Travel Journaling ~ the best journal

Sketch of poinsettias in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Journal entry with sketch of poinsettias in our courtyard, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

This trip to San Miguel de Allende I brought along several books since we are staying in one place for the duration. One of them, Lavinia Spalding’s Writing Away: a creative guide to awakening the journal-writing traveler is the inspiration for this post.

Writing Away coverIn Chapter One – Let the Wild Writing Begin – she explores the topic of finding the perfect travel journal in delightful detail. Mindful of the beating your journal will take while you are on the road, she suggests a journal that is sturdy. And in the spirit of giving the author/artist complete creative freedom she strongly recommends an unlined journal“An absence of lines leaves room for imagination to take over. Also, a blank page is a better canvas for illustrations – and so what if you can barely draw a circle? You could at least throw your inner artist a bone”.

Spaulding also believes that the best journal lies flat and that the pages of the blank book  be blank – no quotes, tips, or adornments on the pages. And finally, pay attention to the paper, you want it thick enough so that the ink won’t bleed through.

Interestingly, I have come to similar conclusions or preferences. Since I enjoy working with watercolor at times my current favorite journal (pictured above in the photo) has heavyweight drawing paper that works with wet or dry media. Made by Bee Paper Company this sketchbook/journal has 60 sheets of 93 lb archival quality natural white drawing paper. The double wire binding creates a flat surface, the cover is water-resistant and the heavy weight chipboard back is perfect for field work. This sketch book comes in many sizes – I am enjoying the 9 x 9 inch square book on this trip.

best women's travel writing 2011Another book I brought along to read and keep the travel bug fueled is one that Lavinia Spalding edited: The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011: True Stories from Around the World. No matter how many cities, countries, or continents you’ve visited the 31 stories in this year’s collection will make you feel like you have just begun. Hear tales about falling in love while riding a camel through the Syrian Desert, skiing a first descent of over 5,000 feet in Northern India, discovering the joy of getting naked in South Korea, or leaving it all behind to slop pigs on a farm in Ecuador.

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