Sean and Mittie | What is the travel bug? Could the answer be genetic? 2

What is the travel bug? Could the answer be genetic?

What is the travel bug?

SOME OF US JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH TRAVEL; WE FIND OURSELVES CONSTANTLY SEEKING NEW PLACES TO EXPLORE, NEW WAYS TO LEARN, AND NEW THINGS TO EXPERIENCE. MEANWHILE, THE REST OF HUMANITY IS CONTENT TO STAY WHERE THEY ARE, LIVING THE SAME LIVES THEIR FAMILIES AND ACQUAINTANCES HAVE LIVED FOR DECADES. WHILE THE IDEA OF HOME IS ROMANTIC, IT MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO WANDERLUSTERS THAN TO HOMEBODIES. FOR TRAVEL LOVERS, A NOMADIC LIFESTYLE CAN MAKE ANYWHERE FEEL LIKE HOME, AS THEY’RE CONSTANTLY INSPIRED TO KEEP MOVING FROM PLACE TO PLACE.

Recent studies have found that 10% of people have the travel bug, and it seems to researchers to be linked to a gene: DRD4-7R. This gene, surprisingly based on our misconceptions of Neanderthals as unintelligent, comes from Neanderthals, and though that may not sound flattering at first, their reputation may improve when you consider the following: modern humans made no recognizable progress for 163,000 years. What I mean by this is that that they didn’t invent or create anything to note. They maintained, coasted as it were, and this was due to their basic traits. They were not risk takers; they avoided instability and thusly innovation. Just imagine, nearly all human progress has taken place in the last 37,000 years.

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THIS IS CONTRARY TO EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN TAUGHT. WHO CAUSED HUMAN PROGRESS, THEN? WHAT WAS THE CATALYST?

Modern humans found themselves stuck in Africa due to the Neanderthals who claimed Europe and Asia. The risk to travel outside of their comfort zone was too great, especially considering that Neanderthals were the absolute inverse of modern humans: wild, reckless, constantly jumping from one thing to the next – places, inventions (whether successful or not), and confrontations. They were the first artists, poets, and singers, creating music at every turn and preferring song to speech.

Because of what we would now consider ADHD behavior, their near-constant creative breakthroughs had no staying power. They were agents of radical free-thought and unstoppable change, but it didn’t carry on. They couldn’t build societies because they were too erratic. Meanwhile, modern humans were too mundane and fragile to make any advancement.

Creativity comes from free thought and innovation come from a trail of mistakes. Without taking risks, there is no possibility for innovation. But, at the same time, without infrastructure or stability none of these technological leaps can come into effect. So that’s when something amazing happened. The two collided, and it created the first super humans: stable, modern humans it with the Neanderthal’s ingenuity and strength. This tribe was immensely successful, conquering and creating more in 37,000 years than any humans had previously.

Sean and Mittie | What is the travel bug? Could the answer be genetic? 1

So, flash forward to today: 90% of people don’t have this gene, known as Stabilizers, while a fantastic 10% are a cross between brilliance and madness, nearly impossible to reign in, and these are the Uprisers. Though we need each other, the Uprisers tend to suffer more, since they are the minority and terribly misunderstood.

The Huffington Post describes it this way, “Establishing and sustaining human progress is like building a skyscraper. You need Uprisers to rise up and bring the tower to a higher level, and you also need Stabilizers to hold that tower in place. If there were no Uprisers there would be no tower — the structure would stay at ground level and there would be no progress. If there were no Stabilizers, the tower would collapse and topple, because nothing keeps it together.”

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OK, BUT WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH TRAVEL?

Those who have the Neanderthal gene, are nomads at heart, always seeking new experiences despite their risks, trying new things without hesitation and exploring. There is always more to know and learn; this thirst for newness and a complete objection to the mundane is at the root of their thinking. Travel is about curiosity and discovery; it’s about broadening perspectives and seeing things in a new way.

HAVE THOUGHTS ABOUT THE NEADERTHAL GENE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE? PLEASE WRITE IN IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

Want to know more? Here are my sources:

http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138%2899%2900015-X/abstract

http://www.mpg.de/617258/pressRelease20100430

Wanderlust: a Genetic Basis to a Globetrotting Fanatic

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/garret-loporto/surprising-way-your-neand_b_568455.html

http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/wanderlust-gene-people-born-travel/953464/

Mittie.Roger
mittiebabette@gmail.com

Mittie Roger has been blogging for 5 years; her blog focuses on off the beaten path travel in the Americas. Both a blogger and a social media consultant, Mittie works with writers, brands, and artists of many mediums. Her first book of short stories, Aurora, was published in December of 2013 after its title story, “Aurora”, received second place in the 2012 Richard Bausch contest. Her fiction has also appeared in Our Stories and Monkey Puzzle Literary Magazine and her non-fiction has appeared in Land Rover Magazine, Land Rover Monthly and Fuse. Her most recent publication, These Boots Are Made for Walking: Travel Journal and Workbook, uses creative prompts to get you thinking differently, traveling more and experiencing life.

1Comment
  • Karen
    Posted at 13:55h, 13 June

    That is very interesting. My hubby was in the Navy for 20 years and we moved every three. Now approaching early retirement we can’t wait to hit the road again! I think when you do it and realize you are a small fish in a big pond there is always more to explore!

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