The wanderlust gene.
A recent article on Elite Daily shed light on the findings of a particular gene that correlates with increased levels of curiosity and restlessness. It goes on to state that individuals that carry this genetic information typically share one common theme: a history of traveling.
The further I dove into the topic, the more it all started making sense. I’ve had this innate love of travel for as long as I can remember. And while I didn’t even leave the country until I was 18, I was addicted to discovering new places and immersing myself in different cultures, even if it only meant visiting a new state.
Travel ignites a fire within me. I feel like my senses are heightened when I travel- colors are brighter, food tastes better, I am awakened to exotic smells, everything has a more intense texture. It’s like I have awoken from a deep slumber and I am slowly shaking the grogginess of sleep.
I know that travel isn’t for everyone. It’s unrealistic to think that people get the same high that I do from travel. That being said, I have to urge everyone to at least sample it at some point. Just to see if it’s for you or not. And while I’m aware that not everyone has the means to travel, there are so many ways that you can explore this beautiful world without spending a ton of money.
I truly believe that travel is the one thing you buy that makes you richer. I know it sounds corny, but it’s so true. I become a better person when I travel. Apathy turns to empathy, history comes alive, and I become more aware of what is happening in this world. I’ve had to work on my patience and practice the art of letting things go. I have learned that some things (read: many things) are out of my control and I’ve had to become flexible.
Travel can also be ugly. It can be dirty and stressful and tiring and gross. You’ll meet nasty people. They’re all over the world. You’ll get sick. You’ll miss a plane or a bus. You might even do what I did and book an apartment rental for a whole day after you arrive in the city and you’ll be stuck wandering around Paris at 1AM in a snowstorm with all of your belongings on your back and zero cash to make a phone call.
But the wonderful news is that the number of good people in the world greatly outnumber the bad. You’ll recover from your illness and even learn remedies from different cultures. You’ll be rebooked on a different flight where you’ll end up sitting next to your childhood travel idol. You’ll meet friends on your travels that happen to live in Paris and answer their Facebook messages at 1AM and give up their own bed for you in their apartment until you can check-in for your rental.
Travel is beautiful. It’s magical. There’s nothing else like it out there. Nothing that’s legal, at least.
One doesn’t need to posses the wanderlust gene to appreciate the joys of traveling. One just needs the courage to book the ticket and prepare themselves for the grand adventure that awaits.