My traveler’s notebook

June 4th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Writing

In which I’m just saying stuff I’ve already said because it’s Sunday afternoon and I have nothing better to do but repeat myself. I mean, this is literally just a re-do of a post I’ve already written, only with newer pictures!

Step one: Don’t have heard of Midori traveler’s notebooks or bullet journaling. Live in ignorant bliss.

Step two: Hear about Midori traveler’s notebooks and bullet journaling. Fall down a rabbit hole of Instagram, blogs, reviews, walk-throughs, YouTube videos, and stationery stores specializing in Japanese imports.

Step three: Judge the shit out of the entire thing. Be offended by the waste. People with stacks of journals, massive collections of pens, inks, adults with sticker sets, washi tapes! Tons of unnecessary crap! All you need is a single writing utensil and a $2 notebook!

Sticker set

Step four: End up a few months later with three notebooks, gel pens, pen cases, a large set of colored pencils, watercolor paints, binder clips, a set of highlighters, a cheap fountain pen, book darts, washi tapes, a washi tape dispenser, numerous inserts from several suppliers, kraft folders, sticker sets, writing boards, lead pencils, and repair kits, and feel like an asshole.

Especially about the off-brand stuff you no longer want you bought because it was cheaper than the name brand. Because honestly, the Midori stuff is superior. It really is so simple and well-designed and a pleasure to use.


Step five: Realize over and over that you adore your traveler’s notebook, and that it makes you happy every time you handle it or even see it. It’s taken months and a lot of switching things around, but you’ve finally got it just right. Admit that this particular rabbit hole has, yes, separated you from some of your disposable income, but it’s also provided you with hours of enjoyable writing, sketching, drawing, and painting.

It gets you offline.

You end up doing an Instagram doodle challenge, even though you have no artistic training or talent! It only takes a few minutes a day, and it’s fun!


I now have four inserts in my MTN. The first one is a kraft paper folder for loose items and pad of Midori sticky notes. Then there’s a custom dot grid insert for my journal, a Midori monthly calendar insert for my work schedule and travel plans, and a ruled insert I use for my spiritual diary. I also have sticker pockets inside the front and back covers, a pen holder, an OM pendant off an old necklace, and a binder clip. The thing is finally exactly how I want it, and works for my needs.


I also have the knock-off September Leather cover I bought first, basically set up the same way (sticky notes and all) except it’s totally empty. I don’t need it and I don’t use it, and I’d happily give it away if I knew anybody who wanted it. The calendar insert is weekly, rather than monthly, but it’s basically a duplicate.

spring flowers in the rain

I do currently use a Midori insert for sketches and painting, but it’s not in a notebook because it’s easier when it’s flat. When I’ve filled it, I’ll get a block of regular watercolor paper unless my life is radically different than it is now and I’m on a massive travel schedule or something!

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