My Personal DNA Journey: Learning Where I Come From

Momondo DNA Journey
Testing My DNA & Family History
Travel Tips

Where do you think you come from? I’ve always been curious about my ancestry, so I decided to take one of those home DNA tests. The results were fascinating.

Like me, I’m sure your family has told you stories passed down from generation to generation. Stories about your heritage, culture, and ancestry. The more we know about ourselves and our family’s past – the more our personal identity evolves.

For me, the stories included family members immigrating from Ireland and Poland looking for a better life in the United States. But these tales are sometimes vague and incomplete after being passed down from person to person, like a childhood game of telephone.

How much is true? How much is being left out? This is where genealogy research and modern DNA technology can give you a more accurate picture of where you really come from. Sometimes, there are surprises…

I partnered up with the flight search experts at Momondo to answer those questions for myself, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

Momondo DNA Journey
Momondo DNA Journey

Testing Your DNA

Home DNA testing is becoming easier and more affordable than ever before. Companies like AncestryDNA can give you results in a matter of weeks, while also comparing your DNA with 1.5 million members, possibly introducing you to relatives you didn’t know you had.

It’s fascinating technology. For under $100, this home DNA test looks at a person’s entire genome from more than 700,000 locations via a sample of saliva to predict your genetic ethnicity.

I received my DNA testing kit in the mail and followed the simple instructions. Basically, you spit into a plastic vial until your saliva reaches a black mark.

Next, you twist on a cap that releases a special DNA stabilizing liquid into the sample. Write down your tracking number, put your vial into a pre-paid box and mail it off to the lab. Easy and fast.

Test results normally take about 6-8 weeks to process. When they’re ready, you receive an email notification with a link to your password protected account, where you can view your ethnicity map and see where your ancestors came from.

Momondo DNA Journey
My Ethnicity Map

What Were My Results?

After listening to family stories for years, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the test would say. But actually seeing my DNA results for the first time was still thrilling…

  • 40% Irish
  • 36% Eastern Europe
  • 14% Scandinavian
  • 8% European Trace Regions
  • 2% West Asia

I knew my family’s strongest roots were based in Ireland and Poland. My Grandmother was born in Ireland and sailed to the United States when she was only 17. My Great Grandfather fled Poland when he was 16 after both his parents were murdered.

However there was a surprise too. Like the 2% West Asian DNA. I also thought I’d have more West European roots, due to my German last name Karsten. But it seems I’m actually more Scandinavian than German!

Interesting, as I’ve been traveling to Sweden and Norway lately and enjoying it very much. Maybe it’s viking blood coursing through my veins that keeps me returning to photograph the landscapes of Scandinavia?

The information has broadened the way I think about my identity. It’s opened my world a little more. Even though I knew about my Polish heritage, the test results have reinforced my desire to visit Poland later this year.

Last year I traveled to Ireland with my parents and sister on a family genealogy road trip, visiting the hometown of my Grandmother and meeting Irish relatives for the first time.

It was an amazing trip and bonding experience. Since then, we’ve been having fun filling out our family tree information to get a better overall picture of our family heritage & history.

Momondo DNA Journey
Traveling with my Family in Ireland

Start Your Own Journey

The beauty of travel is that it broadens the mind. I feel that traveling to learn more about your heritage and background multiplies this effect.

Would you like to explore your own genetic history and get a chance to travel in the footsteps of your ancestors?

Well my friends at Momondo want to help.

Visit for a chance to win your own DNA testing kit, and the adventure of a lifetime traveling to every country you come from!

I hope you learn something new about your ancestry like I did. ★

Watch Video: The DNA Journey

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new Adventure Travel Videos!

(Click to watch Momondo – The DNA Journey on YouTube)

More Information

Product: Ancestry DNA Test Kit
Useful Notes: While the genealogy information is basic, learning what regions of the world your family came from is incredibly interesting, and a great base for starting to explore your ancestry further.
Suggested Reading: Family Tree Problem Solver Handbook


I hope you enjoyed this story about my personal DNA story! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Have any questions about taking a DNA test? Would you like to try this? Drop me a message in the comments below!

Momondo Flight Search


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
Join 20,000 others who receive exclusive email updates!

7 Reasons To Subscribe →
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I'm also a member of other affiliate programs. For more info please read my policy page.

Leave a Comment

Comments (64)

  1. Hello! I’m from Brasil and I would like to try this journey, at least to know all my origins. I already have my DNA, to facilitate. Tanks!

  2. Hello, I am from Romania I would looooove to do the test, but I don’t know where to ask for it. Is there a company or something like that? Thank you for sharing such beautiful information.

  3. Hi, I’m coming from Hong Kong, does DNA database included different Asia region? How can I join the DNA journey?

  4. Amazing. The guy takes a whole post explaining how to get a kit and take the test and then there’s all these comments asking how to get a kit and take the test. Is there a dna kit for brains?

  5. I mailed in ancestry DNA sample last week. How long did it take you to get your results? I know it says 6-8 weeks but I looking for a smidgen of hope that I could get it sooner.

  6. I had never try a blood test based on ethnicity, but I would like to. A couple weeks ago I found someone with my last name who lives in Indonesia, it was very curious for me, because I born in Venezuela, and as you can see, these two countrys are too far each other, so that it’s something that surely I try to.

    • Cool Christian! Yeah those are pretty far apart. Would be interesting to learn if you have family from other parts of the world.

  7. My father was gypsy and denied i was his, I was born just before my parents divorced. My mother never said a word against him and was heart broken when he left. Would the test show if i have gypsy heritage?

