To Travel or Not, That is the Genealogical Question!

I have always loved to travel, especially for genealogical purposes.  The past year has taken that privilege away but I discovered, like you, there was always work arounds in most cases.  I relied on others to obtain a document or check a source through Ask-A-Librarian or other email inquiry.  I was surprised to discover how much I could accomplish using those resources.

Now that my closest family has all been fully vaccinated, travel has become a hot topic. Should we or shouldn’t we?  

A week before the pandemic quarantine arrived, hubby and I had planned to travel later that summer to Sweden to mix genealogy research from both his mother and father’s lines with cultural immersion.  This year, we had planned to do the same with Croatia and next year, after a Mediterranean cruise, to stomp through France to explore more of my lines.  We guessed, by that time, Great Britain would have settled down somewhat after Brexit and we’d both explore our Welsh, Scotts, Irish and English roots.  

I realize that Croatia is open for travel now but do I want to do that?!  Is it wise to venture abroad and possibly bring home a new variant?  Do I want to travel wearing a mask and with more hand sanitizer then I usually pack?  On the other hand, am I contributing to Europe’s recession by not going?  

An alternative would be US travel.  After checking that archives have reopened, we could spend some time this summer traveling throughout the midwest or the northeast.  That leads to more questions – should we fly or should we drive?  With the rental car shortages and the great price increase in rentals, is it even worth flying?  Do I want to pack up the car and drive, which would require more frequent stops along the way and the possibility of still getting a covid exposure?  Sure, the chances of infection are small but they remain.

In all my years of traveling I was one of those foolish mortals that really didn’t worry about Montezuma’s revenge.  I swam in cenotes, crawled into caves, ate from food trucks in cities and with local villagers outdoors in rural areas, even consuming uncooked fruits and vegetables.  I was always fine.  The pandemic has reminded me of my own mortality and to not push my luck.

Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I’m reluctant to travel.  Ethics in genealogy go beyond being truthful and accurate.  Ethics include being responsible to others.  No matter how much I miss meeting new people, learning about different cultures and exploring archives new to me, I think I’ll take a wait and see approach to travel for now. 

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