This is a question that I have personally contemplated to myself. My own story is that after first touching down in the UK in December of 2000 I traveled consecutively till August 2007 – with just a three month stint at home during it. There is nothing I would rather be doing at that time. Like all other travelers I was so interested in what lay around the next corner, the next experience. Beyond myself, I have seen other travelers I have known again and again step out of regular life to return to the travel life style. So once again, I think it’s a question worth considering – is traveling addictive?
For me when I touched down in the UK I was on such a mental high that I barely had to sleep, or eat much, for a week. There is no doubt, in my mind, that during that first travel experience I underwent a mental high with some form of natural neurotransmitter emission that caused that temporary mania. Subsequent travels, have had a similar though a less pronounced effect. Speaking for myself, my mind undergoes a real high trying to discern new information and when you are traveling that is all there is, at least at first, around you.
People chase the high again and again
Some people say the genius of Facebook is how it dangles small information in front of you. The brain releases small amounts of dopamine when you see a red status update indicator. Our brains literally covet trivial information that knock them out of their status quo. Travel is the ultimate for this your brain is going into overload trying to categorize all the new information it is tasked with. This is the reason that people have trouble re-adapting to regular life and begin to want the experience again. Like me they are interested in a return to that original travel high.
Like curing other addictions it’s really hard to give up
Leading into the last point giving up traveling is really hard to do if you love it. Travelers often describe travelling as “being alive.” Would you want to give that feeling up easily? There is no doubt that many travelers struggle sticking with the grind of life and the employing the self discipline it takes to stay it through for social advancement. Always, tapping on their shoulder is that slight, but yet audible, call of the road.
Travelers can and do give up their addiction to travel, but it is begrudgingly and with the knowledge that when the time is right they will be able to travel again… if just shortly. A true traveler is always a traveler…