  8. Hey! I really want to try this. However, I’m not sure how or where I need to send a message to the company in order for them to send me the kit. How did you did it? Is there a form a need to fill? I’m from Guatemala, Central America.

    Regards, Alex.

  9. My mother told me that I have a diverse ethnic in my blood, but since that was only a verbal fact from my mom, having a DNA test based on ethnicity is interesting to do. I was born and raised in Indonesia, but my great grandparents were from Chinese, Persian and Europe and that’s what I heard and mother told me. Will give a shot and start my own journey. Thank you for sharing bro!

  10. hi,
    i m zeeshan ali from pakistan and i want to do the DNA test , i no my family comes from india and we first our family stay bitween iran and afghanistan border bfore come india and then pakistan ! and my grand father says we belong royal famliy in india :). Does sombody know how to realize the DNA test in Pakistan?

  11. I have to say I have always wanted to know the truth about myself. My dads dad wasn’t in his life and his ethnicity is unknown. My mom’s dad was adopted by his aunt because
    his mother wasn’t white. At that time it was disgraceful unfortunately to the family. Makes me sad. I have always wanted to know the truth..

  12. All this story brought tears to my eyes.
    Reading this and watching the video’s made me think that we’re all one ! From one father and one mother.

    I would love to know who I am where I am from?

    How can I get or order this kit ?

    I would be the happiest if I knew!

    Peace out to all !

  13. Hello, I am Sian Owen from U.K. I would love to know where I come from! I want to do a DNA test, how can I do it?

  14. Hi! I’m guy from italy and i would like to take my DNA kit test….. how can i do ? Hope to read you as soon as possible ? Daniel

  15. Hello I have been curious on who I am and where I come from and who and where my parents come from. I have been in foster care at birth, never knew who my family is. When I became of age and have kids of my own, they asked me questions on who were my parents and what where their cultures. My daughter had a report on who her family was and make a family tree. Well my daughter was very upset due to the fact that I don’t who I am. All I know is that I was brought up in the system as a foster child as a baby I know nothing else. I have been needing this for myself including my children. My life is a blur to me.

  16. Hi! I am Indian and I want to know my ancestry by this DNA test, and I want to know everything whatever it gives. Does somebody know how to avail /get this DNA test kit in India?plz reply, Thanks

  17. I have always been interested in where I come from as my family has an oral history that was only recorded on paper recently, that starts at the end of slavery. I would like to know much more about my genetic heritage. It would be the only way I could actually trace my heritage with any certainty.

  18. Hi, I grew up knowing that my mother is half Iresh and half Africa . Beefing asking her about her Iresh side of her family she said she lost contact with them after her father passed away.
    Now she is getting older and her wish has been if only she could get in touch with any of her family member before she pass. And as me I’m also interested to found out that I have a family out there.
    I wish I can get in touch with one of them that will make her day and mine and everyone in our family

  19. Awesome!. I really like it. I am in pakistan, I want to test my DNA. It would be very amazing. Is you have samples of Asian and Arabs.

  20. I don’t know who I am more where I come from and I all ways would like to know where I belong so if you can help me I would be very happy. Thank you

  21. hey i’m maroccan born and reaised in Europe. I’d like to run a DNA test. It’s exciting to know where i’m really from. such a test can dispel many misconceptions. this should be mandatory thing. would like to take a DNA test to know where my relatives are from. Greetings and thanksI

  22. How interesting ! I saw something like this passing on FB, but didn’t pay attention. It really seems fascinating ! My family is supposed to be completely German, but with part of it living in Ukraine for several generations. Would be interesting to see what comes out of the test :)

  23. I would love to do this!! Pretty sure my mom’s side is super scandinavian but on my dad’s side we were probably mixed with dutch, brits or gypsies some time way back in the days… :D
    This test should be required for everyone to do so everyone learns that we’re all part of one world, and that there is no such thing as pure ethnicity

    • You must have gypsy DNA for sure! Yeah, I agree that more people should learn where they come from with these tests. The whole world is one big family, and should start treating each other better!

  24. I’ve been interested in doing one of these for a while but the one I’d read about (23 and me) gives you a lot of genetic information about your possibility of certain diseases in addition to your back ground. I wasn’t sure that I really would want that information so it’s interesting with this one you can get just your heritage info.

  25. I’ve considered Ancestry’s DNA kit but now I’m sold! I’m a mut and part Native American so I’m super curious about what turns up. So cool.

  26. omg i have always wanted to do this :) i think finding out ones ancestry is important because it adds to your personality and understanding of life:) amazing

  27. Where I can do this test. I live in Beirut Lebanon… I am curious, I really want to know if i have Phoenician Route.

  28. This is awesome. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I feel like such an American mutt – it’d be interesting to see what heritage dominates!

  29. Hi I am Polish and all my family has been living in Poland for generations….so boring!:))) So if I take this test, maybe I’ll discover something new about my ancestors…! Thanks Matt:)

  30. I’ve been wanting to do a DNA test ever since I watched the Momondo video a few weeks back! I signed up for a chance to win one of their free DNA kits, but if I don’t get one, I’m treating myself to one for Christmas. ;)

    • The tests have really become affordable these days! You never know who you might be related to… and the more people who take them the more connections will show up.

      • I’m curious, do these tests help with obtaining a passport in other countries? For instance, would you be able to qualify for a passport in Europe, based on these results?

      • Hi! I am argentinian and I want to do the DNA test, I think that my pattern family comes from Lebanon, but I want to know more! Does somebody know how to realize the DNA test in Argentina or Brazil?