“The Global Citizen:” 21-year old influencer Ciara Freeman talks travel.
There are not many college students that have seen the places Ciara Freeman has seen. A confirmed travel junkie, Freeman has been to several different countries at the young age of twenty-one. Her travel-based Instagram account has amassed over 8,000 followers and continues to grow along with her love for new adventures.
Freeman’s first journey was toward higher education. Originally from Virginia Beach, CA, she moved to Los Angeles to study journalism at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). She lives alone with her mother, apart from the rest of their family, and I can tell they have a very close relationship by the way Freeman’s eyes light up every time she mentions her.
“We’re best friends, so it’s nice to have someone out here that gets me,” Freeman said, smiling at the ground as if it held a fond memory.
In my effort to stump Freeman by asking her what her favorite travel destination was, she didn’t skip a beat. Her smile is wide, confident as she answers the question without so much as a pause.
“I recently fell in love with Croatia. I had never heard of anything about that area until I visited myself,” Freeman remembers. “I just kind of blindly chose a country to visit while I was studying abroad.
I watch as her hands animate, her entire body coming alive to tell me tales of how crystal clear the oceans were, how delicious the Mediterranean cuisine was and how kind the people during her time there.
“Here in America, we value individualism and we pretty much only look out for ourselves. We’re so career-focused. Whereas in other places, [people] relax more. There’s not so much of a focus on the hustle-bustle of life.”
Freeman’s love for travel also stems from her love for learning new languages, having learned to speak Spanish, Russian and Italian conversationally.
“I keep confusing Spanish and Italian,” Freeman says with a laugh.
When I ask her about journalism and what she wants to post-college, Freeman’s face becomes more solemn. Despite pursuing a degree in journalism, Freeman actually doesn’t see herself becoming a journalist. The dangers of the career steer her away.
Instead, she desires another journey, wanting to travel to Africa to help alleviate the epidemic of fatal diseases like polio, HIV, AIDS and measles in the area.
“There are just so many issues globally that are affecting us here in the States now,” Freeman says. “I just want to help alleviate that.”
Freeman’s smile returns when describing how inspired she is by the founders of her scholarship, Bill and Melinda Gates, and the work they do to assist Africa currently.
“I kind of want to give back to them because they gave to me in a way,” she said.
Above all, Freeman says her love for travel stems from LMU’s Ignatian value of becoming a global citizen. Freeman explained that she tries to perpetuate this value by learning about different perspectives from around the world and taking a deep dive into the culture of every place she goes.
“It’s about not thinking of America as the end-all, be-all of humanity and just being open to exploring and fighting for different groups of people.”
Freeman doesn’t know what her next journey will be — just that it will be even better than the next.