Exploring your DNA ancestry trail around the world


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My Aunt is an avid researcher of our family history. She’s traced us back all the way to Alexander the Great and a few other noble bloodlines.

I think we can all possibly be traced back to the nobility of some sort. Don’t we all go back to the wild oat sower, Genghis Kahn?

I love catching up with Aunty Trish and hearing the latest stories of who we are related to.

Along the way, she’s taught me more about history: Henry the 8th and his wives (I think our bloodline goes back to one of them), the Vikings, and ancient conquerors.

Trish explores our lineage via TV shows and books and I’m sure if she could, she’d be hopping on a plane to visit many of the places she’s discovered in our history.

A few months ago, at one of our family picnics, she laid out the reports of a DNA  test she did and showed us what nations and bloodlines made up who she is now.

“Well, at least Dad doesn’t have to have his DNA tested now.”

“Not necessarily. Even though we have the same parents our DNA could be different.”

Isn’t that fascinating?

Curiosity leads to travel

Sailing back to Keauhou Bay along the Kona Coast

It was then that I started to become curious about what my DNA could tell me. How similar would it be to my Aunts?

How much of my DNA had already influenced my travels subconsciously? You know how sometimes you feel called to visit a certain place, or when you arrive you feel as if you’ve been there before?

Perhaps part of the reason I felt so drawn to the pine forests in North Carolina and Native American culture growing up was because it’s in my DNA.

Hmm. My Aunt is equally fascinated with Native American culture, but it was not in her DNA.

Perhaps, it’s in Craig’s. His last name is Makepeace after all!

I don’t think there’ll ever be a clear-cut answer to those questions, but I like that curiosity to lead me toward new adventures and ways of thinking.

It helps me test the boundaries of possibility.

Find out where your DNA comes from and travel the world!

Recently 23andMe reached out to us to see if we wanted to take their DNA test and share our experience with you.

“Absolutely, you’ve been on my mind for some time!”

(We’re also sharing an INCREDIBLE sweepstakes, where you will have a chance to win a trip based on your DNA. Keep reading!!)

23andMe is named after the 23 pairs of chromosomes in your DNA! Their service provides you with over 75 genetic reports about your health (like lactose intolerance and sleep movement), traits (your eye color or hair curl) and ancestry (what percent break down your DNA is from all over the world).

It’s great that we have so much access to our DNA to learn such vital things about ourselves. I’m very curious to explore the health side of my DNA.

Travel helps you connect the dots

Snorkeling and Island Hopping on Boracay is one of the best things to do in Boracay Island the Philippines. Click to read more travel tips for Boracay with kids

One thing I love about living in the US is that Americans are intensely curious people. They’re very attentive in conversation and want to know a lot about where you’ve come from and what you’ve seen.

They love to share their knowledge of the world, connect the dots, and have everything make logical sense or fit their theories on life.

I’ve had many conversations recently about Australians’ love for travel.

“You Australians love to travel so much. But you don’t just take short breaks, you travel for long times and you live in other countries. It’s amazing. Why is it so?”

Well, one reason is we live so far away from everything; it makes more sense to travel for extended periods of time and live overseas.

But, one theory I have, which Americans lap up because it’s so different and puts their curiosity into overdrive, is that Australians are very vague about who we are and where we come from.

Our history is dark and unknown – for the most part.

Most Australians would only know a few generations back of their family history. Our culture (and I’m talking about white Australia culture here) began mostly from convicts.

As the colony grew into a nation, many people didn’t want this part of their history to be remembered or known. Records are scant, and I know, based upon my Aunt’s passion project, clear ancestry is difficult to find.

So, I believe, Australians are somewhat on a search to discover a little more about who we are and where we come from and how we fit into the larger scope of life. Possibly without knowing this is what they are doing.

We don’t have long solid roots that keep us steady on the ground and there’s a sense of belonging that I think we haven’t quite grasped.

Now we have these wonderful tools, like DNA tests, to help us give greater insights, and possibly guide our future travel decisions.

I was thrilled when I lived in Ireland, pre-Craig and everyone recognized my maiden name. “Ah, you’re a Fogarty. There are many Fogarty’s in Tipperary.”

That, of course, sparked a desire in me to visit Tipperary.

Part of my choosing to live in London as my first travel experience was partly because I felt so connected to their culture and so curious to learn and understand more.

My DNA ancestry results

While I grew up being pretty sure my ancestry was part Irish and English, I wanted to know perhaps was there anything else in my genes.

My Aunt’s research had shown a little of France and Germany.

I’ve often been mistaken for being Scandinavian around the world, even to the point where people will approach me speaking Danish or Swedish and wonder why I greet them with a blank stare in exchange.

Could part of my ancestry be from this region?

The blue eyes and blond hair reveal a Viking line, but what does my DNA really say?

Our DNA is 100% our unique identity from an ancestry perspective. It can weave a tapestry of stories, which for curious people, gets them itching to travel more and let those stories unravel.

Here are my results from 23andMe:

DNA ancestry timeline

With 23andMe’s ancestry report you also get an ancestry timeline, which I think is a fantastic way to deepen your travel experiences.

