Travelers with disabilities are underrepresented within the travel industry, especially women. As a Deaf person, however, I’ll specifically talk about the travelers within Deaf communities, including Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Late-Deafened.
Just like the non-disabled travel community, the majority of travelers are Deaf or Hard of Hearing white men, especially in the media (and then white Deaf women which is all a whole other story, but you can read a relatable blog post here). With that in mind – nevertheless, Deaf women are largely underrepresented in the Deaf travel community (even more so for those who are marginalized within these communities based on their race, religion, etc.).
Why does this matter? Because it should be! One of the reasons is representation. Increasing the visibility of Deaf female travelers means young Deaf girls realize that they are capable to take care of themselves, become independent, and are capable to travel. Deaf girls and women were taught so many “can’t” just because they can’t hear and internalized that belief. Seeing empowered Deaf women, especially those that mirror them, can make them feel empowered. Another reason is awareness. It can dismantle hearing people’s misconceptions about Deaf women and even the general Deaf communities. While it probably wouldn’t dismantle every single misconception, it still can create a ripple of changes.
In the light of Women’s Month and Deaf History Month, I’m highlighting
16 Deaf female travelers that you should follow:
1. Nurul Humairah
Nurul Humairah, also known as Mairah, is a Deaf Muslim female photographer from Singapore. She has traveled solo to different countries in Asia, despite her family’s fears and the stigma of women traveling solo. She refused to believe all the negativity and misconceptions about other countries from the media and visit the countries where she could form her own opinions. She thrives to be outside of her comfort zone, and she believes that women can travel solo. She was featured on The Travel Intern. Her Instagram: @mai.rawr
Stéphanie is a Black Deaf French who loves traveling solo. As a wanderluster, she didn’t wait for her friends who were unavailable to travel with her. Not waiting to postpone her dreams, she explored the world solo. She has traveled to Asia, Latin America, and more! She did long-term travel twice and even lived in Colombia for 6 months. She shared her adventures on her travel blog in French here (You can use Google Translation if needed). Her Instagram: @christp0hine
3. Toma Kubiliute
Toma is a Deaf German who finds happiness in traveling. She believes dreams wouldn’t happen unless you chase them. She has been traveling for more than 8 years and did a year-long sabbatical and traveled solo around the world. She also traveled with other Deaf friends and meet Deaf people in different countries. She did several presentations across European countries to share her travel experiences. You can check out her website here and her youtube channel here. Her Instagram: @tomakubiliute
4. Lily Yu
Lily Yu is a Deaf Asian-American Content Creator from California. She traveled to over 30 countries including North & South America, Asia, and Europe. She has also traveled to 49 states in the United States. When traveling, she loves meeting local Deaf people, supporting local Deaf businesses, learning new cultures, trying new food, hiking in nature, and more. She advocates the Deaf and Asian community by teaching ASL, educating about Deaf accessibility, discussing Asian culture, and addressing anti-Asian racism. You can find her online shop here and Instagram here: @deafjourney
5. Cristina Hartmann
Cristina is a DeafBlind Brazilian-American writer who once questioned the craziness of someone who just takes a break from their work and ventures off to travel for months. One day, her boyfriend bought up the idea of taking a break and travel for a couple of months. She first thought it was a crazy idea but later jumped in to find out about the hype of traveling. She traveled to Europe, Asia, and the United States, and learned that she was finding herself again. On Medium, she shares traveling with the language of touch and other stories that you should read. Her Twitter here: @cmmhartmann and her website here
6. María Elena
María Elena is a Deaf photographer from México. She traveled to Spain and visited more than 5 states in México. She captured several photos of the beautiful and color of our country, México. While traveling, she sees art in many forms, like architecture. With other Deaf and Hard of Hearing women, she co-founded Cochlear Girls on Instagram to spread awareness in Spanish about the Deaf community, especially about oral Deaf people and their experiences with Cochlear Implants (CI). Her Instagram: @maelena_lolu
7. Melisa Ozerska
Melisa is a Generation Z Deaf traveler from Estonia. At the age of 22 years old, she has traveled to 36 countries in Europe and Africa by visiting solo, with friends or family. She loves trying new experiences and embraces all the memories she went through while traveling. She recently moved to another country, Austria, and ended up going to school there. She has shared her travel experiences on her youtube here. Her Instagram: @melisaozerska
8. Nicole Goliat
