Life, Travel

Why Do Some Humans Have Such An Urge To Travel?

why do humans have such an urge to travel


I’m sat here, in my perfectly lovely cottage in leafy Surrey with my pooches. Life is good, and finally, fairly stable. Yet, I have a really strong urge to travel somewhere. Is it because everyday life gets a little bit stale after a while?

I mean, I know loads of people go on holiday to relieve stress, but there must be a whole lotta other reasons. It goes back to the fact that us humans, we’re inquisitive little fuckers. We want to turn over new rocks, voyage into the unknown and discover lands other than our own.

There aint no other species like us. Most other species will stay in one main area where they are successful. But us humans, we’ve populated the entire world, well most of it anyways. Imagine our ancestors and early humans on one bit of land, and one brave person (let’s call him Arthur) stands on the shore and says ‘what could be beyond the sea that lays ahead of us?’

Well, Arthur probably lead the path for other inquisitive humans to follow. Well done Arthur. The new Disney princess ‘Moana’ comes to mind. She’s the epitome of a curious young child who hasn’t yet seen the world and wonders what surprises it might hold.

Not everyone loves to travel, so what sets the travellers and non travellers apart? Why do some people like to nest and stay in one small town for their entire life, whilst others aren’t content unless they are travelling and on the move to new pastures? Is there some kind of wanderlust gene that we’re unaware of? Turns out there might be.

Wanderlust – the wish to travel far away and to many different places.

So after doing a little research it seems there’s this gene called DRD4 which is involved in dopamine levels in the brain. According to Lichter et al, 1993, it’s linked with behaviour and motivation. There’s a variation of this gene called DRD4-7R, which apparently 20% of the human population have. It’s connected with curiosity and restlessness.

The theory being people with this gene may take bigger risks, which may or may not include travelling to new places. Where it gets really interesting though, is when you learn that there is a much higher prevalence of this gene in regions of the globe where travel has been encouraged in the past.

People who have this gene are supposedly more likely to take risks; explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities and generally embrace movement, change, and adventure. David Dobbs

Though don’t get too carried away with this idea kids, it’s only a theory that these people with similar characteristics like to travel, and there’s always exceptions to the rule. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge risk-taker, and I enjoy travelling. Human exploration is an enormous, mind boggling concept, that shouldn’t be narrowed down to one single gene. It certainly does make for interesting reading though doesn’t it?

There’s clearly no straight answer as to why people like to travel. Everyone’s got different reasons. Some get a buzz from meeting new people, others like to study new cultures firsthand, and some people just have an insatiable need to explore the world, country by country.

For me personally, I love to travel because it breaks up the steady pace of life. Travel mixes things up, it sends you down new paths and it presents unique opportunities.

I like to see wildlife around the world, treat my taste buds to different foods, meet inspiring people and try and get a great understanding of our planet as a whole. And I can’t get enough of the heart pumping, adrenaline fuelled, one-of-a-kind experiences and moments that travel allows you to add to your list of memories.

Travelling to remote and untouched places is grounding, it makes you stop and think beyond your everyday concerns and delve deeper into how the hell we got here and just how bloody incredible our world is.

I would be incredibly sad if I was put on this planet, and my destiny only involved living in one place. Before I leave this earth, I want to have seen as much as possible, to have grown as I person as I travel and to have filled my mind with enriching knowledge.

And what’s really exciting is that the concept of ‘travel’ may soon extend to beyond our world. It already has for the minority (a.k.a astronauts), but what if travelling to Mars was just like catching a plane to the other side of the world? Oh the mind boggles. I better stop typing now, I’m clearly getting carried away.

I’d like to finish with a Buzz Lightyear quote, obviously.

To infinity and beyond!