Tips on Travel Journaling and Art Supplies

Hello friends! This week is Helen's 💡 week!
Believe me when I say I am a natural born homebody, but I love traveling, even though it doesn't happen as often as I would like. Which is why one of my favorite things to see is travel journals from you creative people.

If you follow us on YouTube and Instagram, you may know that I recently went on a week long road trip to Oregon. I've made a short video series on what I decided to bring on vacation to start travel journaling. Since this was the first time I truly committed to write my memories and adventures down, I wasn't sure what or how much to bring along. Which resulted to what you see in the video. This set up is actually a lot less than I though I would tell myself I "need".  But here is the video of what I brought along with me on the road!

Pre-Travel Tips:

  1. Estimate how much time you will give yourself to actually journal. Be realistic. If your itinerary is full of activities and sight-seeing in each day, chances are you won't have the time to sit down. And by the end of the day you might be too tired to write. If you want to do some kind of wet media like painting or inking, bring small pieces of wax paper to lay on top of your art to prevent it smearing as well as getting it on other surfaces for when you don't have enough drying time. 
    Extra tip that's super popular, use a binder clip to hold your pen.
  2. Find locations you want to journal or create. If, for example, your vacation is around some beautiful scenery, some local cafe, even just relaxing where you are staying is perfect, then it will help you decide what materials to bring by what your environment will allow. Since I was on a road trip and I didn't have to do any driving, my plan was to journal in the car, which I was able to do. It basically saved my brain from the boredom. Here is some of my favorite places from the trip.
    via Instagram @threeyearsapart
  3. Do some research and get inspired. Everyone in this community has ideas and their own tips. Simply search "travel journal supplies, travel art supplies, travel planning, etc." onto Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, wherever and this community will pop up with so many creative ways to journal.
    Just a few of my favorite videos! Plus there's so much more out there!
     Michelle from SeaweedKisses
     Anna from GirlandQuill Rachel from ScrappinLove

    It will make everything easier if you have an idea on how you want your journal to look like, or how you want it to feel. It could be minimalistic, color-coded, themed by location or transportation, color schemed, just a few of your favorite things. For my travel journal, I gravitated towards just simply travel themed items, which works for me and I love the world map so I incorporated that where I liked it.
    Don't those Free Printable Polaroid Stickers look familiar ;D
  4. List your absolute bare essentials and build from that. To be honest, the bare essentials for me would be a notebook, a pen, and my Polaroid Snap camera. Extra things would be i.e. washi tape, stickers, colorful writing utensils. 
    Polaroid Snap and refill Zink Paper.
  5. Limit yourself by limiting your space. For this trip, I wanted to be as compact and slim as possible. The flat pouch shown in the video is perfect to store extra paper bits, stickers and other ephemera. I also save all my metal/aluminum tins for cute storage space where I keep the bulky items. Note that surfaces like vellum and mostly acetate paper is great to keep extra stickers and sticky notes. My goal was to only bring the slim pouch, pencil case, and watercolors to pair with my journal. 
    Stick envelopes and pockets everywhere for cute little extra storage!
  6. Utilize your space. I chose a to use a Traveler Notebook because it's designed to be a travel journal. There are accessories that provide extra storage within the cover itself and takes up little to no space. You can also get creative with the notebook inserts by decorating them to your aesthetic. A quick and affordable tip from MyLifeMits is to tape down sticker sheets on the pages of your notebook insert. That way you not only use washi tape that you may already have and you don't need anything extra to store your stickers! 
    I put sticker at the back of the notebook, on the pages I know I won't journal on within this trip.
  7. Repackage your materials and give yourself options. Save space and do not carry chunky things like washi tape rolls when you obviously don't need the whole roll. A popular method for washi tape specifically is using old gift cards or laminated paper. Now you have more than enough but not too much tape that is flat and portable.
  8. Always pack a crappy/inexpensive pen. For those people who permanently borrow your pen. 
  9. Prepare yourself to be comfortable and relaxed. If you want to do some painting, don't forget water and something to put it in. Some may have large drinking water bottle and then pour some water into a small metal tin than can clip onto things. Before I bought water brushes, I used to carry my super teeny tiny and cheap plastic water bottle specifically for painting and just poured the water into the cap. If you plan to be outside whilst journaling, don't forget UV protection like sunscreen and definitely a hat. Can't see when the is sun in your eyes.
  10. Prep your journal as much as you can before you travel. If you want to use stamps, I recommend stamping before you pack, especially if you think you won't have time to do it during the trip. I prepped the first few pages of my travel journal with things I would like to refer back to throughout the trip.
    Weather tracker and my packing list.
     My travel set up videos for my Travelers Notebook

