Week 6 of Designing a Creative Travel Journal

Travel Journal alpha

What happened to Week 5? I didn’t do my homework. 😦 The load was light, anyway, because of Thanksgiving in the U.S.

Instead, I started working on my alpha prototype in Week 5, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it all in just the one week of Week 6. I have a new job (tell you about it when I take some photos!), but haven’t managed to slough off the old one, yet…I’m giving my old boss till the Christmas holidays to find a replacement for me. So I worked 6 days last week, will work 6 days every week for the next 3 or so. Not so terrible, I’ll survive, but I haven’t had time to do any groceries or blogging or even laundry…it’s just a big grey block of work and, when I get home at night, The Prototype is waiting. So then I make a coffee and sew pockets until 1 or 2 in the morning, because I am not going to drop out in the last quarter, I’ve done way too much to just let it all go.

Anyway, the idea is still to make both a journal “jacket” and a specially bound travel journal, and for these two to work together. I have run out of time to make the bound book for this week, so I will present that as part of the Beta model, next week. Here are just pictures, and some notes, about the journal jacket part, which was a lot harder to put together than I thought it would be, though I have to say that I am thrilled to have learned SO MUCH about stitching all sorts of pockets, zips, even an expandable three-part pocket that fans out to a 90-degree angle. Go, me! (Hey, I can pat myself on the back…I have been living on rice with soy sauce and an occasional tomato, from the plant on the back deck, for 5 days…)

The photos with annotations were the ones I submitted to the course, but I’m throwing in a few more for this post, to give you all a better idea of what’s been included, changed, etcetera…

By the way, the photo at the very start of this post is shows pages of our old marbling experiments journal. For a few years in the Philippines Kris and I marbled our own papers and fabrics for the journals we made; we weren’t using any of the proper stuffβ€”there was no carrageenan, or special marbling paints, or ox gall. We used rain water, cheap local acrylic house paints, and manioc starch for the size. Still, we managed to get our patterns to a pretty good standard, amazingly. The green marbled fabric on the cover of the journal, in some of the photos below, is one of ours.


I envision a travel journal (book), together with a sturdy “jacket” that I can put the journal into. The jacket has multiple pockets to hold not only the maps and paraphernalia of traveling, but also the art materials he/she might use to create a more personalised and artistic journal. Unlike the journalβ€”which I imagine will become an inactive but cherished receptacle for the traveler’s memories and impressions when it is filledβ€”the jacket is re-usable.

I work 6 days a week, so I didn’t have time to hand bind the travel journal (book) itself…sorry! But I’ve done so much work on this thing, already, that perhaps I should be viewing this “Travel Journal Jacket” as a separate design from the actual “Travel Journal”! Maybe I’ll just finish off the book part for the beta prototype next week.

NOTE: The rubber stamps are a heart, a star, and an unhappy face, representing “Like this” (or “Love this”), “Important” and “Dislike this”. The stamps are meant to be used to flag entries where the traveller wants to rate an experience. I found this solution preferable to Moleskine’s use of symbol stickers which, of course, always get used unevenly, and run out too soon.

NOTE: There are three of these large pockets with zippers that run along the edge of the journal jacket…see first illustration for placement of all three.

Just a final photo showing where everything is, from left to right: aΒ  green journal has been strapped in, some maps and papers are in the expanding pockets, pens and brushes fit snugly into elastic loops, and there is a stamp pad and a glue tape gizmo in the tool pockets at the right. Also, yes, those are my feet, spread very far apart! πŸ™‚

Travel Journal alpha
Travel Journal alpha


57 thoughts on “Week 6 of Designing a Creative Travel Journal

    1. Sorry, no step by step on the horizon, yet, as I’m engrossed with other things at the moment, and putting together a how-to is time consuming, boring work. I’m not really in the business of making them, either. Try designing your own? That’s what I did, after all, its not impossible or anything. πŸ™‚


  1. This is legitimately AMAZING. Someone reblogged it on Tumblr and I’m completely freaking out. I would buy this. I would buy this so hard.


    1. Easy now, you’re scaring me! You would? Oh God, I’m too busy to make them to sell…but I PROMISE I am working on patterns for a DIY. Give me a year, though, I am “slow like honey”. πŸ˜‰


      1. I think you should be aware that on of the posts on tumblr that features this journal has recieved almost 7000 notes… today. If you would be able to produce these, I’m fairly sure you could sell a lot of these (read: make quite a bit of money).


        1. LOL yes, well, that would be a lot of money, wouldn’t it? Pity money is not a major motivator for me, I like my dream time, my sit-with-a-coffee and stare-into-space time, the time that allows me to read a book a week, paint every day, lie in bed with my cat, live a life. If it’s really the big seller you predict it will be, I’m sure some enterprising Chinese factory will steal the idea and start production! πŸ˜‰ I’m just not interested in doing the same thing over and over, nor do I want the stress of starting a business and having it made overseas at some sweatshop, worried I’m being cheated or screaming at someone over faulty work. I have almost all the money I need, but my personal life is perfect, and my inner life is lined with gold. πŸ™‚


          1. I really like your reply here! πŸ™‚

            And I know this is an old post, but I saw it just a few days ago and now I’m dreaming and planning to make my own (I’m afraid it will not materialize, but I also like the dreaming and planning part πŸ˜‰ )


    1. LOL Thanks, Catalina! Oh, very funny, “Catalina” is what this particular paper used for our marbling patterns is called. We do marbling on so many different papers, testing which ones work well, which ones work not so well, and we keep records so that we don’t forget. Catalina is a beautiful paper for marbling! πŸ™‚


  2. This is incredible! I started making journals for my travels last year, but this is another beast althogether! I have so many ideas for my next one now…. amazing work!


  3. I think your Travel Journal is an Inspired work of Art, it’s got everything your likely to need,and it’s so stylish as well as being practical..


  4. This is awesome. I love the idea, you should think of an online shop selling this. I would love to have one, and I am terribly clumsy with DIY


  5. You had me at “brush and pen holder”; when art supplies meet the sketchbook/travel journal in one package, there is such a sense on intimacy added to the creative process that it just begs the user to sketch, draw, create, etc…


    1. Thank you, Jason! That’s exactly what I was trying to do! The way I see it, creativity is as integral to life as clean underwear or money…can’t imagine being without a pen and paper ro doing some sort of doodle or sketch anymore than I can imagine being in a foreign country without money!


      1. I would love to have the directions for making one. I’m going to Italy this summer and this is all sorts of perfect for it!


  6. I always write a travel diary…I wish I could take yours on my next trip…you have thought of everything πŸ™‚


  7. Your journal idea is so amazing! It has been a real joy to see it progress from week to week… you are so talented! What class are you taking for this?


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