Today, I’ve been suffering from a severe case of Fernweh.
Fernweh is a German word, a very German word indeed. The common English translation that you’ll find in dictionaries is ‘wanderlust’ or ‘travel bug’, but I think this is not a very adequate counterpart.
Fern-weh is a compound of ‘Fern’, which means ‘far, afar’ and ‘Weh’, which means ‘pain’ or ‘suffering’. ‘Weh’ is a rather old-fashioned word that is not much used these days, you mostly find it in literature and poetry.
Wanderlust, however, seems to be quite a jolly word. The lust for wandering, an energetic desire to do something.
Fernweh, on the other hand, is a longing with a strong element of suffering, a nostalgic passiveness that not necessarily ends up in doing something.
A very German word indeed.