Amid-Travel Tips:

  1. Don't stress about journaling every night or every moment. It's not a vacation if you're constantly worried about writing in your journal or if it's not pretty enough. Just wait until there is time for you to enjoy it. If you're like me and sometimes have trouble remembering the details, or just like to track your activities and locations, then I suggest writing down something quick and simple that you can refer to later. 
    I wrote down what we did and when, using sticky notes help with loose plans.
  2. You don't have to use everything you pack. Everything I packed was just options, not necessities. You probably won't know what your necessities are until you have tried travel journaling a couple of times. To date this is my very first time, which I am glad I am recording this on 3YearsApart. That is why I packed quite a bit. In the end, I wrote a lot more than I normally would and used minimal materials on this trip, despite being the car for a portion of the trip. 
    Line spacing while on the road vs. just sitting
  3. You can leave the extra bits and only carry your essentials. In the travel supplies video at the top, you see the pouch,pencil case and tin box along with my journal. But while I was walking around exploring, the only thing I brought was my journal itself, unless I planned to watercolor on the beach or something similar. Sometimes, like hiking and shopping for instance, I didn't even bring my travel journal. I just kept things like business cards until I get the chance to put it in my travelers notebook. 
    Business cards of local artists are one of my favorite.
  4. It doesn't have to be perfect. You can leave space and come back to it later. If you remember something you forgot to bring or want to paste something into your journal but can't at the moment, it's okay to leave some of the pages blank and finish it later or after the trip. 
    I'm saving this space for photos I'm going to print out.
  5. Brochures and maps from some of my favorite places.
  6. Collect little tidbits from your adventures. The best thing about traveling is experiencing someone else's world. So save the brochures, they aren't tacky. I even like to keep my tea bag packaging. It makes my journal smell good. 
    I love tea. My journal is also the perfect place to keep receipts.
  7. Try something new! New surrounds is the best way to be inspired. So try doing something you wouldn't do on a regular basis. No one has to critique it, just say "I did it!" Level of difficultly doesn't matter, as long as you are okay with experiencing it. It could be as simple as trying new local food to riding a horse and then journal about it. I personally struggle with drawing and enjoying it, so what did I do? I drew! In pen no less. 
    I drew this on a cliff overlooking the sea. Can you tell? It's okay if you can't. 
  8. Remember to be kind to others. This is obvious, one should always be nice. When you're in a new place and get to meet new people, there is almost always at least one person who will welcome you and show you great kindness. It's important to let others know when they are appreciated. I always like to carry around a thank you card with me when encounter such great people. Now I am a stationery addict, which means I have many cards and envelopes. But you can always make your own thank you note by writing on whatever you got. 
    Too cute. Who doesn't want to see this?!

Post-Travel Tips:

  1. Finishing touches to complete your journal. Now is the time to make sure you are happy with how your journal turned out or if you decided it would be better for you to journal in the comforts of home.
  2. Unpack and put away your supplies where they belong. Of course, you can save things to be specifically for traveling.
  3. Flip through your journal, that's what it's there for! This keeps your memories and showcases your creative mind at that time in your life. It's a very important piece of art.
Your system won't be perfect, but each time you try it becomes another learning experience and you are will likely to journal differently each time. So take from it and apply it to your creative process to learn about yourself and what you like.
Creative thinking - in terms of idea creativity - is not a mystical talent. It is a skill that can be practiced and nurtured. - Edward de Bono 
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