Using My Traveler’s Notebook As A Planner – A Beginner’s Perspective

Some of you might have caught a glimpse of a Traveler’s Notebook in my Instagram, looking suspiciously LIKE yet UNLIKE the Midori Traveler’s Notebook.

travelers notebook with juice

I haven’t blogged anything about it because…I am not in love with it. Blasphemy! How can it be?!  Take a seat, have a coffee, this will be a long one.

It’s a fauxdori / TN that I bought from Taobao (also known as the Amazon of China). I won’t review it here, seeing as how most people won’t have easy access to it. Suffice to say, it looks like a traveler’s notebook and it acts like a traveler’s notebook.

Love it…
I like it because, well, it’s a TN, it looks good and it’s (should be) useful and adaptable. This leather (?) used in this one is ok, it’s supple, although not as supple as the original Midori TN (MTN). It’s not thick enough to build on unnecessary bulk. It’s also cheap enough that I don’t worry about scratching the leather unnecessarily. I also like that the centre band (that holds the TN shut) is bound in the spine, not in the back (as with the MTN). Most importantly, the original MTN inserts, and my own printed inserts take well to fountain pens.

Since receiving it in April, I have thought long and hard about what inserts to use and how to use them. I have even decked it out a bit with some sticker action, Alas, as of the end of June, I still couldn’t figure out how I felt about it, and what I wanted it to do for me.

TN with sticker action and TWSBI fountain pens

Love it not…
It travelled with me to Taiwan in July, and ended being my expense log. It wasn’t too convenient, as I preferred to log on the go, but there isn’t always a place to lay the TN, open the band, juggle a pen (especially a screw cap fountain pen, but that’s my bad planning), open up to my page, log my expense, and then reverse all the actions. Of course I liked how it looked in hipster-y travel photos taken in cafes.

hipster-y travel photos taken in cafes

Why haven’t I taken to it yet then? Well, it’s bulky and it doesn’t lie flat. Sure you could take out the insert to write in, then put it back when done, but that is such an unnecessary action. The elastic bands (in this particular TN anyway) are too thick, and adds unnecessary bumps. I know the bands in the original one are pretty thin. I’m planning to buy some narrower bands to try and replace mine. Lastly, there’s just TOO many choices of inserts. I could probably use a different planner insert every quarter.  I’m not a person who should be given too many choices. I end up more confused than satisfied, and end up being totally useless to anyone.

Planning with the TN
With 2016 looming in the distance, and the question of planners coming up again, I once again thought about how the TN could serve me better as a planner.  Hopefully this will give those of you thinking of using the traveler’s notebook as a planner some ideas too.

Traveler's Notebook and inserts

So I am trying it out with a few inserts courtesy of Ray Blake (bless the man for his generosity). I am using the Month to view, and Week to view inserts, and a plain Grid insert (not pictured).

With the Month to view, I am logging big expenses. I tend to spend without a plan, and end up with not much money at the end of the month. So for now, I log expenses for stationery (big thing!), cab rides (to rid myself of the habit), cosmetics (unnecessary), expensive meals, and other purchases above $50.

With the Week to view, I am trying it out as a blog planner / calendar, to see if I can finally start producing content regularly. I also want to try decorating it so it looks prettier to encourage myself to look at it more often (the result of one too MANY Plan With Me videos). I’m starting to see why people are so fascinated with decorating 🙂

I am using the grid mainly for lists to do with the blog, logging all the blog posts linearly, and perhaps using it to plan future posts.

TN Month to view and Week to view inserts

I have a kraft folder in it as well, but that has nothing in it except some post-it notes and a couple of random receipts. I kept my washi tape holders in there during my Taiwan trip, and they stayed in there quite nicely.

TN with kraft folder

The clear plastic thing with a bit of washi tape is something cool that I learnt from one of StudioBas’ videos: a DIY plastic folder. I love watching her videos. This DIY plastic folder is really easy to make, and quite useful for inserting papers or even stickers for on-the-go. It’s also very thin so it takes up no bulk at all. I even drew the instructions down, I was so impressed.

Instructions fo DIY TN plastic folder

Hopefully this will bring me closer to some planner peace in 2016.

Does anyone have any tips on using their TN as a planner? Leave me a comment or a link below.


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