You Might Have a Gene That Makes You Desperate to Travel

 © Ishan @seefromthesky / Unsplash
© Ishan @seefromthesky / Unsplash | © Ishan @seefromthesky / Unsplash

Do you feel like you have an itch that isn’t scratched unless you’re exploring new places? Do you feel bored with seeing the same things day after day, and only come truly alive when you’re exploring different cultures and eating unfamiliar food?

You might have a gene that makes you this way.

It’s possible that there’s a clear genetic component behind an innate need to travel. In 2016, there was discussion about how a ‘wanderlust gene’, DRD4-7R, could be giving you itchy feet.

Does your pulse race when you step onto a Tokyo street?

7R, a variant of the gene DRD4, acts on the brain’s dopamine levels which in turn affects behaviour and motivation. It exists in 20% of the population. Researchers said that the 7R variation could be linked ‘with restlessness and curiosity.’ It’s been stated that this can help propel individuals to take risks, including travelling to and experiencing new places.

7R has been said to encourage risk-taking as an expression of that urge to experience new things. So if you’ve been compelled to fill every page of your passport, try surfing or jump out of a plane, this could be why.

Dawn Maslar, a biologist from Kaplan University, has studied the effect that dopamine and other hormones have on our brains, and thinks there’s a definite correlation. She spoke to Condé Nast Traveler about the phenomenon, saying: ‘The wanderlust gene is so powerful. It appears that the DRD4 gene is more predominant in the traveling type of person.

Does the sound of airplane engines sooth you to sleep in your dreams?

‘Dopamine is the liking hormone, and when you want to get more, it doesn’t sate you – you get hooked.’

She cites studies suggesting that this gene variants is unevenly distributed throughout the world, commenting: ‘We see a greater portion of the DRD4-7R gene in South and North Americans, at least the ones descended from Europeans who came over to settle it, which makes sense.’

Others argue that a passion for travel is learned, not innate. Gloria McCoy, a California-based retiree, heads up the Travelers’ Century Club, an exclusive organisation for anyone who’s visited 100 or more countries. She said, speaking to Condé Nast Traveler: ‘I think wanderlust comes from having relationships that expose you to it. I definitely caught the travel bug from my husband when I met him 29 years ago – he’s a real traveler.’

However our love of travel is formed, there’s only one cure – get out there and explore.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
close-ad
Edit article