Traveling My Roots
A DNA Travel Podcast Project
I’m Lisette Austin, travel podcaster. I am currently traveling to where my ancestors are from – across North America, over to Europe and finally to Africa.
Along the way, l am exploring family stories, Black history, the legacy of slavery, the immigrant experience, the complexities of adoption and being multiracial – and ultimately my own identity.
About the Project
What if you grew up with a huge question mark in regards to your biological history? How would that impact your sense of identity?
As an adoptee from a closed adoption, that was my experience. I loved my adoptive parents, but I was missing a part of myself. I didn’t know who my biological parents were. It was a strange truth I skirted around, and tried to ignore. And as a Black bi-racial woman, I knew that whoever my ancestors were, they probably were stolen from Africa. Even if I could find my Black family, I had to accept that I would never know my African lineage.
Finally as a young woman, I found out who my birth mother was. But there was still a question mark around my birth father. Decades later, consumer DNA testing changed that. I initially tested simply to find out which African countries were in my genetic code. But over time, I stumbled my way into successfully identifying my Black biological father, a man I never thought I would know. Everything changed.
I already had planned to travel to the European countries my maternal side was from, but now I had all the pieces of the puzzle. I would go to the places my ancestors where from. If I could stand where they lived, I felt I would deeply weave parts of myself back together.
I am now on that journey, traveling to Virginia, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ireland, Scotland, Sicily, Albania, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal and Nigeria.
Along the way, I plan to audio record personal insights and conversations with family members, local historians and genealogy experts. I will explore family stories, Black history, the legacy of slavery, the immigrant experience, the complexities of adoption and being multiracial – and ultimately my own identity.
I hope to eventually create a narrative podcast that will offer a window into what the DNA travel trend is about – demystifying the process, providing genealogy tips, and inspiring you to uncover hidden family histories and embark on your own heritage travel adventures.
Related Globetrotter Lounge Episodes
These episodes are from the final season of my original travel podcast, The Globetrotter Lounge, where I interview women who have found creative ways to travel more. All are relevant to Traveling My Roots, and are a good way to learn more about the different aspects of the project. Click on the image videos to hear a short interview preview, and use the audio players below them to listen to the entire episode.
I’m a travel podcaster, also known as Jet Set Lisette. I am the host of the award-winning Globetrotter Lounge Podcast where I talk with diverse women who have found creative ways to travel more. Their inspiring stories provide helpful tips, resources, and practical advice for making dream travel a reality. I’m also the creator of the online course, Jet Set 101: Becoming a Travel Hacker.
“I think that until you’re in a place where a story occurred, you don’t necessarily have all the pieces of it. You don’t necessarily know the full context of it.”
“To understand and reconnect with our stories, the stories of the ancestors, is to build our identities.”
“Our ancestors are totally essential to our every waking moment, although most of us don’t even have the faintest idea about their lives, their trials, their hardships or challenges.”
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.”
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
“When I see the past as ancestral wisdom, then everyone and everything is there in the moment. Only then will the bones rattle and the wisdom emerge from the ruins of who and what has been diminished or lost.”
Stay in the loop.
My audio newsletter delivers occasional sound bites from road, sharing some of what I'm experiencing and learning along my journey. I love the idea listening to a newsletter rather than reading it in my inbox – don’t you? It's like an informal mini-podcast sent directly to you.