They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and it’s fair to say I’ve underestimated the impact travel has on my head and heart lately. The kind of travel that takes you somewhere new, waking up every sense in your body making you actually feel the wind on your face.
Are you that person that plans the next trip before the plane from your last has even hit the tarmac? I certainly am.
While some may confuse it for not living in the moment, it makes such a difference to the way I cope with the end of an adventure. Mainly because it’s not the end anymore; another has already started.
And why is this important at the moment? I’m glad you asked.
With the way things are at the moment, many of us have no idea when our next holiday will be. The next time we’ll find ourselves in some far flung city, or even just out exploring our own. And that’s going to make the monotony even more mundane, and the light at the end of the tunnel dim.
As it turns out, the German’s have a word for this feeling. It’s fernweh.
While there is no direct translation to English (as is the case with most of the best words), fern means distance and wehe describes a kind of ache or sickness. Stick them together and you get an ache to travel, to be out there, exploring somewhere the smells, sounds and speaks differently.
But this isn’t just that travel bug you affectionately told your friends in an Instagram caption you’d caught on your first trip away in your twenties. It’s more than that. And it’s a feeling many of us are likely going to experience in the next couple to who knows how many months of lock down.
So what can we do? Postpone instead of cancelling trips you may have booked. Research all the places you’ll go once the borders are opened. Heck, buy the Lonely Planet guide now. Use this time to save your pennies for someplace else.
I know in the meantime I’ll be looking back on the trips I’ve done, and most certainly looking forward to the trips I will take once this is all over.
Because we will travel again. And just think how much better it will be. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and my distant memories of foreign places have sure got me feeling the fernweh.