UNDERSTANDING A TRAVELLER’S PSYCHE

 “ONE FINE DAY, IT WILL BE YOUR TURN.
YOU WILL LEAVE HOMES, CITIES AND COUNTRIES TO PURSUE GRANDER AMBITIONS.
YOU WILL LEAVE FRIENDS, LOVERS AND POSSIBILITIES FOR THE CHANCE TO ROAM THE WORLD AND MAKE DEEPER CONNECTIONS.
YOU WILL DEFY YOUR FEAR OF CHANGE, HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH, AND DO WHAT YOU ONCE THOUGHT WAS UNTHINKABLE: WALK AWAY.
IT WILL BE SCARY AT FIRST. BUT WHAT I HOPE YOU’LL FIND IN THE END IS THAT IN LEAVING, YOU DON’T JUST FIND LOVE, ADVENTURE OR FREEDOM.
MORE THAN ANYTHING, YOU FIND YOU.”
-Isa Garcia

“HOME IS WHEREVER YOU GO”
-Raul Villamarin Rodriguez

(Quotes by Spanish Authors, Travellers and Influencers)

We all have that friend, right? The one whom you hardly see, as he is always on a trip posting pictures of some food you didn’t know was edible in front of some mountain or fountain you didn’t even know existed. And there you are finally graced with his presence for a day or two, you two grab lunch one afternoon, only to know he’s on a plane to Malasiya or Greece the next. Maybe he has a job he can do from anywhere, maybe a one that involves travel, or maybe he just travels the world conveying ideas or making money teaching yoga and playing the guitar on the streets or by photography. However done, this person never sits still.

But is he really “addicted” to travel? Well, logically speaking, that is not even a diagnosable condition. Infact, it isn’t even a legitimate addiction because it has no neurological element of instant gratification, as mentioned by Dr. Daniel Epstein, a psychotherapist who specializes in addictions in Boca Raton, Florida.

The question still remains why people cannot stop travelling once they begin to like it. Dr. Epstein answers this question with his statement- “Everything we do in life is about getting that shot of dopamine, and you get that blast when the screen pops up telling you your flight is confirmed or when you go out and buy a new duffle bag, or even stay in hotels.”

Travel is a reason for happiness for many. However, toomuch of something gets you equally as bored as that of the overwhelmed feeling at the start. The exception lies in the experiences of a few who never got bored or wanted to go home whatsoever. Such exceptional behaviour of a few indivisuals cannot cateogarise them as ‘Spoilt’ or ‘Alien-like’. The reason for this behaviour involves both psychology and genetics.

Since early times, humans were programmed to marry, procreate and settle down in a location developing communities. That is how societal values were once shaped and now happens to ironically shape us in return. However, is it necessary that every indivisual should live that life? It is fundamental that we understand that not everyone are wired that way. It is scientifically proven that the gene that controls dopamine -DRD4 that is mutated to increased restlessness. Such restlesness involves not the “This house is too small variety” but the “My trip is too short, i’ve got to stay longer” variety. This mutation – DRD4-7R is found in about 20% of people. Such people are among those who are more prone to travel solo, take risks, try out new foods and activities, develop new hobbies, be more pro-social, etc.

However, there will always be someone, be it a family member or a neighbour who would comment on such lifestyles saying something like, “ So you are planning on living a life of a nomad, and what about marriage and family?” It is fundamental to understand that most of the indivisual lives are shaped on the basis of a patterned lifestyle- a one which includes an early childhood of play and education, an adolescence of peers and extended education, a later stage of employment, then marriage and family, all of this within the boundaries of what they call home. Such patterned lifestyles would also involve many trips to places for various purposes, but a round trip back home soon after the completion. However, in the case of a traveller, one does find bliss in returning home, but soon becomes restless, and heads back out again.

Jessica Rapose

Jessica Rapose

IRIANS-Intern

IRIANS- The Neuroscience Institute

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