The English loanword "wanderlust" was already extant in the German language dating as far back as Middle High German. The first documented use of the term in English occurred in 1902 as a reflection of what was then seen as a characteristically German predilection for wandering that may be traced back to German Romanticism and the German system of apprenticeship (the journeyman), as well as the adolescent custom of the 'Wanderbird' seeking unity with Nature.
The term originates from the German words wandern (to hike) and Lust (desire). The term wandern, frequently misused as a false friend, does in fact not mean "to wander", but "to hike." Placing the two words together, translated: "enjoyment of hiking", although it is commonly described as an enjoyment of strolling, roaming about or wandering.
In modern German, the use of the word Wanderlust to mean "desire to travel" is less common, having been replaced by Fernweh (lit. "farsickness"), coined as an antonym to Heimweh ("homesickness").
Robert E. Park in the early twentieth century saw wanderlust as in opposition to the values of status and organisation, while postmodernism would by contrast see it largely as playfully empowering.
Among tourists, sociologists distinguish sunlust from wanderlust as motivating forces the former primarily seeking relaxation, the latter engagement with different cultural experiences.
Wanderlust may reflect an intense urge for self-development by experiencing the unknown, confronting unforeseen challenges, getting to know unfamiliar cultures, ways of life and behaviours or may be driven by the desire to escape and leave behind depressive feelings of guilt, and has been linked to bipolar disorder in the periodicity of the attacks.
In adolescence, dissatisfaction with the restrictions of home and locality may also fuel the desire to travel.
Wanderlust (2006 film), a documentary
Wanderlust (2012 film), a comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd
Wanderlust (TV series), an Irish television show hosted by Brendan Courtney
Gerhard Reinke's Wanderlust, a television show
"Wanderlust", by Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington from the 1963 album Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins
"Wanderlust", by Paul McCartney from the 1982 album Tug of War
"Wanderlust", by Claire Voyant from the 1995 album Claire Voyant
"Wanderlust", by David Sylvian from the 1999 album Dead Bees on a Cake
"Wanderlust", by Megadeth from the 1999 album Risk
"Wanderlust", by Nightwish from the 2000 album Wishmaster
"Wanderlust", by Mark Knopfler from the 2000 album Sailing to Philadelphia
"Wanderlust", by Delays from the 2004 album Faded Seaside Glamour
"Wanderlust", by Flogging Molly from the 2004 album Within a Mile of Home
"Wanderlust", by R.E.M. from the 2004 album Around the Sun
"Wanderlust", by Fozzy from the 2005 album All That Remains
"Wanderlust", by Frank Black from the 2006 album Fast Man Raider Man
"Wanderlust", by Baroness from the 2007 album Red Album
"Wanderlust", by Bjrk from the 2007 album Volta
"Wanderlust", by Every Time I Die from the 2009 album New Junk Aesthetic
"Wanderlust", by The Upwelling from the 2009 album An American Stranger
"Wanderlust", by Frank Turner, a bonus track from the 2011 album England Keep My Bones
"Wanderlust", by Metric from the 2012 album Synthetica, featuring Lou Reed
"Wanderlust", by The Weeknd from the 2013 album Kiss Land
"Wanderlust", by the Scottish band Love and Money
"Wanderlust", by Lange Pres. Firewall
"WANDERLUST", by The Quick Brown Fox (one of Renard's aliases) from the 2013 album WANDERLUST
"Wanderlust", by Polly Scattergood released both as a single and on the 2013 album Arrows
"Wanderlust" by Wild Beasts, from their 2014 album Present Tense