That tingly feeling in your stomach when you’re about to hop on a plane, catch a train, ride the bus, or get in car to go on a road trip... Is it love?Well, maybe not the romantic type, but from a scientific point of view, what you’re feeling is biologically similar.
It so happens that pleasure travel not only it is a cheapest, more fun therapy for the mind, or a long-time investment for your soul. Turns out traveling is also good for your health.The doctor is out there
According to research by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), the act of traveling provides scientifically-proven cognitive and physical benefits, as well as social and psychological ones. These would include reducing the possibility of suffering a heart attack or coronary death, as well as preventing degenerating brain diseases, to name a few.
Other travel benefits would include better mood and growing satisfaction for life, reducing stress levels, enhancing physical well-being, solidifying friendships and family ties, and increasing mental stimulation.
The survey also showed that working Americans "who take at least one trip a year are more satisfied physically, emotionally and financially, and retirees who travel reap notable benefits.”
There’s also research showing that traveling exposes the human body to different bacteria and other environment microorganisms, helping to boost the immune system. You would get most of these through food, however. Rolling in the dirty mud or drinking tap water would definitely get you into the hospital, and that's bye bye trip. Therefore, health professionals recommend to keep the basic hygiene habits intact, like washing your hands before eating.
It’s a DNA thing
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when facing an open road? Does your mouth water? Or do you recoil at the thought?
If you identify with the first option, you may well be coded genetically to love to travel.
It so happens that there’s a gene dormant in some humans, active in others, that could explain it all: the (in)famous DRD4 gene. It has been associated with higher production of dopamine than normal. Yes, that’s right, it’s the “happy hormone” that gets liberated when you feel doing something impulsive, dangerous, or craving to escape monotony.
According to a Travel and Leisure magazine article, this gene could partially explain the expansion of mankind around Earth. Although today’s urges to wanderlust are completely different from the survival mode prehistoric men were on that led them to explore other territories, the biological background remains the same.
So next time your hands start to sweat and shake at the thought of just “taking a walk,” it’s not that you’re sick. It may be your body telling you it’s time to pack your bags and go. And if you end up visiting Patagonia, even better. Safe travels!