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The Wanderlust Gene: The Truth About Your Adventurous Ways

Backpack Sunset

Have your friends ever described you as having a gypsy soul? Or maybe deep down you have this unrelenting need to explore and get on the next plane to anywhere. One might say that you have been bitten by the travel bug. If this describes you, then you probably have an uncontrollable urge to seek adventure, explore and jet set. You are constantly seeking something new to see and do. Whether it is a weekend getaway, or a 20-hour plane ride to a foreign country, you are the first one with their bags packed and passport in hand.

As the ultimate adventurer, you go with the flow. Your plans are loose, and you seek experiences not things. Is this a generational trait, or a cultural trait?


As a psychology blog about the wanderlust gene puts it, this phenomena could be genetic. That’s right, you were born this way! The instinctual urge to travel is linked back to a derivative of a gene DRD4-7R. The DRD4-7R gene is called the “Wanderlust Gene” because of its correlation to “ curiosity and restlessness.”  Many people with the wanderlust gene share one thing in common, a history of traveling.


About 20% of the population carries this gene. The gene is most commonly found in regions of the world where travel has been a part of its history. A study conducted by Dobbs in 2012 linked cultures whose ancestors migrated out of Africa the furthest, and the earliest, were more likely to have the “wanderlust gene.” The study concluded that the urge to travel, to move, and see the world could be linked to our ancestors.


Another theory comes from our childhood. Children learn through imagination and play. The bigger our imaginations were as children the more likely we are to want to seek adventure and travel. Like children believe, and adventurers hope – if you can dream it, you can make it happen. If this imagination is nurtured and cultivated, that same imagination will carry into adulthood.


Wanderlust, adventurer, backpacker and jetsetter are all common words we hear today for those who love to explore and travel. Learning to embrace your nature and understanding your self leads to great things. Don’t fight your DNA, embrace it. Happy travels my friend!