After starting with the Bullet Journal system back in February in a Moleskine notebook, I decided to make a switch to the traveler’s notebook system. Here’s why I did it and how I’ve chosen to utilize the bullet journal system within my Midori traveler’s notebook.
Before diving in it is worth mentioning that this system works differently for everyone and I think that’s one of the great things about it. It’s super customize-able (as is the bullet journal system of course) and I have gotten a lot of ideas from other traveler’s notebook users. Some ideas worked for me, some didn’t, and it really is about finding what works best for you! How I used mine may not work for you but I hope it can at least give you some helpful ideas, or help cross some ideas off your list if you might run into the same hangups I have!
Why I chose this system
As I mentioned in my first post about bullet journaling, the biggest appeal for me was having everything in one notebook. This way, I could squeeze in those moments to journal, take notes without having a certain designated notebook, and write ALL THE LISTS! And I wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not I had space or the right notebook on me. But I quickly realized that doing things in this way I was losing a lot of things. I was constantly flipping through (I did go through and number pages but I never actually used my index) trying to find things. Tabs worked but I didn’t want to make a million different tabs. So when I found people bullet journaling in traveler’s notebook systems, I thought it was the perfect solution for me: unifying separation! I could have lists in separate notebooks from my monthly/weekly/daily plans (I could even separate those if I wanted) while still having them all together with me. I could customize the system to work how I wanted it and needed it to. Plus, the gorgeous leather covers were undeniably gorgeous.
Why I chose midori
Honestly, most of the reason I chose a Midori is because 1. it was the original and 2. it’s a Japanese company. Living in Japan, it just seemed to make sense and was the most easily accessible for me. While I was lusting after some of the beautiful fauxdori’s I’ve seen online, I wanted to try the original first and go with something a bit more simple. I bought the Midori just before the re-branding they did. (When they put out the camel color cover as a part of their regular line, they changed a couple things including brand markings on the covers). Initially I was so bummed that I hadn’t waited to get the camel cover- it’s a beauty! <picture> I do love my chocolate brown leather cover I got, but when I went to check out the new covers in stores I was surprised to find the leather had changed! I wasn’t crazy about the new leather so getting mine earlier turned out to be a good thing for me.
What inserts I use
: So far I have only used Midori brand inserts in my traveler’s notebook. Again this is largely about convenience and availability. I’ve admired the colorful inserts of Yellow Paper House on Etsy but it didn’t make much sense to buy those when the Midori brands cost me around 200-300yen ($2.00-$3.00) and no international shipping hassle.
As for what I use my inserts for, I have a few that I use different paper in for different things. I have a monthly insert, undated, which of course I use for a monthly planner/future planning and challenge tracking. I also have a grid notebook which is my bullet journal (unfortunately Midori doesn’t have a dot grid). In addition to these, I’ve also made a travel journal using a blank Midori special edition notebook (check that out here), a blank insert for my “Collections” notebook of my bullet journal system, and a grid insert for keeping track of things related to this blog. I also bought a lined insert with the hope/intention of using that as a regular writing journal in the future (when I finish up the moleskine I’m currently in).
How I’m liking it
I could not wait to get into my Midori and almost made it completely through my last Bullet Journal (a Moleskine large soft cover lined) before switching into my Midori. I bought the TN pretty soon into bullet journaling because I just loved the idea. And I still do. But is it working for me? I’m not sure. I’m still getting used to the size (I’ve lived in large Moleskines for just about everything over the last few years) and set up of it. I’m definitely still figuring out what are the things that are or aren’t working for me (I’ve been in it for about 6 weeks). So far, here’s what I’ve come up with:
it’s potential. I like being able to switch around the inserts I want to have with me that day. I like that I can still fully use the flexibility of the bullet journal system. I like having a variety of inserts to create one “notebook” for whatever I need. I like decorating the covers (the Midori inserts are quite plain).
I’m realizing I’m not that crazy about the size- it’s just a little to cumbersome and even though you can customize it’s chunky-ness it can still feel like a bit too much. I’m still very much adjusting to the size of the inserts themselves; their longer and skinnier than I’m used to and I’m not sure that I’m thrilled with them. It is also a bit difficult to get it to lay flat, depending on what I have in my system at the time. And while I do love the leather cover, I’m not sure if I feel like it fits me. Don’t get me wrong, it is gorgeous and I’d like to think I’m cool enough/fancy enough to have a leather bound book and an apartment that smells of rich mahogany, but the TN may not be quite my style for an everyday planner as I’m trying to use it.
So ultimately, the jury is still out on whether this is a system that is really going to work for me well enough to be a long term planner solution. I’ve been currently thinking about alternatives that might work better for me so, of course, there will be more to come!
Travelers Notebook Inspirations
There are TONS of wonderful bullet journalists and planners out there who use the traveler’s notebook system. I’ve listed a few of my favorites and those who inspired me to try the system out for myself:
Jessica @prettyprintsandpaper– Bullet journaler using the TN system
Michelle @Seaweedkisses – uses the TN system beautifully for different things, not a bullet journaler though
Ali Brown and Carie Harling for more TN focused inspiration
And then there is the Facebook group, with tons of users who provided a lot of daily/weekly inspiration as I was getting going with bullet journaling in a traveler’s notebook. Definitely check them out (it’s a closed group but you can request to join) even if you’re just considering the system.
I hope this post was helpful for you! Have you every tried the traveler’s notebook system for any analog journaling or planning? Has it worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for stopping by! Get home safe 😉