Let’s open our world: an interview with our DNA Journey grand 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…

In April 2016, momondo invited 67 people to take a journey based on their DNA. They were offered to take a DNA test and to have their experiences recorded. 16 of them were portrayed in the film ‘momondo – The DNA Journey’. As part of this campaign, momondo started a competition and gave people from all over the world the chance to take part in the journey and win one of 500 DNA kits.

Worldwide, a total of 170,378 people joined in and shared how they would open the world through travelling. 500 of these people won a DNA kit and went on to discover their heritage as revealed through their spit sample. By filming themselves reading their DNA results, they entered momondo’s competition to win their own DNA journey. The first prize winner will go on a journey to all the countries found in their DNA – to the value of €15,000.

After many inspiring and heartfelt video entries submitted, we can finally announce the grand prize winner of The DNA Journey … Manuel Martínez.

‘I feel so connected to the world,’ said Manuel after opening his DNA results live on camera. Born and raised in Mexico, his surname always revealed his European roots and left him wondering about his heritage. Still, the mechanical engineering student says he would have never dreamt of finding out that he is from all over the world and has ancestors of Asian, African, Southern, Eastern and Northern European as well as Native American decent.

‘After I sent in my DNA test, I started asking my family about my heritage. I discovered that my background is much more diverse than I originally thought. My father’s ancestors came from a small town in Northern Italy. My mother shares her maiden name with a tiny village in Portugal. It would be interesting to start my journey in these two cities, get to know the culture and find out how the locals live there today. But I am also very excited about travelling to Eastern Europe as well as Africa and Asia!’

Manuel relaxing on the world famous Escadaria Selarón steps of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Manuel relaxing on the world famous Escadaria Selarón steps of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When he submitted his video, Manuel was living in Germany, but by the time he won The DNA Journey competition, he had already moved on to Greece. After we revealed to him that he was our grand prize winner, Manuel spoke from the heart about the value of travelling. ‘I’ve always felt the necessity of making a difference in this life. I am really convinced that humanity can be happy if we tried to communicate better together, and this journey is exactly the medium to do that. It sounds corny, but the world really can be a better place, if we just share positivity with each other. It starts first with one’s self being convinced that you are happy, and then sharing it with everyone you meet.’

Our in-house competition jury were responsible for judging all video entries for The DNA Journey, and had strong reasoning for selecting our grand prizewinner:

‘Manuel, a participant from Germany but a man of the world, was selected for his interesting story and very personal DNA reveal video. He walked us through his touching family history, his view of the world and love of travelling. He shared his expectations for what could be revealed in his DNA results in an emotional way and then he shared his joy when he discovered how much diversity he, himself, represented.’

‘We cannot wait to send him off into the wilderness of his DNA Journey! He sees the world with open eyes and we believe that he is the right person to carry our message with him on his journey. Congratulations, Manuel!’

Manuel relaxing by the canal in Bruges

Manuel relaxing by the canal in Bruges

Manuel’s bio:

  • Full name: Manuel Ernesto Maqueo Martínez
  • Age: 27
  • Occupation: Mechanical Engineer / Engineering Master student  (Turbomachinery & Aeromechanics)
  • Citizenship: Mexican
  • Country and city of residence: Due to the master studies, it has been as follows: Aug 2015- June 2016 Stockholm, Sweden, July-Sept 2016, Stuttgart, Germany, Oct 2016 – February 2017, Thessaloniki Greece

DNA Results:

54.7% Native American & East Asian

  •     45.1% Native American
  •    < 0.1% Yakut
  •      0.5% Broadly East Asian

32.6% European

  • 12.3% Iberian
  • 16% Broadly Southern European
  • 0.4% Ashkenazi
  • 0.4% Broadly Northwestern European
  • 3.5% Broadly European

7.7% Sub-Saharan African

  • 6.9% West African
  • 0.2% East African
  • 0.1% Central & South African
  • 0.6% Broadly Sub-Saharan African

0.5% Middle Eastern & North African

  • 0.2% Middle Eastern
  • <0.1% North African
  • 0.3% Broadly Middle Eastern & North African

0.1% South Asian

0.1% Oceanian

4.4% Unassigned

Beyond Manuel, we have local winners for each of the 17 participating competition countries. To learn more about the American winner of a €1,000 DNA Journey, click here

Curious to see how it all began? Watch the original video for The DNA Journey

To find out more details about The DNA Journey, head to letsopenourworld.com