In these times of stricter lifestyle budgeting, gone are the days when one can go on numerous, frivolous and most of all costly trips for the sole purpose of self-enjoyment.
We need a stronger purpose to make out-of-town trips aside from just seeing the sights, coupled with the strong rise of virtual travel experiences.
A new direction for leisure-seeking globetrotters would be genealogical journeys designed as a vacation or done so at a leisurely pace over the course of several years, perhaps even a whole lifetime. This opportunity would allow savvy consumers to gain knowledge, cross-cultural perspective, and even get to know some long lost relatives along the way.
There are a plethora of resources available online to get you started, but of course there’s some grunt work involved if you want to be completely certain of your destination and the places you will have to visit once you’re there (i.e. record offices, libraries, local registries, schools, etc.)
Sites like Ancestry.com are the perfect places to start on your journey to self-discovery by providing basic services like helping you put together your family tree and connecting to you to the Ancestry.com community, where you have nearly 3 million members worldwide to help you with your research.
GenealogyPro.com offers a very thorough list of genealogist specializing on different regions on the globe as well as another list of specialist services to really help you rack up all the details prior to your trip.
Once you’ve collected a fair amount of genealogical data and feel ready to start planning your past-life vacation, be sure to check out Genealogy.com’s checklist and past stories of people embarking on similar journeys to make sure you don’t miss anything.
And of course, while this is a part in your process of self-assessment and how you ended up where you are, don’t forget that it is still your vacation. Bring your best mates, girlfriends and significant others, get in touch with your inner dork and don’t be afraid to go wild and “get local.”
If it’s possible, though it may not be in some cases, bring your relatives!
Get them involved as well, since more stories equal more clues for you.
And if you think you’re tough, bring your parents!
At the end of it all, hopefully you’ll learn something about your past, your elders’, and maybe even about yourself and how you came to be.
Maybe finding out where you came from can end up helping you in discovering where you need to go.
Remember to have fun, involve as many people as you can, and if you’re a third-culture kid like me, well, you’re in for a wild ride.
For more inspiration be sure to read up on Jonathan Safran Foer’s 'Everything is Illuminated' or check out the movie!