We had the good fortune of connecting with Amigas Viajeras (Jeanette and Marcella) and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amigas Viajeras, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
We have been avid travelers for most of our adult lives and we have learned some things along the way. The travel industry does not have a lot of diversity and we wanted to help people see our community as part of this industry. While many of our community’s stories begin with a story of migration or immigration, it does not end there. As our generation moves into more disposable income and begins to build generational wealth, we want to show that traveling for leisure can be done guilt-free and be done beyond the countries our families have come from. We also recognize that the challenges we face as being women who travel are different than what men might experience. We wanted to create a space that allowed for women who looked like us and had similar backgrounds to learn how to travel and feel safe and comfortable. We want to do all this while making travel accessible, inclusive and affordable.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Jeanette was born and raised in beautiful Southern California. She started traveling throughout Mexico with her grandparents as a child, but was really bitten by the travel bug in high school when she joined several trips abroad. She studied in Spain her freshman year in college and has spent the majority of her adult life living and traveling abroad. Jeanette is a serial entrepreneur and has successfully navigated a career in scuba diving, underwater photography, travel blogger, restauranteur and hotelier. She has traveled to a whopping 52 countries and counting. Her dream trip is an African Safari through the Serengeti. She currently splits her time between Egypt, California and anywhere else her wanderlust takes her. Marcella received her first passport at just 5 weeks old when her parents were living in Germany and she was going to travel to the Unites States for the first time. She wouldn’t go back to Europe until almost 20 years later when she studied abroad in Spain and England. This is really where her love of travel began. Marcella is an educator by trade, attending UC Irvine for her undergraduate degree and Azusa Pacific University for her Master’s in Education. After a successful career in education for close to 20 years, she decided to step away and pursue her other passion, traveling and encouraging others to do the same. Marcella has been actively traveling for the past several years and has learned to appreciate other cultures with similarities to her own Latinx culture.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Although we are both from Los Angeles, our travels frequently take us away from home so when we are local, we get to feel like tourists as well and always love to experience new places. Being Dodger fans, we both encourage supporting our boys in blue as well as the other local teams. Additionally, we recommend supporting the smaller of communities of Boyle Heights, Whittier, El Sereno, and most of the San Gabriel Valley. We love to stop by J & S in Montebello or Phlight in Whittier. Many of these communities have amazing small business to support whether you are looking for some original art work, vintage clothing or unique handcrafted goods.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When we talk about how we first got our travel bug we both mention our education. Jeanette first traveled in high school with a school travel group and then went on to study abroad in college. Marcella first traveled as part of a study abroad program in college. Organized travel allows for those who may not have been brought up traveling or have family and friends who have traveled to still travel the world. And while organized travel gave both of us an opportunity to begin traveling, it can be very costly, intimidating and unfamiliar. Amigas Viajeras is about feeling like you are traveling with your best amigas and learning some travel skills along the way. We both were and are encouraged by our families to travel and always appreciate their love and support for our unconventional lifestyle.
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