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A notebook with which you travel is more than a notebook; it’s your partner, your friend, your co-pilot. It needs to be as resilient as it is beautiful, as inspiring as it is simple.
Sure, you could take any old spiral or six-ring notebooks on your adventures, but journaling on the road should feel special, not like you’re scratching out a grocery list.
That’s where the Traveler’s Notebook comes in, the brainchild of the folks over at Traveler’s Company.
Based on ideas of functional elegance, the Traveler’s Notebook is reflective of the minimalist Japanese aesthetic. There are no bulky binders or rigid spines, no heavy covers or awkward clasps, just clean, comfortable design.
And get this… they’re modular!!!
Yep, you read that right, my friend; the Traveler’s Notebook is designed by the user for the user, so no matter where your wandering soul takes you, your notebook will be by your side, primed for action.
Here’s everything you need to know about these wonderful notebooks!
How Modular Traveler’s Notebooks Work
The customizable features of the Traveler’s Notebook are split into four categories. You simply pick which option in each category suits your aesthetic and travel goals, then fit them all together to create your ultimate sidekick on the road.
Where you go, it goes, gathering memories with you, not just on its pages, but its cover. A well-worn Traveler’s Notebook is a sign of a life well-lived and many paths trodden.
So, without further ado, let’s explore each customizable category of the Traveler’s Notebook
Choose Your Cover
Traveling notebooks are very personal accouterments, but I think we’d all be lying if we said there wasn’t at least a small element of showiness involved.
Yes, the contents will be private, but the cover is going to be seen all around the world, so it has to look fly!
The covers offered by Traveler’s Company are all crafted from super thick high quality leather with holes punched for threading bands (more on those in a moment).
A no-nonsense creation, they’re as plain as can be, with absolutely zero embellishments, but there are some phenomenal colors to choose from — Black, brown, camel, a sort of gray-blue, and olive.
The by-design essentialism of these leather covers strikes a balance between flexibility and durability… but invulnerability was never the goal.
Intended to age like a fine catcher’s mitt, the cover of your Traveler’s Notebook will show signs of organic wear over time, telling stories before anyone even flicks through the pages within.
Each imperfection corresponds to a chapter in your life, and the more time you and your notebook spend together, the more broken-in it will feel in terms of how you hold it, how you carry it, and how it conforms to your custom notebook configuration.
Choosing The Bands
Next up, you’ll choose the bands you want to keep all your memories safe and secure within your custom cover. Made of elastic, they’re responsible for lashing the cover to your pages and keeping your notebook closed when not in use.
You can also pick up some additional bands for lashing multiple different inserts together in a single notebook so yours can be as multifaceted as you are!
These connective bands are available in black and camel, but the larger binding bands are available in black, orange, dark brown, mustard yellow, light brown, forest green, yellow, deep blue, sky blue, and red.
They arrive as a pack of five as part of the Traveler’s “repair kit”.
If you buy a complete pre-assembled notebook to begin with, it’ll arrive with matching covers and bands, but as a completely modular design, you can purchase additional bands after the fact and fine-tune your notebook to your liking.
What’s more, the cardboard envelope in which your notebook will arrive should have yet another band wrapped around it, so I’d recommend keeping this as a spare.
Choosing Your Notebook Inserts
Now for the most important part of your custom notebook… the pages that will hold your itineraries, your cherished memories, your poetry, your prose, your secrets, your desires… whatever warrants some pen-to-paper action.
Thankfully, there is a myriad of different options available so you can craft the notebook you both want and need — No compromises!
Not only can you pick and choose what sort of style paper goes in your Traveler’s Notebook, but you can also choose the weight of the paper as well. So, if you wanted a grid style on sketch paper or a lined style on watercolor paper, you can have it!
Your options are as follows…
Of course, If you’ve got a good pair of scissors and a hole punch, you can cut down some paper to size yourself, so really, you can use any you can get your hands on, which is pretty neat if you ask me.
Choose Your Additional Inserts
Want your Traveler’s Notebook to act as your wallet too? Or perhaps you’ll be using it as a traditional dairy and need constantly refreshing dated paper?
Well, however the notebook of your dreams functions, you can make it a reality with additional Traveler’s Company inserts.
These off-the-wall inserts are all about diversifying your notebook in simple, effective ways, which is very much in alignment with the early 1900s Bauhaus philosophy that problems should be solved honestly and elegantly.
The multi-functionality provided by these handy extras means you can travel harder and for longer with less baggage!
Here are your options…
- Preprinted daily, weekly, and monthly planners
- Kraft file holders — Exactly what you need for holding various maps and other loose bits of paper.
- Zipper case — Holds your change, your guitar picks, your interesting pebbles… whatever small bits and bobs you take with you or pick up on your adventures.
- Card file — For credit cards and the like.
- Three-fold file — For holding A4 documents in a neat, travel-friendly fashion.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of extra functionality!
