As a photographer herself, Jen created WanderSnap from a place of passion and purpose, a platform that paves the way for more opportunities for creatives. Grounded on the values of storytelling, adventures, and giving – she shares about how these core pillars guide her experiences and decisions.
What inspired the beginnings of WanderSnap? How do the dots connect to now?
We live in a “digital nomadic” age where the ability to build location-independent businesses while creating freelance content is a career option for many. Imagine a youth growing up in rural Bangkok, they may not be subject to the same luxuries given in access to education or income, without which, being able to afford the equipment and training needed to even be a freelancer is not feasible. I wanted to create a platform that creates more dignified and creative jobs, because the world’s best photographers likely haven’t even been dispersed yet because they don’t have access to the equipment. With consideration from a consumer’s perspective, they should not be paying a fortune for quality original content in an increasingly digital content creation paradigm.
Hardest part of the WanderSnap journey so far? Proudest moment?
Each day holds its own extreme high and low. The highs of seeing special moments (like a proposal, birthday, or store opening) are commemorated by our guests with our creators, highs like teams energized by vibrant discussions of where the business is headed, and highs of guests dropping a positive review sharing their gratefulness for what we do. Days are also filled with lows like retaining top talent, betting on “the right vision”, and making the hard decisions that you hope will bring the most business. That’s the fun of the journey in being an entrepreneur I suppose, that each day is filled with extreme highs and lows, and it’s about coasting through the grit and passion to get to open seas.
As someone who is Indonesian, Chinese and Canadian and is no stranger to starting over in new cities, how do you go about making a place feel more like home?
It helps that my camera is my safe space and as long as I bring her along, we create adventures together anywhere. I bring the tangibles and sense of home wherever I do. Tangibly, little keepsakes like incense, morning rituals, my favorite snack and a workout song creates a sense of home literally anywhere. More figuratively, I feel most at home enjoying a sunset somewhere outdoors surrounded by nature over a good glass of something and a decent book. At the end of the day, the sun sets everyday, everywhere, and adoring a sunset grounds me to feeling at home no matter where I am.
You’ve been to 48 countries so far, of all of them which has been the most memorable? Do you have a favourite travel story to share?
Most unique excursions include: running the inaugural Pyongyang marathon (at times alone) through the streets of North Korea, meeting Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time in Yangon by chance, skating in the world’s biggest outdoor skating rink in Kazakhstan, taking 50+ influencers in China to walk the Great Wall barefoot, going off the grid in an Indian tipi in Joshua Tree National Park, dancing in a matriarchal trip in rural Yunnan, train ride through Sri Lanka, meditating in a tree house in Bali, learning martial arts in Shaolin temple, and methane-filled sunrise atop Ijen volcano crater — the list goes on really. The planet is truly a remarkable place.
Top 5 packing tips?
1. Always roll your clothes to create more space in your bags
2. I never leave without a canvas tote rolled up in my carry-on, you just never know when you need the extra baggage.
3. Traveling with so much camera gear can be a pain logistically and also literally in the back, so a light and multi-pocked bag is key to fit all of them in without too much of a burden.
4. Yoga towel is a must. It rolls up nicely to fit any duffel bag, and allows me to practice anywhere with a flat surface, or serves as an excuse to have a picnic!
5. Sunglasses – mostly so that in-flight (especially those long-hauls or red-eyes) I can shut-eye as soon as I board without waiting for the cabin lights to dim.
In the age of excess, I try not to shop as much, or stick to only getting the essentials, being mindful of the impact for every piece of clothing created. #ChangeBeyondTextiles for me tells a story of need, of culture, and of self-expression. It’s not getting a piece of new gear for the sake of it, but subscribing to the manufacturing process, the cultural roots, and message that the piece screams to the world. It’s responsible, yet expressive.
What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?
I believe in a few mantras: that each of us is put on this planet in this exclusive and limited time for a specific purpose, that each of our spirit stemmed from someone else having experience past lives and experiences, that each of us has all we need within to be content and fulfilled. As humans, we put these purposes, experiences, and contentment into something much bigger than ourselves, and that journey is the ultimate give-back to our planet during our short time here.
How would you like to be remembered?
I will shine and share light to those who need it most.
We are inspired by how Jen’s passion meets her purpose, and are proud to have her as Fieldtesters, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Jen is wearing the Sideswept Dhoti + IChing Jade Noir, Size 1.
Photos taken by Ote Agraphoto at WanderSnap