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This fall I’ll be jetting all over the place—-from California’s Redwood Park for a camping trip to a cartoonist’s conference in Norway and a wedding on Kauai—-and I want to memorialize my travels. I wouldn’t be content with just a series of Facebook updates or iPhone photos—-I want to keep a written travelogue of my experiences. Being an OCD, Type-A stresser, I then fixate on which journal to buy. I want the perfect one. There are literally thousands of options out there and it’s not easy to wade through the Google searches or jet around to all the area stationary stores to find the right one. However, after an exhaustive search that took me (virtually) across the Atlantic and the country, I’ve discovered a number of worthy companions for my trips, and maybe yours, too.
Looking for something simple, elegant, and zenlike? Cico Books’ “Messages From The East” journal ($12.95) is the one for you. Alternating between lined and blank pages, this is the perfect option for the writer/artist types.
MWV’s “Plan. Write. Remember” ($15.29) is laid out like a day planner, but it can easily be used as a diary. The nice thing about it is that each day has a page and includes a little section marked “Hot,” which is apparently where you scribble down your musings on all the cuties you encounter.
Another day planner is Poketo’s “Digest Your Life” ($10), but this one is definitely aimed at kids. There’s not much space to get down your daily musings, but it’s perfect if you want to write a haiku a day. Each two-page spread includes a space for you to indicate your favorite V.I.P., song, and meal of the week (If I were to fill it out today, I’d nominate Jeff Lindsay, the Klaxons’ “Echoes,” and the turkey sub at We The Pizza.)
Want a one-of-a-kind journal? Then you need to pick up something from Ex Libris Anonymous ($13). These Portland, Oregon designers take funky old books like The Egg Tree and recreate them as incredibly cool bound notebooks. Combining blank pages with actual pages from the original book, these journals allow you to combine your beach reading and your writing.
If you’ve been able to walk by a display of Quotable Cards without stopping to read a few–and maybe get teary-eyed or inspired–then you’re a stronger man than I. Quotable Card’s “This Is Your World” ($14.95) journal is a class act and its pithy cover mantra will probably earn you the respect of complete strangers.
Cico Books’ “Living With Books” ($6.95) is the slender contender for your journaling needs. Easy to slip into a backpack, purse, or even a murse, this sleek little number will serve you well wherever you go.
I was always digging in my backyard like Calvin and Hobbes for dinosaur bones, proof of alien ancestors, and lost treasure, so Poketo’s “Bury and Discover Dreambook” ($30.00) hits home with my inner child. Cloth bound and filled with blank pages to fill with your own dreams, this is an elegant, yet totally hip, solution to your journaling needs.
No article on journals is complete without a Moleskine mention. Used by Hemingway and VanGogh and seen in Magnolia and The Motorcycle Diaries, these journals are unparalleled classics. If you want to join the ranks of their distinguished fans, I’d recommend the pocket-sized Ruled Red Notebook ($15.95). I’ll be taking one into the depths of the Redwood forests, since it seems most appropriate. Maybe it’ll help me write a Great American Novel, too. I can always dream.