Choose Your Accessories
To give your Traveler’s Notebook the full Swiss-army knife treatment, additional accessories include…
- Pen holders
- Repair kits (as mentioned earlier)
- Brass clips
- Sticky notes
- Pocket holder — Will fit another credit card or a driver’s permit
- Film pocket holder — Primarily for pictures
- Double-sided stickers
How To Choose The Components Of Your Traveler’s Notebook
There are two factors to consider when building your dream notebook, functionality and style.
For purely stylistic elements, such as the cover color, simply choose whatever you feel looks the best. And when it comes to functionality, the choice of primary insert is the biggest consideration.
Choose whoever paper will make the type of usage you have in mind easier. For instance, if you’ll be doing sums and drawing out graphs, grid paper will be best, and if you have trouble writing neatly without a guide, the lined paper is the one for you.
That said, not knowing exactly what is wanted in or needed of a Traveler’s Notebook is pretty common — The side effect of giving people so many options.
So, if you’re struck by a wicked case of option paralysis, I’d highly recommend keeping things nice and simple to begin with. Choose your cover, your bands, and your primary insert.
Once assembled, carry your notebook with you on a few minor adventures and allow necessity to be the mother of your invention, so to speak. In other words, it might take a few trips to figure out what you really want your notebook to be capable of.
Alternatively, you could pick up a standard starter kit and let Traveler’s Company decide what you get. It’s not the best option in my eyes, but it removes the burden of design while still leaving you in control of the bare essentials.
How Many Different Size Traveler’s Notebooks Are There?
One area I feel the Traveler’s Company could expand upon their modular notebook range with a few extra sizes, for currently, there are only two available.
The passport size is, you’ve guessed it, the size of a passport, and with the proper accessories, could serve as a means of storing your passport when you’re on the move. ‘
There isn’t much room for getting creative with writings or sketches in this form factor, but it’s a no-brainer for essential scribblings.
Whilst still highly portable, the standard size gives you much more wiggle room to express yourself on your travels.
Both form factors are roughly 10 mm thick and fit comfortably in your pocket.
- Passport size: 134mm x 98mm (5.3” x 3.9”)
- Standard size: 220mm x 120mm (8.6” x 4.7”)
Insert Fitting Guide
It couldn’t be easier to fit inserts in your Traveler’s Notebook. Here’s how it’s done!
- Step 1 — Find the middle of the insert.
- Step 2 — Wrap the connecting band around the middle of the insert
- Step 3 (Optional) — Close the insert, then wrap the same connective band around another insert so that their “spines” are facing one another.
- Step 4 — Close the inserts as though they’re a singular book, tuck them into the cover, then wrap the cover band around the middle of the inserts to secure everything in place.
Why Should You Pick Up A Traveler’s Notebook?
I’m a Traveler’s Notebook mega-fan but not for no reason. Below you’ll find the main benefits of these awesome offerings.
Compact Form Factors
Unless you travel with an entourage willing to help you carry your stuff everywhere, you most likely aim to travel light, and the compact form factor of the Traveler’s Notebook allows you to do so.
Even if you deck it out with tons of custom inserts and features, it remains pocket-friendly and lightweight, so it’s never a burden.
Other customizable options on the market, such as ring binder systems, are bulky by nature, even before you start adding inserts, but Traveler’s Notebooks are sleek and slim, no matter what.
I’m not trying to start a war on ring binder systems here, but once again, I’m making comparisons to illustrate the superiority of the Traveler’s Notebook.
If you want to add or remove inserts to a ring binder system on the go, there’s no other option but to wrestle with the noisy rings — It’s not the most discrete approach in the world.
By contrast, you can customize a Traveler’s Notebook in total silence. You’re not going to incur the wrath of your fellow travelers, you’re not going to wake anyone up on your flight, and you’re not going to accidentally trap your finger in the rings as I have far too many times.
The Inserts Are Secure
Held by the center, your inserts are safe and sound in your Traveler’s Notebook, unlike those in ring binders, liable to be torn out when the going gets even a little bit tough.
It’s Easy To Assemble & Disassemble
Not only is the Traveler’s Notebook resilient and super-duper quiet, it’s impeccably easy to construct and deconstruct, even in cramped spaces such as plane cabins or buses.
But this isn’t just an awesome benefit on the go, but beforehand as well. If you need to tailor your Traveler’s Notebook to a specific journey, you can easily slide a few inserts in or out, taking a little bit of stress out of the journey prep.
Or, if you need a smaller notebook for a trip within a trip, you can remove an insert from the cover and take it on a solo mission.
This is fantastic if you only need a bit of reference info, want to make a couple of notes, or need to draw some quick sketches that can be reunited with the rest of the notebook after the fact.
The leather cover is built to last forever, no matter how gnarly your adventures become, which is more than you can say about ring binder systems that inevitably get bent out of shape before your trip’s even through.
After a great many years, the band of your Traveler’s Notebook might give up on you, but by that point you’ll have plenty of backups.
