There are two things you need to know about me: I love to travel and I love Moleskine calendars & notebooks. However, in the past, I usually decided not to use a Moleskine notebook, but an actual sketchbook with paper suitable for water colours. The idea was to create water-colours on the go, in reality I’ve always been too busy exploring my destinations while travelling that I did most drawings when I was back home. For my trip to London in May, I wanted to be honest with myself and wanted to create a travel notebook that was on the one hand filled with useful maps and informations and on the other hand a place for me to collect my thoughts and experiences. After some research, I’ve stumbled upon this fantastic Moleskine City Notebook edition. I was tempted to buy it (oh boy was I tempted), but I remebered that I’ve still had an unused Moleskine notebook (pocket sized) lying around which I could turn into my very own city notebook with a little DIY here and there.
I’m still working on my travel journal, so I can’t show you everything (yet).
(Click to enlarge)
Here are my tips to diy your Moleskine notebook into your personal city travel journal
1. Add city maps and tube maps
From my previous journeys to London, I’ve still had some tube maps lying around. During my previous trips, I’d always take a tube map and as soon as I’d put it into my handbag it’ll get lost and I’d grab another and another… At the end of my travels, when decluttering my handbag, I’d then find a gazillion tube maps. This time around I decided to glue one tube map into my travel journal on the inside of my front cover, so I knew exactly where it was. The size of the London tube map is almost perfect for a Moleskine notebook pocket size. I’ve only needed to cut a few milimeters (= inches) away. I’ve also ended up covering the tube map with a self-adhesive transparent film to make it more durable.
On the inside of my back cover, I’ve glued in a small city map of central London. Most of my activities were located in zone 1 & 2 so this version was enough. You can always use your mobile phone, or carry an additional, and larger map with you if needed. In both cases, I knew where both maps where without having to dig through my handbag.
2. Add the addresses of locations you want to visit in advance
This might be a no-brainer, but ever since the invention of smartphones I rely too much on my phone’s conveniences when it comes to preparing a journey. Why try to find the address of a location in advance when you can simply google it, right? Well, there will be always situations where you won’t be able to access the internet (eg.: low battery, expensive roaming fees, etc.) so it can be very usefull to take the extra time and prepare some adresses in advance. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Create a ‘must see’ – list
Ever been on a holiday and had thousand places and activities on your wishlist, but ended up only doing a small portion. Or possibly couldn’t find the time for those things you really wanted to do? Yeah, me too. So trying to figure out what your priorities are helps you to make the best of your time and money while travelling. Sure, the best part about travelling is spontaneity, but a little preparation in advance will reduce lots of stress and chaos.
4. Get inspired by writing prompts
One thing I always struggle the most with are the actual journal entries (yeah, I know, I know…). There are only so and so many pages you can fill with “Today we did this, then we did that and afterwards…” before you get bored. As you can see in my photos, I attempted to write a haiku, inspired by my visit to the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour. You can find great writing prompts all over the internet, but a great start would be at travelscrapbooking.net.
5. Personalize, personalize, personalize!
You like to draw? Great! Do you love to scrapbook? Awesome! Add whatever you like to turn that notebook into your personal treasure. If you turn it into something you love, you’ll be able to relive your travel memories years later. My old travel journals never fail to make me smile when daily life gets too dull and the travel bug decides to pay a visit.
I’ll keep you updated with my journaling, in the meantime let me know if you have any tips for me!