The word trek has been in the English language only since around 1849–and it was a direct borrow from the Dutch treck. But I found it interesting that treck didn’t actually mean “a long journey” when the Dutch started using it.
Nope. It meant “to drag or pull.” Why?
Well, when the Dutch were colonizing South Africa, their wagons often had to be physically pulled out of hazards and dragged along. They began calling the journey a treck–literally “a drag.” LOL. So when the English speakers borrowed it, it was to describe any long, arduous journey.