jason and nikki wynn

Nomads and Settlers – Diving Into Our Backstory

We talk about where we are and where we’re going all the time but, we rarely talk about where we come from.  You know…our backstory.

If there’s one thing travel has taught us about people, it’s that everyone has a story.  Our past, how we were raised and where we grew up are all a big part of who we are as people today.

So, if you are curious to know a little more about us, put on your swimsuit, grab your shades and join us at the famous Red Frog Beach (or in Spanish: Playa de la Rana Roja).

We tell you more about ourselves, where we grew up and how we both only know one of our biological parents. We took a DNA ancestry test a few months back and now we are sharing what we learned. This is a video we put together with a company called 23andMe.  We have occasionally worked with various companies over the years when we feel it’s a good fit. It’s not something we do often.  This one was a very different kind of opportunity but we felt it gave us a chance to learn more about ourselves and share more intimate details about us with all of you.

Did you find all of this as curiously fascinating as we did? I am still shocked so much information comes from a little spit (or a lotta spit I guess). Mind blown!

We mentioned it in the video, but we really don’t know much about our ancestry, which is why we found the whole DNA test interesting and wanted to participate. Add in the fact that we both have one side of our family that’s sorta missing, both of us are left with a bunch of unanswered questions.

Here’s our slightly-more-detailed-than-the-video versions of where we’re both from, and why we each grew up with only one biological parent:


I was raised in the small West Texas farming community of Hart.  It was a population 1,121 and while it is just a little blip of a town, its filled with big hearts and crazy characters.  My father (Van) was granted sole custody of me when I was three years old and I haven’t seen my mother (Tonya) since.  I don’t know much about her other than she struggled with drugs and was a magnet for trouble.

My father was a wild child as well but between him and my rock solid grandmother (Loydas) I successfully made it to adulthood.  My dad was married for a few short years, just long enough to take away my only child status.  My sister, Brooke, is 10 years younger than I and certainly takes after my dad’s wild side.

I lived with my grandmother and she was what most people described as a “firecracker” and while she died in my early 20’s she is still my biggest influence in life. She was full of grit, whit and determination. We lived a simple life that didn’t include vacations or traveling more than 100 miles from our home but she taught me how to go about the world and a lot about life. If she were alive today and I asked her if she thought I could sail around the world she would say, “Well, I don’t see why not”. She thought anyone could do anything, as long as they were willing to work for it.


He was born in the Ozarks of Arkansas where both his parents are from.  His mother Mary might be the strongest woman on the planet in every sense of the word.  His father (Tony Wynn) was a famous motocross racer who had nerves of steel but he lived a hard life. After Jason was born his mother wanted something a little more stable.  Jason and his mom left Arkansas and moved to Dallas, Texas when Jason was two. His mother remarried a couple of years later and Jason eventually gained a couple of siblings along the way.  One sister (Lauren) who is 6 years younger and one brother (Jacob) who is 12 years younger.

Both Jason’s mom and step-father Paul (whom he calls Dad) are entrepreneurs who started their own businesses from scratch. Since his parents were just getting their companies off the ground, Jason grew up very modestly in a small suburban home in a little town (little compared to Dallas, but not little compared to Hart) called Farmers Branch.

Sadly, right as Jason was reconnecting with his biological father in his early teens (junior high school), his father was killed in a car accident due to a health issue. It was a challenging time for Jason, but time eventually heals all wounds. Now Jason is nearing the age his father was when he died.  Really puts into perspective how young his father was when he passed. Reminds us of how important it is to live our lives to the fullest now…and not wait for someday to come along.


For each of us growing up and only knowing one side of our family, I think there will always be questions and unknowns. But now there is a fair sense of gratification knowing more about our ancestry and DNA.  And who knows, maybe we will keep digging and find out Jason is a distant relative of Genghis Khan too.

Ok, now on to some of the unexpected and crazy things our DNA tests turned up.  These are all just snippets of course but I was surprised how accurate it is.  For example, eye color, freckles (yep, I have lots) and Jason does prefer salty while I like sweet.

