Ozarks - For the Love of Wanderlust
    July 17, 2017 at 10:07 am

    […] sat patiently waiting for me to explore your rivers, mountains and hollers. You became my respite from fernweh and a place where my relationship with Matt grew and was nurtured. You let me know that there was […]

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