Why being Deaf shouldn’t be used as an excuse to avoid traveling

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*You can either read this or watch the video for ASL version 🙂

1. We are not dumb; we’re just deaf.

It is no surprise that Deaf have been suppressed throughout the history based on the misconception that Deaf people are dumb. One day when we went out sighting in Thailand, we were appalled when we came across a mother who had her Deaf son in a wheelchair along with a sign that says, “My son is deaf and dumb. Please help.” Throughout the years, we, Deaf people, have come a long way to prove ourselves that we are not dumb, just Deaf. In fact, Deaf minds still function the same as Hearing’s. There are many Deaf people who are intelligent and successful. Do not believe in those ignorant stereotypes that are set up from Hearing’s perspectives.

2. We have super powers.

No, really, I am being serious. We are super heroes in our own way. Due to lacking a sense of hearing, our other senses become enhanced. Our heightened senses are vision, touch, smell and even taste. For example, some Deafs excel using their visions to read lips, analyze body languages and observe situations whether if we feel safe or not. It’s actually pretty amazing what our bodies can do to adapt to different environments. It’s rather a natural survival intuition that is gained from the moment we became Deaf. With these abilities, it is just enough to experience cultures in this beautiful world of ours.

3. Forming a connection within our Deaf communities

You would be amazed to know how small the Deaf world is. The Deaf community comes together as one, regardless of our differences in race, religion, culture and more. Therefore, Deaf tend to be friendly toward one another, even though how different our sign languages are. Despite of how our sign languages may be vastly different, we are able to form a connection. We share the same mutual feeling and understanding of our Deaf culture, no matter what part of the world we are from.

4.  We can spread awareness about Deaf Culture

Not a lot of countries in the world are aware of Deaf Culture or share the same views on Deaf people. For example, some countries (such as India) believe Deaf is considered as a handicap – whereas in America, it is considered a disability. When we were traveling in Asia, many eyes were on us – I understand they were experiencing culture shock. Some seemed sympathetic, and some also seemed to be avoiding because they were unsure how to interact with us. This is precisely why it is beneficial for others to be educated about Deaf Culture. We would be more than happy to spread awareness. Evidently, it is crucial to spread awareness if we want them to be exposed to Deaf Culture.

5. We learn to appreciate who we are and what we have

Believe it or not, traveling will change you. While traveling, you’ll be exposed to diverse cultures in many social-economical aspects. As you wander the street full of crowd, you may witness a poverty-stricken mother holding her unresponsive child on the street in the rain, begging for money. You may come across a lively old man who enthusiastically shares about his life.  Everyone has a story. Your perspectives will constantly evolve throughout your journey allowing you to become a better person. There will be the time when you come to realize that you will learn to appreciate who you are and what you have in your life; Therefore, we Deaf people, don’t often view being Deaf as misfortunate thing. There are a lot of others who are more misfortunate; we often learn to accept ourselves, being Deaf and all.

This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. This is an interesting topic and I’m thrilled to have found you guys. I love your attitude that travel is an experience that all can have and for heaven’s sake doing away with the crazy idea that just because one part doesn’t work (hearing) means another part doesn’t work either (brain)? Who came up with THAT idea anyway?? Crazy.
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

  2. dannielle

    This is something I hadn’t really thought about had I not come across your blog. I imagine some traveling experiences must be a little different for you, but the truth is they’re a little different to everybody – and still incredible. Well done, I hope you inspire others

  3. Holly

    I never thought about it, but this is so true. I love this and the positive attitude. I love ASL and the interactions. I have to go back to teaching myself ASL.

  4. Sarah Ebner

    Absolutely agree with your points. And being deaf isn’t who you are, it is part of who you are. We are all different and all have something to offer. People can’t just be lumped together and being deaf doesn’t mean it necessarily affects other parts of you. Good luck to you in all your travels.

  5. Carol Colborn

    We have a school called Philippine Institute for the Deaf in the Philippines. My mom spearheaded the teaching of the deaf to speak, rather than sign and we put up the school in her honor. So this topic is very dear to me! The deaf dan deafinitely do anything they set their heart out to do!

  6. Love reading your posts, always interested in reading unique perspectives to travel, there is so many blogs out there, it gets dull.

    You are right, travelling with change you! The people you meet, the situations you observe. My cousin has just left Malawi after volunteering for one year but not before she designed an album over for a local artists! Cool eh?

  7. Cory Lee

    This is an awesome post and I’m so glad that I found your website. This is a great motivator to travel no matter what your abilities are. I am actually deaf in my left ear and I run a travel blog devoted to wheelchair accessible travel.

  8. Meg Jerrard

    I love this post, thankyou for highlighting that it doesn’t matter which obstacle you’re faced with – nothing should stop you from travel. I actually published a guest post on my own blog from someone who had an experience losing his hearing temporarily in Bangkok. He said at first ti very very off putting, though he quickly realized that he actually took more in that way, spending more effort focusing on senses like sight, touch and taste. He said he ended up having more of an immersive experience than he believes he would have otherwise as these senses were not heightened when he had his hearing.

    Thanks for this! Power to you!

  9. Dawn Kealing

    Wow, what a great post! I know very little sign language but I had to watch the video too! 🙂 My little cousin has always been deaf, with hearing aids he has very limited hearing but not enough to really help him in everyday life, yet he just graduated from high school! He’s such a brilliant kid and I seriously cherish the moments I spent with him and the bit of sign language I got to learn from him. 😀

    It seriously overjoys me to see you two getting the chance to experience this and that you don’t let anything, or what the world tells you should hold you back, hold you back! 🙂

  10. What a beautiful post, and I love that you had the ASL video as well. We learn to appreciate who we are and what we have–so important, and so many people do not!

  11. Cherri Megasko

    I’ve never really thought about what it must be like to travel as a deaf person. Certainly you would experience challenges that the hearing do not. But as you point out, you also have advantages that we do not have. Go for it!

  12. Bobbi Gould

    Thank you for continuing to inspire me. The fact that someone would have that deaf and dumb sign is atrocious! I wish I had your superpowers!! 🙂

  13. Sophie

    This is a great post. I don’t think anything should stop anyone from travelling. It’s so important to travel, it gives you such a positive outlook on life.

  14. Claudia

    Talk about taking a positive attitude!!

    One thing I have to say – English is not my first language and I always thought that when following the word “deaf”, “dumb” would mean “mute” as in, not able to speak. I suppose I am wrong?

  15. I agree with you. If you want to travel you shouldn’t anything stop you. Every experience is an adventure and plus when you don’t speak the language half the communication is done through sign language anyway. So you have an advantage.

  16. Conor

    This is brave, and great too. I recently met a deaf couple in the Lake District in England – and they seemed so happy to be exploring the world. They had no issues travelling, in pubs or out and about. So I can imagine how difficult it must be in India etc. where it’s still looked down upon.

  17. Sarah

    Great post! Can’t wait to read about all your adventures! I must admit that I’ve never met someone who is deaf, it must be a small world indeed. Thank you for creating this space, and sharing your experience with readers like me!

  18. Mama Munchkin

    Great post. It is wonderful that you are brave enough to stand up and educate others about their ignorance towards deaf people. And, I loved to hear that the deaf community is such an accepting place. Looks like us with hearing could learn a lot from our deaf friends 😉

  19. Sabine

    Great article to make people aware of the Deaf culture and that they can travel as well. Thumbs up and I hope you can spread the awareness worldwide 🙂

  20. Natasha Amar

    Such a positive attitude- it is really admirable. We must count our blessings and work towards our dreams. You guys are inspiring!

  21. Janna

    I love the fact that you haven’t let being deaf stop you from traveling and seeing the world. I’ve traveled in the past with a friend who is deaf and although when we first met I never even picked up on it, I found that people when we traveled picked up on it fairly quickly and some would even change the way that they dealt with her, and I hated seeing it. Way to go on you!

  22. Karla

    This is really well written and interesting. I love the super powers. I also like how you ended it, like often we think we have the worse problem in the world then we travel and we realize, we should be thankful and appreciative of what we have and that others suffer far more so whatever we have we must use it to also reach out and help.

    Goodjob I like this article a lot

  23. Erica

    Your positivity is so admirable. You inspire me and I hope you continue to inspire everyone around you! Continue to travel and see the world!

  24. Kimberly Erin

    I am of the opinion that there should be no excuses for anyone to avoid traveling. I guess the nature of the excuse is kind of, you can, but you don’t want to? Its great to have people like you guys providing a bit of motivation to help crush the ‘I can’ts’ and ‘Im not sures’

  25. Laura Lynch

    I think it’s awesome that you aren’t willing to let anything get in the way of your love of traveling. It’s very inspiring to everyone, really — we all have something holding us back.

  26. Elizabeth

    Good onya for your attitude. I am sure your blog will inspire many other people to challenge themselves to travel more. Really the only limitations are those we make for ourselves. I look forward to more of your posts.

  27. Your optimism is a fresh inspiration– especially for those who are holding back to travel because of so many excuses. Your story is a great motivation! Keep it up and happy travels!

  28. Tara Cannon

    How interesting that just as you learn from your travels, many people will be learning from you (as I did about the differences in sign language world wide) ! 🙂

  29. Jocelyn

    I have had many deaf non-English visitors come to my desk and ask for help. We make it through together with my limited signs, finger spelling, and writing notes to each other. While it can be frustrating for other people in line, I enjoy helping people who have different needs and being able to point them in the right directions.

  30. Lexi

    Interesting article. I haven’t really thought too much about these kinds of things to overcome while travelling.

  31. lucy

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve never actually thought of this but I totally agree .. nothing can stop you! You are strong and such an inspiration..I hope you inspire others people to do what they’re afraid of…
    I’ve never heard that deaf means also being dumb.. It’s so stupid…:(
    Safe trips to you, guys and don’t stop;)

  32. What a fantastic post. You guys are so brilliant and inspiring – more people need to read your work. The deaf community sounds like a wonderful one – wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone else in the world could come together like that. 🙂 Travel is for everyone! Love your blog.


  33. Christa

    Very good points! I think that traveling the world you’ll be bound to encounter cultures that don’t treat any disabled people with respect, including deaf people. By the way, I love your logo!

  34. Trisha Velarmino

    What a very inspiring post! I totally agree that this shouldn’t be an excuse! I would definitely want to share this story to my readers!

  35. TravelGretl

    Good article! Love it! Hands up for your statement 🙂

  36. Connie Reed

    Thank you for enlightening the world with your posts and your travels. It’s sad that the connotation of a word becomes something different than what it is. “Dumb” actually means unable to speak but comes across as extremely offensive, since the other definition of the word is “stupid.”

  37. Nic

    I know a few deaf people and getting to know them was actually really fascinating. One of them just took a solo trip to Australia for 5 weeks, nothing holds her back. It’s inspirational for sure.

  38. Alexis

    Thanks For sharing a perspective I haven’t seen before! I especially love #4…traveling is such a great way to spread awareness and make the world just a little more unified:)

  39. Tim Kroeger

    Thank you for this inspiring post. Of course, deaf people can travel too. Everyone can travel and it is indeed a good way to spread awareness.

  40. Kate

    This is a brilliant post and I’m sure huge inspiration for a lot of other deaf people and anyone facing obstacles. Sometimes we think our situation or who we are holds us back but really we can adjust to any task. Travel is an individual thing. So many options to fit all travellers now, you shouldn’t feel like you can’t. I’m glad this post has been written and your blog teaches me a lot because I don’t have deaf friends or relatives. I’ll try to interact in the future if I notice deaf travellers & maybe learn some sign language. Thanks for sharing!

    1. deafinitelywanderlust

      Thank you!

  41. Jess

    I absolutely love this! Keep empowering others and proving that stereotypes aren’t always correct. I really enjoyed reading this and I love that you don’t let the negative aspects of society hold you back from living your dreams! Safe travels!

    1. deafinitelywanderlust

      Thank you for your kind words!

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