Why I Have a Blog

When I started the blog my idea was to create a journal that I could share publicly with anyone who happened to care. Along the way I have seen some additional strategic value for a blog, like the ability to promote causes that I believe in and to share significant life experiences and lessons. I have received a lot of encouragement to keep writing and through travel writing in particular I have discovered an unknown love for writing that flows from life experience.

Many forms of writing, academic in particular, can be quite laborious. Writing from the heart is like sharing a conversation with a close friend over coffee. I try to write like a journalist capturing life as it happens. This kind of writing needs to be both personal and universal. It is personal because it flows from real life experiences but it is universal because it is meant to apply to all rather than making them feel like they are reading a personal diary. Why a blog, you ask? The JustAndyBlog exists to share life’s experiences, lessons, inspiration and beauty.

Why “Just Andy”

You have no idea how hard it is to find anything close to my name available to use as a web address. Andy Johnson is such a common name that no matter how creative you get somebody has already thought of it. When I was thinking hard about what to name my blog so that people could remember it I thought of a project that I had worked on called Just Alaska. Even though my blog is not really “just” about me but more about sharing ideas and experiences, it occurred to me that this name did have additional meaning.

All my life people have assumed that my real name is Andrew. So when they ask, “Your full name is Andrew, right?”, I answer, “No, its just Andy.” Then almost without fail, they cannot take my word for it, so they have to ask, “But on your birth certificate it is Andrew, right?” I truly am “just” Andy along with my grandfather and father, making me Andy Johnson III. Somehow when I started this blog the domain names that I needed were still available. This is how the “JustAndy” experiment began.

What I Write About

Although professional bloggers recommend topic-specific blogs I want to write about multiple subjects. This allows me to update one blog but requires structuring it to make it relevant to readers interested in specific topics. This is why there is a blog page and also specific topic pages that filter the articles by categories.

Causes :: These articles are about people who are changing the world by living for a cause. I write about causes not only to share the amazing stories about the people whose life-saving work I have encountered, but also to get the word out about what they are doing. I want people to read these articles and to be inspired to make a difference either by joining hands with the cause or by doing something else for which they are inspired to take action.

Coffee :: I love coffee so occasionally I write about the best coffee houses and drinks that I encounter. I accomplish most of my writing in coffee houses at this stage in my life so coffee seems integrally tied to my interest in writing.

Culture :: I discovered a love for culture through travel. Breaking out of my own cultural shell to see the world opened my eyes to the cultural beauty outside of my own experience. Music, art and creativity are so inspiring that sometimes you have to stop and write about them to fully share your appreciation of these experiences.

Life :: Writing about life is a way of remembering and sharing significant experiences. This is a miscellaneous subject that does not fall neatly into one of the other categories.

Spirituality :: Writing about spirituality is a way of processing how life’s insights and experiences are shaping my spiritual journey. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and write from this perspective but I hope to engage thinking and seeking readers of all persuasions.

Travel :: Nothing inspires me to write more than travel. Something about living outside the range of normal day-to-day experiences inspires one to capture what is happening with a greater clarity than what is possible at home. I write about trips, people, places, and experiences I encounter through my various travels in my home country, the US, and abroad.