In December 2016 Mischa and I set off from South Africa on a year long journey through Latin America. During this time, Where’s my Dopamine? came into being. I began this blog about the brain on travel as a way of processing my experiences, which, at an early point in the trip began to feel overwhelming, in both good ways and bad. As a social neuroscientist, I am drawn to understanding the neural basis of our human emotions and how our experiences in the world in turn influence the brain. This lens helps me find meaning, somehow. I hope you will join me as I begin to trace some of the fascinating ways that our brains behave on travel.
Robert Frost might have felt that our decisions about the paths down which we travel are meaningless, but if you look to the brain, there is meaning in every moment.
The Road not Taken (Robert Frost)
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.