Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

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 not in fact 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In modern German, the use of the word Wanderlust to mean “desire to travel” is less common, having been replaced by Fernweh (lit.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”).

The Wanderlust means the desire elsewhere, to go beyond one’s own world, to look for something else: a desire for exoticism, discovery, travel.. It is a boredom of everyday life, routine, and a quest for novelty, surprises, discoveries.

Robert E. Park sees in the Wanderlust a refusal of social conventions. For Alain Montandon, the concept corresponds to “the call of far-off people, of what is beyond the present and real world, and this aesthetic vagrancy takes on the appearance of a flight from the world in the hope of ‘a compensation.”

In culture
This concept is one of the main themes of German Romanticism, especially in literature, Goethe, but also in the field of music with works such as the Wanderer Fantasy of Schubert or painting such as Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich. In 2012, a film was shot called Wanderlust (Nudes and Happy).

Literary Examples
The famous francophone song by Scheffel may serve as an illustration. His first verse is:

Well, the air is fresh and pure,
Who sits long, must rust.
The most beautiful sunshine
Let the sky cost us.
Now my staff and medal dress are enough for me
The traveling student:
I want to have a nice summer time
Drive to the land of the Franks!

Another example is the folk song The Wander is the miller Lust by Wilhelm Müller, where by “hiking” here instead of the pastime employment meant the journeys (Walz) are:

Hiking is the miller’s delight.
Hiking is the miller’s delight!
The Wah-han-dern!
That can not be a real miller
Never did the wandering happen.

The chorus of the beat song Wanderlust from the album Around the Sun (2004) by the US rock band REM reads:

I got my signal crossed.
It’s overwhelming because
I’m not alone, I can not get back,
get back with my wanderlust.
I am totally delighted.
And overwhelmed, because
I am alone and can not go back,
with all my wanderlust.

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.

It has also become a hipster term, fashionable, taken up by Hollywood in the film Wanderlust

Source from Wikipedia