Top 10 places giving me Fernweh during COVID-19

The Germans are famous for creating words and phrases with no direct translation, and Fernweh is no exception. It was a word I heard for the first time while studying creative writing in Italy, described to me as the physical pain of feeling like you belong somewhere you’ve never been. The feeling that not only inspires you, but seemingly forces you to book the plane ticket for your next travel experience. In direct terms, it means farsickness or wanderlust, yet comparing such a word to these ideas is nothing short of over-simplistic. In a way, it refers to spending a period of time living a different life - the life you’ve envisioned from movies or novels that encapsulates happiness. It’s about finding a place that makes you finally feel at home, even if that place is halfway across the world. 

In contrast, the opposite of Fernweh is Heimweh, which directly translates to homesickness. When I lived in Italy, I remember missing things that were so mundane to me before - barbecuing with my dad on the back patio on a summer evening, Sunday morning shopping trips to T.J Maxx, going on walks around the neighborhood with my dog. As I sat in arguably the most beautiful place in the world, there were fleeting moments where I wanted nothing more than to be home. Consider that feeling - the heart-throbbing pain of yearning for home; the sensation of physically needing to be with those you love. That feeling is what Fernweh is made from, except instead of yearning for home, it’s unknown destinations waiting to be discovered.

While having been stuck in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, this time has been a period of self-reflection for me and so many others. I’ve been able to stay home and work on the relationships and friendships I once avoided with a busy schedule, and yet simultaneously I’m exhilarated at the thought of getting back on a plane. Just like Fernweh and Heimweh, I firmly believe there’s a push and pull to traveling; a want to feel grounded at times and yet a desire to adventure at others. And although it looks like citizens of the United States won't be traveling internationally anytime soon, here is where I’ll be dreaming of in the meantime.

Marrakech, Morocco

Ever since seeing my favorite adventurers, @Mariefeandjakesnow, travel to Marrakech with an overnight trip to the Sahara Desert, I was dazzled by the beautifully tiled Riads and jaw dropping Souks (or marketplaces), making this African kingdom next on my travel to-do list.    

Hallstatt, Austria

I love Austria - there's something about the entire country that looks like it came out of Sleeping Beauty. That being said, I've never traveled extensively anywhere outside of Vienna and am dreaming of visiting this little Austrian village tucked away between the Alps.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali was the trip I had planned for the Spring of 2020, which was later rebooked for September due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, it looks like our September trip will also be cancelled due to new travel restrictions on US travelers, leaving this paradise high up on my bucket list.

Looking to travel here as well? Check out our article on how to plan for a trip to Bali.

Cappadocia, Turkey 

Ahh, Cappadocia. Doesn't this place look like something out of a fairytale? They're famous for their hot air balloons which allow tourists to see the city from above (I'm so afraid of heights this is a hard no for me, but the rest sounds great). The city is also a popular destination for it's fairy chimney rock formations that encapsulate their colorful markets and cave hotels.

Cape Town, South Africa 

South Africa is a newly pinned dream location for me. After learning about their rich and prevalent wine culture, paired with beautiful vineyards & wine estates, I knew I had to visit Cape Town. Not to mention, have you seen the African penguins? Those are a reason on their own to get on a plane and check this place out.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

I fell in love with Buenos Aires while reading Kristin Newman's travel memoir, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding. She explained this metropolitan city to be full of South American charm and tango dancing, with convenient close proximity to beautiful neighboring countries like Patagonia and Chile. As I trust in Kristin Newman on all things travel, I trust that Argentina is an absolute must.

St. Lucia, Caribbean

While I've never felt much of a calling to visit the Caribbean, however seeing photos of St. Lucia has me planning my visit the second COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. This tropical island look like something out of Jurassic Park, putting your typical beach vacation to shame.

Napa Valley, California

I love wine, and my all time favorite kind of wine is Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. Stag's Leap Artemis, Caymus, Cakebread Cellars - these wines are cornerstone of my existence. Thus, visiting Napa Valley to tour their famous vineyards is a no-brainer for me.

Greece - Island Hopping

Santorini and Mykonos are an obvious travel hotspot for any world-trotter, making these greek islands next up on my travel bucket list. With turquoise waters, famous beach clubs, and stunning white buildings, visiting here seems like a scene out of Mamma Mia!

Lake Como, Italy

I've traveled extensively through Italy, yet for some reason have never made it to Lake Como. Adorned with ancient villas, breathtaking mountain views, and multiple authentic Italian villages surrounding the water, there's no wonder why Lake Como is a common travel location to the stars.

What travel destinations give you Fernweh? Let us know in the comments below.

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