The Travel Bug: Nature versus Nurture

The Makings of a Traveler

Magellan, Columbus, and John Glenn—did they have in common? Each of them, and many others like them, were so highly motivated that they risked their lives to explore the unknown. But what motivated them? National pride? The favor of the ruler? The prospect of fame or wealth? Raging curiosity?

I contend that, underlying any or all of those, people who venture over the horizon are fundamentally different from those who do not. And I think I know why.

Values from environment

People who grow up in Massachusetts tend to be politically liberal; in Alabama, conservative. Those who grow up in Minnesota tend to be Lutherans; in Mississippi, Baptists. Similar examples are many. My point is that we are, in belief and behavior, very much the product of the environment in which we were raised. And it is from there that many of our motivations spring.

I doubt that it has been researched, but I'll bet that Magellan, Columbus, John Glenn, and most others interested in exploring beyond familiar boundaries were motivated and inspired by their parents. I offer myself as an example.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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