Jetsetter of the Month: Tourism Fiji’s Ruth Daly
Ruth Daly was an exchange student with AFS-USA (formerly the American Field Service) spending her senior year of high school in Venezuela when she first became hooked on travel. In 1990, she went to Fiji and discovered a South Pacific paradise (“I’m a beach bunny from way back”) with something for everyone. Ruth now serves as the regional director in North America for Tourism Fiji, spreading the word about how perfect Fiji can be for everyone from honeymooners and surfers to families and friends.
“Ask anyone who’s been to Fiji what makes it a special destination and without skipping a beat they will say the Fijian people,” Ruth says, going on to explain Fijians are unique because they are “authentically hospitable and overwhelmingly happy just to be living in paradise.” This, she says, is why Tourism Fiji’s tagline is “Where Happiness Finds You”—because the people of Fiji are very positive and place family and village life at the center of their values.
The people one meets while traveling can leave a lasting impression. In fact, throughout all her travels around the world, Ruth says the memories and photos that mean the most to her are those of people she has met along the way. “People are people,” she says. “From New York to Cambodia, everyone lives, loves, laughs, and cries all the same.”
When it comes to traveling to Fiji, the No. 1 question most people ask Ruth is how long it will take to get there. They’re pleasantly surprised, she says, when she tells them it’s an easy overnight flight from Los Angeles International Airport, which means travelers can leave the chaos of Los Angeles at 11:30 p.m. and wake up in paradise.
For a quick getaway from LA, Ruth loves to visit Loreto, Mexico. No matter where she’s off to, the self-described PANK (“Professional Aunt, No Kids”) says she loves to take her nieces and nephews on travel adventures. “After all, one of them will be choosing my nursing home so I’d better make sure they know my room type preferences!” she reasons.
Ruth adds she thinks intergenerational travel is popular because it is all about connections, “not only the physical connections you make with the place and people where you visit, but the emotional connections you make with the people with whom you travel.”
Travel can open a person’s eyes to see the world is one big diverse cacophony of people and cultures, Ruth says, adding, “Your own little world is just a microcosm of what’s going on every day on Planet Earth.” Her advice for anyone out there with a case of wanderlust is to travel without expectations of what you will see or experience, but instead keep an open mind and heart.