Connecting With My Ancestors
I remember my Grandmother would always talk about Olliebollen, SinterKlass, and would put Oranges in the toes of our stockings at Christmas time. My Dad would tell us stories about how we were descended from Clan leaders in Scotland, the McFarlane and Mckenzie Clans. I didn't really know what all these things meant until I started to look into my ancestors stories.
There is something very powerful in knowing the stories of where you have come from, to know how far you can really go. Maybe in sharing my story of my ancestors, and how it has affected me will help you in realizing the power that lies in the stories of the blood that runs in your own veins.
Visiting the Netherlands
Amsterdam has been calling my name for over a year now; almost like it is beckoning me to come home. I decided to go this year for my Birthday, and find my way to Appledoorn, and walk the street where my Great Grandfather use to walk as a child.
I doubt that his home will still be there, and people are already teasing me about needing to do a urine test for drugs when I get back. Amsterdam is more than that though, its a calling in my blood, that says that although I'm American, I have the strength of the ancestry that comes before me. The sad part is, I don't really know much of its history, only the history of my Grandfather and what he told me.
Taking Pride in my Dutch Ancestory
There is a part of me that is sad about going, in a way, I think its because I haven't connected with this part of my ancestry & carried on more of the traditions of Holland (aka the Netherlands now). I hope to give this as a gift to myself, to remind me of the strong stock that I come from. I honestly have only met 2 Dutch people in my life, so it will be interesting to see how much of me I see reflected in that culture.
My non-american friends are always suprised by how Americans can't seem to call themselves 'American' when people ask where they are from. I don't know why, maybe it is because when your a part of something ancient and old it makes you feel stronger in some way.
Maybe it is the political climate, or things that have happened in our country that some people may be afraid of, I don't really know.
What I do know, is that when we seek out the stories of those who have gone before us - there is a power and pride that goes into knowing your lineage. If you have never had your ancestral genetics tested, I highly recommend it. For some people, especially for those who have been adopted, it can really change your outlook. It helps you feel like you belong to something greater than yourself.
It motivates you to carry on the story that the people before you started. Allows you to share joy, stories of triumph and have pride in those stories. It helps me have a sense of confidence knowing that I can do just as much as they did, if not more with my life.
Search Out Your Ancestors
Who are your ancestors? Where do they come from? How did they live? Who did they love? What trials within the country did your ancestors overcome? How will you carry their legacy? Will it give you strength to draw from, knowing where your people have come from, to help propel you to where you want to go? Will you find a place where you feel like YOU belong?
These are questions I think are important for anyone to ask themselves. If you don't know where your line comes from, go to ancestory.com & order a DNA test. It will likely knock your socks off once you see the results, but once you do.....research what makes you who you are today & then go and see where it is you and your DNA have come from.
Welcome to Culture Trekking!
My name is Janiel, I specialize in solo female travel, cultural connections, sustainable adventures, food and history to help make your travel experiences fun, meaningful, and delicious. My experience in travel, and my personal story have allowed me to get published in Fodor's Travel, Atlas Obscura, Metro.co.uk, Trip Advisor, and multiple Podcast interviews. You can find me on pretty much every social media channel YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok. To read more about me and my story click here. If you are a brand and would like to work with me, click here.