If you have once left your home, you will never be back. Someone, who utterly resembles you, will come instead. Each time you go, someone different returns. This idea does not belong to me: I have met it in a book of Max Frei, a fantasy genre author. But I consider it as the truth since it describes my own attitude to travelling and metamorphoses it causes in people.
Addicted to dopamine
Probably everyone noticed that children are usually happier than adults. They laugh, smile, dance, hug much more frequently than any adult. I have read, that one of the reasons for this is dopamine – a hormone that is produced as a reaction to the positive and new experience. Kids receive such experience almost constantly: they get to know something new several times per day, and mostly it is something pleasant. But the older we are, the fewer things that could cause our sincere and positive surprising remain in our surroundings. Everything seems to be familiar, usual, boring – home, work, relatives, and friends.
If you realize what is the reason for your apathy and indifference, you will do your best to cause the production of dopamine in your body. Alas, therefore many people become addicted to drugs because they increase dopamine production and release 5-10 times. In other words, they make people happier, but we all know about consequences.
The most natural and effective way to increase dopamine level with legal tools is travelling. After I had read about this theory, I decided to test it, and that is what I discovered. Travelling changed my emotional state even before the trip had started: the preparations reminded that feeling from childhood when parents informed we were going on vacation. Some kind of euphoria, anticipation – that is what I felt. Every moment in a trip is new and brings new impressions; a fortiori if you travel to a totally new place with a new kind of transport. New and pleasant – this is the perfect combination for intensified dopamine production.
Travelling as a source of happiness
That journey was quite short, but I jotted down everything that made me feel joyful, and the list was long: new people, new breathtaking sceneries, music in headphones while sitting in a bus, new food, considering myself as an independent and brave person, trying to learn a few words of the unknown language. Moreover, even some confusing moments like a misunderstanding with locals and situations when I could not find my accommodation were considered as a source of happiness. And I knew why: because of dopamine, whose role is to serve as a positive reinforcement while studying something new. Thus, I have faced something new, got a positive experience, and finally received an “award” in the person of dopamine, and, as a result – feeling happy.
As a result, definitely, it was me who returned home, but if saying in a hyphenated word, it was a different person, who knew more than “previous me”, was more skilled and happier. The only issue with travelling is that after you dive again into the habitual environment, your new gladness insensibly vanishes. Consequently, you need a new “dose”. Naturally, most people have no possibility to travel permanently, so I created my own way to change myself, and, accordingly, my life – to turn even my way to a college into a small trip, and to notice and learn as many new things as I could. For instance, I looked for new roads, new places in the city, new interesting people around. This was a start of the most enthralling travel in my life – a trip to myself, no matter how volatile and multi-lateral this notion is.
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