The Happy Couple

Happy New Year! What a 2012 I’m having so far. If you are following me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know that on January 1st my first TV show aired on the Travel Channel and has received rave reviews!

If that wasn’t enough excitement for the New Year, the following night I popped the question to my then-girlfriend Natalie. She said “yes” but to be honest, I didn’t think she would say no since the set up was so incredible. I got a lot of help from my PR friend Kerry Morrissey (who actually introduced us five years ago) and the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Florida.

For starters, they put us up in the Presidential Suite – it was the same room Morgan Freeman stayed in while filming The Dolphin Tale (FYI: The Clearwater Aquarium is practically within walking distance to the hotel so we visited Winter, the dolphin).

Since the last couple days have been so cold in Florida, we couldn’t have the romantic dinner on the beach so we had it in one of the hotel’s private beach bungalow suites. There were candles everywhere, pink rose petals and soft music. I handpicked the menu with all of Natalie’s favorite dishes like sushi, shrimp cocktail, salad, scallops and when the signature Valrhona chocolate cake for two arrived, it was time for me to get on my knees.


It was quite the start for 2012 and I hope it’s just the beginning of a great year to come. As you can see, I’ve redesigned the website. Now, one of the great things you can do is comment on each story! We want to hear from you — what you like, what you want to know more about, and please let me know what you think of the new site by commenting at the bottom of this post!

For those who are fans of the travel portal, don’t worry! It’s still here. It’s just better organized and easier to use. All the links are still there, but you’ll find it’s much more streamlined so you can find what you’re looking for easier.

Enjoy exploring the new site – I can’t wait to hear what you think! The newsletter redesign will be next! I’m planning to start sending a daily newsletter with just a brief potluck of travel nuggets – it could be a deal of the day, website you need to know about, travel app, travel news, or tip. Stay tuned! I hope you like it and will spread the good word.

And in case you missed my show “Hot Spots 2012”, the Travel Channel is going to air it again this Sunday (Jan 7th) at 7pm EST (check your local listings) and then again the following Saturday (Jan 14th) at 4pm EST.

MASS MoCA's Nick Cave exhibit
MASS MoCA's Nick Cave exhibit
Street vendor
Street vendor
Beau Rivage bathroom
Beau Rivage bathroom

7 Comments On "The Start of 2012: New Show, Engagement, and Website Redesign"
  1. Steve|

    I LOVE your new site. So much better than the old one! Great improvement. And congratulations on the engagement.

  2. Colleen Setchell|

    Wow, a hearty congratulations. It all sounded like the perfect setting and I wish you both every happiness.

    Your newly designed site is looking great and I am looking forward to seeing what adventures you get up to in 2012.

    Take care…

  3. Reg WB|

    Congrats! Now THAT is romantic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. James Clark|

    Congratulations to you and Natalie on your engagement, and well done for the travel show! Wow, what a start to 2012!

    Love the new site redesign. Great to be able to leave comments now as well. Have a great year and hope we get to cross paths again.

  5. Kevin|

    Congratulations on the engagement. May you have many years of happiness filled with exciting travels.

    The new site is great too.

  6. Lotrin|

    The new year couldn’t have started out better. Many Congratulations! Look forward to crossing each other’s path again. Bliss~

  7. Chris|

    Hi Johnny,
    Congrats on your engagement.
    I just wanted to share some constructive criticism about your 1/1/12 Travel Channel show.
    I would really love to say I loved it but I didn’t. I thought the destinations were kind of silly and not for real travelers…but maybe The Travel Channel wants appeal to the armchair traveler. I don’t know.
    The comments on North Korea were annoying though. Its such American vitriol to say something like “who would want to go there, anyway?”
    Well, frankly, I would. The point of travel to me is to experience new and different destinations and culture. North Korea is a pariah in the world and I am not approving of their government. But I would love to see it! What an experience it would be. And SO much more interesting than Necker Island. Talk about a cultural “nothing” destination. I’m sure for those who want to keep up with the Kardashians would like to go to Necker, but I just don’t see the appeal. How is it different from other luxury beach resorts where you are pampered by low paid staff while paying $1000s per day? That money could so better be used for “responsible tourism.”
    Thank you for letting me share. I do like your newsletter.

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