It Can Replace Your Wallet
With the right accessories, your Traveler’s Notebook can completely replace that bulky wallet or purse of yours. Use cash? Pick up the zip bag accessory. Use card? One of the pocket inserts is perfect for you.
And why stop there?
You can use your notebook as a map, ticket, calendar, to-do list, and grocery list holder. Keeping everything in one place means there’s less to remember when you head out and reduces the chances you’ll lose something on your travels.
By now you of course know that the Traveler’s Notebook is highly customizable, but I couldn’t lay down a list of reasons to buy one without mentioning it again.
This is a notebook that evolves with you and adapts for every trip on the horizon and beyond.
In fact, as the Traveler’s Notebook is technically never complete due to there always being more options available, it’s fair to say that simply owning one is a journey in of itself.
How To Use Your Traveler’s Notebook
Needless to say, such a versatile product has a million and one uses, too many to list here today, but I’m going to note down some popular applications to get your creative juices flowing.
Use It For Bullet Journaling
The long, narrow profile of the Traveler’s Notebook makes it a shoo-in for a bullet journaler — The inserts are practically begging for some extensive lists!
Plus, you can add sections as you go to categorize your lists to your heart’s content. No matter how busy your bullet journal becomes, you’ll be able to return to information quickly to help you out in tight spots.
I’d recommend using grid or lined paper for bullet journaling, and a heavier weight is a wise choice so you don’t indent the pages beneath when marking your bullet points.
Putting Your Thoughts On The Page
Journaling is, at its core, all about spilling your mind and heart onto the page, so you can process and remember your experiences, and when you’re traveling, you’ll have more to write than ever before.
Here are some tips on getting started…
What Are You Grateful For?
Gratitude journaling involves writing about the great things in your life in order to stay positive and not take them for granted.
If you like, you can just write three things you’re grateful for each day, but elaborating with a paragraph on each one makes the process more rewarding.
Our brains are nice and loose in the morning, making it the perfect time to get creative. Take a few moments when you wake to write out three pages in your Traveler’s Notebook.
Don’t second-guess yourself or try to self-edit. Just let the words flow. What comes out may not be high art, but it still has value as your truest thoughts at a point in time.
Plus, you might just stumble into a few ideas you can use creatively at a later date.
Whether you have habits you’re hoping to break, or you’re trying to develop some, using your Traveler’s Notebook as a habit tracker can help you along the way.
You’ll be able to measure your progress, which, over time, will be a potent motivator.
No time to write in the morning? No problem; you can give it a go when the day’s done. Recapping your day, week, month, or even your entire trip is a fantastic way to celebrate and remember what you have accomplished.
Sometimes neither images nor words will suffice, and we have to use both to express an idea, a feeling, or an experience. It’s a process known as sketchnoting.
You can also use the sketchnoting technique to aid in recollection, making it a good option for meetings, seminars, or lectures.
How Can I Get Arty With My Traveler’s Notebook?
Traveler’s Notebooks are by no means only for taking notes. There are a number of ways you can get creative with your custom travel companion and take a more visual approach to journaling.
Use A Fountain Pen
No pen is more expressive than the fountain pen. The smooth glide of the nib and the free flowing of ink produce a visually stunning spectacle, complete with saturation gradients and varying line widths.
Granted, they’re not the best kind of pen to travel with, but if you wanted to use one, you’ll be happy to know that the inserts of Traveler’s Notebooks are composed of very finely milled paper to emphasize the silky smooth feeling of writing with such an instrument.
And, by all accounts, using a fountain pen may not only improve the look of your words, but their quality too.
When you pick one of these special pens up, a signal fires in the brain, a cue that establishes a greater significance to the pen’s use than is typical.
In short, the writing experience becomes more measured and artful, which, in turn, leads to more vivid and poignant memories of your travels.
Use Brush Pens
Want to take a step up from fountain pens? Why not try using a brush pen, the premier writing utensil for top-notch calligraphy?
But you don’t have to be a master calligrapher to enjoy using these hyper-expressive tools, as they make any writing style come to life on the page.
Who says you have to write or draw in your Traveler’s Notebook? Why not use it as a glue book instead.
As you might have guessed, this simple pursuit involves gluing things in your book — Make collages, mosaics, or just glue down bits and bobs that stir your memories!
Make It A Scrapbook
A scrapbook is sort of like a glue book but less formal. It’s more general in nature — Pop stickers in there, curiosities you come across on your trip, even just magazine clippings from each destination.
There are a million and one things you can do with your Traveler’s Notebook, and they look amazing too. Just mapping out what yours will include is a bunch of fun, and when you finally start using it, it’s like no other journaling experience you’ve ever had.
Remember, a Traveler’s Notebook is never truly finished — It’s more of a journey than a destination.
So, don’t feel you need to buy every module right away. Take your time… let your notebook mold to the shape of your leg in your pocket, and let its applications morph to fit the shape of your adventures.