Travel is the Ultimate Way to Explore Your Ancestral Roots


Have you ever looked at old pictures of your family and wondered what their lives were like? Or ate a specific dish from your country and realized every single person knows how to make it well? How is that possible!? For me, that’s macaroni pie from Barbados (if you know…you know!) Ancestral roots run so deep they’ve managed to keep us linked generations later across distant seas and lands. Although this is a great feeling, sometimes it’s necessary to go straight back to the source to reconnect and explore the origin of these experiences. 

In this blog, I want to celebrate the true power of travel when it comes to exploring and reclaiming our ancestral roots. In a world where our history has often been silenced or altered, travel becomes a transformative tool for restoring our narratives. Rediscovering our roots and reviving forgotten traditions can heal wounds and allow for reconnection. We can show our joy and triumphs, cultural identity and continue to bridge the gaps. With travel becoming more accessible to people of colour than it was in the past,  we are able to embark on the significant part of travel that uncovers incredible hidden stories of our ancestors.

1. Restoring Our Narrative

For people of colour, the impact of colonization, displacement and cultural deletion can be deeply felt. By visiting the lands that shaped our ancestors, we are exposed to our rightful place in history, we amplify the voices that have been silenced for too long while honouring the resilience and strength that flows through our veins.

2. Rediscovering Our Roots & Reviving Forgotten Traditions

Travelling to the lands that shaped our ancestors is an invitation to rediscover our roots. Stepping foot in the places our ancestors called home, we can rediscover the traditions, customs and rituals that were once suppressed or lost. It allows us to step beyond the pages of textbooks and truly dive into the living accounts of our heritage. Walking in the footsteps of our descendents, we absorb the sights, sounds and flavours of their world, fostering a profound connection to our lineage and a deeper sense of belonging. By engaging with local communities, participating in rituals and learning traditional practices, we breathe new life into our ancestral customs. We can embrace the wisdom of our elders and become leaders, by reviving ancient practices and proudly carrying forward the cultural legacy that was passed down to us.

Maya shamen perform land blessing ceremony for new Maya ballgame court before a ballgame at Lake Atitlan in Guatemalan highlands.

3. Healing Historical Wounds and Reconnecting

For many BIPOC, travel offers a space for healing historical wounds. It allows us to bridge the gaps that colonization and slavery created within our families and communities. By visiting ancestral lands marked by significant events in our collective history, we acknowledge the pain and resilience of our ancestors. Standing in those spaces, we pay tribute not only to their struggles but their many triumphs and moments of joy and happiness. Through this journey, we find solace and strength in our shared experiences. 

4. Celebrating Joy & Triumph

Despite the challenges our ancestors faced we tend to forget to appreciate all their good times. We danced, sang, spent time with family, built incredible systems and communities and conquered enemies. Created beautiful art, music and fashion, had weddings, ceremonies and huge parties to pay tribute to life and all its glory. Travel provides a perfect platform for celebrating all the joy and triumphs of our ancestors. 

As we explore family customs, celebratory moments, ceremonious places and landmarks we gain a deeper understanding of the more cheerful times our ancestors enjoyed and the victories they achieved. This acknowledgement instills a sense of pride, reminding us that we have always been loving, joyfully festive people and we should not be afraid to experience happiness. It’s equally as important to be proud of this and pass it down to future generations.

5. Empowering Cultural Identity

Travel empowers us to embrace and celebrate our cultural identity. Immersed in various environments, we witness the medley of our heritage and recognize the vastness of our community. Engaging with fellow BIPOC from around the world, we exchange stories, share experiences and build connections that transcend borders. 

6. Bridging the Gap

Through travel, we bridge the gap between the past and the present. It helps us to understand the historical context of our ancestors' lives, drawing parallels to the challenges and triumphs we face today. By acknowledging their struggles, we gain resilience and inspiration to confront our own obstacles. Travel becomes a life changing bridge that unites generations and empowers us to shape a brighter future.

The gift of travel in exploring our ancestral roots is an empowering journey of self-discovery and cultural reclamation. We begin an adventure that shapes our understanding of where we come from and who we are. With travel as our compass, we have the opportunity to learn our ancestral stories, celebrate our vibrant heritage and forge a path that amplifies our voices.  

Safe travels, fellow explorers of ancestral truth!