1 Year Bloggerversary! Here is what’s coming in 2014

With my heart, mind, and soul reaching a new level this year, it is time for Just Chuckin’ it to transform as well.

My little catalyst for creativity is intertwined with my life after all, it’s gotta’ grow with me!

A year after its relaunch, I know for sure I want two things to stay the same — the whimsical childlike attitude and design, and the personal stories and inspiration.

Yet I am very VERY hesitant when it comes to drastically changing the blog in terms of layout and appearance because I feel like that is another way it stands out and let’s my personality shine.

I always love receiving comments like, “Dude, love the blog! The hand drawn aspects are awesome

Those types of compliments are what justifies the time it takes to hand draw a lot of the quirky elements.

That said, I also feel stifled creatively when it comes to the blog itself.

The original frame work that I added my drawings over to create the blog has been deemed “retired” by the people who developed it. Features I would like to add or problems that have been holding me back from making an even more dynamic experience is no longer supported by the developers.

So in essence, I will forever have to keep it at a level I am unsatisfied with in terms of functionality, look, and feel.

I am a stickler for graphics and appearance and I just can’t grow with this blog anymore.
I need a change. But it is so very hard to do at the moment.

I have been mulling over theme websites and pulling out my hair trying to pick one. I want the flexibility to add my hand drawn elements, whilst bringing it into the modern age. And this comes with issues.

If I change the blog theme, my existing passages may not fit in visually. I’ll have to go back and change everything. If I change the layout too much, it may lose that “ooh ahhh” hand drawn first impression.

If I don’t change it, I may fall behind the times. Websites are becoming move dynamic than ever before. Tablets and phones are used more often than computers to consume media and my mobile experience on the blog is sub par.

The discoverability on the blog is terrible because I cannot include sub categories to feature as sliders on the homepage for you all to check out my other stories and not just what is current.

I am stuck hoping you might click on a category and explore.

Also, create pages to feature guides and other aspects, I have to manually add each article. And I don’t often because it takes forever.

So what should I do?

To change, or stay the same…that is the question…

There are things I never want to change. I don’t want to do away with the hand drawn elements. I don’t want to stop writing personal stories and inspiration. I do not want to stop the goofiness and whimsy it has.

Here is what I want the blog to become:

  • Modern functions and feel with the same quirkiness and drawn elements
  • Motion in elements to give you the feeling of movement
  • Easily discoverable categories that entice exploration
  • In your face inspiration
  • An overall experience and not just a blog

I have quite a few lofty ideas for this blog and my need to inspire and create change in ones self and in the world. I need something that will help me grow and will be a leaping off point for future creative endeavors.

With my MacBook Pro sent back to the United States for a hopeful repair, I am delayed with changing most of it until I get it back in January. Until then, I will continue formulating ideas on how to take this blog to the next level.

Blogging as a business?

I also want to help the blog evolve into a proper form of income for myself because after all, my dream job would be to travel and to share the stories.

In any creative endeavor I believe people set themselves up to fail if you go into it with money on your mind first. You have to grow and nurture that passion to a point where you can then develop the passion into a business.

When I first started blogging in 2011 in New Zealand, I was thinking about the money foremost. I started it in hopes that I could make quick and easy cash. HA! What a silly notion! That is another reason why I stopped blogging as well for a bit. It consumed me. And it took away the joy in writing.

It wasn’t until about 9 months after relaunching the blog that I began to think about monetizing it again. But my golden rule was to do things that I felt right, and if I fought through the temptations of conforming to the norm in travel writing then it would pay off.

I have now reached a point with the blog where companies are beginning to ask to pay me to write about them. Some I’ve taken, some I haven’t. I have chosen companies to work with that I believe have strong values and positive motives in the travel industry, not just anyone who will pay me.

And I will keep doing so. Sure, I may not skyrocket to profitability so soon by ignoring “Top 5” articles popular in magazines, but I will be proud of my work.

Yet, I have been mulling over ways to start growing the blog into a business.

I believe that if you have come back to this blog over and over and interacted with it, that we have grown a trust between us. I don’t want to lose that trust. But I also want to provide even more tools for you when it comes to travel advice and inspiration.

There are companies that offer affiliate programs that provide a small percentage to me if somebody uses their service at no extra cost to you.

For example: Let’s say you read army stories about New Zealand and you suddenly want to go. After you read the article, you begin searching costs of flights, backpacks, travel insurance, and all of the other things you will have to pay for to begin your own adventure.

So now I want to give you the ability to take care of these things through the blog. You can now book flights and other useful travel tidbits from the blog instead of leaving and searching google for these things. At the bottom of articles I will provide companies I am an affiliate with relevant to what you made need.

If you choose to click through and even just browse flights and book on a later date it will be helping support my travels and I will be extremely grateful.

Now, don’t worry, I won’t be drowning you in “CLICK HERE” in your face rubbish advertising. This is a way for me to hopefully sustain my traveling and blogging and stay away from too much advertising.

I hope you will not mind and I will attempt to do it in a way beneficial to you my friends.

The Live Gnarly Army
You know from my motto “Live Gnarly” and my references on Facebook that I call you readers the Live Gnarly Army.

My goal has been to raise an army of collective free thinkers, dreamers, and travelers with the blog and my social media outlets, and now I want to get you all involved even more.

After I redesign the blog, I will be accepting guest authors to write for a section of the blog called The Live Gnarly Army. The authors and stories featured in it will only be ones that drive emotion and inspiration. There will never be articles that are “Top 5” quickies that you see on every major travel publication. Just adventure, life, true stories, raw aspects of travel.

Articles that will give others the drive to live their own dreams.

This is not only subject to travel writers and bloggers. If a reader who does not have a blog wants to write a letter telling a personal story of overcoming obstacles in life, or an inspiring tale of travel, I would gladly put that up in a heartbeat.

Thank you again for being such a rad following of the blog and for your ongoing encouragement and engagement.

What has been your favorite article on the blog this year? What are your thoughts on the blog redesign? Would you be against me providing affiliate options for your travel needs? Can I meet you someday? 🙂


  1. Audrey December 22, 2013 at 2:23 am

    I wouldn’t change the look of your blog too drastically, I think it already has a lot of personality to it and you don’t want to lose that. I also really like all the hand drawn elements like your passport stamps on the side – I think that’s a pretty cool way of browsing for articles from those countries. I think in the end, your voice is what keeps people coming back, that and the fact that they can relate to you. The colours and elements don’t matter so much. That’s my opinion anyway. 😉

    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author December 28, 2013 at 5:12 am

      Thank you Audrey, it means a lot when people notice those small details and appreciate them like those passport stamps. It he insight was definitely taken to heart and I will keep my tone and attitude and my stories intact. That is what is most important to me.

  2. Kerry Ascione December 27, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Hi Ryan,
    They are all tough decisions huh? I’m sure that your blog will come through all of this beautifully and be more dynamic and inspirational than ever. I would love to have you publish a guest post of mine, when you are ready to accept them. I do believe I have inspirational stories to share with the Live Gnarly Army.

    1. JustChuckinIt - Site Author December 28, 2013 at 5:18 am

      Kerry, thank you for that rad encouragement about the blog and I am happy that you are keen on posting for the Live Gnarly Army! I will reach out once I have this feature live 🙂


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