Scientists may have found the “wanderlust gene.” Do you have it?

Girl walking with suitcase / Pixabay.com CC0

Were you born with wanderlust? / Pixabay.com CC0

You know them when you meet them: those people who always keep their passport on hand, who can pack for an international trip in about twenty minutes flat, who’ve almost never met a travel idea they didn’t like, who would rather take three international trips a year than own a car. They never get tired of exploring.

Scientists might have discovered why some people tend towards wanderlust and others don’t.


Passports / All-free-download.comDid you know? One gene in particular, simply 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 when we eat a delicious piece of chocolate cake or when we win at a race after training for months.


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 an 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 nailing down the urge to explore and travel to only one piece of DNA might seem a bit simplistic, part of this unique gene mutation might be linked to the fact that the human brain and body are uniquely suited for exploration: unlike other primates, we have legs and hips that are designed to walk long distances; we have hands that can perform incredibly detailed tasks; and our brains are large and are naturally wired for creativity and change.

Another source of the 7R gene might be those people groups in human history that experienced mass migration over long distances — they cultivated and passed on a relentless curiosity about new territory because that was what they were doing for generations.

David Dobbs of National Geographic explored the question of the “travel gene” more in depth in a 2013 article. Regardless of its origin, Dobbs notes that people who possess the 7R mutation are people who are “more likely to take risks [and] generally embrace movement, change, and adventure.”

Sound like anyone you know?

If you’re longing for your next great adventure, let’s talk travel! You can get in contact with my today by clicking here.


Top Honeymoon Destinations for Any Budget crWant more tips? Click here to receive travel tips & our report, “Top Honeymoon Destinations for any Budget.” 3 different honeymoons on 3 different budgets. See which one matches your dream! 

 


About Melody Moser

Melody Moser is a Travel Agent and Travel Writer specializing in Europe, river cruises and romantic travel. Based in southern New Jersey, she spends her time traveling the world, writing about it, and helping others fulfill their travel dreams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *