Monday, 22 May 2017

After the Tour - How Am I Changed?

It is nigh on impossible to complete a Genealogy Tour to Scotland and not be changed. The changes are sometimes subtle and take time for you to understand. Others are more immediate.

One of the subtle changes is that you become aware that you are part of a larger picture, a larger family, a larger diaspora. This gives you a better sense of yourself as the descendant of a Scot as well as a better understanding of your own "Scottishness". This may incorporate a better understanding personality traits like being quick-witted or being quick to anger.

More immediately, however, you become aware of where you belong. Almost every tour participant over the past six years has stated that as soon as they set foot on Scottish soil, they had a sense that they had "come home." A more profound feeling is that of belonging.

Any genealogy research allows a person to feel more complete, more whole. However, researching your ancestors in their home country - walking the same streets, visiting their homes, churches, graves deepens your sense of belonging and sense of connection in a way few can put into words. The experience is not unlike an adopted person who finally gets the opportunity to meet their biological family. The sense of belonging can be quite profound as it provides you with an understanding of where you belong and who you belong to. Knowing "these are my people" provides a definite change in mindset for tour participants. And this, ultimately causes a pull to return again to their homeland.

Plans to return tend to germinate during a tour. Fairly early on. Participants know they need to return. Planning later takes into account what the return will look like. Will it include family members and incorporate further distances over a longer time? Will it once again be a genealogy research tour? If so, will time be added so that more of the homeland can be explored? 

About 40% of tour participants return to Scotland within a year of taking a Genealogy Tour to Scotland. 75% return within 2-4 years. Some return on future tours and plan to have family join later or to travel afterward. Some return to connect with family they learn of while on a tour. And yet others return just to explore the country. The villages, the regions, the cities. 

Whatever it is that takes you back, knowing that this is where you belong and the strong pull to return is just one of the many ways that you will be changed after a Genealogy Tour to Scotland. 

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