Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Joseph Neal Johnson died in his sleep on May 22, 2008, about 10 1/2 months after returning home from this incredible trip. He suffered from epilepsy, though it never held him back from driving a van across an entire continent, getting his PADI dive certification, and living life with a beautiful fierceness.

This blog encapsulates our story through our travels – a source of trial and adventure that I could not be more thankful for. Not a week before Joe passed away I was re-reading this blog, feeling the vibrancy and potency of our lives rush over me in a wave of nostalgia and yearning. This year together was the highlight of my life, something that can never be taken from us. I will never regret a moment of it.

I'm dedicating myself to designing a book about this trip, however long that may take. This man meant the whole world to me. Please, if anyone is reading this, feel free to email me or comment, I would love a collection of photos and stories. Will keep posting about book progress. Miss you Cuy.
Love, Rachel


Blogger Joe and Karen said...

Rachel...thank you for loving our son so much and giving him the year of a lifetime. He was so blessed to share his precious short time with you. You are the most amazing woman. We will always love you, beautiful girl.

6/5/08, 9:33 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Rachel--what a truly amazing thing to do....with such a truly amazing adventure that you both had together. I am thankful everyday about this blog you I too, return time and time again to read it and share in these adventures. All my love to you my loving friend!


6/6/08, 4:59 PM  
Blogger Suki said...

I jump back to the wonderful adventure you and Joe had whenever I feel the need for a Rachel fix. Your story is amazing and one of a kind. I have no doubt that you will turn it into a beautiful work of art.

You are so beautiful in every way, my dear friend.

Love you,

6/6/08, 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Cliff & I really enjoyed living vicariously through your adventure. You truly are an amazing woman and we look forward to reading that book when it's finished.

Our many thoughts and prayers are with you.

Cliff & Jeri Kunkel

6/7/08, 9:18 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Rachel, I am so glad you had this awesome trip together. Your mom kept us up to date while you were gone, but reading your blog was amazing! What a blessing! Not many people have accomlpished what you have in your life and I look forward to reading your book. It will be a wonderful and loving dedication to the love you and Joey shared.
My prayers and thoughts are with you, Sweetie.
Love and Hugs, Auntie Beth (YaYa)

6/7/08, 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rachel - I wanted to say thank you for the beautiful way you expressed your love for Joey and his family through the photo gallery you did at the memorial. I had no idea what it would be like and yet when all the pictures were up and the light board was on display I was so moved and blessed by how you had captured his life. I know this was done out of great love by you for Joey.

Thank you for loving our precious Joey and making his life full.

I look forward to seeing your book in print. I know it will take time and many tears, but we can wait.

Rest in your mother's arms for now.

I love you - Auntie Viv

6/9/08, 7:50 AM  
Blogger Mackenzie said...

what a beautiful, beautiful idea, Rach. i can't wait to see it...but no pressure, take your time :)

missing you.

6/11/08, 12:14 PM  
Blogger Liza's Eyeview said...

Dear Rachel...

I felt the urge to re-visit this blog after I watch the slide show at the memorial today .... I just read this dedication post ... and I want to reiterate what I have told you before - that we are here for you. When you're feeling sad and missing your Cuy, we are here to love you.

I am sure the book will turn out great - I am glad you decided to start this "project of love".


6/16/08, 1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended JJ's memorial at Hope Chapel and I must say I was truly inspired by you, JJ and the Johnson Ohana that I had to go online to read more on your life with Joey. I felt a sense of true joy after reading the blogs you and JJ posted but I also felt so sad knowing his life was cut short. My prayers are with you during these hard times. I think what you are planning on doing with the book idea is an awesome idea. I would love to read it when you finish. Take care and God Bless.

Mr. K

6/16/08, 1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rachael,
I can't wait to read the book. The "Van down by the River" is a great starting point. It is already a beautiful story of love, humor and adventure.
PS I am the chubby old guy on the giant soft top surfboard who said hello to you just before paddling in.

6/21/08, 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.P.S. I am lacking in many of the fruits of the spirit- especially patience. Thus I would like to see the book in print ASAP!

6/21/08, 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Kelly Bonsell said...

Wow, Rachel! I said it once, but I want to say it again: Joey truly and deeply loved you. I can see by the blogs and your sweet, tender words at the memorial service, why he loved you so. You are a beautiful, strong girl! You embrace life just like Joey did. You said Joey meant the whole world to you. It’s clear he felt the same about you.

I’m looking forward to seeing that book in print. What a great way to honor him... and carry on your memories. Others will be inspired by your story and your love for each other. Most married couples couldn’t travel together for even a week. Definitely not a whole entire year! Your road-trip memories and life together will be with you forever. God bless you and comfort you.

All My Love to You,

6/22/08, 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning Rachel:

Just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you this am especially.

Love you - AV

6/25/08, 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So beautiful Rachel :-)
Love, Maisha

7/6/08, 5:33 PM  
Blogger anjuli paschall said...

hey rach- you went on the adventure of a lifetime with your best friend. those memories will live forever in your heart and in a book. i can't wait to read it. love you

7/7/08, 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use to live in Hawaii many years ago for 10 plus years. Some of the best days of my life. I'm a friend of Kit Lauers and I read his blog almost daily from the Hope Chapel website.
I clicked on Joeys blog and it has touched me very deeply. Though I never met Joey or Rachel I have been blessed from this blog. Rachel you said that you are going to put a book together from your trip with Joey. Please I would love to have a copy. My email if
Again this blog showing Joey's life has blessed me very much and moved me deeply. It seems that he lived fully and though I am at the half way mark in life some how this blog and Joey's life has shown me to live everyday to it's most full potential.
God Bless you Rachel.
Ben Anderson (Oregon) You are in my prayers.

10/23/08, 9:21 AM  
Blogger Dang said...

first, id like to thank you for posting about your trip. it was one of the most amazing things ive read and i can only be inspired to take a trip like this on my own.

12/8/08, 9:54 AM  
Blogger PSBear said...

How good of the Loard to put you two into each other's lives.

11/5/09, 10:44 PM  

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