Gay Travel – The Importance of Business Role Models

Gay Travel | Travel Guru’s | Gay Travel Blog | Role Models | Inspirational people 

“There is an innocence in admiration; it is found in those to whom it has never yet occurred that they, too, might be admired some day.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche. 


It is said that we learn to be moral (virtuous) by modeling the behavior of moral people. Through continual modeling we become virtuous out of habit.

I have always found it very important to have role models.

I’ve always been attracted to the following traits: humor, an adventurous spirit, kindness and generosity. 

I could go on about the teachers, friends and family members I have admired, but this post is to reflect on those I admire in the travel industry or someone who possesses  a true entrepreneurial spirit.

Here is my list of role models, and well, just people I think “ROCK” in their field. 

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” ~ Pat Conroy.


“Johnny Jet” (John DiScala) – 

My absolute # 1 travel role model is “Johnny Jet” (John DiScala).

I have been following his amazing journey since 1999 via his incredible web site,

What I love most about Johnny Jet’s web site is his writer’s VOICE.  In my opinion, he is the most genuine, down-to-earth travel blogger out there.

Throughout the years I have gotten to know his friends and family through his written word and photos.

Johnny has done this in such a genuine way that I truly feel as if I KNOW these people. He is humble, honest and funny.

I have watched Johnny Jet’s web site/business grow...and grow….and GROW!

I’m proud to say I’ve been a fan from the beginning.

I have the book he wrote, iron on “Johnny Jet” decals and even a T-shirt and hat back around 1999 or 2000! 😉

Johnny’s writing style pulls you into a vortex of travel and personal experiences.

The passion he has for his family and seeing the world is infectious.

There is no other weekly newsletter I eagerly anticipate as much as his!

Johnny has worked very hard for his success and deserves every ounce of it.

Oh, and did I mention that he travels 150,000+ miles each year (and has been doing so for the past 10 years)?

This is a GOOD man. End of story.


Samantha Brown (

Most people know Sam from the plethora of shows she has hosted (hosts) on The Travel Channel.

I first became a fan of Samantha Brown after seeing her on “Great Vacation Homes” in 1999. Since then I have been a faithful fan and admirer.

Sam, like Johnny Jet, is INCREDIBLY likeable and THE REAL DEAL. 

She infuses her natural sense of humor into the shows she hosts and makes you feel like she is a friend you grew up with back home.

Samantha Brown’s shows include: Great Hotels, Girl Meets Hawaii, Passport to Europe, Passport to Latin America, Green Getaways, Passport to China, Great Weekends and Samantha Brown’s Asia. 

According to Samantha’s web site, over the last 13 years, she has  traveled around the world visiting over 220 cities in 49 countries and 30 of the United States creating over 160 hours of programming (and counting).
She is know as “The Travel Goddess”, a title rightfully deserved.

Anthony Melchiorri (

Anthony Melchiorri has been in the hospitality business for 20+ years.  Anthony has developed and repositioned some of the finest and most high profile properties in the United States including the first Nickelodeon Hotel and Resort and the landmark Algonquin Hotel.
He takes on clients in need of development or immediate re-positioning, applies his experience and ability to assemble teams specialized in hotel management, and adds value for the owners and developers to ultimately increase their bottom line.
I first learned of Anthony Melchiorri on his Travel Channel show, Hotel Impossible.
I loved Anthony right away because he tells it like it is! 🙂 He knows his “stuff” and his systems just – WORK.
I admire his genuine passion for the hospitality industry which shines through in his television show.
Anthony also runs his own company, Argeo Hospitality, consulting on hotel projects for private owners and investors. Argeo Hospitality has the ability to create a plan, market and promote a company, and turn its staff into a well-oiled machine.
There is this desire I have to sit with Anthony at an Italian eatery in New York’s Little Italy and discuss ways to grow my little online business.
Something tells me he would set me on the right track (lord knows I still need it).
Pitbull - Fine China (Remix) Lyrics
Oh, and I would love to tell him how he reminds me of the singer Pitbull and every time I hear one of Pitbull’s songs I can’t help put picture Anthony singing! 😉

Fredrik Eklund ( and

I am in love with Fredrik. I say this as a gay boy trapped in a lesbian body (and yes, my wife knows). 
He is on the list of guys I would love to BE in another life. 
Tall, handsome, funny, kind, stylish, driven and brilliant.
Need I say more? Oh yes, the boy sure can kick high! 😉 
Fredrik is New York’s top luxury broker and Managing Director for Prudential Douglas Elliman, the largest real estate company on the East Coast.
With more than 1.5 billion dollars in residential sales and 17 new development buildings, he is known for being a “shark” and works with the firm’s senior management team focusing on international sales and re-sales throughout Manhattan.
Eklund is constantly rated as downtown’s “Top Luxury Broker” and was nominated as “Rookie of the Year” by the Real Estate Board of New York.  He set record sales in 28 buildings in Manhattan last year and is often spotted showing apartments to top name celebrities.
Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, Eklund studied at the Stockholm School of Economics before founding an Internet company and working for the investment bank SEB in Stockholm, London, Singapore and Tokyo. In addition, he is the founder of Scandinavia’s most high end residential real estate brokerage with 35 employees and $500 million in closed sales in the last year alone. In 2012, Eklund was part of the second best top-producing team at Elliman, which has 4,000 agents in 74 offices.

I admire Fredrik for his drive and work ethic.


Whether watching Fredrik Eklund on TV or reading one of his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts, he always makes me smile and feel a sense of enthusiasm toward my own business.

Fredrik has a true passion for LIFE and LOVE and it shines through in everything he does.


The cherry on top? His devotion to his equally handsome husband, Derek Kaplan, an incredible artist (

So there you have it…….

These are the people I admire, look up to and consider role models. 

They all run successful businesses and share a passion for travel, life, love and family.

My dream is to get one-on-one time with each of them and learn what I am doing wrong (lol) so that I can someday be as successful as they are.

Okay, and maybe to get some fashion tips from Fredrik……just sayin. 

Desiree Sousa

Owner / Editor in Chief

Out & About Travel / Gay Travel Information / We Are Gay Friendly

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