Travel Is In My DNA! Exploring My Heritage With Ancestry.

I’ve been VERY excited about this project. You see, at the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to take a DNA test that would tell me my ethnicity. I’m not sure if there was anything that directly prompted this, but it’s kinda been something that’s always been at the back of my mind…

Ancestry DNA Test

Why bother taking a DNA test?

So let’s start at the beginning, why did I even want to do this?

Well firstly, because I never knew my biological Dad or his family. So that’s half of my DNA that is a complete blank canvas. It could totally be anything. My Mum thinks he had some Spanish in him so there’s that, but really, who knows?

Secondly, because on my Mum’s side, everyone in recent history has been British. The only trace of anything else on the family tree is that my Great Nan had a french maiden name. That’s all we’ve got. I’m actually a little jealous of people that have this ancestral heritage that they embrace, you know? Like by visiting the country their ancestors are from or really diving into the culture. I kinda want that.

Plus, I don’t really look British. At least that’s what I’ve been told on my travels. Like, I have quite olive-yellow skin and dark hair and eyes. So what’s that about?

Finally because I’m a woman of the world! I’ve travelled to lots of countries that I’ve felt a connection to and I’d really love to know if that’s something scientific, like it’s in my blood, you know? Or maybe I haven’t travelled to some of the countries in my DNA and it could be the start of a whole new adventure…


Ancestry DNA Test

The AncestryDNA Kit

So I decided to go for the AncestryDNA kit as it’s the one that I’d heard the most about and it seemed to have pretty good reviews. Plus it was really good timing as they have just released a new product launch after making slight tweaks to improve the test. Score.

And honestly, it was super straight forward and easy to do. There’s instructions and all that, but basically all you need to do is fill a lil’ tube up with your saliva to the black line, add a blue solution that preserves your DNA, seal, shake it up and send it off in the collection bag. Real easy, y’all.

Oh and the way you track it is by creating an account on Ancestry UK and inputting the serial number on the side of the tube. And that means you get notified of each step in the process. So you get told when they’ve recieved your DNA test, when it’s gone into the lab and, huzzah, when your results are in!

Timeline-wise they say it take 6-8 weeks for the results but my experience was a lot quicker at just 29 days!

  • 20th Feb – Sent off my Ancestry DNA test
  • 1st March – Marked as received on my account
  • 15th March – My DNA test went into lab processing
  • 21st March – My results were posted!

Ok so I know what you’re thinking, shut up Kara and just tell us what your results were! Why of course…

Ancestry DNA Test

Ancestry DNA Test

My Ancestry DNA test results revealed!

Ok, so for added effect I did a live results reveal video, so watch this video for all the goss from the horse’s mouth (me being the horse). Skip ahead to 4 mins into the video for the results section.

Otherwise scroll down for the written results…

So right off the bat, my Ancestry account had an overview of my results as soon as I signed in. And my first realisation? Great Britain wasn’t even in the top results!

Ancestry DNA Test Results

But I clicked straight through to the Full Ethnicity Estimate so see what the deal was…

Ancestry DNA Test Results

32% Ireland

…And what do you know, I’m bloody Irish! 32% to be specific. Which is pretty mental, right? Especially finding out the week after Paddy’s Day…

After I found this out I spoke to my Mum about it and she remembered that they did find Irish on my Grandad’s side of the family tree. Now she tells me. But 32% is a pretty big chunk!

And I haven’t even been to Ireland, can you believe it?! Well I have a work trip coming up to Dublin this summer so maybe I’ll get acquainted with my Irish roots, yeah? Have myself a guinness and a good old knees-up I think.

Ancestry DNA Ireland

22% Europe West

Next up on the Ancestry DNA results, 22% of my DNA is from Europe West. On closer inspection, the results specified that this DNA comes from a selection of countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. So this could quite well be the French we thought was in our family. Makes sense, right?

I mean, I do really like wine… (But that could be because I’m Irish, apparently)

Ancestry DNA Europe West

18% Scandinavia

Then I find out I’m 18% Scandinavian! Predominantly from Norway and Sweden.

All of these results have brief histories of each area and the immigration patterns of days past, and it seems this is mainly influenced by the Vikings coming over to the UK back in the day. So my first thought was – I’m totally a Viking.

My second thought was – maybe this is why IKEA is my favourite place on earth? BILLY bookcases and LACK coffee tables are in my blood, babes.

But again, I’ve never been to Scandinavia! It’s actually been at the top of my list for ages but I’ve kind of put it off because word on the street is it’s expensive there. But hey, this has totally given me a push to book that trip! I think I’ll really like Norway in particular.

