Being happy. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Or should be anyway. It’s why we try to find a job that pleases us, it’s why we try to save money to be able to go on holiday, it’s why some of us take a gap year to explore the world, it’s why others settle down and start a family. And even though we all have a pretty good idea of what we consider as ‘happiness’, there’s a more scientific side to it too. Because like all emotions we feel in our lives, in the end, being happy can be reduced to a set of chemicals.
The main chemical when talking about happiness is dopamine. This is a neuromodulatory molecule that serves as a neurotransmitter. We often see it as the pleasure chemical and even though the reality is a lot more complicated than that, this explains a new trend we’re seeing in the travel industry: dopamine travel. Just like dopamine dressing, it’s all based on colors and the way we feel when seeing them.
It’s been known for a while that dressing in a colorful way has the potential to make us feel happier, to see life in a more positive way. Even though there’s a lack of studies confirming this, many specialists are convinced of the power of color. “What we wear impacts our self-image and what we think of ourselves,” Matt Johnson, PhD, a neuroscientist and professor of marketing psychology at Hult International Business School, told SELF in an interview.
Colors, scents and sounds
And now, we’re applying the same sort of principle to travel instead of our wardrobe. The reasoning behind it is pretty simple: the more colors we see, the more scents we smell, the more sounds we hear, the more dopamine we make in our body. And the happier we are. Sounds simple indeed and it’s something any of us can easily integrate into our travel plans.
Of course, not all destinations are created equally when it comes to dopamine travelling. Indeed, opting for colorful surroundings is easier in some cities than in others. We immediately think of Burano, the colorful island next to Venice, for example. Or why not head to Chefchaouen in Morocco? Or to Portugal? And there’s no reason why you should limit yourself to colors. You could choose a destination based on its delightful sounds, whether that is birdsong or opera, or if you’re someone who loves scents, you could for example travel to Grasse in France, where everything evolves around perfume.
All in all, dopamine travel is just another way to make your holiday a bit more enjoyable. It’s about concentrating on that happy feeling within, in any way that works for you.