It must be a gene. The wanderlust, I mean. Actually, the experts are arguing that the desire to seek out new places, explore the countryside and cities and discover hidden gems can really be attributed to your genes, but not just one.
The correct name for the gene is DRD4-7R, but I like to think that the letter D stands for ‘destinations,’ and lots of them. Read on to discover if you have this gene and were in fact born to travel. Even if you can’t seem to relate to everything, read on and dream from your comfortable couch, and maybe you will become inspired.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
1. You’ve always been crazy about maps.
Apart from studying Geography at school and really enjoying it, you were always reading National Geographic. When I was at school, I remember winning a prize for a picture map I had made of Australia.
Of course, I went on to get a degree in Geography and then tried to teach it to sulky teenagers. Then I had to walk the talk and started to travel around the world. If you have a passion for maps, then you can relate to this. And if you have maps on your walls instead of paintings, then you are perfectly normal.
2. You are the perfect exemplar of the curious human being.
Migration, exploration and opening new frontiers have been essential to man’s conquest of the planet. If you feel that constant urge to discover new places, faces and food, then you definitely have the travel bug.
There is no cure, except to actually give in and travel. If you have to stay at home, you will curl up and surely regret not getting out there.
3. You have no problems in justifying your travel budget.
When people tell you that the money you spent on your adventures could have been spent on clothes, a car or even a house, it may be time to end the friendship. Well, maybe not that drastic of a measure should be taken. But these people just do not understand the enormous investment you have made in discoveries which will last a lifetime.
Objects will wear out. The travel bug will never really be cured and you are perfectly happy with this chronic illness!
4. You are not easily scared.
In December 1998, 16 tourists were kidnapped in Yemen while I was vacationing there with friends. Later, in a blitz on the hideout by Yemeni troops, four of the tourists were killed. We were not involved and we knew nothing about this horrible affair until afterwards.
When we arrived back in Italy, we were interviewed by reporters at the airport asking us why we had chosen such a dangerous destination! Nobody could understand and I was even reprimanded by a colleague for having taken such a risk.
I later learned that one of his favorite holiday destinations is Vienna! A fairly predictable destination that takes a lot away from the adventure.
5. You regard strangers as friends you have just not met yet.
Here are some great ways of making friends on your travels. If you are into card games, always carry a deck. Exchanging card games is one great way to make friends.
Another great ice breaker is eating together. Offer to buy some groceries and cook something if you have the facilities. It is also a good way to get to know people better before deciding if they might be possible travelling companions.
But just chatting to people and discovering more about their daily lives is a truly enriching experience.
6. You get a high when you book a trip.
“I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is let the chips fall where they may.” – Leonard Nimoy
Maybe you are one of those people who just let the trip happen and do not plan at all. Some people start planning the moment they have booked the tickets. They say that the anticipation is all part of the fun.
Planning itineraries, reading guide books and learning what is in store is really a great way to get a high. It is also one of the cheapest and healthiest ways I know.
7. You are not afraid of disease or illnesses.
When I decided to take a job in Naples in 1973, there was a cholera epidemic there at the time. This was practically the only time that I argued with my mother who tried to dissuade me from going. She lost. I got my vaccination and off I went on one of the most exciting adventures I ever had.
A few sensible precautions will likely keep you healthy on your travels.
8. You know all about packing.
If you have the travel bug, you are ready to leave at a moment’s notice because you might get a sudden attack. The secret, as you know, is to be able to pack the essentials in a jiffy ans in the lightest of bags.
You never need to revise your internal list of what is allowed or not. You just know it all by heart. To the same tune, you are a minimalist because you avoid all that checking in and retrieving heavy baggage. It’s carry-on for you for most of your trips.
On my last trip, a fellow passenger told me about using compression packs for the bulky items. A lifesaver.
9. You are not afraid of jet lag.
You are one of those lucky people who are never really fazed by jet lag. You know all the tricks and remedies and you can easily cope with a long flight. For example, you make your main meal the one before you board so that you can have light snacks during the flight. This makes digestion easier.
You know all about turning your watch to the new time zone as soon as you board. Then you spend the time on board accordingly.
Let us imagine that you are flying from Sydney at noon to LAX, due to arrive at 9 am. You know that as the flight is 13 hours long, you shouldn’t be awake for the entire time, but get some sleep for the second half of the flight. In this way, you arrive at the morning arrival time, having slept some hours on board.
It makes life so much easier, but you know all this of course, as a seasoned traveler.
10. You can never get enough.
A girl I once knew traveled frequently and she was addicted. When she got home after a long trip, she found a note from her boyfriend which read, “Wait a few days before planning your next trip!”
Now that is the really seemingly intolerable bit about the habit of traveling. It never really leaves you and you can never get free – not that you particularly want to.
And you always start conversations with, “When I was in…” No, you are not boring, you are just an extremely interesting and curious human being. In other words, an incurable traveller. Join the club!