We are much more connected with the world than we think. DNA test helps to confirm that fact. Thanks to this analysis, you will find out who you are and where your ancestors come from. When you know which countries and regions were home to your ancestors, traveling there takes on a special deep meaning.
I always felt like a citizen of the world, but now, after I've got my DNA results, it is scientifically proven! Moreover, I found more than two thousand distant relatives. From now, my travels will not be the same.
What is this DNA tourism trend all about? How to do a DNA test? What surprising things did I discover about myself? Keep reading.
DNA tourism - the next travel trend
DNA tests for ethnic origin have been known for a long time, but they became a tourist product and trend quite recently, in 2016.
It happened thanks to the stunning campaign of Momondo, a travel system for searching and comparing flights and hotels.
Momondo organized a contest where participants from all over the world were able to win a DNA test, and then, after finding out who they and their ancestors were, visit these countries.
Momondo’s documentary video is touching to tears.
We all live with beliefs and stereotypes about ourselves and other nationalities. Remember the jokes like “German, Englishman, and Frenchman are sitting in a boat ...” After all, they all make fun of national differences and features. And we often do not even question all these beliefs and stereotypes.
But DNA test changes the view of yourself and the world!
In the video, participants are asked to answer questions about who they think they are, what nationality they belong to, where their families come from. And then they do the DNA tests.
The results were terrific for everyone.
For example, an Englishman who didn't like Germans turned out to be 5% German, a guy from Morocco discovered Jewish roots, a Kurdish girl who does not like Turks turned out to be Turkish and even found a cousin among the participants of the contest.
Over 20 million people watched this video.
The campaign ended in 2017, but since then, interest in DNA tests has begun to grow.
Also, DNA tests became cheaper and thus available for more and more people.
More and more people are doing such tests to go to the countries of their ancestors.
While many travelers make DNA tests and plan their heritage trips on their own, tourism companies started offering tailored DNA tours.
Some travel agencies offer a comprehensive service that includes DNA tests, a consultation with the genealogist helping to build a family tree and conduct further ancestors research, and professional travel arrangements to the countries from the clients' DNA map.
So, DNA travel, or Heritage travel, has become a new trend in alternative tourism and is gaining momentum.
Want to learn about other types of alternative travel?
Read my blog post - 15 IDEAS FOR ALTERNATIVE TRAVELING
How to make a DNA test?
I studied various laboratories offering DNA tests and chose MyHeritage.
I liked this company because, on their website, you can also create a family tree for free and search for relatives.
Here's what you need to do to find out your ancestors:
1. First, you need to register at MyHeritage and order the test.
2. A package with a box and all the necessary materials arrives at your address. Instructions on how to collect, pack, and send biomaterials are included in the box. You can also watch videos on the MyHeritage website to be sure that you understood everything correctly.
3. Now, the most important thing is the collection of biomaterials. To do this, you just need to collect the saliva behind the cheeks with a cotton swab and close it in a test tube.
4. Send the material for research to the laboratory.
5. After three weeks, the test results are available online in your account.
My DNA test results, a surprise and my DNA journey
I participated in the Momondo contest, but unfortunately, I did not win.
But I decided that I would a DNA test anyway. And a few years later I received it as a birthday present from my beloved one. He knew that I wanted exactly that DNA test.
By the way, if you want to offer your significant other an unusual and original gift, a DNA test is a great idea!
So, I was delighted to receive such a gift, made my test, and looked forward to the results.
I knew that there was a mix of different bloods in me, and for some reason, I was sure that there was something Asian in me.
And when I finally got the DNA test results, I was a little disappointed - I'm not Asian! Zero point zero Asian roots!
Well, yes, never mind.
I found out that I AM:
48.5% EASTERN EUROPEAN
(region of my ancestors includes Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, western Russia, and Ukraine)
(Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria)
and 24.6% BALTIC
(Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania) !!
I knew about my East European and Balkan roots, but the Baltic heritage was a real surprise!
Initially, I ordered a DNA test not only to find out where my ancestors came from but also to go to all these countries based on the DNA test.
And then it turned out that I've already visited all the countries from my DNA map, except for one - ESTONIA!
So, I will go soon to the land of my ancestors, Estonia.
MyHeritage also showed me users with whom I share DNA.
I have not yet found close relatives, but I found 2542 distant relatives :-)
The DNA tests simply prove that we are all relatives to each other in a way!
On the website, there is also a possibility of contacting your DNA matches.
There are many stories on the Internet of people finding a close family in different countries, thanks to this test.
On the MyHeritage website, you can create a family tree for free - it is very easy and convenient to add new family members, as well as various information about them.
Besides, on the site, you can order additional DNA tests about your health.
Thanks to such an analysis, you can find out about your genetic predisposition to certain diseases and reduce risks, check genetic compatibility with a partner when planning pregnancy, and much more.
We grow up with a story about ourselves that our parents told us and that we tell ourselves.
The culture in which we live creates us, we identify ourselves to this culture, but, at the same time, it can limit us.
DNA tells our biological story.
Thanks to it, we get a different and more complete picture of who we are.
I am happy I did the test.
It made me reflect again that we are truly all interconnected more than we think. We are all citizens of the world!
Just imagine, if everyone did such a DNA analysis, there would be no extremism in our world! We would treat each other more like sisters and brothers.
Have YOU already done such a DNA test? Have you discovered anything unexpected about your roots?
If not, do you want to do it?
What do you think about this new travel trend? Drop a comment.
Thanks for reading!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, nice to meet you! I'm Sasha, a “free spirit” and a world citizen at heart who was born in the country that does not exist: Transnistria. I am on my adventurous journey to discover alternative, quirky, unique and unusual things to do and to visit in cool cities around the world. Join me and try something new! I write in Globish, since English is not my native language, so feel free to correct me or to make fun of me :).