I always wonder if I hadn’t been unceremoniously dumped by my then girlfriend many moons ago would I have still done the Big Trip Overseas (or more like the Big Escape Overseas)? If we had stayed together there was a chance that I would have settled down and maybe not travelled at all. Although my girlfriend had very little interest in travel, would I have travelled eventually? Was travelling in my blood? There are many people who never feel the urge to leave their cosy home. They are more than happy growing up in the same place and sitting on the same couch (with the occasional upgrade) for the rest of their lives. And then there are the people who seem to be born with a wanderlust and who can’t seem to stay put for too long. Am I a born wanderluster?
When I finished college I hitchhiked almost 2,000 kilometres from Melbourne to Noosa, Queensland with a friend. It was friend’s idea, but I went along for the ride and ended up loving the whole adventure. Was it because I had the ‘travel bug’?
A very young me on the road to Queensland
I think that the travelling bug was always in my blood. And there are many scientists who agree. In 1999, four scientists from the University of California published a paper with the riveting title of: ‘Population Migration and the Variation of Dopamine D4 Receptor (DRD4) Allele Frequencies Around the Globe’. They set out to research migration patterns of pre-historic humans and the links between DRD4 and Attention Deficit Disorder, but they stumbled upon another rather startling correlation that people with the DRD4 genes tended to be thrill-seeking and migratory. And pretty much all the study participants with this gene had a long history of travelling.
My farewell party for my Big Trip OS
In another study by David Dobbs of National Geographic he said that the DRD4 gene not only had a link to curiosity and restlessness, but specifically a passion for travel. According to Dobbs people with the DRD4 gene are ‘more likely to take risks; explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities.’
Then again, it’s not all good news for us folk with the ‘wanderlust gene.’ Yet another study done by Garret LoPorto of Huffington Post found that DRD4 might also be linked with general Neanderthalic behaviour. According to LoPorto, while the DRD4 gene gang might be ‘incredibly resourceful, pioneering and creative,’ they also might be ‘utterly out of control’ and ‘a bit mad.’
What are they talking about?