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  • Writer's pictureElise K. Ackers


I learnt a new word this evening, and these seven seemingly innocuous letters have moved mountains within me.

Fernweh is the German equivalent for wanderlust, and it translates to farsickness; an ache for distant places.

To me, this definition is perfect. As the months have slipped by and the countdown has diminished to mere weeks until I brandish my passport again, I've struggled to adequately capture how I'm feeling.

Excited, of course. Overwhelmed, a little scared. Exhilarated. I'm proud of myself for venturing out into the world again, for daring to subscribe to a new way of life, for committing to the road less travelled, and embracing adventure in whatever form. This is something I've longed for for a year now. The original concept is all but a memory - my itinerary and goals have changed so much. But the purpose is the same.

The world calls to me. A siren song that robs my feet of balance and turns my head from other plans - other futures.

My heart is restless, and only new roads, new faces and broken boundaries will satiate it.

I begin to tell people I've done this before, then stop myself.

I have travelled alone, I have been overseas. I have walked upon ancient cobblestones, and gazed upon vistas so stunning that I will never remember them with the clarity they deserve. But I have not done this before.

What I am doing is new. It will be unlike anything I've done in the past, and unlike anything I will do to come. It can't be, because I am never the same.

I am a different person from the girl fresh out of high school who shouldered her backpack and swallowed her fear. She went to Europe. She starved. She was soaked through for three whole days. She para-sailed over the Austrian Alps. She missed home so badly that I still carry the scar tissue on my heart.

I'm different again from the woman who went to South East Asia. She was stronger than the Europe girl. She had a gun pointed at her face and survived a civil uprising with her sense of humour intact. She walked through temples worn down by acid rain, and floated down the Mekong River above waiting creatures and alongside fishing monks. She knew she could do it because she'd "done it" before.

And so, whilst I'm different - older, wiser, infinitely better at self deprecating humour - those parts of me tell me I can do this.

So come at me, world, I'm ready for you. In fact, I ache for you. I've been farsick for too long, and you're just the cure I'm looking for.

First stop the United Arab Emirates. Turkey next, then Greece. When I return to England after all that, it's with one month of complete freedom. So... Ireland. Perhaps Scandinavia. Maybe France again, because Paris is always a good idea.

I'll be carrying my laptop and notebook and writing about it all. And in the back of my mind always, will be this wonderful, perfect new word.

Image by Slava Bowman

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