Have you ever wondered how those frequent travelers jet around packing light and looking stylish? I have the perfect answer for you. What would be better than learning from the owner of the Jetting Around blog that has got 40K followers on Facebook and Twitter? Pola has great tips and die hard fans.
Pola, who runs Jetting Around, is not only a jet-setter, but also a travel blogger and entrepreneur running her own communication company. She just relocated from Chicago to her favorite city in the world, Paris. Pola and I met two years ago and instantly developed a friendship, both professionally and socially. She's in the business of travel and I'm in the business of making traveling lighter with multifunctional designs. We have collaborated over the years but this week I wanted to ask Pola about how she manages both her travel blog and communications company, and looks good while doing it. We talk about her travels, her recent move to Paris and how reversible clothing has helped her in both traveling and business situations.
Pola, your story is truly inspiring. You had a dream of traveling around the world, and you now do that while running your own communication company. So many of us would love to do that! Can you please share with us what it’s like to be a jetsetter, while running your own business?
Thank you, Jia. It’s a big change, because I came from a structured, 9-5 environment. I enjoy having a flexible schedule and working from cafes, but I am still trying to figure out the best routine. Time management is key, and so is keeping a project calendar.
Pola working in a cafe wearing the Oksana convertible sweater/dress.
For many of us, it is really hard to get out of our comfort zone, to have your own business. When did you realize you are in the right place to start your own business?
When I started Jetting Around, it was a hobby, something I did in my spare time. I didn’t get involved in the business of blogging until about two years later. Once I did, I knew my old job didn’t stand a chance - it was too far from home and not a good fit. That’s when I decided to try freelancing. My dad and brother had their own businesses, so I was familiar with this way of life - its benefits and challenges.
If you want to transition into freelancing, I suggest doing it gradually. Build your client base and portfolio, write a business plan, and have some money in the bank. It took me a while to expand the blog into JA Media.
So you recently moved from Chicago to Paris. What prompted you to do that?
The short answer is: Paris inspires me. Since my first trip in 2007, I have felt a special connection to the city and knew that visiting would not be enough. But I was settled in Chicago, so the idea was on the back burner until recently. I’ve written about the move in more detail on the blog, in Expat Life Part Deux: Moving to Paris.
Pola in Paris wearing the Oksana as a dress.
What is the biggest difference between living in Paris vs living in Chicago?
I don’t have a car anymore - Metro is the way to go here. And I’m still learning French, which means that what was mundane in Chicago, e.g. going to the post office, can be an adventure in Paris. But I like the challenge.
Would you ever consider moving to another country again?
I don’t think so. If I moved again, it would be back to the States - likely San Francisco. But Paris is where I want to be indefinitely, I’m happy here.
You are a big fan of Jia Collection and we have collaborated on two giveaways. What do you think make wearing Jia Collection so appealing?
Besides versatility, I like the modern take on classic silhouettes. You can be effortlessly stylish and change up your outfits without packing a lot of clothes.
When and where is it suitable to wear Jia Collection clothing?
I’ve used the pieces in work situations and to go out in the evening. For example, the Oksana cardigan paired with skinny jeans is a good blogging-in-a-café outfit. I’ve worn the black and white Erika dress with the fun fridge detail to host one of my cultural events. And Greta - the metallic navy side - is great for a date night.
Pola in the Erika reversible dress
To stay comfortable and chic, what kind of fashion clothing do you think women on the go should own and wear more?
I’m a big fan of dresses, especially those that don’t wrinkle and can be worn with flats or heels for various occasions. It doesn’t take much energy or accessorizing to look good in those.
You have been 'jetting around' since 3 year old. Does it ever get tiring? If not, what aspect of traveling keeps it always exciting and refreshing?
I can’t imagine ever getting tired of traveling! As an aviation geek, I enjoy the journey and don’t mind the hassle that comes with flying these days. Being in the air compensates for long lines at the airport. I still feel like that 3 year old when I look at the Earth from above.
What excites me most about travel is possibilities. When you arrive in a new place, you get to leave any cares behind and live in the moment.
Any tips you can share with travelers to make air travel more hassle free especially when it comes to traveling and packing light?
Ever since I discovered reversible clothing, I don’t travel without it. I also always bring a scarf - it’s light, keeps you warm on the plane or train, and can transform an outfit instantly. I have my eye on Jia's Max which can be worn as a scarf, poncho, a skirt, or even a blanket on the plane.
What are your next destinations?
This summer I’m going back to my original hometown, Krakow, to visit family. After that, possibly Corsica, Portugal, and Cuba. But right now I want to enjoy Paris.
I really enjoyed getting to know Pola a little better and sharing her story and advice with you. As you can see reversible clothing has really helped her in her extensive travels and business endeavors. If you'd like to know more about her you can read her blog Jetting Around.
Pola Henderson is a travel blogger, event producer, photographer, founder of Jetting Around and JA Media. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for 13 years, and is currently based in Paris. In addition to writing, she hosts an urban travel discussion on Twitter called #JAchat, international networking events for travelers, JA Café: Travel Talk Over Coffee, and JAM Session performances.