Finished - at last!
With a self-imposed deadline looming, I’ve been eyeing the stuff on my worktable and wondering if I was ever going to get my cruise journal finished. I’ve said before how challenging I find creating a journal from a cruise holiday, partly because the days are fairly similar in routine, but also because they generate so little ephemera!
This time, I decided to keep it simple, thinking that keeping a record of what we did when and with whom was probably going to suffice. I also thought I’d try the very popular “Travellers Notebook” format for the first time. These long and thin pages have been around for ages - ever since we’ve been going to Japan - and I’ve considered them many many times. The Japanese stationery stores have all the “stuff” to go with them and it’s all very tempting. But somehow, I’m not convinced that the slim portrait format lends itself to travel journalling, where I naturally gravitate to a landscape book.
Another factor that’s been putting me off is the paper quality. I know, Japanese paper is supposed to be top notch, but my experience with the Midori brand hasn’t been great. So, I created my own book using 100gsm Pioneer paper from my local stationers, printing the pages using a template from My Life All in One Place.
I worked out the booklet format, allowing a double page spread for each day and put in the basic details.
I also included the map and itinerary from the cruise schedule. It all fitted well and so far so good.
I had some Japanese themed paper left from a journal I made a few years ago and made the cover from that, not forgetting to build in the pocket flap for a few bits and pieces. But then I realised I’d made a mistake on one of the pages and had forgotten to include two May 4ths - we were going to cross the date line!
Let’s call this the practice version then! I quickly made a second one, complete with the extra page (which meant I had to reformat the whole booklet order, of course).
As soon as we arrived in Japan, I bought a leather cover for my journal, unsure at this point whether I’d work directly into it - meaning I’d need to carry it around everywhere - or whether I’d carry on with my usual habit of using a small notebook to scribble in and then transcribe my notes in my best handwriting later.
The two little charms came later…
The Hello Kitty charms are everywhere, created as souvenirs of the various regions and tourist spots around the country. I bought mine in Kanazawa, at the Kenrokuen garden. The small fabric flower came from a temple near Hitachinaka.
Our days in Japan were so busy and I did very little but collect ephemera and scribble in my notebook. By the time we boarded the ship, I was already some way behind and had some catching up to do. But days at sea are long, no? There are hours of doing nothing?
Hah! I set up my little workstation on the desk and made a list of my good intentions!
By the time I arrived home, I’d actually done very little. I did, however, manage to write in each day the basics of what we’d done and with whom - my original intention. But I had that information in my little notebook too - there really was no point in simply copying it across. I wanted to be a bit more creative in my journal, to add a few details that were not here on my blog nor in my Project Life (because oh yes, I kept that going too!) Taking one day at a time, I worked my way through the huge bag of ephemera, recycling much of it (why do I feel the need to keep the daily newssheet we receive whilst on board? I know I’m not alone - I threw away hundreds of them when we cleared Mummy’s bungalow)
Anyway, starting at the beginning, including whatever bits and pieces I could find, I began work on the first pages.
I was already struggling with the quantity of Japanese bits and pieces I’d collected - Japan really is a journaller’s dream.
So I layered the receipts and the cards and the ticket stubs, trying my best to record small stories that I didn’t think I’d written anywhere else.
Where necessary, I made a small pocket for the water-soaked map we’d used in Nikko for instance, adding one or two phrases here and there from travel scrapbooking sets I’ve collected over the years. The Pioneer paper was holding up well.
Suddenly, we were on board the ship and even though we were still in Japan, there were fewer tickets and not so many stories to tell for some reason (except a Trivia win, of course <g>
There’s always room for a Turkish map fold, however 🥰
Sea days meant less to record, though the May 4th fun was a must-do.
After all, I’d put this second page in especially, hadn’t I?
At least on the ship I’d established the habit of noting down the events of the day on the left hand page, so by the time I came to work on adding all the bits and pieces, the framework was already there.
Some days were easier than others - if I had a long list of “spottings” then the page was done in no time.
But I’ll admit, the vertical page format wasn’t easy and I struggled with some pages in particular. I seemed to have either way too much to include or not enough and that long thin space was tricky to fill.
I will admit that it was beginning to fizzle out a bit. I wasn’t adding quite so many details during the day and there was more space to fill. I couldn’t find the stuff from places where I felt sure I’d picked up a card so relied more on photos I’d taken to complete the page.
So it was quite a relief to come to the last page and say “done”!!
The inside flap of the back cover is filled with mostly Japanese leaflets and a couple of other fun bits like this packaging from an eyeliner I bought.
I’ve now removed the journal part from the leather cover and am working out how to attach the charms to the booklet - maybe with a band around it? I need to add some kind of label to identify it, in any case.
Will I use the Travellers Notebook format again? I’m not sure. Maybe not for a travel journal…and definitely not for the up and coming adventure, for which I need to crack on and break open a new sketchbook!