Journey_LogoIt’s not often that a new journaling app is so remarkable that it causes me to change my personal daily writing habits. But Journey has won me over. It has become my daily app of choice, and I recommend giving it a try.

Keep in mind: I sample dozens of apps. I can’t help myself. As the owner of EasyJournaling.com, and curator of the BestJournalApp.com recommendation tool, I’m always on the lookout for new journaling apps that spring up. But a few months ago, I found myself coming back to this one over and over, because it was so simple, user-friendly, and tied in with my Android so seamlessly.

Over the past year, I’ve developed a sort of personal rating scale for journal-writing apps. I’ll share that in another post. I consider things like security, usability, and the ease of importing/exporting the information. Journey receives the highest rating in my mind, than any other Android app.

Journey promises to be the next big player in journal-writing applications. It’s rare that a new app can rise so quickly to a leading position in this field, but from what I can see, it’s only a matter of time.

Here are the four best reasons to give Journey a free try.

Clean, friendly interface. The app pops open instantly to a fresh clean page. Prompts of inspiration are available if you need them, but they don’t impose themselves on you if you’re ready to write. The last thing a journal-keeper wants is a cluttered screen full of buttons and options. While I appreciate a feature-rich app, with lots of choices for expressing my creativity, I’d gladly give up the screen clutter with the quick, inviting, friendly welcome of a blank page to start writing. The date, time, location, and weather (if such items are knowable from the device you’re using) are automatically logged, so you spend zero time recording those helpful details that sometimes get missed. Entries are automatically synchronized across all devices where you open your journal.

Backup, restore, and printing output. I encourage people to test the backup and exporting ability immediately after their very first entry, because we never want our precious thoughts and stories to be held captive inside the app. Journey does an excellent job here, making sure you can maintain ownership of your own data. I must preface these comments by revealing that I’m a die-hard Google Drive user. I’ve found so much value in maintaining a Google filing cabinet of documents, presentations, and spreadsheets to keep myself organized. Journey has beautifully designed backup and printing features, that integrate directly and smoothly with your Google Drive. I can make backups of my journal, that quickly appear in my Google Drive. I can can also create a PDF of any entry (or range of entries) anytime I wish, and they appear neatly in my Google Drive. I was astonished to see that I had already written 134 pages, but there’s my proof that I’m not just testing this app for Easy Journaling. It has become my journaling app of choice today!

Journey_MarketingLOGOSecurity. Those who get excited to jump into a meaningful writing practice sometimes forget to check into this very important aspect. Once again, Journey integrates with Google on this feature, which makes a very, very strong partnership where security is concerned. Those who have a Gmail or GooglePlus account know that security can be configured to be very tight, depending on your personal tolerance. In addition, you can also password-protect the app itself on your phone, so that others can’t access your journal entries just by holding your phone.

Customer service. This is where a lot of new apps get stuck. I’m not someone who is easily enticed with the latest flashy, shiny gadgets unless I can see that they are backed by a strong commitment to user experience. I feel this especially with apps that charge a little bit for their premium features. The developers of Journey (Jeromy Yap, who has accepted my invitation to come speak on my podcast, and his twin brother) have allowed me to preview the beta version of the next release of Journey, and take part of the private Google discussion group. I was impressed by the dialogue taking place between beta customers and developers, and the Jeromy’s responsiveness to everyone’s questions and requests. To me, this demonstrates that Journey is truly interested in staying on the map for adding value to the lives of people who are interested in the benefits of journal-writing. 

If I had to name one drawback of the app, I’d call out its inability to use a range of colorful, expressive fonts. The soon-to-be-released version will allow markdown, but most people are not familiar with this syntax, and might not be inclined to think in these terms when typing out their anguish, ambitions, trials and triumphs. I haven’t found this drawback to be nearly as significant as I first feared. About 90% of the times when I open my journal, all I want to do is dump words onto a page for safekeeping, knowing I can recycle or reuse the material later in any way I choose. Journey has definitely been a great companion for that. In fact, the article you just finished reading began as a journal entry in Journey.

Journey can be downloaded for Android at the Google Play Store and is also available as a Chrome extension at Chrome Web Store. The premium features, such as printing an entire range of entries to PDF (instead of just one entry at a time), are only a one-time fee of $4.50 USD. If you have questions, comments, or personal stories to share about your experience with this app, please feel welcomed to add to the comments below.