I’m Catarina Rivera and I’m a public speaker, DEI consultant, and content creator. I focus on disability awareness, inclusion, and accessibility. I’m Cuban and Puerto Rican, and I was born in the US. My love for travel first came from my parents when we would travel to see family who lived in other places including Puerto Rico. Something else to know about me is that I’m deafblind. I wear hearing aids and use a white cane to navigate the world. I still have some remaining vision and some remaining hearing, and this seems to confuse people. It’s one of the reasons why I do what I do- to smash disability stigmas and create a more inclusive world. Now, I travel full-time and I love sharing my adventures as a deaf blind entrepreneur on social media.
Being Latiné (Latiné is my preferred term) makes me feel connected to a beautiful culture. I love our food, our dancing, our noise, our warmth, our celebration of each other, and so much more. My mom made sure that I learned Spanish, and I’m so grateful. I’ve been able to use the language in my career and in my travels. In my work, I hope to bring more attention to the intersection of Latinidad and disability. We need to do better at being accessible for our own disabled Latinés.
I love the human connections most of all. Getting to authentically learn about other cultures and places makes me feel alive. One of my favorite ways to get to know a place is through its food. Eating around the world is the adventure I always want to be on!
One of my favorite places was Bulgaria because I did zero research and went there without any expectations. Then I was wowed by Sofia and Plovdiv. The food was incredible and very vegetarian-friendly! The public transit in Sofia worked well and the Roman ruins in Serdica’s open-air museum were fascinating. I also enjoyed the thermal water spouts where locals would come and fill their water bottles up. My unforgettable memory in Bulgaria was hiking Mount Vitosha with a group. They were so supportive of me and I did the hike even with my blindness. The guide and the group never tried to exclude me from the experience. Disabled people are worthy and valuable, and we travel too. I invite you to join my Stigma Smasher community to keep learning about disability and accessible travel!