No matter where in the world I am, I have a fleeting feeling. A feeling that even though I am here and now, I’m not really here and now. I am also in the snow capped Himalayas of Sarmoli, also on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar, also in the Andes of Ecuador. I’m filled with a longing for somewhere far away.
Trust the Germans to have a word for it: fernweh. A longing, a kind of homesickness, for a distant place that isn’t home.
Also read: Thinking of Home
I first felt this longing while studying in Singapore. I longed for the chaos of India, and for solitude in places that looked lonely even on the map. But like many do, I dismissed it as the restless soul syndrome.
Fast forward eight years, and I indulge that longing, transient though it is, like indulgence is the only way to survive. A little dramatic, maybe.
But that longing is the reason I impulsively decided to travel to East Africa a few months ago; bought a flight to soak in the rains in Goa from Zanzibar (on credit); accepted an invitation from The Blue Yonder to travel along the River Nila in Kerala and connect with inspiring artisans who are single-handedly sustaining ancient local traditions.
Also read: Unexpected Ways Long Term Travel Has Changed Me
That longing had me craving an authentic Ethiopian beyaynetu while transiting through Delhi, and a traditional Jordanian mezze while saying goodbye to Quito. That’s probably why Anthony Bourdain is opening a giant food hall in New York; I guess the more you travel, the more the world becomes your backyard.
Also Read: Why I Turned Vegan – And What It Means For My Travel Lifestyle
That longing made me dream of lying under a pitch dark night sky, just the stars and me – and I took it as a cue to travel back to Ladakh, back to the nunnery where my love affair with its stark barren mountains began. I planned to travel further this time, but lost all sense of time and reality, and felt contended staying where I was.
Also read: Simple Ways to Travel More Responsibly in Ladakh
But as I drove a scooter with the drizzle in my face along the verdant rice paddies of Goa, as I hiked along the cloud-kissed Himalayas of Ladakh, I felt that longing again.
A longing that I’m off tonight to indulge (another annoying Schengen visa application notwithstanding), with the glee of a little girl traveling to distant shores for the first time!
Tonight, I’m heading back to one of my favorite countries in Europe – Germany.
This time, I’ll be exploring the Hessen region with Hessen Tourism – revelling in a quirky street festival in Frankfurt (where even strip clubs have an open door policy, I hear ;-)), cycling to ancient monasteries to sample fine wine, feasting on vegan food at one of the world’s 10 most innovative restaurants, and perhaps exploring some Bollywood connections!
Join my adventures with #DiscoverHessen on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as I follow my heart to Europe – for what is life without a little indulgence?
After Germany, I’ll be attending the Social Travel Summit in Inverness, Scotland, as one of 47 travel influencers from around the world. I can’t decide what I’m more excited about – exploring the Scottish countryside for the first time (and chasing the Loch Ness monster), or upping my blogging game at this exclusive gathering of the travel blogging industry.
An adventure in Wales will follow, with a lot of firsts – surfing, coasteering (seriously, google it) and visiting a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! I might decide to spend some time in London after that, or head back to explore Scotland on my own.
Join my adventures in the UK with #STSinverness and #OMGB.
I can’t wait to board my Lufthansa flight now; see you from the other side.
Have you ever felt an inexplicable longing for somewhere far away?
I wrote this post as part of the #DiscoverHessen blogging trip.
First Time to Germany? Practical Tips to Plan Your Travels
Lessons From my First TBEX
The Joy of Slow Travel
Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, “sustainability influencer,” social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes that travel – if done right – has the power to change us and the world we live in.
Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.
Thanks for the ‘fernweh’ word – anything to describe this indescribable longing to be at some far away corner of the world. The more you see the world, the more this longing grows, like a self fulfilling prophecy 🙂 You have a swell time in Germany!
Congrats shivya for making it to the list of world’s top 47 influential blogger!
There are so many places where I would love to escape… Himalayas rule the list though! I would love to trek somewhere in Himalaya and get lost!
