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Im trying to name a spacecraft for a novel, and am looking for the term for someone (or a group of someones) who never settles in one place, and it always traveling and exploring, something that might fit a spacecraft built for exploring and prospecting.

Personally I was considering "Sojourner", for someone who only stays a short while at a given place, as the ship which carries the name is, or was, exploring the solar system and only stopping at ports of call for a short while, just to head out into the great empty.

I've done some research, but I'm looking for something with a positive connotation, as opposed to one which implies that the ship in question is dilapidated, in poor condition, or lacking class, as the ship is (in universe) the flagship of a well-off mining fleet. (Or at least it was when it was built and in service, having gone missing in its travel without explanation, and only found in the present day, as an anomaly.)

Think 'The Expanse' novels, if you need context for the kind of universe I'm talking about.

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  • Sojourner has some NASA mileage. Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:11
  • A rolling stone? Which gathers no moss, etc.. already probably too much in use, if anything.
    – C.S.
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:11
  • @KillingTime I know, which is why I'm still looking. Don't feel like ripping them off. Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:13
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    Straight from an online thesaurus: nomad, vagabond, adventurer, beachcomber, bum, drifter, explorer, floater, gadabout, gypsy, itinerant, pilgrim, rambler, ranger, roamer, straggler, stray, stroller, traveler/traveller, vagrant, voyager, gallivanter, globetrotter, meanderer, etc.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:19
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    You should probably ask Elon Musk :)
    – Gio
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:38

4 Answers 4

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In addition to the suggestions previously offered in both answers and comments, you could use peripatetic, both as an adjective and as a noun (link is to Merriam-Webster).

(as an adjective:)

1 a: of, relating to, or given to walking
b: moving or traveling from place to place : ITINERANT

(as a noun:)

1: PEDESTRIAN, ITINERANT

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Nomad or vagabond could work, though I think that the second one is slightly better. Though in the past it may have been used negatively, it has a nice feel to it.

nomad: a person who does not stay long in the same place; a wanderer (Oxford Languages)

vagabond, noun: a person who wanders from place to place without a fixed home : one leading a vagabond life

vagabond, adj.:
moving from place to place without a fixed home : WANDERING
of, relating to, or characteristic of a wanderer

(Merriam-Webster)

There are lots of other synonyms for this, like wanderer, journeyer, rover, voyager, and wayfarer.

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  • I think something like wanderer fits the build better, as (I probably should have specified) I am looking for a name which doesn't carry the connotation of someone who travels because they have to, or because they cant find a home. More like someone who travels because they want to see the world and they have the resources to do so, as it was a flagship when it was in service. Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:28
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    Vagabond is archaic, so it's never lost the negative connotation it had when it was in more common use.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:30
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    @AndrewLeach, do an ngram search for vagabond, it seems to be regaining popularity over the past couple decades. Based on the first search hits it's mostly used for titles rather than in the body of books, but labeling it "archaic" is probably premature.
    – The Photon
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 17:29
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Globetrotter might work

a habitual worldwide traveller, esp a tourist or businessperson

a person who travels regularly or frequently to countries all over the world

TFD defines the verb globetrot as

To travel often and widely, especially for sightseeing.

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I suggest wanderer:

One who wanders, who travels aimlessly.

It also brings to mind 'wanderlust' (and a personal favourite word because of the iconic romanticist painting by Caspar David Friedrich bearing the word in its title, both in the German and the English version).

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