The nature or nurture argument runs through all facets of life, and I often wonder how it relates to whether or not people have the travel bug. Is it something you catch from your family or are you born with this bug?
The thing is, on this planet, there are people who love traveling (probably you, and definitely me), and then, believe it or not, there are people who would rather stay home. But how do people become lovers of travel: is it something they’re born with, a part of their personality, or does it depend on their upbringing? I’m going to take a look at both sides and then let you all decide.
Nurture: Parents Who Love Traveling
In my case, it’s fairly clear to say that there was some element of nurture in my love of travel. I was brought up in Perth, Western Australia, the most isolated city in the world, but my parents made sure that I knew there was more out there. Something that must have had a huge impact on me was a six-month trip we made with a mobile home around Europe when I was nine years old. (In case you’re wondering, Australian employers offer this amazing thing called “long service leave” which enabled my father to be away from work for six months but still get paid).
Anyhow, we visited about twenty countries, staying in caravan parks along the way or sometimes just parking near a beach for the night. I was a curious child and loved crossing borders to find new currencies, different languages and exciting products in the supermarket, all of which I recorded in countless journals. We met interesting people from all over the world, saw all the sights, and had our hair cut by my mother in the distant corners of Dutch caravan parks. We also played a lot of cards. It was perfect.
From that trip on — my first time on a plane — I was always interested in other countries. My parents repeated the travel bug experience by driving us around Australia for two months when I was twelve; they managed to send me on a month-long exchange to Germany when I was fourteen, and once I left home, all I wanted to do was get out of Perth. And they were always happy to see me traveling.
Nature: What Personality Makes a Travel Addict?
So you might conclude that my love of travel was instilled in me by my parents. But there’s always an exception: Enter my sister. She had the same experiences as me as a child but, although she does take a few vacations abroad now and again, she is far from being a travel addict. What are the differences between her and me? Well, we have fairly different personalities, of course. I seem to have a few key traits which make me more likely to become an avid traveler, including:
I’m easily bored. Just ask my mother, who had to deal with my constant requests for new kinds of entertainment when I was a child. Traveling to new places helps to satisfy this restlessness and keep me interested in life. I’m really not that good at staying still.
If I was a cat, I’d be dead. I have to know everything about everything, preferably immediately.
If I was a cat, I’d be dead. I have to know everything about everything, preferably immediately. I want to know the differences between Danish and Swedish and I must explore the chocolate aisle in a supermarket in every new country I visit. When I meet people, I ask questions. (Politely, I hope).
If something or someone is different, that’s never really disturbed me. Perhaps it’s because of my curiosity problem! I tend to accept new places for how they are and don’t let lifestyles or cultures that are different to mine bother me.
So What’s the Answer? Nature or Nurture?
Well, I guess from my case I’d have to say that it’s a bit of both. It’s interesting to ponder — if my parents hadn’t taken me traveling as a young child, would I still have had the urge to leave Australia and live in several other countries? Or if I had my sister’s personality which doesn’t have such a large dose of curiosity, would I have stayed home instead?
But I’m curious (surprise, surprise!) to know what the rest of you think. Does your love of travel come from nature or nurture, or like me, a bit of both? Please tell me what you think about this issue in the comments below.