Recently I posted my Traveler’s Notebook from last year’s Little Summer JOY Project. Truly, truly, it was a *joy* to create that book and I love wandering through its pages – in some ways, more than my other books.
There’s just something about this format of memory keeping that makes me want to come back for more.
Again and again.
I think it’s partly because it encompasses the form of memory keeping that I absolutely cherish – the pairing of words, not just phrases, but actual in-depth journal entries, with photos, mixed media, and elements in a manner that brings the experience to life.
That sparks memories.
That invokes the feeling, the sentiment, the essence of a moment in life.
And I want to dive into this, in all forms, and give you the experience of what memory keeping in this form is like, so I’m writing what was, at first, a single blog post and has quickly turned into an in-depth series of posts. You can find the links to all the posts, once they’re all live, in the next section.
This Traveler’s Notebook Blog Post Series
So I tried to write this as a single blog post, but the more I delved into this topic, this project, this form of creative expression, the more I had to say about it. So rather than crowding one post with all the words and photos, I created a series of posts that will give you all the insight you need to get started with your first traveler’s notebook project.
First, What is a Traveler’s Notebook?
Good question! So there’s this whole wide world of Midori Traveler’s Notebooks, Moleskine Journaling, and Bullet Journaling that is catching the paper-loving world by storm. For the sake of simplicity, I’m grouping it all into “Traveler’s Notebooks” and leaving it there. But there are other terms, and now that you know them, you can be — slightly less confused.
Honestly, I created a Pinterest Board about it just to understand it all better. I’m still learning.
You can see that there are SO so many ways to work with this medium. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by that.
Don’t be overwhelmed. I’m guiding you through this, I promise.
Listen, the short answer is that when you’re working with a blank journal, there are a MILLION ways to customize it. And every person, and ever project, and every notebook is different.
Simple version: find what you like, do that for a while, then try other things.
I have a way of making my books, other people have ways of making other books, and any time I’m lost or confused, I start searching Pinterest and pin a bunch of things. 🙂
Honestly, format comes *after* you get materials. So let’s talk materials first.
Make Your First Book: What You Need
There are LOTS of ways to make a traveler’s notebook. All you need is blank paper. Now, you can make your own or you can buy one.
Option 1: Make Your Own
If you make your own, I have a DIY tutorial for that using recycled computer paper from your office. That’s the $1 version IF you have the materials. Otherwise, you’re likely spending the same amount to make it as you would be to buy it.
If you want a different DIY, there are A TON of tutorials out there. Google and search to your heart’s content.
Option 2: Buy It
If you choose the buying option, most 60-page books are under $10. To me, it’s worth the buy. The question is – which one?
Honestly, it depends on what you’re looking for and how much you want to spend.
Moleskine | Last summer, I bought a 3-pack of Moleskine notebooks for my Little Summer JOY project and Yoga Journal. Personally, I absolutely love the feel of Moleskine, especially their hardcover journals. But, unfortunately, the hardcover journals are too limiting in terms of scrapbooking and wouldn’t hold the embellishments I knew I would add to this project.
So, for this project, I bought a 3-pack of unlined Moleskine journals for around $10. Dimensions are 5″ x 8.5″. They come in unlined, plain paper (off-white), grid paper, and lined paper. The only downside to this notebook is that I did find it to bleed through a little bit. I’m okay with that, but if that would bother you, you might want the next option.
Midori | Now I have never used the Midori paper, but I’ve seen enough about it that I want to try at least one of their notebooks this year because I hear that they’re thicker (and there is less bleed through) than Moleskine books. Dimensions for the “Personal Size” are 4.3″ x 8.3″.
I’m planning to buy just the insert, not the full cover and book, for under $10. There are ruled ones, grid ones, and unruled ones. There are also watercolor grade paper inserts as well.
Of course, if you want the entire experience, you can buy the leather-bound exterior as well, but that quickly escalates to a $50 price tag. Worth it if you have the cash, but not at all necessary for this project.
How to Use It
As a journal | Write your stories, your thoughts, your experiences all in one place. Keep it simple. Just write. Stamp it or write in the date. Leave space, if you want, to come back later and add details and embellishments.
As a bullet journal | Bullet journaling is a method of using blank pages to create your own planner. It can be ANYTHING. That’s the point. So use examples to figure out your format and, agian, just write.
As a scrapbook | Add photos, paper, and embellishments to create unique layouts. It’s a great way to use favorite supplies and things you have around the house.
As a sketch book | Or, in this case, as a place to practice watercolor painting and develop a new skill. Sketch small objects, paint them, then go over those objects with a pen or marker. Get creative. See where it takes you.
As a hybrid memory keeping project | My projects are definitely somewhere in between all of these options. That’s the beauty of this style of book. It can be anything – and everything. It’s an experiment. An exploration.
I hope this inspired you to consider the beloved traveler’s notebook! But certainly, if you want more coaching, or more inspiration, sign up below and I promise I’ll get you there. Cheers!