The Travel Gene Theory

Itchy Feet Syndrome, my Grandfather calls it. A condition whose symptoms include, but are not limited to: a need to see what’s just beyond the horizon, an overactive imagination, and a certain inability to sit still. Although scientifically unconfirmed, it appears to be a side effect of the equally hypothetical Travel Gene.

My family has been migrating across the globe for centuries. From the Pearl River Delta and the rainy British Isles, my forebears weathered many a miserable situation to get to their final destinations. And once there, some of them kept going. I realize that my ancestors’ wanderings were most likely spurred on by less-than-desirable situations at home; however, I can’t help but wonder if a healthy dose of curiosity and a need for adventure egged them on a little, too. Maybe these personality traits were passed down through the generations? Perhaps via the Travel Gene?

No doubt, some good story-tellers in the family were also behind our clan’s constant meanderings. I grew up on tales of a sea-faring great-great-grandfather, voyages by covered wagon, and WWII exploits, all of which fired my imagination and inspired me to go out into the world in search of my own stories.

For me, the first signs of Itchy Feet Syndrome began to appear at the age of two when my parents took me on my first road trip through the American Southwest. Since then, I have lived and traveled throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. I imagine that my appreciation of beautiful scenery, appetite for culture and history, and nosiness about how other people live will keep me on the road. And, it’s all thanks to that inherited Travel Gene.

Floating down the Niger with the wind in her ears – my Azawakh has the Travel Gene, too.

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