Jen Ruiz, a travel content creator, TEDx speaker, and 5x bestselling author. Helping you stop waiting and start living.

Are you one of the (many) people daydreaming of travel adventures while at work? Join the club!

Jen Ruiz was a practicing attorney who forged an entirely new path for herself as a full-time traveler and content creator. Now a published author, award-winning writer, and social media influencer, she is also a finalist for Creator of the Year at the 2024 Bessie Awards in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Bessie Awards honor women and gender-diverse people of impact in travel, particularly influencers, creative entrepreneurs, marketers, and other representatives who have contributed unique voices and work to the travel industry.

To be nominated as Creator of the Year in the travel space speaks volumes about the tireless effort Jen has put forth over the last year. 

She reflects on her journey and shares some exciting upcoming plans with us — take a look!

Photo courtesy of Jen Ruiz

Making Travel a Priority

“The year before my 30th birthday, I set out to take a ‘12 trips in 12 months’ challenge while employed full-time,” Jen tells us. “I ended up taking 20 trips to 41 cities across 11 countries, writing my first book, and finding a new career path.”

That’s one way to celebrate a new decade!

Jen’s work is rooted in her community focus. “I want more women to experience the power of traveling solo,” she says. “I also want to highlight women doing amazing things around the world.”

That’s the very definition of being Wanderful. We couldn’t be happier to have Jen as a vibrant member of our Creator Community.

“I’m inspired by helping women use travel as a hack for presence and gratitude, particularly to aid them in a time of transition,” she explains. And Jen walks the walk when it comes to being open and helping other women.

Her TEDx talk showed how vulnerability can be strength, and how living authentically — regardless of societal norms or expectations — can lead to a true love for life. 

“I took the stage and told my story even though I was so nervous I couldn’t feel 4/10 toes while waiting backstage,” Jen shares. 

And it’s that openness and relatability that has helped her grow her social media presence to a global audience of over 300k followers.

Prioritizing Sustainability and Responsible Tourism

As with so many frequent travelers these days, Jen highlights the need for the travel industry to adapt to current issues. “Sustainability and responsible tourism are two important issues facing the travel industry,” Jen states. “Destinations need to adapt to increased crowds while maintaining the integrity of their sites and experiences.”

Jen frequently works with brands and destinations, offering her a platform for being part of this industry shift.

“At the same time,” she continues, “as the world opens up, we need to emphasize how to travel respectfully, to make a positive impact on the people, nature, and wildlife of a location.

The influence that travel content creators have on these behaviors and travel decisions cannot be understated. Jen knows that power and sees changes on the horizon for casual and full-time travelers.

“I envision a lot more accessibility to travel for the general public with the rise of budget airlines,” she says. “I think there will continue to be an emphasis on digital nomad programs and people finding a way to blend business and travel in unique ways.”

Jen Ruiz

Future Plans & Community Inspiration

The future holds an exciting chapter for Jen. Her book, 12 Trips in 12 Months, is due for release in June 2024 with Blackstone Publishing. “This has been years in the making and I’m so excited to dive into traditional publishing,” Jen shares.

Beyond her own projects, Jen Ruiz is grateful for the support she’s received from fellow content creators. “I am floored and so appreciative,” she says of her Bessie Awards nomination. “The Wanderful community has supported me in every step of my creator journey and I’m thankful to be nominated!”

Left to Right: 2023 Creator of the Year Olivia Christine, Jen Ruiz, Wanderful founder Beth Santos and Brand Partnerships Director Lauren Pelkey

She also wants to highlight a few other creators who inspire her. “I love everything Lola Akinmade Åkerström does, from branding to storytelling to promotion,” she tells us. “I admire Alyne Tamir’s use of her platform to shine a light on issues that matter. And Deb and Dave from The Planet D! They’re such talented bloggers and just generally good people.”

We love uplifting other fantastic folks in the industry; thanks for sharing, Jen!

Read About Other Trailblazing Women

Want more inspiration of trailblazing women changing travel for the better? Check out these 28 Inspiring Latinx Travel Influencers to Follow.