Are we genetically wired to be nomadic?: Around the World in 80 Years

Hey guys… today I will tell you what I think is one of the deadliest poisons that has ever infected our society as a whole… but before I get into that, I’d like to once again say “THANK YOU!” for all your amazing comments, here on the blog and on the forum. It’s great to hear that so many people are sharing the dream, but more importantly, it also helps me to find out what you want to read about!

You see, after over a decade on the road, there are more things I could write about than would ever fit in a hundred blog posts… but the questions you ask in the comments let me know what you want to find out, and that way I can write about that specifically. So please go ahead and reply to this post and let me know: What are your biggest questions about traveling the world? What do you want the next articles to be about?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the three different groups of friends I had in school: some who wanted to travel, some who had no desire to do so, and some who were stuck somewhere in the middle. And last week I got a big reminder just how big this third group really seems to be… one of my students posted a picture of a plane ticket on her Facebook wall, and the post blew up! I mean, she got over 50 “likes” right away!

Tire suas dúvidas sobre os tempos verbais, baixe um guia grátis da English Live: Guia de Tempos Verbais em Inglês. Ele contém um resumo bem estruturado para revisar os conceitos que você aprendeu na escola. Clique aqui e saiba como baixar!

Now, I’m not entirely sure whether that’s just people’s deep rooted desire to travel the world, or if everybody just really needs a vacation right now… but I did read an interesting theory about that question once.

One of the resources I recommend most frequently to people who are just starting out is the “Lonely Planet” guide book series. There is a book for just about every country you might ever want to visit, and these books cover everything you need to know… from vaccinations and visas you might need all the way to the cheapest hotels and restaurants at your destination. And I remember reading something fascinating on their blog one day.

There was a post on their “thorn tree” that discussed people’s psychological desire to travel. Where does it come from? Why do so many people dream about seeing the world… or at least about getting away from it all for a few weeks every year?

The author’s theory was simple, and something I could totally identify with: He speculated that we humans, as a species, never really ceased to be nomadic! Sure, with the rise of the agrarian age we started to build houses and villages, and later towns and cities… we started to farm and plant instead of hunt and gather. And in many ways, this has made our lives a lot easier.

But have our genes really changed in such a short time frame? Is it really human nature to stay in one single place for years, or even for a life time? Is it possible that this is actually as unhealthy as other unnatural behaviors our civilization has brought with it, such as working the night-shift, eating processed foods and polluting our planet?

According to the author of the article, this is not only the reason why we still feel such a strong longing to travel the world… in his view, it is much more problematic than that. He says that we should never have suppressed this strong drive to “Walk the Earth” as they say in Pulp Fiction… that we should never have ignored our desire to be truly FREE. And then he comes to a shocking conclusion:

He says that all human conflict, all our wars, our divorces, our neuroses and psychoses, our animosities and struggles, our dissatisfaction with life, our anguish and our angst… in other words, all the psychological disorders our civilization seems to have created… stem from this unnatural behavior of staying in one place… and suppressing our urge to live the nomadic life that is encoded in our genes.

Is it true… what do you think?

Honestly, I don’t know… I’m no anthropologist and I haven’t seen a scientific study about the topic; I only read that article a long time ago. But it’s definitely something that rings very true to me personally… I usually get itchy feet after about 4 months in a place, no matter how much I like it. Once I’ve seen everything and been to all the hot spots a couple of dozen times each, the routine begins to catch up to me and I really need to move on!

And that’s one of the best feelings in the world… I can just grab my backpack, and in 5 minutes I’m out the door and on my way to the next bus station, airport or ferry terminal… off to new adventures! The rush of having that kind of freedom is a big part of why I’m still living this life style after such a long time… and why I’m pretty sure that I will never settle down. It feels like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders every time and I feel FREE!

If you’ve read a few of my articles, then you know I like to quote people that have inspired me… today I’ll quote Tony Robbins, and I’ll quote him twice. My all-time favorite quote of his is this: “A ship in a harbor is safe… but that’s not what ships are built for!” And in line with this quote, there is another one I really like… it goes: “You think adventure is dangerous? Try routine… it is lethal!”

And that’s what I meant when I spoke of the “deadly poison” earlier. Maybe that’s not even staying in one place! I think that might just work out really well for many people, and I certainly have lots of friends who seem to be very happy where they are born. If they could live anywhere in the world, they would stay exactly where they are.

Routine, however, is another matter… and even if we don’t travel, I think we really need to spice things up every once in a while and have some kind of adventure. Otherwise, life can become awfully dull.

And of course I realize that this is not always possible… I’ve certainly gotten caught up in a routine more often than I care to remember, despite my life style choices… for example, I’ve mentioned before that I used to work in a car factory for a while to pay for one of my big trips. That was really one big grind, and the only way out was the way through. But for the most part, I make sure I at least try to keep the inspiration alive at all times.

Alright, I’m really curious now… what do you think about this theory? Do you agree with the author I mentioned… are we still nomadic creatures, and is it a mistake to suppress our urge to travel? Or do you think that’s all a bunch of hogwash?

Leave me a comment below and let me know your opinion… And also, post a comment if you have a question, or a suggestion for a future article… let’s have some fun with this!

Cheers guys, keep living the dream and stay in touch.

~ Frank Florida~

Frank

Frank Florida

Frank Florida é professor de idiomas desde 1994 e fala oito línguas. Viajando o mundo por 11 anos, ele visitou umas 300 cidades em mais de 50 países. Ele se graduou da High School nos EUA, se formou em didática na Austrália e é criador do site Fórmula Fluente.

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