Early last year, I spotted a beautiful journal in a little boutique whilst holidaying down the coast.
Made of linen-like textured paper, the cover boasted watercolour shades of green, which overlapped at the bottom to replicate mountains. Pale green leaves and white flecks were scattered aimlessly across it and at the top, ‘We must go and see for ourselves’, (Jacques Cousteau) – in white scrawl.
As she so often does, my Nan spoiled me. I left the store tightly holding the wrapped journal, an idea already in my head about what to use it for. I had been hoping to apply for a cultural immersion trip since my first year of high school. Applications opened for my grade later that year. I explained this to my well-travelled Nan who was excited to hear of my interest in such an opportunity, should I be accepted.
A few months later, I was lucky enough to be offered a place on the trip. But, some time passed before I started to use my journal.
As those who like stationery know, it’s often exceedingly hard to start using a new notebook.
I often shied away from writing in what I deemed to be ‘pretty’ notebooks, keeping them hidden and left completely unused, thinking I should save them for ‘something special’. I soon came to realise how ridiculous this was, but the first strokes in my travel journal were nervous ones!
Warily, I progressed from a title page to noting down fundraising ideas in preparation for the trip. But, what started as mainly pen-filled pages soon developed into scrapbook-like spreads. The pages became stuffed with quote cards, washi tape and embellishments. Having found another journal with decorative papers, foil pressed quotes and stickers (yet another victim of my ‘too pretty to use’ ideology), I eagerly began to add extra colour and size.
Inspired by a flip through videos and Pinterest, I started sticking in papers about the trip, my acceptance letter and a postcard relevant to the tour.
Whilst I am only a short way into my journal, I can’t wait to see it once I have completely filled it. Currently it is just a combination of ideas, to-do lists and decorations.
Whether it be for travelling, daily life or otherwise, find that notebook you thought was ‘too pretty’ to use, and write in it. Or draw. Or perhaps you’d prefer to print off some photos, find those stickers you’ve never used and wrapping paper gone to waste, and make a collage. Either way or every way, you won’t regret it. Notebooks are made to be used. You’ll soon hold your journal and realise it is uniquely yours. Its pages will be thick with your musings, old papers and photos.
Find yourself a peaceful place, turn on your favourite playlist and put pen, pencil and glue to paper. Whilst you’re at it, allow yourself to appreciate the calming flow of creativity and quiet joy journaling brings!
by Julia Fullard