I'm Marlene!

I’m a Deaf Mexican-American travel content creator, blogger, and photographer. I’ve been traveling since 2014.

This is my story.

Like many people, I once had traditional chronological goals: earn a Master’s degree, have a stable career, get married and start a family. I wanted to make my parents proud, who moved from Mexico for better opportunities. But a 17 years old me was googling different destinations and created a “dream of the lifetime”  list ~ always knew that life is so much more than that. But traveling once didn’t seem realistic to me.

The reasons?: Financial stability and finding jobs was not easy as a Deaf or Disabled person, because we were constantly being denied job opportunities. Plus, the world (especially the travel industry) is not universally designed for Deaf people or anyone with a disability. I truly once thought that my only way to travel was to travel domestically and Mexico with my family or with any hearing* person. I internalized the fears from others, “oh, how could I travel if I’m not going to hear everything?” “How am I going to navigate the airport or communicate with local people in different languages?” I stored the list away.

A couple of years later, I took the first few steps by doing a few domestic trips with Deaf people (with some anxiety!). Yet, it wasn’t a wake-up call until a close aunt of mine passed away in 2013 ~ that’s when I realized that…

travelers with disabilities

My passions:

wildlife & nature, women’s rights, photography, Deaf rights, mental health

My travel style:

Slow travel | budget travel | exploring  off-the-beaten paths | connecting with people | self-guided (no tours) | small group (but open to solo travel) 

I only have one life.

So, I took a big leap of faith.

Since 2014, I’ve traveled (with Deaf travelers) to different countries on a budget, worked different jobs, and attended graduate school. Along the way, I learned different communication strategies and techniques to navigate and faced discrimination. I met many wonderful (and ignorant) people, including the Deaf communities. These experiences made me prouder of who I am as a Deaf Mexican woman.

On being Deaf person​

I was born hearing and became deaf at the age of two. Although my first language was Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL) is my preferred language. As the only Deaf child in the family, I was raised in both worlds: the hearing and the Deaf worlds. That means I was also culturally raised with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

Growing up, I wore hearing aids and have a speaking privilege (with a deaf accent in both English and Spanish), but I’ve later began to only use my voice and hearing aids with family and a very few people.

I don’t see my deafness as a barrier but as an identity where I was given to have another beautiful culture, language, and community.