Boots Above Macchu Pichu

My Boots Above Machu Picchu, Peru

Merriam-Webster defines wanderlust as a “strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.” This is more commonly known as a strong desire to travel.

When I was younger I loved moving to other states. First Colorado, then California, Washington, and back to California. There was something so exciting about starting over in an unfamiliar place—it invigorated me. The possibilities seemed endless once I stepped outside the comfort zone of my well-worn routine. These moves brought a different job, new friends, and everything was painted with a bright, shiny coat of newness.

Not only did I like moving to new places, I loved traveling. As a kid growing up in Minnesota, our tight family budget limited our sparse travel to camping and car trips to places like South Dakota and the Wisconsin Dells. Later we ventured further to Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. I dreamed of the far-away places I would go when I was a grown up, like France, Italy, and the rest of Europe. As an adult, my bucket list of travel destinations grew longer and more exotic. After five years of non-stop motorhome travel, I figured I must have wanderlust.

My Mom loved travel, so I thought she passed her love of travel onto me. It turns out, I wasn’t too far from the mark. According to an article on Psych2go.net called The Psychology of Wanderlust by Sophie Poulson, researchers identified a wanderlust gene, DRD4-7R, which is related to the DRD4 gene associated with dopamine levels in the brain. Some of the researchers found that the gene is connected to curiosity and restlessness, and others linked it to a passion for travel.

One researcher said this DRD4-7R gene results in people who are “more likely to take risks, explore new places, ideas, goods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities” and “generally embrace movement, change, and adventure.” Maybe the DRD4-7R gene explains why routine is not my friend and why, every once in a while, I just need to get on an airplane or hit the road. I’ll blame it on DRD4-7R.

What about you, got any DRD4-7R?

7 thoughts on “The Wanderlust Gene

  1. Wow, there’s really a gene for wanderlust? Amazing! I think I might have it, too. While I know I need structure at times, I also crave freedom and spontaneity, and if I’m in one place too long, I want to go somewhere. For me, travel is all about having new experiences, and those experiences whether good, bad or indifferent, give me a deeper appreciation for life and this beautiful world. Here’s to all the people with the DRD4-7R gene – and three cheers to all those who write about their wanderlust and travel experiences!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t realize there was a gene for wanderlust, but I certainly must have inherited it too. If I stay put too long, I get very restless. I crave new experiences and adventures. So I guess the gene explains my desire to travel. I know people who definitely do NOT have the gene, too. They love staying home and have no desire to travel.

    Liked by 1 person

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