In Vagabonding, I address the various motivations for choosing a long-term travel destination. Ultimately, I tell people that it doesn’t matter where you choose to go, since all destinations have so much potential, and the surprises of the road always outweigh the expectations.

Among the suggested travel motivations, however, I mention how many American vagabonders enjoy seeking out their ancestral homelands (I also mention how travelers looking to identify with their ancestors’ cultures in far-off places often wind up realizing just how American they are). For European-, Asian-, or Latin-Americans, traveling to one’s ancestral homeland is a fairly easy equation, but for Americans of African ancestry (whose forebears were brought to America against their will), it can be next to impossible to figure out which part of Africa one’s family hails from. Ostensibly, a vagabonding journey to get in touch with one’s African “homeland” could take a person to places as far-flung and culturually varied as Mali, Gambia, Mozambique or Uganda.

That’s why I recently was interested to discover online business called, which uses simple DNA tests to help black Americans find out which part or parts of Africa their family hails from. I first found out about this service in Spike Lee’s August 2004 Playboy interview (yes, I read the articles!). Lee mentioned that, after testing, he discovered his mother’s side of the family came from what is now Niger, and his father’s side came from the region that is now Cameroon.

So, if you have African ancestry (and especially if you plan to travel to Africa to find out about more about your culture), taking this DNA test could be fascinating. More information online here.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 15, 2004
Category: Travel News

One Response to “”


    can i find out even if i live in the caribbean as you know some slaves were also sent to the caribbean. THANK YOU!!!!HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!