We always thought there had to be an explanation for our insatiable need to travel.
No annual leave time is short enough, no hostel dirty enough, no foreign language confusing enough to stop us from wanting to explore. To go, go, go until we can pick up and go again. Science has said it’s in our DNA, but there’s gotta be something more.
Conde Nast Traveler spoke to Dr. Michael Brein, a social psychologist who specialises in travelling and intercultural communication. As for whether travel can be considered an addiction? “The short answer is yes, it’s possible,” he said.“But figuring out what causes it is incredibly complicated.”
We’ve already seen how travel can be an intrinsic part of our DNA, but the concept of addiction goes a bit further than that. Dr Brein explains our love of travelling through a concept that affects us all.
He says, “Once you realise that the experience of travel is extremely rewarding and unlike anything else, the more you want to keep doing it. It’s a kaleidoscope of new sights, sounds, and experiences at every turn, and successfully navigating these unfamiliar situations is the best way for a person to achieve the higher-level needs found in Maslow’s pyramid.”
Maslow’s pyramid, or a ‘hierarchy of needs’, is made up of physiological and psychological needs that human beings long to achieve, such as safety, food and water, love, etc. Travel does a good job at satiating all of these. That’s why we love it so darn much.
Our travel addiction is a behavioural response to feeling so emotionally fulfilled. You pick up the travel bug after that first trip, because travelling is one of the most fulfilling things you can do as a human being. And our bodies and minds want to do it all over again, because it’s what makes us feel most alive.
So there you have it: travel is addictive. And there’s no way to cure it.
Apart from going on another trip, of course.
Josephine is a staff writer at Junkee Media. You can find her words on AWOL, The Cusp, food she bagsed in the fridge.