The somewhat fuzzy promise of ‘finding ourselves’ has always been part of travel’s remit. A growing craze for DNA-based wanderings takes that quest literally, with genealogy tests forming the foundation for journeys into our own (usually very mixed up) ancestry.
Californian tech unicorn 23andMe, which processed five million saliva-collection DNA kits in 2018, recently partnered with Airbnb so customers can match heritage holidays to their genetic profiles, from Oaxacan cooking classes to days spent with Maasai women in Kenya.
With genealogical products worth an estimated £2.4 billion last year, spurred on by TV shows such as Who Do You Think You Are?, there are many ways to explore our personal history. Next August, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will cruise from Southampton to Ellis Island, 400 years after the first English Puritans set sail for the New World, with onboard experts exploring guests’ family trees, while Dublin grande dame hotel The Shelbourne has a dedicated genealogy butler, Helen Kelly, who helps guests track down their Irish ancestors.
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