In German, the word Fernweh translates roughly as "farsickness." It denotes the desire to be somewhere other than where you are now. It was coined as an antonym to Heimweh, or "homesickness."

Does English have a good word to indicate the feeling of wanting to be somewhere else?

  • Related:english.stackexchange.com/questions/212474/… – user66974 Dec 31 '14 at 15:06
  • @Josh61: not really about wanting a different life or forgetting about the past, as that question asks, but as in: here I am at my desk working (and I love my work), but right now I wish I were on the dock at Manhattan Beach. – Rusty Tuba Dec 31 '14 at 15:08
  • Two related concepts are cabin fever - when we're stuck indoors someplace for extended periods of time and just want to get out, and daydreaming, when we fantasize about being somewhere else. – Kristina Lopez Dec 31 '14 at 15:12
  • Isn't it Longing. – justjoined Dec 31 '14 at 15:13
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    There is the same question in german.stackexchange. They suggested "itchy feet" there. – ermanen Dec 31 '14 at 16:28

Depending on the context, wanderlust might work for you: "strong longing for or impulse toward wandering" (M-W), depending on how much you associate Fernweh with the act of travelling as opposed to the state of being away from home.

  • Funny that wanderlust is a German word also and loaned by English. We might loan "fernweh" also, who knows. Wikipedia says: "In modern German, the use of the word Wanderlust to mean "desire to travel" is less common, having been replaced by Fernweh (lit.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")." – ermanen Dec 31 '14 at 16:33
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    @ermanen: FWIW, as a German phrase I'd put "Wanderlust" with "Weltschmerz" in that it's a semantically valid word, but I've never heard it actually used by native speakers. (I'm not a philosopher, though, so my sample might be skewed.) – Ulrich Schwarz Dec 31 '14 at 16:56

Sometimes I use the phrase "a travel itch" when I stay home too long.

It might be described as

  • "the feeling someone gets when they've stayed home for too long, knowing there is a lot to do and see elsewhere.

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