Defining Travel

Remember back when you used to buy the page-a-day calendar to improve your vocabulary? I miss those days. Now when I write, I find I use the same words repeatedly, but then again I never really find ways to increase my vocabulary options. I mean, should I assign 20 words and test myself at the end of the week like my teachers used to do in elementary school?

Take for example, the word “peregrinate.” I recently came across it while reading, “Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents“, which apparently is my new favorite book since I mention it to nearly everyone I’ve conversed with in the last two weeks and in my last post.

But back to peregrinate. The word was intriguing. It sounded peregrine falcon-esque, but I highly doubted it was related to avian gliding so what on earth could it have meant? Leave it my Kindle and its easy access to “The New Oxford American Dictionary” to provide the answer:

peregrinate |ˈperigrəˌnāt| verb [ intrans. ] archaic or humorous; travel or wander around from place to place.

Never in my 35 years had I come across anyone who had used peregrinate in a sentence. I felt as though I was missing out. It made me wonder what other polysyllabic terms were available for use. When it comes to writing about travel, I find I use the same words repeatedly — travel, adventure, roam, wander, explore — and while I find these words are perfectly acceptable and adequate for my needs, to be introduced to a word like peregrinate makes me realize that there is so much more out there to explore (no pun intended). Maybe I need to tap into my inner logophile and start incorporating a more diverse vocabulary into my writing.

So a question to my fellow travelers and writers – what words do you use other than “travel” in your writing? And more importantly, how do you expand your vocabulary options?


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