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The English loanword "wanderlust" was already extant in the German language dating as far back as Middle High German. The first documented use of the term in English occurred in 19022 as a reflection of what was then seen as a characteristically German predilection for wandering that may be traced back to German Romanticism and the German system of apprenticeship (the journeyman), as well as the adolescent custom of the 'Wanderbird' seeking unity with Nature.3
The term originates from the German words wandern (to hike) and Lust (desire). The term wandern, frequently misused as a false friend, does in fact not mean "to wander", but "to hike." Placing the two words together, translated: "enjoyment of hiking", although it is commonly described as an enjoyment of strolling, roaming about or wandering.citation needed
In modern German, the use of the word Wanderlust to mean "desire to travel" is less common, having been replaced by Fernweh (lit. "farsickness"), coined as an antonym to Heimweh ("homesickness").
Among tourists, sociologists distinguish sunlust from wanderlust as motivating forces – the former primarily seeking relaxation, the latter engagement with different cultural experiences.6
Wanderlust may be driven by the desire to escape and leave behind depressive feelings of guilt, and has been linked to bipolar disorder in the periodicity of the attacks.7 Or it may reflect an intense urge for self-development by experiencing the unknown, confronting unforeseen challenges, getting to know unfamiliar cultures, ways of life and behaviours.
In adolescence, dissatisfaction with the restrictions of home and locality may also fuel the desire to travel.8
Wanderlust is commonly found in teens and young adults just out of school who wish to get away from where they've grown up.
- Definition of wanderlust from Oxford Dictionaries Online
- Etymology of wanderlust from Online Etymology Dictionary
- Erik H. Erikson, Childhood and Society (1973) p. 325
- M. Trask, Cruising Modernism (2003) p. 3
- A. Ganser, Roads of Her Own (2009) p. 34
- P. Robinson, Tourism (2002) p. 196
- Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis (1946) p. 369
- S. Freud, On Metapsycholgy (PFL 11) p. 455
- Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2009)
- Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey (1980)
- S. D. Ezrahi, Booking Passage (2000)