Always be sure to do your own art too - it will change your life for the better!
Always be sure to do your own art too - it will change your life for the better!
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Simple Bare Necessities

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This watercolour sketch was done after I got home from our epic paddle trip down parts of the Missouri River in Montana.

    For all the years and different places I’ve taught about keeping a Travel Journal, one of the most enduring questions I get is: How would I ever figure out what to take in a Travel Journal Kit?’ Fortunately, the answer to this conundrum is pretty straightforward.


Other than the journal itself, you can see how compact your Travel Journal Kit can be - so no reason not to try it out! 

    For the most part, I travel with a small ZipLoc bag that contains all I need as my ‘Travel Journal Kit’. Other than the journal itself, that kit contains a couple of HB pencils, a few Pigma - MICRON black pens, an eraser, a metal pencil sharpener, a small student-version watercolour kit and a few brushes, a couple of bulldog clips, a few rubber bands, a small glue stick, and a couple of extra ZipLoc bags.


The simple bare necessities for your Travel Journal Kit - add the small 5”x7” watercolour Journal itself and I think this whole kit cost me about $35 CDN…….achievably priced.

    When you’re travelling, you want to keep things small and light. You’ll generally want to keep things durable and replaceable too - so a small kit that I’ve outlined above will do the trick at almost every turn.

    For the Journal itself, I would take a small, coil-bound, watercolour book with perhaps 15-20 pages. I’d keep the Journal fairly small to – perhaps measuring 5”x&” up to perhaps 8”x10”.


A small excerpt out of one of my Travel Journals - from a trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

    In fact, this is the exact type of Travel Journal Kit I took with me on a month-long, 1500 kilometre canoe trip in the Canadian Arctic as we paddle the length of the MacKenzie River. If it worked in that kind of rough setting, then I know it will work for you too.

     But what if you want to keep things even more lean…..what would you take?

     This simple answer to this, after my years of keeping Travel Journals is:

A small coil-bound Travel Journal of watercolour paper - perhaps measuring about 5” X 7” and perhaps 15-20 pages
A couple of HB Pencils
A metal pencil sharpener
A few black Pigma-MICRON pens (nib size .01 and .03)
And all of this tucked into a ZipLoc bag.


    Seriously, this is all you really need to get going! And you have to admit that it takes up so little space in your suitcase or backpack that there’s no excuse not to start your very own Travel Journal on your next journey.

    The trick to remember here is that you can always add things to your Travel Journal once you’re back home safe and sound. You can leave blank spaces here and there in your journal and add little sketches or descriptions after the fact. You can lightly glue in a transit ticket and add a description of that leg of your travels - describe whom you met along the way. There are so many exciting options!

     What you’ll end up with is a record of your travels that your travel companions will be so envious of! On more than one occasion, I’ve had travel mates feel that they were missing out on some rich memories by not keeping a Travel Journal. The result is that some of them now keep a journal too, and they have their own unique and very personal take on all the exciting parts of their epic journeys.


This is the Title Page from a journal I started last summer - great fun and wonderful memento of the summer’s activities from canoeing to gold panning.  

     So you see, the Travel Journal Kit doesn’t have to be a barrier to getting a start on keeping your very own Travel Journal. Try the list I’ve included above and let me know how it goes for you.

     Watch for more blog coming too – what to write in your Travel Journal, the trick to great Travel Journal sketches, the Travel Journal ‘Pause’, and more.

     Finally, remember that keeping a Travel Journal isn’t supposed to be a job….so relax and I think you’ll quickly find that you get better and better with every single Travel Journal you keep.

     To help with the challenge of ‘what to include’ in your Travel Journal, I’ve attached a link to a PDF that I’ve put together to help you build that framework and get you going. Years from now, you’ll never regret having kept a Travel Journal, and your descriptions will be so much richer if you pay attention to your 5 (and 6th) senses.

     Email me to let me know how I can help you get going on setting up your very own Travel Journal. Tell me what your biggest barriers are, and I’ll help you overcome them.

     Go ahead and click this link to download you framework on Travel Journal ‘content’!

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