Welcome!!! First and foremost, I would like to thank you for dropping by to check out my site. Whether you clicked through from my social media or heard about this from a friend, I extend my heartfelt thanks for checking out The Juandering Advocate. I know you have a virtually unlimited supply of options to fill your time on the interwebs, and I’m quite flattered that you decided to take a chance and spend a bit of it here with me. My hope is that you enjoy what you find here, and maybe even discover a takeaway or two so that this turns out to be something more than a waste of your time. Or mine.
I’m not entirely sure what a first time post is supposed to look like. Or how I even came up with the idea to start a blog. I do know that while I certainly desire to share my experiences with you, I also know well the benefits of journaling as a means of reflection and inspiration. Perhaps this can serve as a means to accomplish both.
For starters – a brief overview of who I am, the things that I enjoy, and what I hope to share here; so you can figure out if you’d like to come back and visit. I claim a myriad of titles and interests as I’m sure you do. But if I really boil it down, I’m a traveler, a lover of the outdoors, a son, an uncle, a brother, a Wilderness First Responder, a weekend warrior, aspiring stoic, volunteer and an attorney. Yes, I put that last for a reason. Priorities, priorities…
Moving along though, I am particularly fond of new places (and really old places), nature, adventure and food. More specifically, I like places where I can run, hike or bike on a trail or a country road, see some new or favorite sights and interact with the locals, both wild and domesticated. If given a choice, I’ll choose the wild ones almost any day!
Before I talk too much about travel, adventure and the stories I’d like to share with you, I want to let you know one more thing about me, perhaps the most important. In addition to all those things I told you above, I am blessed. Extremely so.
I realize that term gets tossed around a lot these days, often for good reason, sometimes not. When Urban Dictionary described “epic” as the most overused word ever, I like to think that they considered “blessed” pretty high in the rankings. But, let me assure you, the word not only describes me, it literally defines who I am as a person.
I don’t just mean blessed in the typical middle class American style either, although that is certainly a large part of it. I mean far beyond anything I deserve. I mean being blessed with second chances. And third chances. And 74th chances. (I’ll explain that one in a later post.) For now, just know that I’ve screwed up a lot in my life.
I’ve made some horrible choices. Lives have been ruined or ended for less than what I’ve done. I’m still here – free, happy and healthy with only a few minor physical and mental scars to show for all the bad decisions that I’ve weathered. And the stories…
I’ve been blessed to have witnessed some of the most beautiful sights this world has to offer and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a handful of “once in a lifetime” experiences. I’ve been to 46 states and stood on top of 18 of them. I’ve visited 17 countries on 4 continents. I’ve had highs like hanging out at Everest Base Camp, lows like baking at Badwater Basin in Death Valley and even found myself smack dab in the middle at the equator.
I’ve been lucky enough to hike from Georgia to New York and from Mexico to the majestic Sierra Nevadas. I’ve gone scuba diving with loggerhead turtles in the Keys, kayaked through limestone caves in Thailand and ridden some of the best mountain bike trails a dirtbag could want.
It’s been a blast so far; I say with full candor that if it all goes out the window tomorrow, I’ve lived a life that most people, living or dead, would envy. (As a sidenote, there is a good chance if you’re reading this, you probably have as well. But, I digress…) I am just going to leave it at that since my purpose here is not to talk about those things. I’m here to tell you about the things that I love and enjoy and the lessons I have learned along the way.
Close behind my love of travel is the love of talking about it to anyone who will listen. Which probably is as good an answer as any as to why I felt compelled to start this. I want to share the richness and varied experiences of the things I love with you. Which is exactly what I am going to do next!
When we meet again, I’m going to tell you about my favorite places, those here in the U.S. and those abroad. And I will even key you in on the places that I am most excited about visiting next.
I’d like to thank you for checking this out. I extend my most gracious invitation to come back for the next installation. If you have any comments or ideas for a future post, please let me know.
Until next time, I hope that you can take a few moments in the following days to just stop and appreciate how awesome an experience this life is, and perhaps share just a little bit of your light and good fortune with some of those around you.
With the warmest regards,
Don “The Juanderer” Johnson