"Fernweh" is a word I learnt from Elle a young team member in the office. This bubbly girl, kinda tomboyish was bursting with enthusiasm, and would just disappear to some remote country some where the very moment she was able to get time off.
Equipped with a bag pack full with DSRLs and accessories, she'd return with photos that were so captivating. After working with us for a few years, Elle decided to leave. She didn't say where she was going nor what she her plans were. She just said she needed to take a break.
Not long after Elle left, we saw pictures of her, backpacking around Europe with her travel buddies and checking in at popular B&Bs from different corners of the world on FB. And I went...oh wow!!
I asked her one day, what "fernweh" means and she said it's a German word and asked me to look up its meaning.
According to Google, “fernweh” is the feeling when you feel like you have to leave your familiar surroundings to discover new places. The need for distance, the wish to experience something far away from home and the urge to escape from your everyday life by traveling. It is basically the opposite of homesickness "Heimweh".
I understand now why Elle asked me to search its meaning on my own. It was a word that describes me so well; a word that expresses my eagerness to explore places, connect with the locals, try out their dishes, push my boundaries and more often than not take selfies at the weirdest spot I could find.
I asked Elle once what has she learnt from her extensive travels. She said, if she look back at who she was before she began traveling and compare that to who she is now, she'd have to say that travel has made her a better and more well-rounded person. According to Elle, her travel has taught her how to be happy, become more relaxed, more confident, and see the world as a brighter place.
And she said, how can you not be happy about life after all of that? She ended our conversation with her last line, "Fernweh Madam...it's all about fernweh" :)