Travel Journals continued: the pros and cons
I’m still dithering over the format of my Road Trip Journal. Let me share some of my thoughts.
This is the default format, a conventional A5 landscape, spiral bound sketchbook with sturdy black covers. It will withstand a fair bit of throwing around, pulling apart (and reassembly) and the paper quality is good enough to be used with both wet and dry media as well as holding up to having things stuck to it.
It’s this format that I used for our road trip through Oregon and Washington state last year.
There was enough room to pile in the ephemera and gather a few thoughts as well.
Some years ago, I tried the same size but in portrait format. We were driving from Toronto via Ottawa and on through Vermont and New Hampshire on that trip and visited the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, as you can see.
It soon becomes clear that the portrait format doesn’t work and I switch the book around to use it landscape, instead.
A double page spread offers a great chance to capture almost anything. This page tells the story of checking in for a flight in Wellington, NZ.
I began using this size having bought a kit from Studio Calico (I think), just before our South West Road Trip.
It had the advantage of a whole lot of coordinating stickers and words (some of which I’m still using!) and was the first time that I began using hotel feedback forms and suchlike as journal prompts.
I have tried other formats, including this small square sketchbook, which is about 6” square.
I liked the way that I could create pages from museum brochures and scribble notes on the back of postcards, which fitted neatly into the binding.
But ultimately, it was too small a page to capture everything I wanted to put in it and I felt restricted by the size.
So the following year, for our European trip, I tried the next size up. This one is about 9” square, and yes, you’ve guessed, it was way too big!
I ended up placing wide margins around thing and using large letters to fill in the spaces.
It still ended up stuffed, too.
Once I got my Bind it All, I was keen to make my own journals, so I tried a different variation on the A4 and made this long thin book.
Sometimes, it worked really well. (Those are left over letters from that Studio Calico kit, by the way)
I especially liked the way I could catalogue things, like bike helmets in Saigon and our supper in Laos.
It was good for capturing scenes and the flavour of a day. But actually, it’s very unstable and rather poorly balanced as a book to look at and flops about all over the place. That short binding isn’t enough to support those big pages, so I’m afraid, that was a one-off.
My other favoured format is very suitable for cruises and was inspired by a book I bought in Japan, which has a pocket on each page.
The bottom half of each page is folded up, to create a pocket in which to tuck all kinds of bits and pieces. Of course, there’s not much room for stories and so on!
But it was that format I recreated for our latest cruise and it worked really well once again. This time, I used some clear plastic sheets and used my Cinch to bind the pages together.
Each page is an A4 sheet with a fold in it. On some pages, there are flaps and extra surfaces to contain drawings and stories. Others are simply pockets of ephemera.
Whilst I enjoy the anticipation of creating something unique for this year’s trip, I’ll gather a few more ideas from here and there. I’ve got a Pinterest board of Art Journals which are so inspiring, MaryAnn Moss puts together the most creative of travel journals for her trips and I drool over them, too. I purchased ALi Edward’s Travel Journal class a couple of years ago, thinking that might make preparation a little easier, but you know what? I need to do it my way. Other people’s methods don’t work for me any more than mine will work for you.
But it’s fun doing the research, isn’t it?