Traits of Jason and Nikki Wynn

Turns out, we’re also a couple of neanderthals…especially Jason! Makes sense why people are always commenting on his ease of growing facial hair. Also, we had no idea a place in Germany was called Neander.

One fascinating part of the 23andMe information is that our story keeps growing. It seems nearly every month we get some sort of new information via email about our DNA results. The most recent piece of information that was sent our way was Jason’s link to Thomas Jefferson. This new information doesn’t cost us any additional money, but it seems as they grow their research we all benefit from the results.

Jason's link to Thomas Jefferson


Ok, I could go on but I don’t want to bore you with more “me” details.  Thanks so much for making it this far and being a part of our story.

What about you?  Have you ever done a DNA test?  Did you find out any shocking details about yourself?  If so, tell us about it in the comment section below.


Disclaimer: A big thanks to 23andMe for testing our DNA and allowing us to share our story.  If you are as curious about your DNA as we were, you can learn more at:

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (23)

  • Mary Gatch

    I didn’t see the last Comment.. that I posted Yesterday I posted another similar Comment and after I clicked Submit..I saw the previous one. Sorry for similar posts. Happy Sailing!😊

  • Mary

    Yes ..same Wynn Ancestors…just as I suspected…when I wrote you earlier. (Tony Darryl Wynn)….Father of Jason Wynn… and your…. 6th.G.Grandfather,William Minor Wynn -b. 1729 and my ……4 th.G.Grandfather,Thomas Marion Wynn,-b. 1731..were Brothers and Sons of Col. William Wynne 1699-1778..of Virginia! I have some Photos and Documents..if you’re interested..just email me [email protected] …and I’ll share them.
    Mary Gatch

  • Mary

    Very well as the Live you and your Wife lead.
    I am a Geneology buff…and….Thomas Jefferson was a distant Cousin of mine.
    My 2nd G.Grandmother was a Wynn ..from Georgia and I wouldn’t be surprised if you and I weren’t Cousins! 😊 if interested in me to running your me at ……[email protected]…….with your Father’s Birth,Death Date and Birth,Death Place. His Father’s also,if you have that! Happy sailing, Mary

  • Erin

    My family has known pretty well what our heritage is (my dad’s family is German… they document everything!), but we thought it would be fun to do the AncestryDNA kits to learn more. My brother and his wife did the 23andme tests though… It was interesting to see the difference in the two. The results from each were on par, but I feel like the 23andme report gave more information on possible physical traits and talked more about distant ancestry origins, whereas AncestryDNA has more of a “family story” slant and helps you with learning about or connecting to more current generations (which could be helpful if you were looking to connect with some living family you don’t know much about). It talks about your family groups movements in relation to historical information as well… why they might have moved around or what was going on in their lives where they lived. Very interesting. Also, while it still tells you about your distant ancestry (haplogroups) like 23andme, you can start to leverage Ancestry’s genealogy research tools to build out your more
    recent family tree. On my mom’s side, I’ve been able to trace back to the 1600s to Colonial America, following the family’s movements through the south to Arkansas and Texas. On my dad’s side, I’ve gone back in to the 1400s in Switzerland… his family emigrated to America in the 1800s and settled in Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska. My parents grew up in Nebraska and met there in college. Then we moved to Virginia when I was 7. At the time, I felt like we were leaving our family homeland since that was where my grandparents and cousins all were, but little did I know then that 350 years earlier, my family was all over Virginia and North Carolina! (I believe you can submit your DNA data file to Ancestry without having to do another spit tube… if you wanted to explore that system.)

  • Edwin Sokoloff

    As I told in a post awhile ago, I live with you both vicariously, and, enjoy all your travels and swims and hikes and rides in Minion for shopping and supplies. As a two year retired 80 year old, it invigorates my mind sharing your trials and pleasures. Please don`t stop living the life you`ve chosen, as you can see I`m not the only person you make happy.



  • Brad Balentine

    My father was O.D. Balentine. His sister was Ann Balentine your grandmother. Ann Bradley later. I had the privilege of watching your father race a couple times, he was in his teens at the time.

