Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Journal Details

It's the final week or two of packing before we start our trip to SE Europe. I'm not completely packed but I do have a brand new notebook ready to become my first journal of the trip.
I'm kinda particular about the type of notebook I use. It will be my constant companion, reference, and project during our travels. On our last trip I filled up 4 notebooks.  I started the trip with a new notebook, but the rest were bought on the road. 

The perfect notebook must easily move in and out of the front pocket of my day pack and thus be not  much larger than 6" x 8.5" and not be spiral bound or have clasps. I've found that a 6 x 8.5 with a saddle stitched or stapled binding is perfect; bigger, it would not fit in my pack; smaller, and I'm barely able to write more than a few words per line.  And about 100 sheets of paper (200 sides) is the best. More than that can be too heavy, especially if it's hardcover notebook. Typically a notebook will last a month - about 3 pages a day.

Lines. I prefer lined sheets to blank, and prefer lined or blank over quad-rule, but all three will work. I also like sheets that have some sort of header at the top where I can write the date and place. Several recent notebooks have had little weather icons on the header that one can circle to indicate the weather for the day: sunny, cloudy, rain, etc. Neat!

Lugging the notebook around in my day pack allows me to write any time there is a break in the action: on a plane or train; in a restaurant. In addition new friends can add  their contact info and the occasional doodle. But usually I write every night after dinner, shower, and laundry are done and in between uploading photos to flickr and blogging.

I write on the right-hand side page only with a  mechanical pencil with  .5 mm soft lead. Black or blue pens work as well as long as they don't bleed through the page.  Initially I  leave the left side page blank anticipating corrections and additions. Also I bring a small roll of scotch tape to turn ephemera into memorabilia.

My first notebook for this trip was bought in Mexico during the final week of our last trip. It's a purple french ruled stapled notebook (cuaderno franc├ęs grapa), 15.5 cm (6.1 inches) x 2 cm (8.3 inches), has 100 lined pages (hojas rayadas), and is made by Scribe (www.scribe.com.mx). I'll buy subsequent notebooks in local stationary stores as we go. It's a great way to meet folks and learn a bit about local culture and language.

Here's a journal page from March 2012.

[Thanks to Jay, who is a fan of Stapled Rhodia notebooks,  for the question that inspired this post.]


jaydro said...

Well, crap, you're on your way to eastern Europe and I didn't even know it! Hadn't seen a Flickr photo from you lately, so I decided to check out your blog, where I was pleased to find your long-promised entry on journaling (along with a shout-out to me, thanks!), and then scrolling down I found out about your trip. I had no idea! I blame the death of Google Reader, which was a great way for me to keep up with my favorite blogs. I've let things go since its untimely demise. :-/

Anyway, bon voyage!

john said...

Thanks Jay! Our trip is off to a less-than-perfect start as you'll see in our next post.