“What we do when we travel is explore the world, and the world is full of so much diversity and beauty” - Jeannette Ceja.
Diversity in Travel. What do these words mean to you? To Jeannette Ceja, they mean the opportunity for all individuals to explore the vast diversity and beauty around the world. It is a movement, not a trend, that is becoming an ubiquitous and important conversation topic.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to talk with Jeannette about her experience in this realm. A bilingual travel journalist, TV host, and public speaker, Jeannette advocates for diversity within travel, especially regarding women, youth, diversity, and travelers with disabilities. She champions the power travel holds to unite people of varying cultures, languages, and customs, and to acknowledge that we all fundamentally desire the same things: to be loved, happy, and appreciated. Jeannette encourages individuals, whether on the go or not, to be mindful of others they meet and recognize that every human is important and has a voice that matters. Keeping an open mindset and respecting each other are essential to supporting this movement.
At just fourteen years of age, Jeannette discovered her passion for journalism after seeing a CosmoGirl magazine featuring Jennifer Lopez on the cover. Jeannette wrote to CosmoGirl, thanking them for featuring a Latina and making her own voice feel heard. They published her letter, and ever since, Jeannette has shared her voice through word craftsmanship.
Now Jeannette hosts “Global Conversations,” a bilingual travel podcast where she interviews guests from the travel sphere, including her lifelong idol Samantha Brown. She launched the podcast nearly a year ago with the goal of helping and unifying people during difficult times.
Along with starting the podcast, Jeannette spent much of the last year focusing on introspection and self-development work. Her reflection motivated her to move from the heart of the Los Angeles city to the more nature-centric neighborhood of Laguna Beach. “I’m not the same Jeannette as pre-pandemic,” she said, claiming to have developed a new perspective on travel and vowing to be more mindful and conscious about sustainable travel moving forward. One branch of travel diversity includes recognizing that humans are not the sole beneficiary of the gifts our planet offers; we are one of many diverse creatures and must act with this in mind.
But travel is not easy. Many aspiring travelers are unable to do so for various reasons, whether that be a lack of confidence, budget, experience, etc. Jeannette recognizes these barriers and is committed to breaking them down. She suggests starting with a refreshing travel mindset that the “moment you walk out your front door, you’re a traveller.” It does not require a large budget or fancy trips, as the media might portray; it simply requires a mindset of growth and openness when in your own neighborhood.
As we move forward in 2021 and travel becomes more possible, it is crucial to adopt a growth mindset in order to support the Diversity in Travel movement. No matter where you are or where you plan to go, Jeannette’s words can make a world of a difference in how you go about your day and impact those around you.