I have a thing about keeping the days, of saving the memories in the form of a picture a day and writing this blog. When we’re travelling, I make a journal – usually one like this but I’ve learned, over the years, that if I don’t keep it going whilst we’re on the road, then it just doesn’t work.
What this means, of course, is that I now have a shelf stacked with fantastic memories of our travels – so much more fun than the old photo albums, I think. But before every trip, I find myself agonising about how to make the new one different from the rest – I don’t necessarily want to do the same thing each time.
Much depends on the type of trip we’re making. If it’s a Road Trip, then I can claim the backseat as the portable studio for the Artist in Residence. I can use the driving time to keep up to date, gathering ephemera and replenishing supplies at every Michaels or Hobby Lobby we pass I make sure we call at. But for a short trip or a cruise, it’s rather different.
A cruise is low on ephemera. Tickets are retained by the agent to reclaim the fees, the information and port guides are black and white and not at all interesting from a visual point of view. In addition, the days which are most worthy of recording – those in port – are the busiest, and the days when there is the most time to mess about with scissors and glue are the least interesting.
As a result, I usually settle for a small Moleskine “cahier”, which I can carry with me and scribble in wherever I am. Last year, in the Black Sea, I went one step further and stuck in maps and other bits and pieces, making a kind of hybrid notebook/journal which worked pretty well.
For our Japan trip in February, I chose a similar format but developed it in a different way, making the most of the huge quantity of stickers and other ephemera which Japan does so well.
It proved the perfect size to collect the rubber stamp images from stations and best of all, make great use of the washi tape we’ve all come to love.
But for this cruise, I wanted something different and whilst in Tokyo, found the perfect book. It’s by Midori and is a spiral ring notebook with pockets. Not only is there a little space for drawing/sticking/writing, each page has a pocket to tuck bits and pieces in. With exactly the same number of pages as we had days, this was it.
In the meantime, I continued to get inspiration from other travel journallers – Mary Ann Moss creates wonderful free-form records of her travels and I always admire the design and layout skills of Ali Edwards, who launched her Scrapbook on the Road online workshop with perfect timing. Ultimately, though, I have my own style and though I admire and take inspiration from these people, I know what works for me.
The Midori book proved excellent and I had no trouble keeping it up to date without too much effort. The less than pretty but valuable souvenirs like Indian Customs forms could be tucked into the pocket, whilst the page proved to be the perfect size for Pogo printouts and weather forecasts.
For the first time, I took along a tiny bottle of Modpodge and enjoyed being able to decoupage cuttings and add a bit of strength to the thinnish paper pocket where needed.
Best of all, there’s a spiral binding on which to hang the journal bling!
But I still carried my (pink) Moleskine cahier, now adorned with an Indian Goddess and a few red fingerprints from that printing block I bought in Cochin. Sometimes, my sketches were, well, sketchy (!), other times, I was able to add more detail by drawing our guide for the day and scribbling down other information.
I could also add a few Pogo prints, which make it a little more interesting to look at.
The thing is, I don’t feel I’m done with this trip and I’ve still got another journal in me which I want to create as a bit of a test run. Quite how it will turn out, who knows?
Watch this space!