It is always nice to be able to travel with a specific purpose in mind. It can be to attend a conference, to participate in a sporting event, to meet a family member or a friend abroad, or to attend a world class festival or watch a major sporting event.
I have traveled on several trips to research on, and to meet new extended family members, while doing my “family tree” project. My first trip with that purpose is to New Zealand and Australia in 2007 with my two older sisters to meet over 100 extended uncles, aunts and cousins, who immigrated to that part of the world while the majority of us immigrated to Canada. It was an amazing discovery trip to enable me to expand our family tree from about 150 to over 300 members. I did not realize that I have so much connection to New Zealand. This trip laid the foundation that allowed us to plan a huge family reunion event in Vancouver in 2008 with over 130 attendees, and expand the family tree to over 480 members at present.
Another trip on this “family heritage” theme was in 2010 when a group of Vancouver and New Zealand family members traveled to Balingzhuang village in Guangdong Province of China to visit our ancestral village. The 6 houses that our grandfathers built are still standing, and we met family members there that still remember to exact details of our parents’ time there. They reminisced about the good times, and we paid respects to the older generations. A year later, we brought our two adult children back to this village so that they are aware of their cultural heritage.
In 2014, I went on an amazing trip to South America to hike Mount Roraima and Angel Falls. As part of this trip, I flew to Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, to visit another branch of my family tree. With modern technology, I was able to make contact with them via social media ahead of time (QQQ & weChat), and we made arrangement for them to pick us up at the airport, and then visit them over a two-day period. It was very interesting to learn about their immigration stories, and their way of life in this small South America city.
These are the type of travels that are really interesting and purposeful. I hope to do more of these in the years to come. With our love of playing badminton, we will try to incorporate some tournaments in our travels as well.