What Is Heritage Tourism? Travel To Discover Your Family Roots

Traveling to Discover Your Family Roots

Traveling to experience new cultures, people, and places is always a unique and eye-opening experience. But if you travel to discover your family roots and learn of your ancestor’s stories, travel can be even more meaningful.

Family temple
Family temple

Heritage tourism is when you travel to learn about another place, culture, history, and people; in your travel, you discover the lives and stories of those who have gone before you. When heritage tourism is about finding your family roots, it adds a new and exciting dimension to your travels.

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Knowing your family roots can give you a sense of belonging; you can get to know your ancestors’ stories and find inspiration and lessons from their lives. There are many reasons why traveling to discover your family roots can be the journey and adventure of a lifetime.

What Is Heritage Tourism?

Heritage tourism has become a new way to travel and discover the world. If you ever went on a trip to discover history or culture, then you have been a heritage travel tourist.

Heritage tourism is about traveling the world to discover cultures, artifacts, and people and their stories; it is about finding a place’s past, present, and even future.

Heritage tourism is essential as there are many who feel like it gives travel a new meaning; they are not just traveling to travel but are traveling with a purpose. One of the significant ways that many people want to do heritage tourism is to travel to discover their family roots or history.

Heritage Tourism – Travel to Discover Your Family Roots

Travel is a fantastic adventure. If you do your travel right, you will meet a lot of great people along the way. And in many cases, these people will change your life forever. Changing your life is at the heart of what heritage tourism is all about.

Heritage tourism is one of the best ways to travel if you have an added purpose or meaning to your travel. And one way you can do this is to travel to a foreign place and walk the roads where your ancestors have gone before you and learn and discover your family history and roots.

To Discover Your Family History, Prepare For Your Heritage Tourism

Like any good trip you plan, the more you prepare for the heritage tour, the better the journey and travel experience will be. To find out more about how to prepare a trip to discover your family tree, you can read our blog on 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors by clicking here.

I have traveled to parts of Europe, met with some extended lost relatives, and learned a lot about my family. My fourth or fifth cousins had me over for a lovely dinner at their home in Germany. I enjoyed spending the evening with them and sharing all we had in common.

Here are some things I learned as I traveled to discover my family roots:

  • Connection and Belonging – I felt a real connection to the place I was visiting. I was no longer just traveling through a business; now, I felt I had a real sense of belonging.
  • Discovered Things I Did Not Know – I discovered their stories and lives from my relatives and learned things I did not know. These were things that helped me with my travels and also with understanding my family heritage.
  • Sharing of Things in Common – When you meet with a relative you have never met, the cultural barriers go down and are no longer there. You both now share something in common. You share the same blood and DNA.

Discovering your family history and your roots also helps to give you an understanding of your own life. Marcus Garvey. a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, said this about knowing our family history:

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Marcus Garvey

Heritage Tourism Help You Discover Your Family Roots And Gives You A Sense of Belonging

I am lucky as I grew up in a home where my mother told us many of our ancestors’ stories. We spent many Sunday evenings around the dinner table as she told us about those members of our family who had gone before us.

I learned from a young age how important it was to know and understand our family roots to feel like we belong. Heritage tourism can help you discover your family’s roots and give you a deep sense of belonging.

As human beings, we naturally desire attachment, belonging, and a sense of connection. The relationship we form with the people who mean the most to us can be compelling and enduring.

Not just those people in our lives but also those who have gone before us. Heritage tourism to discover your ancestors can help to give you the sense that the places you are traveling to you belong there and it a part of your family and who you are.

The Family Search website said this about the importance of knowing where our family roots have come from:

“Knowing our cultural background and where we came from can help us develop a strong sense of who we really are. The way we relate to our family stories and create our own narratives about ourselves helps establish our unique, authentic core identity.”

Family Search Website Blog

Heritage Tourism Can Help Us Discover Our Family Roots and Stories

Our family stories matter, as they help to give us a sense of who we are. For some, the stories may be painful and difficult. But even with the painful and challenging stories, we can learn survival, courage, and resilience lessons from these family stories.

Our family stories can teach us that even though those who have gone before us may have struggled, they survived. Their survival stories can give us the courage to keep going when things are difficult.

When we travel to where our ancestors once traveled and walk the paths they could have, we learn and discover new things about them and ourselves. Their stories also become our stories.

When we learn and discover these family stories or even about what their life may have been like during the time they lived, it can be an inspiration to us all.

Rudyard Kipling, the journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist, said it best when he said:

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

Rudyard kipling

It is the family stories that we remember. It is these same family stories that we retell to others. Dates, times, and exact names of our ancestors may be forgotten, but their stories remain in our hearts forever.

Heritage Family History Travel to Discover Your Family Roots

Heritage Family History travel is about your trip, specifically to learn more about your ancestors or your family. It is about traveling with a purpose and reason to learn your family history and roots.

There are many reasons why you should travel to discover your family roots and your family stories. Here are some reasons:

Heritage Family History Travel Gives Your Travel Meaning

Even if you only spent part of a day and saw one family member on a two or three-week trip, it will probably be that one day you may remember most. Traveling to meet or see some family members helps to give your travel some new meaning.

Heritage Family History Travel, Increases Your Understanding Of Your Family

Even if you cannot meet relatives, it will help increase your understanding of your ancestors and their lives. Many years ago, I visited a small town in China where my grandfather taught school. This was also where my Uncle and Aunt were born. I saw the house they had lived in and the streets they had walked on. I did not meet any relatives on that trip, but I did increase my understanding of my grandparents’ lives in China.

Heritage Family History Travel Gives You A Sense Of Belonging

Traveling to where your ancestors have lived and discovering their stories will give you a real sense of belonging. We are all a combination of our culture, history, and traditions inherited from our families. Traveling back to your family roots will help you see, understand, and experience this on a whole new level.

Heritage Family History Travel Allows You To Experience Your Ancestor’s Stories

Traveling to where your ancestors lived will also help you learn more about their stories and experiences. You can eat some of the foods they ate, see some of the countryside they saw and experience a bit of what their life must have been like for them.

You can also learn about the history, culture, and what life may have been like for them when they lived there. This will help you to have more of an understanding of them and their lives.

Travel is a fantastic experience in and by itself. Adding a new dimension to your travels to discover your family roots will inspire your journey even more. You will come out of this experience with stories from your ancestors’ lives and a natural feeling of belonging.

How Can I Prepare An Independent Family History Tour?

Before you decide to travel to your Ancestor’s hometown, there are some things you should do to make sure your family history tour is successful. First, you must research as much genealogy as possible before you travel. You should then do local research on the areas you are traveling to; learn about what places you should visit. Also, take some time to study the maps of where you are traveling.

You can read our blog Tips To Preparing Your Own Family History Tour by clicking here.

How Can I Find My Family History For Free?

To find your family history, you should first take the time to do some genealogical research. This would include interviewing your oldest relatives or friends in person or over the computer or phone. Organize your genealogical records onto an online program. Do a lot of your genealogical research online. Consider also getting a DNA Test. Contact and research places you can visit to find the records you are looking for.

You can read more ideas by reading our blog 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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