My Midori Traveler’s Notebook

I have at least 50 blank books. I’ve written in a few of them, but many are still blank, because I don’t want to screw them up. I’ve got unused books that I’ve been hauling around since I was a damn teenager.

When I worked at the art college, I bought a new pack of Franklin Covey planner inserts every year. Fifteen years. Wasted a lot of pages, skipped a lot of days.

As a youngun, I kept a personal diary full of Thoughts and Feelings – mainly because I was broke and bored and had nothing to read and needed something to occupy myself, something to keep my hands busy while I nursed the single cup of coffee I’d panned up enough to afford.

Reading about my 20-year-old self’s exploits horrified me; I was a terrible kid. Selfish, shallow, thoughtless. It was jarring, and I haven’t really been able to journal since then, because I don’t want to revisit my 40-year-old self on my deathbed and discover that I’ve been awful my whole life.

ANYway, I rely on bullet journaling, and I do love my fountain pens. I researched notebooks with good paper, and was an instant away from ordering a Hobonichi, before realizing that the structured approach wouldn’t work for me.

Enter the Traveler’s Notebook. There are lots of “fauxdoris” on the market, and they look great, but I got a Midori for a good price on Amazon. Wooooorth it: the leather is spectacular. (I did debate for probably 3 weeks as to whether to get brown or black. Opted in the end for brown simply because I keep the house dark and wanted to be able to more easily locate the book.)

If you’re not familiar with Traveler’s Notebooks, they are simple things: a cover, with elastic strung down the center. You slip notebooks under the elastic. You can have multiple books with different uses and types of paper. You can replace them when full, toss them if you screwed something up, pull one out and use it alone if bringing the full notebook isn’t convenient, etc.

The fauxdoris come in a million sizes and materials. The Midoris come in passport size and standard; a page in the standard is about 4.5×8″ , which seemed odd to me, but it turns out that I LOVE the size.

Making your own booklets is really easy. A Midori #13 insert is about $8, which isn’t a lot of money, but a $10 ream of Staples sugarcane paper makes a lot of booklets and is lovely for fountain pens.

Here’s how I set mine up:

3 booklets.

Bullet Journal: for daily logging. I printed a grid on Staples sugarcane paper.

Collections: traditionally would be in the same book as a Bullet Journal; I’ve just moved them to a separate sheaf of paper. I reference the page numbers in the bullet journal as usual. These are lists, notes, diagrams, measurements, project plans, etc. This is a Midori #13 Lightweight (Tomoe River) insert. I adore this paper.

Journal: Trying to do Thoughts and Feelings, but still pretty uptight about it. Instead I goof off and play with inks and script styles. Right now this is a booklet of half sugarcane, half Rhodia dot.

When the bullet/journal sections fill up, I replace them. The collections section will stay (and take a lot longer to fill up b/c the lightweight paper allows a ton of pages.)

I also sewed a zipper pocket/pen loop/card holder insert, just because I could. I’m not sure I’ll keep it, but whatever, I was excited.

The little silver charm is something I bought on Yahoo!Japan years ago.

So, if you love flexibility, and especially if you have anxiety about “messing up” a notebook, consider this approach. I LOVE IT SO MUCH YOU GUYS SO MUCH

(I’m trying to talk myself out of a second one, a black one to devote just to fiction-related notes. The whole POINT of the system is that you can stick new segments in & have the whole thing with you at once. I’d have to either carry them both – ugh – or carry just one, which defeats the purpose, but… blaaaack. In the mean time, I’m just flipping the book over and writing fiction-related stuff in the other direction. Topsy-turvy book.)

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