Fernweh | Word of the Week | DW | 21.02.2014
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Word of the Week


Take me anywhere but home.

It looks up at you with one eye hanging from the side of its head: Cod in bechamel sauce is Monday's special. Cod in bechamel sauce is the special every Monday.

Could this sorry mess of meat possibly be related to the fish you once swam with on the reef in Pulau Tenggol?

Then suddenly your mind wanders, and you long to be back in Pulau Tenggol, on an isolated beach under a palm tree, or even hiking in a remote rain forest. Anywhere but here. That's Fernweh. Fern means 'far away' and weh means 'ache.' It's the opposite of home-sickness. In fact it is literally a longing to escape the monotony of everyday life, coupled with the desire to be somewhere else. This sentiment develops especially during long, dark winters.

Fernweh is not unlike its cousin wanderlust, which is a curiosity about the world and desire to explore new places.

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