It all started with a restless gene

Just this week, a dear friend sent me  a National Geographic article saying that people who have an urge to explore can blame their genomes. Specifically, they have a “restless gene,” known as DRD4-7R, and only about 20 percent of all humans have it.

I believe I got a double whammy of this restless gene. My dad had no qualms about picking up and moving the family quite often. By the time I was in fifth grade, I had attended five different elementary schools. Before her marriage, my mom worked for Eastern Airlines and used her bennies to travel the country. When she was in her 70s, she was determined to see all the states she had missed as a young woman.

When I was in journalism school, I read a book about photojournalist Margaret Bourke White. For the rest of my college career, I wanted to be a foreign correspondent like that brave, globe-trotting heroine. I was blindsided by love and settled for the local newspaper after graduation. All was not lost, however. I learned to explore my own backyard and to this day those interviews and local stories are among some of my most memorable.

I’m still exploring places near and far. Lucky for me, I live in a state where I don’t have to drive far to find a wealth of cultural diversity, picturesque landscapes, and some amazing adventures. For the time being, the restless gene is in check.


National Geographic Magazine: