Before They Were Famous: Johnny Jet
Although you wouldn’t know it if you met him now, John DiScala, a.k.a. Johnny Jet started out as a shy teenager who was too afraid to study abroad in college. When he finally got on a business class flight to visit his then girlfriend’s parents in Hong Kong, he got a taste of the good life that travel could provide and never looked back. These days he’s jet-setting upwards of 150,000 miles each year as a travel host, author of JohnnyJet.com and a resource for top news and lifestyle outlets. Here’s the backstory on one of the nicest guys in travel. To give one lucky person the chance to live the dream like Johnny, vote for our video finalists in Travelocity’s Great Gnome Nabbing Contest.
I grew up in South Norwalk, Connecticut — 42 miles outside of New York City which explains why I’m a New York sports fan.
In high school…
I played lacrosse and ice hockey. I was part of the Ski Club and Key Club.
As a teenager…
I was shy at first but grew out of it. I went to public school and made friends with every clique from the cool guys to the nerds and everyone in between.
My earliest memory of being intrigued by travel…
When I was four we flew to Florida for the first time. It just blew me away (and it still does) that we could get on a plane in the freezing cold northeast and fly through the sky and in a couple hours be in hot and sunny Florida.
The worst job I ever had was…
A gopher for my brother’s friend’s roofing company. I had to do all the dirty work and I hated waking up early every day.
Did you ever work in an office or a cubicle?
My first job out of college was working at Marymount College in Palos Verdes. I was an admissions officer and it’s where I tuned up my travel skills since I traveled a lot recruiting.
Was there a significant event from your past that caused you to hit the road?
In high school I was diagnosed with asthma and my doctor gave me too much medication which gave me anxiety. I quickly became afraid to fly and even leave the house. When I finally got weaned off the meds I went to college in California. My girlfriend’s parents at the time were living in Hong Kong and they invited me one summer. It was my first time traveling overseas and sitting in business class and the experience got me hooked on travel and the good life.
What was the turning point when you realized that you could actually make travel a career rather than a hobby or extra side income?
When Laura Bly from USA Today featured my website in March of 2000 just a few months after I launched it (for fun).
If I were not professional roamer, I’d be…
A professional baseball player.
Did you study abroad in college?
Nope. Was too afraid.
The biggest thing I’ve learned on the road is…
To be nice to everyone and go with the flow.
Who is your travel cohort and why?
I love traveling with my wife since she’s so appreciative and easy to travel with. But I still have places I want to show my father but he rarely takes me up on my offers.