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Every time I embark on a major trip, I create a handmade travel journal to take along with me. I am embarrassed to admit that the journal you’re about to see is the first I’ve actually finished!
I traveled to Greece in May 2009 to attend a friend’s wedding. It was an amazing experience shared with a few close friends – a trip full of so many memories that I really, really wanted to capture the sights, colours, sounds, stories, and emotions that I experienced while I was there.
This was my first time using an accordion binding for a travel journal, and I really loved it – I will definitely be using this format for future journals.
The covers measure 6.25″ X 9.75″ (16 cm X 25 cm); the chipboard covers are wrapped in real maps of Greece that I found in an old atlas. I made the book this size in order to be able to sew booklet-size envelopes in the page valleys. The inside pages are made of watercolour paper – I wanted something that would fold easily yet be sturdy enough to handle wet media. This paper was perfect for my purposes.
I glued two long strands of ribbon to the inside back cover so that I could tie the book shut.
On the pages I used a variety of media: acrylic paint, Caran d’ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons, rubber stamps, watercolour paint, pen & ink, washi masking tape. Throughout my trip, I collected ephemera that I included in the journal: business cards, boarding passes, ticket stubs, brochures, maps, baggage tags, a label from bottled water, receipts. I also included the original wedding invitation, and of course, lots of photos. I sewed in large and small envelopes to insert any items that I didn’t want to damage or that were too heavy to glue or sew into the journal.
Even though I had the best of intentions, I didn’t actually record much in the journal during the actual trip (this always happens). I’ll diligently record everything that happens during the first day or two of the trip, and then I either get too busy or too tired to continue. Instead, I kept a list of highlights or memories of each day to spur my memory when I get home. It works – more than a year after the trip, I was able to recall what almost every item on the list referred to.
I also included several lists in the journal: Greek words and phrases, things I noticed about Greece, what I most loved…
I had a great time putting together this travel journal – what a great sense of accomplishment to finally finish it! Now I have to work on finishing my travel journals for the trips to Guatemala, Switzerland and the Northwest Territories taken several years go – whew!