As a child, did you dream that you could fly? Or, did you pack your little backpack with spare undies and a chocolate bar considering them to be the necessities for running away from home? You wanted to know what was over the hill, around the corner, or dreamed of exciting adventures on the other side of the river? You may very well be one of the 20% of the human race with the wanderlust gene pulsing through their veins.
Travel junkies, globetrotters, nomads, and hodophiles—all describe people who chase passport stamps, more than flush bank accounts, a home to call their own, and a steady job. It's an innate need that must be satisfied, more than a permanent bed or a regular daily routine. It's the craving for the new and unknown, a foreign landscape, a challenging experience, or an exotic culture to satisfy a sense of restlessness and curiosity.
'Wanderlust' in the German language is to have a passion for wandering. Apparently, the neurotransmitter 'dopamine' is to blame for this endless need to explore. This surging feel-good juice lights up your brain like the Empire State Building when you travel, somewhat similar to when you greedily scoff down a bucket of ice cream.
Typical characteristics of those with the wanderlust gene include:
Marching to Your Own Tune
Adopting classic or accepted behavior is not for you. In fact, you veer away from traditional life aspects that your peers may adopt, always doing your own thing. For example, you may have been considered a 'nerd' in secondary school, as you listened to your brain singing a different song to those around you.
You stand out from the crowd via your hairstyle or color. You read non-fiction books on obscure topics and decorate your body in weird tattoos. Alternative music is alluring, and your job is anything but 'normal.'
Magical flights of fancy are savored, not ignored. Spur of the moment ideas have you jumping on a flight like others catch a bus to work. There's no nanosecond of doubt in your endless quest to satisfy your need to explore. Whether it's an insatiable desire for an Indian curry in Delhi, an inexplicable need to stand on a mountain top in Nepal, or an ache in your bones to stroll 400 miles through picturesque villages along the Jordan Trail from Jordan's north, Um Qais to the south's Aqaba.
Having Scattered Attention Spans
It's hard to keep your brain calm and clear of thoughts that should put you into a pure state of being when holding your legs up a wall during yoga. You quickly get lost in daydreams that obliterate the world around you, constantly fidgeting and sitting on the edge of a chair, ready to bounce up. Being still is an alien feeling. Not to be confused with the medical condition of ADHD, the wanderlust gene presents in a similar vein. It's this trait that fuels your constant search for the next destination to travel to, for that next stamp in your passport.
Chasing wild destinations, not luxurious hotels
While luxurious hotels of decadence are appealing, you will opt for an adventure with a grass-roots approach. A rustic tent in the wilderness by a stream in a national park of Canada will set your heart pounding. Slurping on goats' milk in Turkey will have you begging for more, and sleeping under the stars anywhere in the world restores your soul. Your sense of contentment comes from adventuring in the natural world and experiencing cultures spawned by their environment.
Having liberal political beliefs
No matter where you live, you tend to be open to new ideas and campaigns for social justice. You believe in individual rights, freedom of speech, religious freedoms, and democracy. Your views reflect your own right to be who you wish to be.
Whether you have one or more of the above genetic indicators, the wanderlust gene is not to be trifled with. So give in to it, surrender yourself to the spirit of adventure with a lustfulness that can't be measured.