REVEALED: Our DNA Journey American prizewinner

The DNA Journey competition is open once more! Head to Let’s Open Our World, and tell us how you would open the world through travelling for a chance to win a DNA kit. You never know – you might be going on your very own DNA journey…

‘Would you dare to question who you really are?’ This is the question we asked at the launch of The DNA Journey, a campaign and competition destined to showcase that an open world starts with an open mind.

We offered up the chance for people from 17 different countries to learn a little bit more about their background with a chance to win one of 500 DNA kits. After a staggering 170,378 people entered the competition and movement, we handpicked our favorite 500 contestants and sent out the kits. By filming themselves reading their DNA results, they entered momondo’s competition to win the trip of a lifetime based on their very own DNA journey, to the value of €1,000.

Nick Balanay from Hawaii is our proud US winner of The DNA Journey. Inspiring and sincere, Nick’s DNA reveal video hit straight to the core values of The DNA Journey. It’s the ability to see the world through open eyes; that there are more things uniting people around the world, rather than dividing us; and that, above all, one should always stay curious and open to new experiences when travelling.

To celebrate his nationwide victory, we spoke to Nick and asked why he decided to get involved in The DNA Journey, and how learning more about his DNA has shaped his outlook on the world.

1) What compelled you to join The DNA Journey?

I really liked the idea behind the DNA Journey and the idea of bringing the world together especially in this day and age. I too believe that we are all one and that there really is no separation in the grand scheme of things. We all come from the same place.

2) What did you already know about your heritage and DNA?

I already knew I was from East Asia, but what I didn’t expect was Polynesian and Native American. Although I knew that Filipino is recently considered a Pacific Islander so the Polynesian so I understand the Polynesian part ,but I never expected the Native American part even though it was less than 1 percent.

3) How have the results and the “new found you” effected the way you see yourself within the world?

I feel like my results really did open my world. To see the relation between Polynesia and east Asia and also to North America I feel a lot more connected. I’ve also educated myself more about the history and origins of the people of these regions. Learning that our Austronesian ancestors came from east Asia and made their way east throughout Polynesia and maybe even touching North America is amazing.

4) How have the results changed the way you will travel?

These results make me want to go see these places even more which is perfect since I’ve won this contest now I definitely can! I will travel with a broader perspective know where I come from.

5) Why is knowing your DNA important to you?

To me knowing my DNA is important because it tells me where I’m from, who I am, and where I’m headed.

6) How does your DNA affect your national identity?

I’m American but knowing my DNA I feel like I belong to a bigger part of the world. Not just an American citizen, but a world citizen.

7) Why do you think the purpose behind The DNA Journey matters for the United States?

I feel like the purpose behind the DNA journey is important for the USA because we tend to close off from other countries of the world. Americans as a whole don’t travel as much either. But America is very diverse. It is a melting pot. Which is very good. But as a country its always us vs them. It shouldn’t us vs them. You and me. This and that. That creates separation. So the DNA journey is important for America because since America is a melting pot it shows us that we come from all around the world.

8) Where will you go with your €1,000 prize fund, and what will you do there?

I am thinking of traveling to my home land, the Philippines, which I have never been with my winnings. I will learn more about the culture, history, meet family and see what there is to see.

9) Up until now, what has been your most amazing/memorable travel experience, and why?

Up until now my favorite travel experience would be on my most recent trip in which I went mountain biking down death road in Bolivia. I like riding things whether it be a bike, moped, quad, skateboard, surfboard so going downhill in this really beautiful scenery surrounded by mountains was amazing.

Winner bio:

  • Name: Nick Balanay
  • Age: 23
  • Occupation: Stock Clerk
  • Citizenship: American
  • Place of residence: Hawaii, USA

DNA Results:

  • 64% East Asia
  • 35% Polynesia
  • 1% Native American
To find out more details about The DNA Journey, head to letsopenourworld.com, and click here to find out more about our grand prize DNA Journey winner
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