Spotlight on Adventure Champions: Journeys International

5 June 2022

Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) Adventure Champions are the vanguards of the adventure travel industry having been members of ATTA and leaders in the community for a minimum of 15 years. They are true believers in the power of adventure travel and have made an impact on the direction of ATTA and on the industry as a whole. To honor their commitment to their ethos and lasting contribution to the adventure travel industry we are spotlighting Adventure Champions through a series of interviews.

Journeys International
Outbound Tour Operator
Headquarters: United States
ATTA Member since 2006

Introducing Robin Pollak, Owner and Chief Adventure Officer

Tell us about Journeys International: Journeys International is a family business that my parents started in 1978 after serving with the Peace Corps and teaching in Nepal. Their goal was to deepen travelers' experiences with the people and places they visit. Journeys takes people beyond their comfort zones into the realm of wonder and discovery in order to foster insight, spark human connection, and deliver regenerative impact.

How has your company and destination changed over the last 15 years?

Since joining the ATTA 15 years ago, we have undergone a generational shift. Literally. My parents retired and I now lead the company. We have eliminated print marketing, embraced a fully remote workplace, and adopted more flexible schedules. Our product mix leans more toward private and custom that it ever has in 44 years. Our impact calculus now considers human mindset transformation as well as environmental conservation and regeneration.

What is the greatest force that drives you to work every day? 

I am passionate about creating experiences that unlock wonder and discovery, that spark human connection, and that help people see the world and themselves through new eyes. We are so fortunate to be invited into people's lives in this way, and I am motivated to make the most of the chance to have a transformative impact.

What is your advice for young adventure travel companies?

Especially in our cross-cultural industry, seeking first to understand others before seeking to be understood – in every relationship – is fundamental to success. With clients, collaborators, employees, and people along the way, the longer you listen and the more questions you ask before you start explaining your own point of view, the more successful your interaction will be and the more it will contribute to the success of your company. No matter how much you may think you have to teach, and no matter how much better you may think your way of doing things will be, two things are true. First, you will be able to communicate it more effectively once you understand the other person's point of view. But more importantly, second, your point of view may change significantly once you can see the world from the other person's perspective, and everything you want to say may change. When you have a chance to revise your position with this understanding, you will be seen as more insightful, more worldly, and more trustworthy. Humility is wise, not weak.

Also, never spend your margin before a trip departs.

What gets you excited about the future of adventure travel?

"Adventure" can stretch travelers and expand thinking in so many ways when we move beyond traditional definitions of the word and the industry. The convergence of adventure travel and transformational travel unlocks new potential for the scope of itineraries and the impact that we can have on our travelers and the future world they will live in.

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