• Deb Trotter


Updated: Mar 3, 2020

Photo from Scott Web on Unsplash


I have a confession to make. I'm a vagabond. A gypsy. A wanderer.

No matter where I call home, I am eventually seized with this need to go somewhere else.

Do you suffer from the same affliction? Is this feeling - this deep longing to wander - a curse, or did we come by it honestly, just like Uncle Bob who joined the Army so he could travel for free?

As it turns out, there is, indeed, a gene linked to the human need-to-travel. I read about this first on Elite Daily and followed the link to Psychology Blog Aimee, where I learned more about this "travel gene" known as DRD4.

DRD4 is a gene that deals with the high dopamine levels a percentage of the population experiences when they travel and exhibit certain behaviors. DRD4-7R, a variation of DRD4, is linked with curiosity and restlessness while traveling, right along with ADHD.

And Whoa! I am here to tell you, my friend, that DRD4-7R/ADHD is surely my middle name. I become exhilarated with the mystery that is travel - like when I'm not sure where I'm going, but I love the journey of getting there - wherever "there" is. I'm a big risk taker. I follow my instincts, which is usually a good thing. But not always.

I love to travel. I've moved all over the place from my home state of North Carolina. You could call me uprooted, ungrounded - a free falling bird. This was especially true when I was young.

I went from North Carolina to Tennessee to Ireland. (I love Ireland.) Ireland to North Carolina. North Carolina to Washington, D.C, and back again. North Carolina to Connecticut (I love Connecticut too) and once again to my home state. And now, here I am in Wyoming.

Need I say I love Wyoming too? Of course, I love it - except that the winter is too long - just like the summers are too long in North Carolina. Spring is but a fleeting fancy in both states.

It seems there is always something off about where I wind up.

I used to think I subconsciously found fault with places just so I could move. Then, I'd move. And, WHOOSH! Guess what? It wasn't long before I wanted to move again.


I began to move around so much my family and friends decided I would probably end up waitressing for the rest of my life. (Not exactly a stable occupation for someone with six years of college behind me.)

It never occurred to me that it wasn't the location that was off. It was me. Me, and that damned little DRD4-7R gene variation - also known as the Wanderlust Gene.

Now that we've got that gene business out of the way, I'm going to guide you down the path and tell you exactly where the Wanderlust gene comes from on my family tree.

I got Wanderlust not just from DRD4-7R, but from my dad.

Thanks, Daddy. Your first-born didn't fall far from the tree. You and I are definitely rovers, and we love to travel. A lot. You're probably up there somewhere, hopping from cloud to cloud. It must be the ultimate experience, being able to go wherever you like - whenever you like. No obligations. No one to scold you for being gone.

Have you met Chet Atkins yet, or maybe Hank Williams? I'll bet the three of you are up there jamming, just waiting on Sweet Baby James to join you one day (Hopefully, not soon.

We still need him down here.)

Sigh ...

I loved my Dad. I still do. But his rambling ways were not always ideal for a family man. Lord knows my mother found it difficult when he went away.

We didn't know much about genes and how they affected our behavior when I was little, but I promise you, Daddy had DRD4-7R in the worst way.

Those rambling ways aren't so great for me. I think of my husband, The Dog Walker. How does he tolerates someone like me? Luckily, he is so stable and grounded that he balances me out perfectly. In fact, he is a real homebody and doesn't need close friends or much travel in his life the way I do.

I'm a bit too old for my compulsion for travel to change, but I'm not totally discouraged. I've discovered that small adventures sprinkled here and there are helpful - a walk near the beautiful Shoshone River - or taking photos during a Sunday afternoon road trip that suddenly evolves into a cattle drive.

Cattle Drive photo © Deb Trotter

I love cattle drives. I especially love the cowboys who urge the cattle forward and keep them in check. And cowboys are rovers, aren't they? So they probably have this DRD4-7R gene variation, which means I'm in fine company.

There's a lot to love about cowboys. There's a lot to love about home, too. I admit it.

But I also love my Jeep, and it's calling to me.

It's time to wander around a bit. Wanna join me? We'll invite those cowboys and store our DRD4-7R in the back of the Jeep. It'll be fun!

Meanwhile, do you have anything to share about your love for travel? Think you might have that Wanderlust Gene? Let me know in the comments.

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