I have a problem, and I didn’t realize it was a problem until it was pointed out by my best friend. There is a reason why she is my best friend; she drives me up the wall, the only person I will probably get arrested with, and pointer of my problems.
It was during a snowboarding trip in Whistler, BC that she finally decided to have an intervention with me. The conversation went something like this. We were getting in the car after a long day of snowboarding and snowmobiling (where I almost ran over our guide).
Me: Can you hand me the parking pass.
Me: for my travel journal
Aimee: you want to keep the parking pass for your travel journal?
Aimee: Heather, you seriously have a problem.
Me: No I don’t
Aimee: Yes, you do. Hi, my name is Heather, and I am a traveling journal hoarder. I will save everything including a sticker I found on the ground for my travel journal.
Me: In my defense, it was a cool free sticker
Aimee: You have a problem.
Me: No I don’t
Aimee: yes you do.
In this argument continue to we got back to the Inn.
Okay, I will admit I do have a problem because I have spent some (a lot) money, time, and energy in creating a rocking traveling journal. And you would think after all this time; my friends will be used to my weird habit of sticking every business card, hand drawn map, parking pass, tour sticker and other things into my travel journal.
But I have, probably, in my opinion, one of the coolest travel journals.
So how did this habit/problem come about?
When I was sixteen, I went to Europe for the first time. My grandmother (who was taking my cousin and me) gave us both a travel journal. My cousin didn’t write much in it, but me, any chance I got I wrote into it. When I got back, I made my first scrapbook based on that travel journal.
I would write everything down and then transfer everything I had collected along the way into a scrapbook. But the problem was it took too much time and by the time I was getting started, I was on to the next adventure.
Plus, hauling everything home and trying to figure out what went where wasn’t working for me.
Next step came after a trip to Alaska when I discovered that I had somehow hauled about 10 pounds of stuff and only used half of it. It was around that time I discovered Pinterest and found a whole group of people who were just as addicted to travel journals as I was. There were so many, with awesome travel journals.
I tried the Smash book, and even though the concept was great. I would put too much stuff in it, and end up having the exploding book (usually on the trip). Plus, as much as I love the Smash books, they were on the way out when I discovered them. So it became harder and harder to find new ones. Plus, after a couple of trips, I now have a collection of Smash book and scrapbooks.
Next was the use of the Composition Book. It was cheap, but it took a while to set up, and the papers had a tendency to crinkle. Plus, it didn’t look nice afterward, something that a fifth grader would do. It was on another trip to Colorado that I discovered, I didn’t like my planning part with my actual travel part. Plans have a way of changing, so this book didn’t allow for the evolution of the traveling.
So it was back to the drawing boards for me.
In October 2014, I discovered Hobonichi Planners and Tomoe River Paper – and it was like the heavens opened up, and the angels started to sing.
For the last couple of years, my planner has come from the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan). This is my planner, work diary, home life scrapbook and everything in between. The paper is amazing and thin, there are a very few things that bleed through, making this idea. Plus the layout allows you to use it how you see fit. And I thought I could use it for travel journal as well.
But there were two drawbacks. One, my whole work life is in that planner, and if it gets stolen, I am screwed. Two, my whole work life is in that planner, which means I am dragging my work on vacation.
I tried to move to the moleskins but it exploded in the middle of the plane. Nothing like having everything going all over the place as a way to introduce you to everyone who has the misfortune of sitting near you.
So what to do, I want a rocking travel journal, but I need something that I can actually use and will not explode on me.
It was one day while I was flipping through my Hobonichi that inspiration hit. I really like Tomoe River Paper, it’s lightweight, and in the two years of using it my Hobonichi, it hasn’t exploded. I bet Hobonichi had to do a blank notebook.
I am glad I didn’t take that bet, turns out they do not have a blank Hobonichi notebook, but a little more digging on the internet and I came across this Esty listening that had blank Tomoe River Paper notebooks (in the same size as my Hobonichi).
And to my amazement, it worked great. The only thing was I need something I could plan my trips in and something to keep all that I have discovered in it.
So another search on Pinterest and tons and tons of YouTube video led me to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. If you are not familiar with it, this is a kind of throw together, everything is customizable, notebook/planner/dairy, that is based on taking out and putting in different notebooks. There are tons of handmade ones out there. I chose a cool handmade one, mostly because I didn’t want to invest too much into it. The real one comes in leather; mine is made of cloth. It also has a bunch of inserts (or you can make them yourself).
And the rest is history.
I still travel with two books now. One is the Midori, or at least my version of it. This one contains all my travel information, reservations, credit card, money, and a small notebook for jotting down things. It works as my planner and carry all. I put stuff that I pick up through the day in it, including an area where I can place all those stickers I get on tours.
And my travel journal, full of all my memories, stays back at the hotel, waiting for the end of the day and a glass of wine, where I will tell it all about my journey. Each evening I transfer all my discoveries to its page.
In another post, I will talk about how to make a rocking traveling journal.
I have listed all the information from this post down below