Love this post Shivya – can totally identify with this feeling! Good for you for following your heart and heading to Europe – have an amazing time in Scotland! The scenery is beautiful. Just a heads up as someone from that part of the world that the Scots don’t necessarily like to have their land referred to as ‘English’, as it’s a different country within the UK (but both are – just about – part of Britain still). Enjoy it! 🙂
Thanks Ellie! Something felt amiss even as I was writing that; now I know 😉 Thanks for pointing it out, I’ve edited it!
Oh the white sand and blue ocean of Zanzibar…. absolutely magical, you brought back some lovely memories! If you are a wine drinker, you will love the Rieslings from Rhine-Main region. Try the rope courses, if you haven’t in Germany. BTW, avid reader of your articles. Have fun!
What a beautiful post, I can’t wait to read about your upcoming travels! x
Lindo! Em um lugar como este, eu escreveria uma linda história de romance. hahaha Parabéns!
Very inspiring…beautiful photos and blog!
Shivya Nath ! do you realise how profound the first few lines of your post are ! You said something extremely beautiful here, resonates with my soul and perhaps the truth for a lot of restless souls who are in the same zone but unable to travel or express that longing !
I believe You travel for all of us ! God bless you and your travels ! looking forward to hear more !
Oh I feel you, I have this Fernweh a lot. Say hello to my home country Germany.
Have you ever felt an inexplicable longing for somewhere far away?
I have…so many times. I want to be in the mountains, in a field of reeds, looking at the aurora, or just lazing alongside a river(:
But I also want to be at home hahaha.
Anyway, hello from Singapore!
What beautiful words and photos! I enjoyed your post very much and can relate to that feeling of longing – have a wonderful time in Germany, with so many wonderful places to see and explore here. 🙂
Have fun in Germany! When I am home in the States I am always longing for India. But for the last 5 months I have been living in India. Now all I long for is beef. Ha! In terms of place Nepal is on my mind. I love the mountains. I am excited to be heading to Kathmandu in about 10 days!
The German language is a wonderful one, they seem to have a word for everything. I definitely experience fernweh, especially when reading your blog! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures with the Loch Ness monster 🙂
Shivya, you don’t talk about going to Scotland for a blogging conference and express your excitement about visiting the English countryside! The Scots are a very proud and separate race and country to the English and it’s a terrible faux pas to mix the two. The Loch Ness legend is very definitely in Scotland and not England!
A true traveller can relate to this. Keep posting Shivya Nath. 🙂
Congrats Shivya! I’m pretty sure both events are the result of hard work and true passion..enjoy the moment! All the best, cheers.
So glad that I will get to read a post about Scotland soon 🙂
The mountains, the river with its raging current, the UNESCO World Heritage site beckons me, but I long for money, the only element that makes that happen, along with few visa stamps. Sorry about my attempt at humor, if it was bad. It’s fun to get back to your blog and read your posts filled with soul. You travel for all of us, you write for all of us, the words you put across does stir the coffee beans in us that kick starts the passion to travel more. Keep writing.
Have a fabulous trip! Look forward to reading all about it!
Fernweh is a lovely addition to my dictionary. I really loved the word! We have such German terms in psychiatry which sound complicated and twisty and have no accurate term in english to describe them. Like Gendakenlautwerden and wahnstimmung! Thanks for that. And congratulations on being chosen for such a prestigious summit. You deserve it. Have a great time, enjoy and help form our dreams with your blog!
Fernweh is my absolutely favourite German word 🙂
I planned a trip to Frankfurt for the end of September, would be interesting to read your tips if you publish post about your experience before that time 🙂
Thanks for the word “Fernweh:; look forward to reading your European diaries!
beautiful beach and beautiful mountain scenery. This post inspires me.
You play with words like a magic. Beautiful blog ❤
That’s a beautiful post. I feel you sound more like a poet nowadays. We are longing to see you again in this peaceful village of Wayanad.
Sunil and reena