Ancestry DNA Scandinavia

17% Great Britain

Oh THERE you are, British blood. Where you been hiding, hun?

Honestly, I was hoping for some cool countries to come up in my DNA but I never doubted that Great Britain would be the majority either way. So for good old Blighty to come up FOURTH in my DNA is completely mental. MENTAL.

Ancestry DNA GB

5% Finland / Northwest Russia

Again with the countries I’ve never been to. I mean, we’re really in the dregs of my genetics right here, but still. I definitely need to check out Helsinki and St Petersburg at some point in my life. That’s damn straight.

Ancestry DNA Finland Russia

4% Italy / Greece

With the amount I love pasta and gelato, I’m surprised this wasn’t higher. But I have visited both of these awesome countries and I’m real glad there’s a hint of them in my DNA because they rock.

Ancestry DNA Italy Greece

1% Iberian Peninsula

I admit I didn’t actually know where this was when I first opened my results. But on further inspection, it seems this is the Spain and Portugal part of the world. So I guess Mama Heels was wrong on the Spanish front, ay? I definitely thought I’d be more Spanish too with my olive skin!

But my South American friend Mila has agreed I don’t party enough to be Spanish. I mean she’s right, I’m definitely more Scandi with the Hygge vibe, you know? Pass the blankets.

Ancestry DNA Iberian Peninsula

<1% Europe East

This is a whole bunch of countries – Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. But really we’re at the low end of the scale in my DNA.

However, I’m really keen to see more of Eastern Europe anyway. I loved the Czech Republic last year and have a trip booked in May to go to Slovenia. So even if this part of the world isn’t big in my genetics, I still have lots of places to explore here!

Ancestry DNA Eastern EU

<1% West Asian

You’ll see in the video that I got really excited about the prospect of having a bit of Asian blood. Mainly because I left my heart in Southeast Asia and would have loved to have a hint of Thai or Vietnam in me. Or even some cool countries I’ve never been to like India or Sri Lanka or something.

But nah, it meant Middle East. Specifically Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Not that that’s not cool, but it’s not as cool as if I was a bit Indonesian is it?

Nevertheless, Armenian = Kardashian, right? And my name does begin with a K… So hey, maybe I’m 1% Kardashian, yeah?

That’s what I’m going to tell people. Definitely.

Ancestry DNA West Asia

How I feel about it all

So that’s my DNA, folks!

I mean, it’s a really weird feeling. Like I’m not sure why any of this should have any impact on my life, but I really like knowing a bit of where I’ve come from. And I think it’s super interesting to see how ancestors from centuries ago are still so present in your DNA – you can’t deny that’s pretty cool!

Science rules.

Travel-wise, it’s also given me a few ideas on adventures I’d like to go on soon. I’d been toying with the idea of a Scandinavia trip for a while and now I know I’ve got that Viking blood in me, what better reason to finally go?

And let’s not forget that I’m majority Irish! It’s a fantastic excuse to head over to Ireland and get myself on a Game of Thrones tour if you ask me. Because why not.

Ancestry DNA Test Results

What do you think?

What do you think of this whole shebang? Would you want to do a DNA test like this? Do you think I should travel to the countries my ancestors come from?

If you want more info on this crazy cool DNA test, head over to Ancestry UK.

And let me know what you think in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!

Ancestry DNA Test

Total Blogger Transparency: I accepted a complimentary Ancestry DNA test for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t play you like that, shorty.

6 thoughts on “Travel Is In My DNA! Exploring My Heritage With Ancestry.

  • 25th March 2017 at 11:23 am

    This is so interesting! I’ve always wondering what my heritage is and this seems like a really simple way of find out.

    Francesca Andrews

  • 26th March 2017 at 5:44 am

    This is really inspiring! I know where half my DNA comes from but a grandfather that was adopted so no idea where half of me comes from! I’ve thought about doing a DNA test for years but just haven’t yet! Now I know it’s so easy!

  • 31st March 2017 at 4:18 am

    This is really interesting! I’ve never heard of anyone doing this. I feel a bit lucky that one side of my family (well, 1/2 of one side) keeps relatively detailed accounts of the family (lots of German, some Native American, some other things), while the other also has a good idea of our background (it helps that my grandpa was almost 100% Hungarian, but had some gypsy in him)

    • Kara // Heels In My Backpack
      31st March 2017 at 7:20 am

      Oh that’s really cool! It’s so interesting to know your heritage and you’re lucky your family are so good at keeping track!


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