Today, I’m sharing a look inside my traveler’s notebook! If you haven’t heard of traveler’s notebooks before – beware – because when a dear friend of mine first told me about these addictive little devils six months ago, I had no idea what an obsession it would quickly become.
The most famous kind of traveler’s notebook originated in Japan and can be quite pricey, but as they’ve gained popularity in America, many small business owners have learned the craft and created beautiful pieces that are much more affordable and just as wonderful as the Midori (hence the names Pelle Dori, Faux Dori, Foxy Dori, etc.).
Traveler’s notebooks come in all different shapes and sizes and literally beg to be customized. In reality, it’s only a piece of leather and a few pieces of elastic string. Who would have thought that something so simple could be so wonderful?!
My traveler’s notebook is from an Etsy shop called “The Foxy Fix” (Foxy Dori) and the lady who makes them is incredible. She was so sweet to me, quickly responded to my emails, cleared up all questions I had about sizing, and I could just tell that she really puts her heart and soul into the craftsmanship behind the beautiful, handmade leather books.
At first, I was a little confused about sizing, because they kind of have weird names, but I knew I wanted a size that fits a Moleskine Cahier notebook because they’re a great size for journaling or list-making and can conveniently be picked up at Target in a pack of three. The size I have is called a “wide” with quad strands (meaning there are four strands of elastic inside for books) and a single strap (one elastic band holding it all together on the outside, compared to a double strap).
There are several colors of leather to choose from and the beauty of the imperfections really do make it your own. I chose “Tatonka” and pink elastic straps (“G” in the sample photo shown below).
Ok! Now that all the logistical parts of this little adventure are out of the way… let me show you my little treasure. Seriously… I have always been a planner snob, but I can’t say enough good things about this.
You can choose any kind of charm you’d like and I change mine out all the time, but right now I just have a mint tassel that I picked up at Michaels. The charms can easily be attached by simply untying the outer elastic strap (or some charms have little clasps).
My favorite part about the traveler’s notebook is that it’s a convenient way to keep all my different books:
- one for to-do-lists, grocery lists, and Renmen Abonde orders
- one as my journal/prayer journal
- one as a calendar
- one to keep track of my pen pals/pocket letter pals
all in one place. They can easily be removed by slipping them off their strap, which comes in very handy when I want to take just one small book into the store with my grocery list instead of the whole thing.
First, I have my book containing to-do-lists, grocery lists, and bracelet orders. It is a Moleskine Cahier notebook covered in a textured, teal wrapping paper with fabric washi tape on the binding. I cover the books by tracing them on the paper, cutting it out, and then using rubber cement to adhere the paper to the book.
The inside of this crazy book (I like to think of it as organized chaos) looks a little something like this:
I also love to keep ticket stubs, little notes from friends, and cute stickers. Next, comes my journal/prayer journal. It’s also covered in wrapping paper:
If you used only Moleskine Cahier notebooks in a traveler’s notebook this size, you could fit eight books total inside by using a rubber band to connect two books together at the spine, having then two books per strand.
I, however, have two inserts in mine that share strands with a Moleskine Cahier notebook. First, I have this pocket organizer, made out of a file folder. The same dear friend of mine who introduced me to the traveler’s notebook made this for me. You can see a tutorial for something similar here.
I love this because it’s a place to keep stickers, washi tape, recipes, and all sorts of things that I use to decorate my planner. It fits inside of my journal on the same strand, so when I want to write in my journal I just slip it off the strand, leaving the pocket organizer in place.
Next, on the third strand, I have a clear pocket organizer from the Goutlet Pen company, called a “card file” (regular size, $7.20 for 12 pockets) and my calendar (cahier size, $9 for 13 month calendar), which is from an Etsy shop called Yellow Paper House. Yellow Paper House is one of my favorite Etsy shops because there are a ton of different varieties of calendars and lots of options for page colors. I chose white pages because I like to color-code with pens and use washi tape to mark important dates.
I found cute patterns on Pinterest (and yes, most of them are Lilly Pulitzer), printed them off, and cut them to fit snuggly in the pockets of the card file. This makes it much easier to see what is in the pockets (compared to getting the front and back pockets confused because they’re see-through). In these pockets, I keep things like a snapshot from my polaroid, some strips of washi tape, business cards, stamps, and sticky notes. Like the file folder pocket organizer and my journal, the card file and planner share a strand.
I covered my planner with scrapbook paper and when it arrived in the mail, the inside was completely blank. I labeled each month and day by hand with a felt-tip pen, and was able to totally and completely make it my own. The whole thing is like an empty canvas, just waiting for it’s owner to get creative. I love it!
The last book in my traveler’s notebook is where I keep track of my pen pals and pocket letter pals (which is another topic for another day). I covered this Moleskine Cahier notebook in a real map, and attached this little airplane with super glue.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask… I could seriously talk about this thing alllllll dayyyy longggg. Happy planning, girlfriends!