The wanderlust gene | Are we born to travel?

The wanderlust gene

Do you find that sometimes you spend (or waste – however you want to look at it!) hours of your life questioning random musings on Google? I started to wonder if there’s a particular gene that causes a love for travel. So I googled it and discovered that there’s a genetic variation that can affect the adventurous, perhaps irrational, side of us. I always used to think I had caught ‘the travel bug’. But now I realise, it’s always been there. Having a passion for travel is more than just going on holiday and seeing your children’s faces light up when they get off the aeroplane. It’s about going somewhere far away… it’s about seeing different people from all walks of life with their own problems. Their own lives. Traveling thousands of miles away is a completely humbling experience.

“Scientists have discovered a genetic variation called DRD4-7R, which occurs in about 20 per cent of the human population. This variation affects dopamine levels in the brain – and dopamine isn’t just a chemical that makes you feel good, as is commonly understood. It also makes you more curious, more obsessed with finding things that are new and interesting and exciting, more likely to take risks in the pursuit of pleasure.”

My love for travel arose around about the time I started secondary school. I remember this gut wrenching feeling of wanting to escape! I remember being a teenager was hard. I hated school. I hated where I lived. I hated the people. I used to spend every lesson doodling in my planner – doodles of aeroplanes, doodles of jetting away. I remember drawing prisons (referring to school as the prison). It was like this all throughout year 7 – year 11. I then left school the second I could and studied travel and tourism at college. I thought I could immerse myself in learning all things travel before jetting away.. somewhere.. anywhere.

When you grow up in a city and spend your whole childhood there, you never really get to have that initial ‘explore’. One thing I love when we go away is that we are somewhere we’ve never been. We get to wander streets we never knew existed and wait to be greeted amongst new beauty. I have this eager enthusiasm in me, one for traveling new places and seeing what I haven’t seen yet. Having a passion for travel is more than just going on holiday. It’s about that passion inside you that just needs to go. I don’t feel like an enthusiasm for traveling is something that grows with you, I feel it’s something you’re almost born with. Something you grow up with. It’s in the genes.

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