DNA ancestry timeline

My Scandinavian, French and German ancestry was from 1770 to 1860.

Before that was North African and South Asian. If I visited these countries, I’d be interested in connecting to the history and stories from this period.

You can go even deeper with the reports from 23andMe, like uncovering your maternal line. All roads lead back to a single woman in Eastern Africa living between 150,000 to 200,000 years ago for everyone living today.

I’m part of the V3 Maternal Haplogroup. Benjamin Franklin is also. Another like-minded curious being!!

I loved reading this report as it shared waves of migration patterns. Migration is such a natural process for us and our DNA, yet it seems to cause so much conflict in the world today.

The quest

We’re all on a quest, aren’t we? To discover more of who we are, to look for greener pastures, to help our DNA evolve.

The 23andMe test helps us to look back and, perhaps refine this quest a little more; to know exactly where to go instead of aimlessly wandering.

I enjoyed learning about my DNA because it has fed my curiosity even more.

The questions are turning in my head as once again I’m trying to figure things out. I’m excited to have a clearer picture of my lineage and have more motivation to travel to certain regions.

The only thing I’m not sure what to do with is the results of my Neanderthal report.

It shows I have 286 Neanderthal variants, more than 62% of 23andMe customers!!

It does connect once again with Germany – Neanderthals were named after the site where their bones were first identified (Neander Valley, Germany) – and it seems to be my height that is associated with the variants, and not having less back hair or being less likely to sneeze after eating dark chocolate.

Hilarious. I do not have back hair by the way!!

Maybe that explains why a paleo diet seems to suit my body better.

My Dad wants to say the Neanderthal line came through my Mum and she throws that right back at him. There’s only one way for them to settle that argument – take the DNA test!

You can link up your family’s DNA reports in with your own via the 23andMe Tools.

Does knowing my DNA history affect my travel plans?

Busselton Jetty, Western Australia

Not until I read this:

“It’s mostly likely you have a 2nd – 5th great grandparent who was 100% French and German and another who was Scandinavian,”

that I felt a rush of desire to travel there and learn more. I mean this is close ancestry really.

Our ancestry discussions over the dinner table of an evening when I was younger didn’t go beyond the obvious. It was just a matter of Dad trying to convince everyone that it was British more than Irish genes while we were pushing for the other way!

But to have more really does inflame my curiosity.

I never would have thought French or German, so now I am very curious to explore these countries more in-depth, and beyond the typical checking off bucket lists experiences.

Morocco has suddenly now sprung up on my list of places to travel to. I think this is the country I’d resonate the most with in North Africa. It’s a connection I want to explore more of now.

I wasn’t expecting the DNA ancestry test to shape my future travels. I thought that I had all that figured out. It has surprised me how much value I got out of this experience and how many more doors of curiosity it has opened.

I do believe, thanks to tools like this, travel based upon following your DNA and discovering more of who you are, is becoming an emerging trend.

And why not?

It adds an extra dimension to the fun of it. It’s not just about checking off bucket list items, but about transformation and understanding more of who you are.

Seeing how close we all are in this gigantic world of ours, just as a result of knowing more about our own DNA, brings wonderful perspective.

Knowing my ancestry comes from North Africa – even a small percent – helps me look at this region and the people who make up it, differently.

I think the world needs more of this deeper connection and understanding.

Now it’s your turn.

The Golden23SM Travel Sweepstakes

To bring excitement to the idea of traveling based on your DNA, 23andMe is giving away 23 trips to 23 winners between July 12 and August 3.

Destinations will be based on a winner’s 23andMe Ancestry Composition results.

How to enter the Golden 23SM Travel Sweepstakes*

  • Buy a 23andMe kit or enter for free online for a chance to win a trip based on your DNA.
  • Total trip package valued up to $20,000
    • Includes winner + guest
    • Round trip airfare
    • Hotel accommodations for 5 nights
    • Custom itinerary by gojourny.com to explore the local life
    • Daily spending money
  • Ends August 3, 2017.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. states and D.C., 18  or older. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 pm PT on 8/3/17. You must complete the 23andMe Personal Genetic Service™ to qualify to win. Itineraries are not for the entire duration of stay. For free entry method and complete details, see Official Rules that govern this Sweepstakes. Sponsor: 23andMe, Inc. Void where prohibited.

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DNA ancestry travel is an emerging trend. You can win a $20,000 trip around the world based upon your DNA DNA ancestry travel is an emerging trend. Do you know your DNA ancestry? Have you had travel experiences to help you connect more deeply to who you are and where you come from. Click to read more - you can win a $20,000 trip based on your DNA

We’d love to hear what you discovered after receiving your 23andMe results and how this will shape your future travels.


  1. Lucy your photos are truly gorgeous…I’d forgotten how beautiful Switzerland is! G and I visited a number of years ago and we loved this area xx

  2. What a great post. I really enjoyed the idea of the ghost ship. There’s always going to be what if’s in life but I think the most important thing is to not let those what if’s control you. This post really resonated with me so thank you.


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