My brother keeps a journal. Who knew? He travels a good deal, and he keeps track in his Moleskine. Ever curious, I asked him why a Moleskine–and he gave some excellent reasons. He uses a 5 x 8.5 inch lined journal. He likes it because the quality of the paper allows him to use a fountain pen to write, the paper is smooth for fast writing. The folios are stitched into the spine, not glued in, so it’s sturdier. All good reasons.
I just ordered a larger Mokeskine with watercolor paper for some larger raw-art journaling work. It just arrived, but I like the watercolor paper a lot already. You can write, draw and collage on it successfully without leaking through. Oh, and watercolor in it, too.
My brother and his wife just came back from the End of the Earth. No kidding. They were in Argentina, in Patagonia, at the sourhernmost tip of the continent, which is the Southernmost city in the world—Ushuaia. The passport control there volunteered to stamp people’s passport with the official stamps. My brother had his journal stamped. This is the place where the Atlantic meets the Pacific. The very edge of the earth–the end of land.
We compared translating the stamp as either “end of the earth” or “the end of the world” and decided that “end of the earth” was a geographical location and “end of the world” was a time stamp–one you wouldn’t be bringing back anywhere.
If you are wondering why this canal is called “Beagle” —it was the name of the boat Charles Darwin was on when he did his research on evolution and he sailed through the canal on his way to the Galapagos islands.
I haven’t seen my brother and his wife in more than five years. Not to put too fine a point on it, but at a certain age, waiting that long is taking a risk. So now that we are together, I keep thinking of what I should be showing them, or where we should be. It was a huge effort today to pull myself into the present, to stay right here with them right now, and not try to think about the next thing to do or how soon they are leaving. I want each moment to last forever, and yet I keep planning and thinking about dinner, or the next day. This is an important lesson, staying present. It’s easier when I’m doing work then when I’m having fun. Meanwhile, I hope the end of the world won’t happen just yet.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach.