Feeling an inexplicable urge to grab your pass, check next flight/train schedule and leave for a new adventure?
It’s your DRD4-R7 gene, there is nothing you can do about it but follow your genetic star.

According to recent research, the modification of the gene DRD4, the R7 modification, may explain the inner force to travel, to change scenery and try new experiences some people experience almost incessantly.
Moving, travelling is a characteristic all human beings share to some extent.
Our brains and limbs are designed to travel if compared to those of our faraway ancestors, the apes: our legs are longer, our hips can tolerate the action of walking in an erect position, our brain is larger and feeds on novelties and challenges.
Our close ancestors colonized Europe coming from Africa and traveled long distances.

Both David Dobbs of National Geographic and Prof Chaunsheng Chen of of UC Irvine’s School of Education associate the gene modification with individuals whose minds endlessly need new stimuli, novelty and a desire to explore new countries, new societies, new tastes and more. Though human attitudes are the result of more than an element, David Dobbs explains.
Others have gone even further suggesting that these individuals are incredibly resourceful, creative, pioneering spirits but the flipside of the coin is that they might be utterly out of control.

The topic has been long debated and it looks like traveling, materially or allegorically speaking, is someway part of the natural being: it’s the way we human find out the limits of our world (think of the explorers who helped us “conquer” this world) or the limits of our body (think of the climbers who asked about tend to reply to the question why they do it simply saying “because the mountain is there and I can climb it”) or even of our mind and spirit (think of the allegorical travel via Hell and Paradise of Dante Allighieri).
Genetical or not, people of all origins and of all times felt the urge to move around our globe and some still are.
The migrations helped people to get to know different cultures, ideas and attitudes and the combination of different ways of living and thinking has largely impacted on the world as we know it.
Economically speaking, the industry of travel, and its sister Tourism, are the unique economic department recording two digit growth.
Blame it on genetics, wish for novelty or the “sense of ennui” of some bizarre artists we will probably never stop travelling both inside and outside our physical boundaries.

Girl with a suitcase
Girl with a suitcase photography by ro_buk via Flickr

Author: Cristiana Pedrali

"Loving your job is the closest you can get to happiness on earth” (Rita Levi Montalcini) and “when real people fall down in real life they get back on their feet and carry on walking” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City): these are my two mantras. I’m a bit like this: I go through being serious to playful to help me manage a thousand different interests and commitments, keeping a smile through it all. I work in the tourism industry and on the web and every so often I look for some breathing space through reading and travel!
More posts by Cristiana Pedrali →

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