This Little Journal Stayed Home

On my last business trip, I had to hand-carry corrected workbooks. That shrank suitcase space, so I thought, “this time, I’ll leave the journal at home.” I don’t journal every day, so a two-day trip, well, I really wouldn’t need it anyway. The journal stayed in the studio.

Here’s what didn’t make it into my journal the day it happened:

  • The full eclipse, around 3:00 a.m.,  the kind where the moon is red.
  • I ate dinner overlooking an indoor ice rink and noticed that the youngest class fell as often as the older class, but the younger kids laughed when they fell and did deliberate pratfalls, bounding back up again. No fear, no shame, just ready for more fun. Something about being young that acknowledges the purpose of life is learning. By the time you are eight, you feel embarrassed not to know it all.
  • I missed writing down a dream because it evaporated when I woke up without a way to write it down.
Traveling instant art kit: Neocolor II, water brush, pencil, Pitt Pen, eraser. The bare necessities.

Traveling instant art kit: Neocolor II, water brush, pencil, Pitt Pen, eraser. The bare necessities.

Sure, I can write down the two events I remember, but it lacks the immediacy and insight of writing it down as soon as it happens. And the dream is gone.

What to do when there is really no room to take the journal? Here are four ideas:

1. Buy postcards at the airport when I arrive and tuck them into the folder that holds my schedule. There’s always room to take a few postcard stamps. Write down journal entries on the postcards and mail them at the hotel before I leave. Instant journal page!

2. Take photos of things I want to remember and print them out when I get home. Print it out to the size of the journal page, and write on it, or on the back and add it to the journal.

3. Take a few shipping tags to write on. Send them back as postcards (the larger ones) or tuck them into the journal when I get back. Or keep it simple and simply tuck blank index cards into my schedule.

4. Pick something else not to take. A journal is my idea bank, comfort source and being-bored preventer. And it doesn’t have an uncomfortable underwire. A woman’s got to have priorities.

—Quinn McDonald is leaving for Houston, and this time, her journal is coming along.

10 thoughts on “This Little Journal Stayed Home

  1. I always carry a small notebook (like a Field Note or Moleskine Cahier) with me. Perfect for writing down everything from shopping lists to phone numbers to ideas and other things I want to remember.
    The Journal comes with me when I stay somewhere overnight. But I don’t use a normal notebook for that, I use a system where you can change the relatively thin notebooks inside a cover. At home I use three notebooks, but when I travel I take one notebook. If space and weight really are an issue I could take just the notebook without the cover!
    During our last holiday I used the notebook a lot while hiking, and in the evening I used these notes for writing my travel journal.
    If everything fails you could use your smartphone, but using a keyboard isn’t just the same as using a pen!

    • For me, journaling is something I want to put on a piece of paper. I like the cahier that Moleskine makes for lists, but the paper is too thin for real journaling–from my point of view. The postcard idea works really well, including sending shipping tags that are the size of postcards. It keeps the writing to just the important things. But on this trip, the journal is coming along again.

  2. My gratitude journal always, always, always goes, no exceptions. Sketch pads can get really tiny with just a pencil. I’m still learning the hard way. Hum, maybe I’ve started to learn the “tiny”way!

  3. If I’m going to be gone from home, even for a few hours I take at least a small notepad. Because you just never know. So sorry you missed taking the journal.

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