An illustration of a glowing ball with tendrils coming out of it, connecting with the space around it.

I’ve got a theory to share: the Wanderlust Gene is a thing. Even the cool scientists said so. There were a few that did lots of so-called in-depth research that’s popular among smart people, like Dr. Richard Paul Ebstein (fancy name!) and apparently they all had an ‘apple falling on Newton’s head’ moment where they exclaimed: DRD4-7R!

Sounds like a Star Wars astromech droid, doesn’t it? It might be. Maybe I’ll write the next chapter in the series and get to design my own intergalactic spaceship. You’re all invited.

And if you are ready to yell ‘heck yeah, I’m coming’ – you must have the DRD4-7R gene variant, buddy. This one controls dopamine levels and it’s linked to curiosity, to a desire for exploration, for novelty, for discovery.

You don’t need to order one of those fancy DNA kits to learn if you have the variant. Let me ask you this. 

  1. Has a friend of yours ever invited you to go paragliding and you just said yes? 
  2. Did you try that rainbow fruity cocktail at the bar across the street you swore you’ll never touch? 
  3. How many new languages have you started learning because you just met your new soulmate from another continent? 
  4. And what happened that one chill night in when you got an alert on your phone for 100 dollars flights to Paris?

Yep, you got it! You’re on the list. And if you’re still unsure, but want to be part of the club – build your own DRD4-7R droid.

♫ You can be whoever you want to be / That’s who you are ♫

Back in the day, when I was a shy intern just out of college, I really wanted my own droid that would push my curiosity up and up, until I’d reach space. So I built one for myself, went out into the world and did so many things!

Changing the world with your new superpower: DRD4-7R droid!

I use my DRD4-7R droid to give back. Exploration is not only about going to see the pyramids in Egypt or the penguins in Patagonia. The desire for novelty and discovery is also about people. That’s how I ended up here at Amara, where everyone with all their struggles are welcome.

I feed my restlessness by helping all humans. I like being a part of a team whose mission and goal is to make the world a more inclusive space. We have a powerful new initiative called Amplifying Voices that you can join. You can help caption and subtitle meaningful video content so everyone can access it, and understand it. We’re all different, we have different opportunities. And I absolutely believe that helping others when we can, makes all the difference.

Liane Story Time!

A photo of a light skinned person in a facemask sitting on the floor in front of a bookshelf.

Hi, I’m Liane, and I’m a Communication Dragon. Cool, isn’t it? Yes, I absolutely believe dragons are real and I am one of them. Be supportive, people!

I had a long journey to be where I am today – here at Amara. It all started with my wanderlust gene and the necessity for me to learn languages. I come from a small country most people have never heard of. If I wanted to make it, if I wanted to understand the world, I had to start with learning more and more about the people. And I did. But more on this in the next edition of Liane’s Morning Talks in the Mirror (I just made it up, go with it please).

Today, let me tell you some funny stories on how trying to speak new languages brought me beautiful friends, taught me to be caring, empowered me to stand my ground when my values were being questioned, and led me to Amara. Let’s go!

Story 1. When in France, don’t poop cigarettes.

Once upon a time, when my hair was full of volume and I didn’t know what back pain was, I lived in Paris.

A few months in, I was confident in mastering the language of love. “J`ai le cigare au bout des lèvres,” a friend of mine said. He was so French. And I thought I’ll join him for a smoke on the romantic balcony.

He laughed. “I need to poop. I’m going now.”

He taught me the most important piece of language I’ll ever learn – I now know how to say I need to go to the bathroom the French way. Ten years later, I’m still surprised at how people here make even toilette runs sound fancy. And oh do I love it!

Story 2. What are rabbits doing in Ukraine?

A photo of two rabbits with a cartoon filter on top of them.

Let me tell you how I became a rabbit. A nickname that stayed with me to this day. You can decide whether I should be proud of it. Or not.

On a sunny summer day, I got on the tram in Lviv. “Знову їдеш зайцем,” I heard. I turned around and my 4th grade crush was standing there. “You hopped on the bus without paying for a ticket back in school too!” And I remembered that, but how could he? He liked me.

Later on that evening, while having amazing Ukrainian food, I discovered that I’m a rabbit. You ride like a rabbit when you don’t have a ticket in Ukraine. I learned my lesson. I’m a respectful rabbit now.

Story 3. I’m always smart in German!

I have a special relationship with German. It speaks to my whole being with its philosophy and search for knowledge. German is smart. I started learning German because I wanted to be smart.

In Nuremberg, I heard this one: “Zwei Dumme, ein Gedanke.” If I think like Kant, I’m ignorant? If I think like Nietzsche, I’m unintelligent? Or maybe they are? This expression ‘Two vacuous people, one thought’ made an incision directly into my soul.

Then I decided, I can be anything I want to be. I’ll read my books, I’ll travel my roads, I’ll learn my languages. And I’ll be embracing all the people around me, with their thoughts and dreams, and struggles. We’re beautiful.

What about the glasses?

Yes, they’re related to all of the above. Give me a chance here to finish my story.

I wear glasses. It’s a minor inconvenience. Without them, I don’t see the world. Before I built my own DRD4-7R droid, I was scared. What happens if I break my glasses while on the road? How do I get a new pair if I lose mine in a new country? I mean, the last one is easy – learn languages, people!

There are people out there who struggle every day, who want to explore, but they can’t. This world can be both scary and beautiful. My world became beautiful because along the way, I met people who encouraged me. People who listened and supported my fear of losing glasses. People who didn’t judge or put me down. Humans are incredible.

My struggle with wearing glasses is a small one. And it’s also a big one for me. I made it out, I used my wanderlust gene variant thanks to the ones who gave me a hand and embraced me. My glasses kept me down, and now they don’t have the same power anymore. They’re my spaceship out into the far ends of the galaxy from the ring of eternal damnation.

A photo with a cartoon filter on it of a desk with objects on it, including glasses, notebook, pencil, photos, and a camera on top of a map.

It’s your turn now

Put that DRD4-7R gene variant to good use. When you’re on the train or plane and get bored – grab some Amplifying Voices videos and subtitle them in the languages you speak. Also, tell your friends. When you’re trying to decide which cause you want to support, do it by making sure the message gets out to as many people as possible out there.

You’re always welcome at Amara. You can learn and teach others funny language idioms on the daily! ‘Tis a good place here. Join in.

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