25 Words Every Traveller Should Have in Their Vocabulary

25 Words Every Traveller Should have in their vocabulary

25. Numinous (adj.)

Origin: English

Definition: Describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted.

24. Dépaysement (n.)

Origin: French

Definition: The disorientation felt in a foreign country or culture. The feeling of being a fish out of water.

23. Dérive (n.)

Origin: Latin/French

Definition: A spontaneous journey where the traveller leaves their life behind for a time to let the spirit of the landscape and architecture attract and move them.

22. Sehnsucht (n.)

Origin: German

Definition: The inconsolable longing in the human heart for a far, familiar, non-earthly land one can identify as one’s home.


21. Fernweh (n.)

Origin: German

Definition: A craving for travel. Being homesick for a place you’ve never been.

20. Sonder (v.)

Origin: French

Definition: The realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

19. Hodophile (adj.)

Origin: Greek

Definition: “Lover of roads”, or better “love of travel.”

18. Resfeber (n.)

Origin: Swedish

Definition: The restless race of the traveller’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together.


17. Nemophilist (n.)

Origin: Greek

Definition: A haunter of the woods; one who loves the forest and its beauty and solitude.

16. Vagary (n.)

Origin: Latin

Definition: An unpredictable instance, a wandering journey; a whimsical, wild or unusual idea, desire, or action.

15. Coddiwomple (v.)

Origin: English Slang Word

Definition: To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.

14. Annu Miarabilis (n.) (phr.)

Origin: Latin

Definition: A remarkable or notable year in history; a year of wonders and miracles, used to speak hopefully of the future.


13. Wanderlust (n.)

Origin: German

Definition: A strong, innate, impulse or desire to travel the world.

12. Yūgen (n.)

Origin: Japanese

Definition: An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words.

11. Sojourn (n.)

Origin: Latin, Old French

Definition: A period of time when you stay in a place as a traveler or guest.

10. Strikhedonia (n.)

Origin: Greek

Definition: The pleasure of being able to say “to hell with it!”

Eleutheromania definition

9. Eleutheromania (n.)

Origin: Greek

Definition: An intense and irresistible desire for freedom.

8. Smultroställe (n.)

Origin: Swedish

Definition: A special place discovered, treasured, returned to for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress and sadness.

7. Solivagant (adj.)

Origin: Latin

Definition: Wandering alone.

6. Wayfarer (n.)

Origin: English

Definition: Someone who travels, especially on foot.


5. Livsnjutare (n.)

Origin: Swedish

Definition: One who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme

4. Sturmfrei (adj.)

Origin: German

Definition: The freedom of not being watched by a parent or superior; being alone at a place and having the ability to do what you want.

3. Cosmopolitan (adj.) (n.)

Origin: English

Definition: At home all over the world,” and as a noun, “a citizen of the world.

2. Selcouth (adj.)

Origin: English

Definition: Unfamiliar, rare, strange, and yet marvellous.

1. Peregrinate (v.)

Origin: Latin

Definition: Travel or wander around from place to place.

Which word do you connect with the most?


Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.



  1. Carl
    January 11, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Hey, I would love sources on these terms. Did you use any special sources, perhaps some kind of etymological dictionary?

  2. November 11, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    I like Nemophilist. I wrote a book about a young wanderer named Everett Ruess. who roamed the southwest of America for four years (in the early 30s) before disappearing. He changed his name to Nemo near the end. Some think because he was a fan of Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo and others believe because of it’s Latin meaning, “No man or no one”. He was definitely one who loved nature.

  3. Bill Strutz
    August 29, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    “Anno mirabilis” instead of “”Annu miarabilis”
    Apparently a double typo?

  4. drew chatterton
    August 10, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    numinous as things really are
    as opposed to phenominal= as things appear

  5. February 26, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    Fernweh! 🙂 I love that word. 🙂

  6. October 31, 2015 / 12:12 pm

    Ahh these are so cool! I already knew a few of them, I really like Hedophile 🙂
    Rianne recently posted..Expired VisasMy Profile

  7. October 18, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    Smultroställe I personally have one near home, well I guess everyone has one 😀

  8. October 17, 2015 / 12:17 am

    Number 9, for me. This is what has been within me alays

  9. The Crazy Traveller
    October 16, 2015 / 2:54 pm

    Enjoyed this. My favourite was #4: Sturmfrei and #18: Resfeber.

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