Do you have the adventure gene? Science shows you were born curious

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Show of hands: who’s ever felt frustrated by an ‘adventure gap’? That feeling when you *really* want to do something or go somewhere, but those around you – your family, friends or traveling companions – simply don’t have the same urge to push their boundaries and explore something new?

The good news is that there’s nothing wrong with you (or them). The likelihood is that it’s simply a matter of your DNA – and more specifically, a genetic variant known as DRD4-7R.

Those with the adventure gene embrace movement and change

Otherwise known as “the adventure gene”, DRD4-7R is carried by roughly 20 percent of all humans, making them more restless, curious and intrepid by nature. Research shows that those with this gene embrace movement, change and adventure, naturally seeking the rush of discovery and the thrill of travel.

Dr. Eric Brymer, an academic at Queenstown University of Technology in Brisbane, describes the phenomenon as a need to “connect with a deep sense of self and being authentic – a powerful relationship with the natural world, a sense of freedom.” Those with this gene, he says, get “a strong sense of living life to its fullest, as if touching their full potential”.

Is adventure in your DNA?

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So, how do you know if you carry this magical twist in your genetic code? There are plenty of theories – ranging from the level of risk-taking your father is happy with, to the relative length of your second finger and the amount of testosterone you were exposed to in the womb. But the simplest answer is to compare yourself to those who clearly *don’t* have it. Because one person’s torture is another person’s Tuesday at the spa.

If you’re overjoyed at the thought of ziplining through Costa Rican rainforests, ice-hiking up Patagonian peaks or dog-sledding across the frozen wastes of Finland, then the likelihood is, you’re on the latter side of the equation, and a fully paid up member of team DRD4-7R. If those activities sound like torture to you (Too scary? Too wet? Too cold?) then you’re probably not (and you possibly cut the crusts off your sandwiches, too).

A dead giveaway is the feeling you get when booking a holiday. Is it a sense of concern, stress or even resentment? Or is it heart-racing excitement, almost akin to falling in love? That might sound a ridiculous exaggeration to some – but not to those carrying DRD4-7R, because it floods their system with dopamine whenever they take actions exactly like that.

The stale smell of 'what if?'

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When I met Lee Thompson, the co-founder of Flash Pack, eight years ago, we immediately got on extraordinarily well. Not just because he has the kind of character that crackles with positivity like batter in a sizzling pan, or because we had a bizarre amount in common (from our surname to the fact that we’re both the eldest of five siblings). But also because we both clearly had the adventure gene.

We bonded over the sheer thrill of traveling to new places, diving into as many new experiences as we could when we got there; sidestepping the stale smell of “what if?” at all costs.

Flash Pack knows how to embrace and inspire these fearless explorers

Since then, I’ve been on countless adventures around the world with Lee, from gorge swinging in the Scottish Highlands to Vespa-riding through Spanish vineyards, living like emperors for the night in a deserted Hapsburg Palace, to swimming across Lake Bled – all on Flash Pack-designed trips.

We built a strong friendship on the adventure gene, but more importantly, I watched Lee and his partner Radha build an entire business on it, starting from their spare room and going on to become a global success. And why? Because 20% of us have DRD4-7R in our genetic makeup. That represents approximately three million Britons in our thirties and forties right now, and *17 million* Americans in the same demographic. And Flash Pack knows exactly how to cater to, embrace and inspire, those curious, fearless explorers.

A restless quest to explore

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Call it itchy feet or call it wanderlust, but the next time you feel that feeling – that hunger to push your comfort zone, to explore new horizons and devour the sandwich crusts of life – you’ll know exactly what it really is. It’s the adventure gene, and you’re not alone. There are millions of other fun-loving, enjoyment-seeking Flashpackers out there, feeling that same natural rush of endorphins as they plan and book the same extraordinary experiences. What are you waiting for? Listen to your body: you’re genetically programmed for adventure.

Find out more about Flash Pack adventures right here

Got a story or adventure that could inspire a solo traveler like you? Tag @flashpack on social or email [email protected] to be featured.

Images: Flash Pack/ Jonathan Thompson.


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