The Ephemeral Nature of Ethnicity Estimates and TravelSep 10, 2022
I'm sure many of you at one time or another have been curious about your personal history and where you or your ancestors came from. Some of you may have even purchased a DNA test to try to get ethnicity estimates. Maybe you wanted to find out if your genetic make up was what you had always been told.
From the time I was young, I was told that I was half-Sicilian (my mother's side), and English, Irish, and Dutch (on my Dad's side).
What they don't tell you about the DNA tests is that they are based on the people they know have a long history in one place who happen to have taken their test. You might be amazed and surprised to see a new area of the world when you look at your ethnicity estimates for the first time.
I took two tests--Ancestry DNA (which I will probably share an affiliate link for soon) and 23andMe. I personally found the Ancestry DNA test more accurate while the 23andMe test had many regions that were "broadly" European, which could mean anywhere. Ancestry has a much larger database.
An area of the travel industry that is growing is called Heritage Travel. This is when you plan trips to places where your ancestors came from. . . . But where did your ancestors come from? How can you really know for sure? And how far back are you willing to go?
As a case in point, last year, my Ethnicity Estimates from Ancestry were recalculated. It said I was 2% Greek. Now, I had never really had an interest in Greece. I had a professor once in engineering school who told me that "Greek. Italian. It's the same thing."
An opportunity came for me to take a 10-day cruise to Greece last Fall, and I enjoyed it so much. I felt a connection to Crete and Delphi where the famous Oracle was located. I told myself a story that it was because I was 2% Greek. You can see a beautiful Greek sunset off the Temple of Poseidon on my You Tube Channel.
Just this week, my Ethnicity Estimate was updated. Now, there is no Greek. I am 50% Italian (as I knew), although 6% of that is from Northern Italy. Now, I am 11% Scottish and 2% from Sweden and Denmark. When I click on the information for Sweden and Denmark, it claims that some of these people are English, which I know I am.
So, as you can see from my illustration, you cannot necessarily rely on a DNA test to tell you where you originated or what your genetic make up is, but it can still be useful.
There is Heritage Travel as I mentioned earlier, but also a more spiritual type of travel for those who feel a connection with a particular country or place in a country whether they have a connection in this lifetime with it or not.
One of the sustainable travel principles is a sense of place. Some areas feel special to you even if they don't feel special to people you know. The energy varies from place to place. Some will feel like home even if you have never been there before.
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