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Describe Your Travels with These Rare and Beautiful Words

Sometimes, it can be very hard to describe a travel experience or feeling. You can’t use one word to express what it feels like to stand on the edge of the vast sea, or use simple words to capture a very particular feeling or moment during our travels. Thankfully, there are many obscure and unusual words from around the world that help you describe precisely those unique feelings one experiences while traveling. We present some of them to you here today.
While many of the words we’ve featured here have Swedish, German, French, or Latin origins, a few of them come from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows’ by John Koenig. Apart from helping expand your vocabulary, these literary gems will ensure that you’re never short of words when you want to convey certain feelings or emotions during your next journey. Take a look at the travel words from this list!


Unusual Travel Words, Sehnsucht
Origin: German
Example sentence: “Her sehnsucht was triggered the moment she looked at the photos of her previous trip to Costa Rica.”
Pronunciation: [zEn-‘zUkt]
Sehnsucht comes from two German words: sehnen (to long) and sucht (anxiety; sickness; addiction). While the origin of the word may not sound all too pleasant, when seen as a whole, it transforms into something beautiful. 
We’ve all had that intense yearning to travel to the far-off location that has been etched in our hearts for years. We long to revisit a place we really loved and wish we could experience it all over again.


Unusual Travel Words,Morii
Origin: Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Example sentence: “As the lush green fields swept past her, she had an intense rush of morii.”
Pronunciation: [mo-rii]
The word is derived from memento mori, a Latin phrase that serves as a reminder of mortality. However, morii expands on that concept and makes it more poignant. 
Imagine you are sitting beside the window on a train in the evening as it moves through the charming countryside. You can’t stop looking at the greenery and want to observe the surroundings in detail as much as you can, but they just keep rushing past you. You wish you could press pause in your life and savor those moments before they slip away. Morii doesn’t only apply to travel but also to other meaningful moments of our lives.   


Unusual Travel Words, schwellenangst
Origin: German
Example sentence: “He felt a tremendous surge of schwellenangst before getting on the plane."
Pronunciation: [shwel-en-ahngst]
This unique German word comes from schwelle (threshold) and angst (anxiety), and it explains the fear or uneasiness we often feel before embarking on something new – maybe a journey to a totally different country. If you've ever apprehensively stood at the door of a building you've never been before — like an old hotel, train station, or anywhere else containing a new experience — you've felt it as well. 


Unusual Travel Words, onism
Origin: Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Example sentence: “Sitting on the edge of the cliff, she felt her onism rise as she took in the vast landscape in front of her.”
Pronunciation: [o-ni-sm]
Onism is the portmanteau of monism (the philosophical view that all phenomena can be explained in terms of a single reality) and onanism (another word for self-gratification). 
Onism describes that realization that the world is a huge place and, as amazing as it is, we will never be able to see it all. That understanding can make us feel sad or overwhelmed.

5. Dérive

Unusual Travel Words, Dérive
Origin: French
Example sentence: “If his dérive hadn’t kicked in at the right moment, he wouldn’t have discovered the great views of the island that summer.”
Pronunciation: [de-riv]
This French word originally refers to a concept presented in the "Theory of the Dérive" (1956) by Guy Debord, a member of Letterist International. It says that in a derive, “one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.”
This word perfectly describes small journeys where you’re wandering through a new city and come across a path that takes you to great discoveries.


Unusual Travel Words, Livsnjutare
Origin: Swedish
Example sentence: “Shauna was a true livsnjutare and savored every moment of her trip.”
Pronunciation: [lives-noo-tuhreh]
This word comes from the Swedish njutare, which translates to "someone who enjoys." Or, in other words, an “enjoyer of life.” While it doesn’t necessarily have to be travel-related, anyone who’s a livsnjutare will certainly cherish each part of their life’s journey to the fullest, even if that means taking delight in a short road trip.  


Unusual Travel Words, Novaturient
Origin: Latin
Example sentence: “He was overcome with novaturient when he quit his job and moved to Rome.”
Pronunciation: [nuh-vuh-nyoo-tree-uhnt]
The origin of novaturient comes from the Latin word novāre meaning "make new." This refers to desiring or seeking powerful change in your life. It can be best felt during a soul searching and breathtaking travel, the time when you want to break free from your current lifestyle. 


Unusual Travel Words,
Origin: Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Example sentence: “When I get home from a trip, I always suffer from rückkehrunruhe. It’s quite depressing.”
Pronunciation: [rück-keh-run-ru-he]
While rückkehrunruhe is considered a German word, it is from "The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows." It’s essentially the feeling we get upon returning from a memorable trip - only to find it fading rapidly from our awareness as we are forced to get back to our routine. Sometimes, the feeling is so severe that we have to keep reminding ourselves that it happened at all, even though it felt so vivid just a few days back.


Unusual Travel Words, Trouvaille
Origin: French
Example sentence: “Stumbling on a waterfall was a trouvaille for Richard on the trip.”
Pronunciation: [trü-ˈvī]
Trouvaille originated from the French word trouver which means "to find." Whether it’s stumbling across a quaint café or a stunning waterfall, trouvaille describes those magical moments we experience in our everyday life or on a journey.


Unusual Travel Words, forest
Origin: English
Example sentence: “Give me the countryside any day of the week, I am such a nemophilist.”
Pronunciation: [ne-'mo-fe-list]
This obscure word hasn’t really been used for over 100 years and is derived from the Greek words nemos, meaning "grove," and philos, meaning "affection." Someone with a love or fondness for forests, woods, or woodland scenery, or someone who often visits them, can be described as a nemophilist. They love everything about the forest, its beauty, and its solitude.
Share these lovey words with other travel enthusiasts you know...
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