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Interview: Johnny Jet Goes on The Travel Channel

Johnny's the one next to the buffoon in the paint can hat (me)
I first met Johnny Jet (John DiScala on his boarding pass) several years ago during Carnival in Curacao. When he first got the travel mania, he was just emailing info to a growing circle of friends. He set up his website with every link you’d ever need to plan a trip, struck gold, and has become a well known name and expert in the travel world.

This coming Sunday, January 1st, he’s taking his travels to another medium. Johnny Jet will be appearing in his first Travel Channel show at 9pm and Midnight EST, showing us Hot Spots 2012. It is an excellent opportunity for him and we wish him the best. He took a moment to answer a few questions about the show…

How did you get this wonderful opportunity to do something for The Travel Channel?

I’m guessing a lot of hard work and luck. I signed a deal a couple years ago with MPH Productions (they created The Dog Whisperer) to do a travel show. The Travel Channel nixed our first two pilots but they liked me so they asked if we would be interested in creating a Hot Spots 2012 show. I was like, um, yeah!

When you got your start, did you ever imagine it would or even could evolve into where you are now?

No. It was a dream in the back of my head but I didn’t think it would’ve ever happened. This is a one-off show that I’m hoping will turn into a series so we’ll see what happens. But a regular successful show would be the ultimate achievement of my goals.

What are the challenges of making a travel segment?

I don’t think I realized how much hard work went into a television show – but I do now! There are long hours and take after take after take to get things just right. It was a lot of work but when you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t feel like work at all. I enjoyed every step of the process and I know there’s a lot more to learn – and I can’t wait!

How much planning went into this single episode? How much time work-wise goes into just an hour of viewing time?

Tons of planning went into this show – and most of it was done by the amazing producers I worked with. There were so many details to co-ordinate and logistics to figure out but they made it all seem effortless. Between the planning, traveling, shooting, editing and post-production work, hours and hours of time go into producing just an hour of television (really 44 minutes). We left on our first trip September 30 and did most of it in October. I flew 35,000 miles that month. In November we shot Necker Island and Toronto (for the second time).

Funniest thing that happened during filming?

We had a lot of laughs but the funniest is when my camera crew got the guide in Belize to tell me when we did the Crocodile night “hunt” that I had to jump in the dark, knee-high waters and help wrestle them into the boat to tag. They ended up cutting most of it since I had the look of complete terror on my face and in reality you can’t leave the boat and the crocs are babies (1 foot long).

Without giving away what we’ll see in the episode, how did you settle on these particular hotspots?

There’s so much happening in 2012 travel-wise but we selected events and destinations that we thought would be most interesting to viewers. Whether you’re looking for someplace to visit next year or are interested in places around the world that will be hot news topics, this show will touch on both.

We look forward to seeing it all on Sunday. Good luck, Johnny!

Kevin Revolinski

Author, travel writer/photographer, world traveler. Writes about travel, hiking, camping, paddling, and craft beer.

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