Nicole Goliat is a Deaf adventurer and surfer from the Philippines. Not wanting to conform to society’s expectations of what women should be doing at certain ages, she traveled solo to many countries in Asia and sometimes with a group of friends. While traveling, she loves befriending people from all walks of life, whether they’re Deaf or hearing. Beaches are one of your favorite places, although she had thalassophobia (fear of the ocean). She faced her fear of the sea by surfing. Her Instagram: @nupiesu
9. Rachel Soudakoff
Rachel is a 25-year-old bisexual Deaf American woman currently living in New Zealand. She’s also a tour manager for Hands on Travel. Growing up in a Deaf family with parents who also love to travel, she is fortunate to have visited 54 countries spanning 5 continents. After spending 4 months backpacking in New Zealand five years ago, she decided to return to the beautiful country, permanently. Her Instagram: @rachelshayna
10. Jhe Escorial
Jhe is a Deaf Trans woman from the Philippines. She first got the taste of traveling outside of her country when her eldest sister, who worked in a travel agency, bought Jhe with her to visit Singapore. Eventually, Jhe moved abroad to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to work and lived there for 3 years and a half. Although her family fears for her safety as a Deaf Trans woman, Jhe eventually learned to become more courageous and traveled solo to Asia and the Middle East. She fell in love with traveling and believes that spending time in nature reduces anxiety and stress. Her Instagram here: @jhescorial
11. Sabrina Walker
Sabrina is a Deaf German who loves the travel challenges that many people often would not go for, such as bathing in the river and lake when traveling with a van for 6 months across the United States. Although she has traveled to a lot of different countries (in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, etc.), she prefers to travel 2-4 weeks instead of 3-6 months due to burning out. She needs relaxation to re-energize herself before she ventures off to explore again. She also has talents in making Macramé Wall Hanging & Fiber Art, see here. Her Instagram here: @bina.butterflie
Chiharu is a Deaf backpacker from Japan. She has been traveling for more than 5 years, and she once traveled around the world for 372 days straight. She believes that we, Deaf women, are stronger than we realize and shouldn’t be afraid to travel and miss out on the beautiful world. Her Instagram here: @xxchrxx8
Pauly is a Deaf Latina from Chile who has been traveling for more than 6 years. Identified as a travel addict, she traveled to 46 countries in America, Europe, Asia, and more. She loves socializing and meeting different Deaf people globally and attended several amazing international Deaf events. Her Instagram here: @pausecret88
14. Ariel Fung
Ariel is a Deaf dancer from Hong Kong who finds freedom when dancing and traveling. She has been traveling for over 6 years, visiting Asia, Europe, and the Middle East countries for both pleasures and dance performances. She was even featured in a music video! She believes that you should see the world from your own eyes and not be fooled by others, especially the media. Her Instagram: @aloharielfung
15. Naomi Myrie
Naomi Myrie is a mixed-race British (half English and half Jamaican) who traveled to Spain, Portugal, Italy, and more. Her grandparents and her mother traveled around the world who inspired Naomi to follow in their footsteps. She also traveled whilst representing Great British Deaf Ladies football (soccer) that she was involved in. After retiring from the soccer team, she suddenly booked a trip to Lisbon, Portugal to treat herself a well-deserved break without having to watch what she eats due. She loves trying different food abroad. Her Instagram here: @deafescapes
Lilo is a Deaf, Vietnamese/Mexican-American photographer from the United States. She has tried all kinds of travel: road trips, cruises, all-inclusive, group trips, and solo. She has traveled to Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. She loves slow traveling where she could immerse herself into the local culture and relax on some days. She visited one of her motherlands, Vietnam, to explore her heritage and connected with her family in Vietnam. Her Instagram here: @deafinitelylilo
+ Me (Stacey Marlene)
And lastly, but not least, I’m also a Deaf traveler! In case if you’re new here, I’m a Deaf Mexican-American content creator who loves to slow travel in different countries around the world. Whenever I can, I don’t like rushing through when visiting different countries. Slow traveling really helps me to feel more grounded in my surrounding and learn local cultures. I also believe that traveling is one of the ways to spread awareness about Deaf communities and Deaf culture. My instagram here: @deafinitelywanderlust
There is no doubt that there are a lot more female travelers out there from our communities. You can look up more by searching #deaftravel or #deaftraveler on Instagram. You can also use the hashtag that I created, #deafwomentravel, to find and connect with more Deaf female travelers. For all travelers from the Deaf communities, you can use the other hashtags that I created, #kissfisttravel and #DeafCANtravel, to build a community online and connect!
I’m not able to find DeafDisabled female travelers online, even more DeafBlind female travelers. If you are one or know someone who is, leave a comment to share your/their stories! Meanwhile, watch out for upcoming posts for the Through Their Eyes travel series that features stories of different travelers from our communities!
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