There is a desire within most of us to connect with our roots. Today DNA testing is rapidly available unlike before. Companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA make it easy to take a DNA kit test at home and get your results. With accessible testing, it's easy to learn where we come from. But, some people like Lisa Buckner are taking this even farther than just knowing where she came from.
Lisa Buckner is a travel-loving genealogist. She has been able to track down her family and her boyfriend's family and ancestors.
It's not enough just to know where your ancestors have come from. Try to walk in their footprints again.
"According to a recent survey conducted by Schofields, more than 40% of those under 33 prioritize ‘Instagrammability’ when choosing their next vacation spot" (Forbes, 2018). This is huge news for the travel industry. There is a need for millennials to keep up with what everyone else is doing online. For most adults, when we here DNA travel, we think of someone spitting in a tube and sending it to a lab for them to tell us where we are from. We then imagine ourselves learning we are German only to hop on a flight to Germany and partake in Octoberfest. However, DNA travel is deeper than that.
There is almost a desire to glitz up our history and ignore the places in which we were really formed. We see what's "popular" based on Instagram trends and then we go there to mimic the exact same thing our favorite travel influencer is doing. But the truth is, every single location on Earth can be Instagramable if we want it to be.
Lisa learned this lesson herself. When she got her DNA test results back, she learned that she was part Irish. Her Irish heritage didn't send her packing to Dublin, Ireland but rather to Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Black River Falls is today a rural little town with a population of 3,471 people as of 2018, according to Google.
When her ancestors where alive there was a lot more going on and this town was busier than a bumble bee. Lisa's need to find a deep comprehensive connection with her ancestors took her down the beaten path to discover the exact home her ancestors lived in. She was truly able to walk in her ancestors footprints and see and experience the church they attended during their time on Earth.
Lisa had never been to Wisconsin before this moment but really was able to fall in-love with herself and her ancestors story more and more.
Everything turns out okay.
For women in comparison to men out lives are/ can be more difficult. This is one thing Lisa realized for her ancestors. Her female ancestors didn't have it easy. Many of them had to work on the farm while raising children of father's who are absent.
Lessons like these teach us all to not take the life we have for granted. It's interesting how she really set out to live life in her ancestors shoes. Her love to discover exactly how they lived, where they lived, and how they worshiped gives Lisa a deeper sense of self.
But her story doesn't stop here. Lisa did a deep dive into her boyfriend's ancestors which took her to Lviv, Ukraine. She was able to find the exact house in which her boyfriend's grandma lived in before the Nazi's came in and forced her into a concentration camp. Her Jewish boyfriend was able to learn so much as they sat in the apartment of his grandmother's childhood home listening to the stories of those who currently live there. They didn't have stories to share in perspective of Jewish individuals but rather of those who witnessed the terrible events that were being done to the Jewish people.
...immerse yourself in the culture
Lisa's number one advice for those looking to connect to themselves is to fully immerse yourself in the culture of your ancestors. Don't do what is instagramable because you'll miss out on a lot. You'll loose sight of why you started DNA travel in the first place. She also encourages you to use caution wherever you are going. However, be open to experiencing new cultures and stories.
This is what makes up true DNA travel. Lisa is on a mission to helping her clients research their family history and build bespoke heritage travel tours, customized to their own genealogical story. Visit her website to learn more and follow her on Instagram.
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