Imagine this: You have done your research, booked your flights, and you are all set…To trace your roots?
Yip. We are exploring the new trend that is DNA Tourism. Now before we share 2 amazing adventures of people who have done this recently, we will need to explain the concept behind this new trend. The last 12 months have seen an increase in a tourist trend that is based on the results of people getting their DNA tested to see what their geneaology is all about and what their ‘family tree’ looks like. This is particularly on the rise across the globe where ethnic groups are made up of an amalgamation of migration of races across centuries. I for instance, have a Afrikaans lineage dating back to the 1600’s in South Africa- but in doing my family lineage research, I can confirm that I have German, Dutch and British ancestry in my lineage.
If you knew that your great-great-great grandmother was 40% southern Asian, would this prompt you to travel to Vietnam? We have all heard so many African-American travelers mention in passing that they would like to visit their motherland, which the majority regard as Africa. What if you actually did just this?
Take Rondel Holder for instance. Rondel lives in New York and works as a content creator at Essence magazine. He was curious about his ethnic background, so he took a home DNA test that he bought online. “I always thought of myself as being from Brooklyn, with Grenadian and Jamaican roots,” he said.
But the test results revealed another story, much of his ethnicity could be traced to two African countries, Togo and Benin. Rondel ended up going online within days of getting the news and booked a trip to Africa for about $3,500.
When he got there, he said he was happy to meet some people his own age. “The locals I connected with were working millennials who liked to go out and have fun, like me,” he said.
“A lot of 20-somethings are exploring their ancestry because they might not have heard this from their family, and might not know where they’re from before they take the tests. In terms of a demographic, younger people are the most interested in travelling after receiving their results,” according to Jhulianna Cintron from 23andMe. 23andMe.com is one of the DNA testing platforms most used in the USA for this type of testing. Others include Ancestry.com and myheritage.com
Perhaps one of the most profound tale is that of Ike and Nathalee Anderson and their three children who decided to travel around the globe to visit everywhere they have roots.this American family have gone on a “spiritual pilgrimage” after learning their DNA hails from 32 nations-yip 32!!
The couple discovered their heritage via an ancestry website and were overwhelmed by the discovery.The origins of their DNA can broadly be traced to Europe, East Asia, Sub Saharan Africa and Oceania. So in early 2018 they set off on a big adventure, selling all the things they did not need to fund their travels
So what are the other benefits of DNA tourism? as with all travel,visiting developing markets can assist in the financial growth for those markets in that it could create additional jobs and also aid in the development of conservation and educational projects for communities.
DNA tourism also allows families the opportunity to experience and see where their ancestors lived, what their lives would have been like, and parents can share a deeper understanding and knowledge of their cultural heritage with their children.
Sources: New York Times, Traveller 24 and various media outlets.