Oikofugic is an adjective that means ‘characterized by the desire to travel, migrate, or play truant.’ Oikofugic comes from Greek origin; the Greek word for house and the Greek word for flee were combined to create the English word oikofugic. The word first came into use in 1905 when a psychologist named Granville Stanley Hall coined the phrase. He also invented the word oikotropic, which is related to oikofugic.
These two phrases are most commonly used in reference to psychology, but can be used in other areas as well. Hall coined these two phrases to describe the opposing feelings people have in relation to their sense of home and comfort: one sense pulls us into the unknown and into adventure (oikofugic), while the other (oikotropic) keeps us safe and sound at home where things are the most familiar.
Humans aren’t the only animals on Earth that may feel oikofugic at one point or another. The Seattle dog known as Eclipse has the urge to take herself to the dog park, and if her owner isn’t on time for the bus she goes on her own. Eclipse had been to the dog park so many times with her owner that, on a day when he wasn’t paying attention, she hopped on and went anyways. Eclipse knows the route backwards and forwards, and gets herself back home after she’s done playing at the park.
Other animals around the world are oikofugic. Some dogs in Russia have learned to ride the metro to different parts of town, and they often return home on a later bus the same evening after they are done exploring. Other animals have learned how to navigate themselves back home after their adventures during the day, showing that humans aren’t the only ones who want to adventure but still come home to the familiar at night.
Watch this news clip about Eclipse the dog’s commute to a local dog park: