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Conversations with the Inspiring Martha Reyna

Today we’d like to introduce you to Martha Reyna.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Martha. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in the veeeeery southern tip of Texas, in an area called “The Rio Grande Valley”. I spent my days in The Valley and crossed the border to Mexico often to spend time with family and friends, which was the usual thing to do there.

When I was a teenager, my father was in the military and was stationed all over the world. Back then, traveling felt so out of reach. It wasn’t something I saw many people do unless they were in a band, in movies, or in the military. I eventually got my first car at age 17, the first thing I did was drive 45 minutes to the beach with my best friend. From this experience, I decided I had to find a way to see more of the world.

Even though I came from a supportive Mexican family in a culturally-rich area, there were still pressures to do something more than just something creative with my life, you know, something to pay the bills. I didn’t want to disappoint my family. School and society seemed to force me to choose what I had to do with the rest of my life and that terrified me! Deep down, I knew I wanted to do something creative. When I was younger, I had music and photography. I learned how to play guitar and the viola in a Mariachi, Orchestra and a few little bands. Eventually, a friend turned me on to a photography-major program in Austin. I felt a certain responsibility to make parents proud since they worked so hard to provide for me and giving me so many opportunities and I felt photography wouldn’t be the best choice. I ended up studying a web design program that involved interactive media; audio production, graphic design, photography, and film. This really appealed to me so I decided to go for it and I graduated with a BFA. By far, it’s been the best decision I’ve made in my life. I love learning new things and being creative and this allows me to dip my feet into different creative endeavors so “work” never feels repetitive or old. This program felt like the in-between of making my family proud and still sticking to my heart. Keep in mind, all of this was way before Instagram and I had no idea working from home was even possible.

Now, I am working as a freelance designer and vinyl DJ traveling the world and sharing my experiences and knowledge on my blog to show the Latina community that traveling is within reach. I’ve also started a music festival called “Tighten Up Tejas Soul Weekender” and this year will be the second year it happens!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
YIKES! The road definitely came with a lot of bumps! I felt like my late teens and mostly all of my twenties were all trial and error. Growing up the way I did, I couldn’t relate to anyone career-wise. I didn’t know how to make a living as a creative. I learned this all on my own. I’d spend countless hours on the internet, finding a way to use my career and be able to travel, somehow. But this made me develop a thick skin and gave me a yes mentality. I can do this and more because I’ve come this far. This lifestyle definitely wasn’t something that generations before me would consider a success but they were from a different time and different struggles.

As I look back, the advice I would give to young women, especially young Latina women, is don’t be afraid to fail and try different things. Respect but don’t let what other people’s vision of your life determines what your life is going to be. You can make your own path and even if it’s outside the norm. Be the example that living a different life that what people wanted for you is possible and that it worked out better in the end.

In short, save your money, learn different skills and travel any opportunity you can.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m currently a multi-disciplinary freelance designer which basically means a jack of all trades; web design, photography, graphic, and print design. I’d say I’m most known for being a traveler and DJ and I am pretty proud of that. I’ve seen all my hard work pay off with lots of amazing, culturally-enriching travel.

I started writing about travel when I realized that, despite enormous interest in travel and trillions in spending power, Latinas are often overlooked in the travel world. My goal is to share authentic stories about exploring the world that inspire women to realize “Hey! A Latina is doing this?! I can do that too!”. My social media presence gives me the opportunity to represent a minority and break cultural stereotypes in the travel industries. My mission is to create incredible possibilities of transformation for everyone, everywhere, especially Latina women!

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Speaking from my experience, I think women are held to higher standards than their male counterparts. We need to do more to demonstrate our abilities than men.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Amelia Berumen, Barcelona Travel Girls

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