Before going to New York I had this idea to start a journal. On our previous trips my wife had done one of these and I quite liked it. I’ve never done one before for the simple reason that my wrist hurts if I write for any real period of time. The idea of writing notes of my day has never really appealed. But when I looked into the journal scene I found that it was more important to be creative than to write an essay. People create all sorts of interesting entries in their journals using stickers, drawings, stamps, scraps of stuff from the day and even use little printers to add photos. The important thing, it seems, is to spend time making something for those times in the future when you want to look back.
So I did some research into notebooks and journals. My everyday notebook is a Field Notes but they’re not good if you start adding things into the notebook. I needed something flexible that could grow as I added memorabilia to it. What I found was this beautiful Japanese product called the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. It’s not really a notebook but more of a system. Expensive, yes, but it’s not a one time use product. It changes and grows as you need it to.
It’s beautiful. The leather has aged wonderfully over the past year and that outer cover is what stays with you on all your travels. Inside you simply replace the journal with a fresh one for the new trip. I love that idea so much because I love to infuse objects with story and history. I would sit at the posh desk in our hotel room with a view of Manhattan and Central Park and doodle.
On the outside I’ve added a Leuchtturm1917 pen loop to hold my pen. I used a Lamy Safari fountain pen which doesn’t bleed much through the paper. It’s a good cheap fountain pen that is very nice to use.
So inside I have a little zipped secure area so things I collect don’t fall out. There’s also another card area for holding things like important documents and such. I stored tickets and flight information there. I have a few cat shaped paper clips to hold other things together and some NYC Washi MT tape. The great thing about the tape is it’s non-destructive so I can move things if I make a mistake. I’m a total journal convert.
It’s all about the joy of spending time making an entry. I can’t write much so I use a stencil to do the dates. I draw the weather. I add Polaroids. I make bullet points. All that I can manage. A year later it’s one of my favourite things from our trip. It’s imprecise and totally unperfected. I’d spend weeks making the perfect Instagram print on demand book and it would be too clinical. This journal thing. I love it. I need to buy a little Fuji Instax camera or printer for our next trip.
Things I use
- Midori TRAVELER’S Notebook // Brown
- Midori TRAVELER’S Notebook // Refill 008 : Zipper Pocket
- Midori TRAVELER’S Notebook // Refill 004 : Pocket Stickers
- Midori TRAVELER’S Notebook // Refill 020 : Kraft File
- New York Washi Masking Tape
- Midori “Cat Sitting” Mini D-Clip
- Lamy Safari – Yellow
- Leuchtturm1917 Pen Loop (Red)