By Nina Ruggiero
July 09, 2018
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Courtesy of Thomas John

Any job that involves travel intrigues us, but Thomas John’s résumé stopped us in our tracks. The psychic medium has performed spiritual readings around the world — at hotels, theaters, homes, and even on a cruise ship — for countless people including Stevie Nicks, Jennifer Lopez, Goldie Hawn, and Julianne Moore.

Next up, John will be using a new mode of transportation to relay communication from the other side on his new Lifetime series, “Seatbelt Psychic,” premiering July 11 at 10 p.m. ET. On the show, he will be picking up unsuspecting passengers who think they’re just calling a ride-share, and sharing spiritual messages from the driver’s seat.

Before we see him behind the wheel, John took time out to tell us more about what he does, what it’s like communicating with spirit from different corners of the globe, how he turns off communication with the other side while in flight, how he chooses a hotel room with the right energy — and what happens when he doesn't.

Travel + Leisure: For the uninitiated, can you explain in your own words what it is you do?

Thomas John: “I am a psychic medium, which means I hear, sense, and feel the spirit world. We are all naturally intuitive and have abilities like this, it’s just that for me, I am maybe more aware or open to it. When I connect with a spirit, I can also often bring through a specific message to help someone who is grieving and bring them closure.”

When did you realize you had this gift and how did you develop it?

“When I was four years old, I saw my deceased grandfather. To be honest, I didn't really realize that seeing a deceased person was such a unique experience — I thought everyone saw dead people! When I was about eight years old, I realized that I was different. I realized that people didn't see the world the way that I did. Over time, I became more comfortable with it and trusted it more and more.”

You have read quite a few celebrities. What was your most memorable reading?

“Every reading I have done in my life has been memorable for some reason. I write a lot about some of my memorable readings in my book, “Never Argue with a Dead Person.” I do not think of my celebrity readings as any different than reading for a regular person.”

In what capacity does your job involve travel?

“Oh, I travel all the time — I do large events of 200 to 300 folks who gather to connect with loved ones, and I travel all around the country. In the next few months alone, I will be in London, Cape Town, Barcelona, Australia, and plenty of U.S. destinations.”

What is it like doing readings in other countries? What if there’s a language barrier?

“When spirit communicates, they aren't really communicating through words. Remember, those in spirit do not have a voice, so they are communicating through symbols. A lot of times I will do a reading with a deceased loved one who will show me words, pictures, images, and provide me with feelings and senses. These things then tell the story of the person I am connecting with.”

What’s the biggest challenge that comes with doing readings while traveling?

“Since my work is very draining, I would probably say just making sure I am taking care of myself. Being on the road a lot can be very difficult. As a psychic medium, I'm also sensitive and I pick up on energy very easily. When I stay in hotels, I have to be careful with the rooms that I stay in as I can pick up on residual energy.”

Can you tell us about a time a hotel room's energy didn't agree with you?

“For example, I once had to stay last minute at a hotel in Chicago called the Congress Plaza on Michigan Avenue. It was definitely haunted. You could feel a lot of spirits there, and there were tons of spirits greeting me upon arrival. It made my stay really difficult, and I ended up changing hotels. Also, I have stayed several times as the Langham in London, and that place is very haunted, but it has a really cool energy. For a sensitive like me, it can be fun for a night, but I never do long stays there because it's just too much energy.”

What do you always pack when you’re traveling for work?

“I really try to keep it simple. I'll pack some basic changes of clothes, toiletries, and since I find water very grounding, I always pack a swimsuit and find a pool. I also always bring a couple of books — I'm old fashioned and don't use a Nook or anything like that — and, of course, some crystals and candles.”

Have you ever had a spiritual encounter on a plane?

“Being on a plane is my recharging time. I try to turn off completely, and focus on meditation, relaxing, and just being 'off.' I send out clear intentions to my guides and dead people that I am not working. It seems to work.”

What’s the most unexpected place you’ve done a reading?

“When I was on a date. Geographically speaking, I was just on a date in New York City, but it was unexpected in the sense that I was not expecting to 'work.' The guy I was on a date with had a visit from his dead father. That was my first and only date with that person — not sure if the dead father had anything to do with that.”

What is it like doing readings on cruises?

“I have only done one workshop/reading event on a cruise, though I am planning a second one for 2019. There is something peaceful and calming about taking a cruise for sure. I enjoyed it — the focus of that cruise was ancient mysteries of the world.”

What’s the best work trip you’ve ever taken?

“I did a work trip recently where I got to do an event for a well-known person in London. The event was very high energy and everyone was held at Clos Maggiore in Leicester Square and it was absolutely a stunning place to do readings!”

Do locations have an effect on your ability to connect with spirits? Do they come through stronger in certain locations (like places they lived or vacationed often)?

“A location may have a small influence on people's ability to come through, but not a big influence. I have had situations where a person's spirit connects deeply with me at a location that was significant to them, such as a favorite restaurant or favorite home they lived in, but it's not a major factor.”

Is there somewhere you’ve never been that you would love to travel to and do readings?

“There are many places I haven't been yet that I would like to visit just to understand the history of mediumship in those areas. I would say parts of Africa and definitely Japan.”

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for length.