Who has the wanderlust gene? You know them when you meet them. People who always keep their passport on hand and can pack for an international trip in twenty minutes flat. They rarely meet a travel idea they don’t like. Folks who would rather take three international trips a year than own a car. They never get tired of exploring.
Scientists have discovered a possible reason why some people tend towards wanderlust and others don’t. 🧐
One gene, in particular, known as DRD4, is associated with dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is one of the brain’s natural “feel good” reward chemicals. For example, it’s released while eating a delicious piece of chocolate cake or winning a race after training for months. Don’t you get this feeling when you’re holding plane tickets to Paris? (Sorry, just me?) 🇫🇷
A derivative of DRD4, called DRD4-7R, is what’s come to be known as the “wanderlust gene.” In people who have it — only about 20 percent of the population — it shows up with increased curiosity, restlessness, and desire to explore. And the one thing that almost all people who have DRD4-7R share in common? A history of traveling.
While reducing the urge to explore and travel to only one piece of DNA might seem a bit simplistic. It’s possible that this unique gene mutation is linked to the fact that the human brain and body are uniquely suited for exploration. Unlike other primates, we have legs and hips designed to walk long distances. We have hands that perform incredibly detailed tasks. Our brains are large and are naturally wired for creativity and change. (Like exchanging that desk cubicle for a Tahitian Overwater Bungalow)
Another possible source of the 7R gene is from groups in human history that experienced mass migration over long distances. They cultivated and passed on a relentless curiosity about new territories for generations.
Dr. Richard Paul Ebstein, Professor of Psychology at the National University of Singapore, explored the question of the “travel gene”. Interested? Here’s a more in-depth article . Regardless of its origin, Ebstein notes that people who possess the 7R mutation exhibit “novelty-seeking or extraverted behavior”. It’s always a good time to get out and see the world! 🌎
Sound like anyone you know?
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At Gourmet Adventures Travel Co., I craft culinary getaways for travelers who love to eat well and yearn to truly savor the authentic side of their destination. From a river cruise through Provencal wine country to a journey through the heady spice markets and medinas of Morocco, you'll taste your way through the world's most enchanting landscapes.