Insights from Jetting Around Founder Pola Henderson on Making Travel Your Career


In Greenheart Travel’s ongoing blog series on how travel experiences change our lives, boost our careers and develop our leadership qualities, we are thrilled to share Pola Henderson’s insight into how she has made travel an integral part of her profession. Founder of Jetting Around and JAMedia, Pola is no stranger to getting out of her comfort zone and connecting with people in countries and cultures around the world.

A 2013 Greenheart Travel Correspondent Scholarship winner, and alumni volunteer at our project in Ecuador, Pola has been an important member of the Greenheart Travel family. Read on to learn how she has made her passion for exploring new places an integral part of her career.

What First Inspired You to Explore the World and What Travels Made the Greatest Impact on You?

I credit my parents with making me curious about the world. We traveled a lot as a family when I was little – due to dad’s engineering job – and I got to visit places that couldn’t have been more different from home. My first trip was to the Middle East when I was three, followed by several extended stays in North Africa.

Those early experiences, as well as moving from Europe to the US after college, have without a doubt influenced me. I love learning languages, trying all sort of cuisines, connecting with people around the world. My group of friends on and offline is very diverse.


As a successful travel blogger and with your recent launch of JAMedia, do you have any advice for anyone pursuing their dreams of travel but worried about their careers?

Don’t be afraid of change. I switched my career path twice before I realized what I wanted to do with my life. But if you’re going to travel extensively or try freelancing, make sure to have some money in the bank. Jetting Around started as a hobby when I had a full-time job. I traveled and blogged whenever it was possible.


How important do you feel experiencing another culture and country is to overall personal and career development?

Very! We live in an increasingly global community, and smart employers will recognize that hiring well-traveled professionals can benefit their companies. As far as personal development, I believe that we truly grow when we are exposed to people, ideas, and situations that differ from our home environment.

How have your experiences in a new country or culture helped you overcome challenges that come with being and entrepreneur?

Travel has taught me patience and that things don’t always go as planned. If plan A doesn’t work out, you need to come up with plan B and keep going. There is no crying in business (unless, of course, nobody is watching…).

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you to get out of your comfort zone and pursue your goals?

Now is the time. We don’t know what the future holds or how long we’ll be around. If you are passionate about something – go for it, make it a part of your life, and enjoy the benefits.

One of my biggest regrets is not learning French when I had the chance, i.e. when I lived in Algeria as a teenager and went to a French language school. We had to leave the country when the Civil War broke out, then my French education stopped. Little did I know that I’d want to live in Paris years later… After a recent stay, I’ve made an effort to study French almost every day – and this time I’m not quitting.

If a student wasn’t sure about taking the time to study abroad or take a gap year, what would you tell them?

If you wait to travel until you retire, you’ll miss out on so many experiences! And from a career standpoint, travel – especially international travel – helps you develop or improve a number of skills that are sought-after in the workplace: communication, creative thinking, problem solving, adaptability to change. And who knows, maybe traveling will inspire you to start your own company or nonprofit organization?

Pola Henderson is the founder of Jetting Around, a blog dedicated to city travel. Her writing and photography has been published on CNN, Yahoo, and Expedia, among other outlets. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in North Africa, and has called Chicago home since 2002. In addition to writing, she hosts a weekly city travel discussion on Twitter called #JAchat and international networking events for travelers, JA Café: Travel Talk Over Coffee. She is also the owner of a communications company JA Media.


2 thoughts on "Insights from Jetting Around Founder Pola Henderson on Making Travel Your Career"

  1. Congrats to Pola and thanks to Greenheart Travel for showcasing her profile! You are right that smart employers value people who have experienced the world and other cultures. In an increasingly diverse work force and customer base, you want to know that people you hire will understand and be respectful of cultural differences.

    1. Pola says:

      Thank you for reading and the lovely comment! Glad you enjoyed and found something that resonates.

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