Have Brain, Will Travel: The Science Behind Our Wanderlust
Coming in 2025
My upcoming book is a travel/science/memoir/self-help mashup that takes the reader on a worldwide quest to understand the science behind why travel makes us come alive while also learning how to come alive without ever leaving home.
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Just a dozen generations ago, the only people who traveled beyond a day’s journey from home were soldiers, sailors, salesmen, or fools. Yet in this modern world, we love to travel. We come alive. We yearn for our next big trip. We continue to travel despite lost luggage and cancelled flights. For me and many others, travel is as addictive as a drug. Why?
The answer goes beyond surface explanations: culture, family, friends, escape. It goes beyond seeking the things we miss in our daily lives: awe, beauty, adventure, freedom, perspective. Rather, the answer lies at the root of what makes us uniquely human – it’s in our brains.
Join me and my family as we spend a year tripping around the globe. Abseil into a New Zealand glow worm cavern to see how a Goldilocks balance of stress hormones and norepinephrine create a flow state. Lose a phone to Roman pickpockets to unwind the damage social media and constant connectivity does to the dopamine system. Soak in a Turkish bath to learn the biological secrets of relaxing not just the body, but the mind and soul. Through the journey you’ll come to see that our brains are always there, ready to change, ready to come alive, even if we never stray further than a day’s journey from home.
by Irene Salter
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