Wanderlust war bereits ein mittelhochdeutsches Wort und beschreibt die Lust am Wandern, den steten inneren Antrieb, sich zu Fuß die Natur und die Welt fern der Heimat zu erschließen // A middle-high German word describing the joy of wandering, the constant urge to walk through nature and the world far from home.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wanderlust: a definition, a bridge

     It took me a while to decide on a fitting title for this narrative. I thought it would be appropriate to find a word, or words, that could describe my outlook both in English and in German, bridging, in some way, two worlds and two homes. I went through--and decided against--most of my favorite German words, mostly because they were too difficult to spell/pronounce/spell and pronounce and I wanted to be fair to those of my friends and family who do not speak German (so, about 99%). The translation for "rubbish" was very close to being the winner, not because it really describes this trip in any way (although the irony of it was pretty great), but because the German translation is "papperlapapp," which is really just incredibly fun to say. 
     I finally came upon Wanderlust, a word that is so integrated into the English language at this point that most probably don't even realize it's German. I include the definitions below; I think my choice will be self-explanatory.

English: wan·der·lust noun \ˈwän-dər-ˌləst\ : a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering
German: wạn•der•lust / n : die Lust am, zum wandern

     The German definition directly translates: the desire to/enjoyment of travel. And as I leave home this seems to describe a way of traveling--happily and with curiosity (or as one dictionary I stumbled upon worded it "with itchy feet"). 
     With this in mind I hope I also allow myself some sense of "settling in," as Lutherstadt Wittenberg will soon be where I eat, sleep, and study for three and a half months, and I look forward to calling it "home" as well.
      So, countdown to take-off: 17 days. Can't wait.

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