Geneatography by Nicka Smith

cali2tennessee – the voyage from cali to the volunteer state

it’s still sort of surreal.  two weeks ago, i made the nearly 2,200 mile voyage across the country to our new home in tennessee.  yes, this cali girl is now a tennessean.  many thought i’d melt by this point, but i’m actually liking it.  lol

 Nicka Smith, youth, and youth coach from the Ancestral Project 2013.

the voyage started out with the closing event for my youth program in oakland.  it was bittersweet since some of my youth are graduating, others are heading into their senior year, and others are coming with me to china in a month or so. our final project this year was a HUGE timeline (it took up more than half of a room) along with other personal projects. thankfully, the tears didn’t flow that day but they did after a going away party hosted by three of my awesome cousins and attended by family, friends, and geneabuds.  boy, that was so hard!!!  🙁

following that, we paid a visit to my fam in so cal.  i got a chance to take some priceless pictures of my soon to be 97 year old grandmother. my mom recounted my parents journey to california from illinois before i was born. we ate good food, laughed a lot with my sister and brother in law. we fell in love with ayres hotels and i slept through the season finale of game of thrones (lol). it was SO MUCH fun!

ns2photo-social-17  ns2photo-social-18

my beautiful grandmother…97 years young…the granddaughter of slaves…

in addition my trip to see family in so cal, i also spoke at genealogy jamboree 2013 which is put together by the southern california genealogical society.  it’s one of the largest conferences held on the west coast – this year there were nearly 1,200 people there.  my two talks were on DNA and connecting back to Africa and addressing the implications of slavery on genealogical research (african ancestored and european ancestored).  i got amazing feedback on my session (including that i was one of the best speakers next to the keynote – hey, who is that guy anyway? lol)

California Genealogical Society members in attendance at the 2013 Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank.
Genealogy bloggers at SCGS Jamboree 2013.

once we left so cal, we had a chance to see friends in phoenix and dallas before making it all the way to vols territory.  people joked that we probably couldn’t survive the drive through texas. it wasn’t actually bad considering how we broke it up.  once we got to tn, i was shocked at how quick i got my driver’s license and car tags (two hours!) in comparison to ca (where it could take weeks). all in all, i’m so glad that we did this while we’re “young.” you shouldn’t have to be retirement age to take a cross country trip – and to take your time doing it. 🙂   here’s to new adventures…


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