    Followed you before I knew. Small world. Maybe I will take the ancestry test.

  • Stephen Hoevelman

    Nikki, I will never get tired of hearing about ‘me’ (you and Jason).

  • Norman Frenk

    I hadn’t seen this blog page before. Enjoyed knowing more about your family history and where your adventuresome spirits came from!

  • cynthia

    We are in Williamsburg Virginia. At a bar/lunch sitting next to a couple who were sharing that they were going back to Florida sell their home and buy an RV. Turns out we got the hugs and high 5″s being related to you!!! They are HUGE fans-will send pics to your phone later…
    Also-being right here is the mecca of history making… I will check out Thomas Jefferson a bit more today!

  • Michael

    Very interesting. And don’t forget that we all come from Noah and Adam so we all have that commonality.

  • Tami Caperton

    Jason, you and my husband Travis went to the same HS at the same time. I think you were 2 years ahead of him. I sent a message on instagram with a fun pic of you we found in a yearbook! The 23 and Me sounds very intreasting! We love following y’alls adventures!! Keep it up!

  • Teresa

    Okay, this was one of my favorite posts ever. I’m probably NOT in the norm in your fan club.
    Don’t know where to start!
    1. Jason, Chinese. I totally saw that coming.
    2. Ah ha, ice cream obsession explained!
    3. Yeah, yeah, DNA is cool, but the most interesting thing for me to ponder is that neither of you really knew (or knew well) your same-sex parent. Sooo interesting how that impacted your couple-hood. Okay, I’m a psychologist, but I’m just sayin’…
    Two of my best friends in the world have done something similar to these tests and they’re quite into them. I haven’t done it yet, but this just adds two more people I admire who have done it so I’m guessing eventually it’s gonna happen!
    Too fun! Thanks for sharing.

  • Martine Felts

    We had our 10 year old pup’s DNA done. Everyone kept asking us what she was so we decided to find out.
    Very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing such personal info with us. Makes me like you more. Keep up the great work. Love your video’s.

  • Roger B

    My wife and I also submitted DNA for 23 and me last November and we find the information very interesting and informative. I’m Eastern European and my wife is Western European. Thanks for sharing your information and we both were glued to your story. We love your videos and prefer watching them on the big screen TV. Your videos are always very interesting and informative. By the way, we live in Gardnerville, Nevada.

  • Tracy H

    How awesome is that? I also did the 23andMe. I need to read over it again. I think I’ll be redundant and also do the one. This posts was really great, thanks so much for sharing.

  • Diane Sanderbeck

    Thanks for sharing your DNA story with us. I loved learning about my ancestry through 23&me. My only wish is that my Dad was still alive so I could get the full compliment of my ancestry. It’s fun finding out what I’m “made of” as far as it goes though. Hugs to all aboard S/V Curiosity!

  • cindy

    I enjoyed the blog. I can help you Jason.
    You have grandpa Roy as part of you’re DNA and we know what peculiar areas we are speaking about there… Can you find ANY similarities???
    And there is Grandma Rita who we know where you’re sweet side must come from…
    Then there is you’re uncle Mike…. must be where you’re china eyes came from
    Then you have both you’re mom and me…Just want to have FUN!!!
    There has got to be a pony in there somewhere!!! RIGHT???
    You’re bio father lived life OUT L:OUD not a bad thing… and you are a refined living life out loud

    person in compariso
    other characters were lively, entertaining you don’t come from a bad bunch on the ones living or recently living.
    You have turned out fine despite the funny crazy people who call you theirs!!! From the brown skin toe head with his two year old baby butt in the Mickey Mouse swim suit in Panama Beach Florida to the adventurous seeking man you have become. You are good. You are fine. You are special. Yea DNA… OLD AND NOT SO OLD
    Love you!!!
    Crazy Aunt Cindy

    • HAHA, I love you too Aunt Cindy. I hope we can see you this holiday…or if not maybe you and my mom can fly down for a land adventure. Hugs from us all here aboard s/v Curiosity.

    • mary

      I am giggling after reading this post.

    • mary

      Thanks, Barry. It was fun going back and visiting the photos.


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