Although ‘wanderlust’, the common term we use to describe the desire to travel, comes from German origin; ‘wandern’ (to hike) and ‘lust’ (desire), The Germans have their own word that cannot be directly translated into English – ‘Fernweh’. It can be described as feeling sad when not travelling and being homesick for a place you have never been. This distance sickness seems to be a bug spreading widely amongst the young people in Western culture.
Our world is getting smaller – the ease of access we have to these far away countries greater because of advanced travel methods, the levels of comfort and the reduced time it takes to get there are all changing how we see the world. Our exposure to different cultures and people all over the world via the internet and modern media is opening up our world to the possibilities of new experiences and opportunities that the generations before never had; the world literally is our oyster.
So what do we do with this new found Fernweh? We go. Anywhere our feet and our hearts take us – we explore, experience and breathe something new. Whether that’s half way across the world or the other side of the country, distance has become irrelative and the number of miles separating family and friends vanish in the comfort of phone calls, video calls and our wireless connections online. With thanks to technology, no longer do we have to rely on just the connections of our hearts. A country girl in the city adapting to the hustle and bustle and the traffic can call home and almost smell the fields in which she used to play as a child. A business woman in a foreign country, lost in translation and fascinated by new foods, a plane ride away from her lover’s arms, can feel transported when their smiling faces meet on her phone screen. Two young best friends can set off on the adventure of a lifetime, before children and before careers, drinking local beer and meeting local people, opening their eyes to the wonders of the world, then instantly upload photos and invite their family along for the ride.
There are approximately 7.125 billion people in the world and what we choose to do individually will not change the world; I find this both saddening but also comforting, knowing that what we choose to do is for ourselves and the weight of the world does not fall on our shoulders alone. “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Ghandi. Never forget that the world is yours to discover and travel, if you wish to do so.
By Talia Maguire