Out and About: Travel and Journaling


The other day, Lia asked me about travel and art journaling; what do you bring outside your "comfort zone," as she called it. You certainly don't want to tote around your entire stash of supplies when you're off on a trip! Instead of answering in an email, I thought I'd write a post, as I'm sure others are wondering the same thing!

You certainly have to think about what you use the most, and then pare it down a bit into a small collection of supplies that can be easily thrown into a small case or bag.

Personally, I use a Bible case I grabbed at Tuesday Morning for about $5. I think it must be a deluxe one or something like that because of the outside pocket and purse strap (that broke, but the hooks are still there), but anyway. These cases are great because they're a good size and have at least two pockets inside for stashing supplies. You can get them at Barnes and Noble or...probably online or something.

Here are the supplies I carry in my Travel Case:

Children's Scissors: These are smaller but no less effective at cutting. :) Plus, they have the rounded tips, which are usually easier to get through any sort of security than regular scissors.

Double-Sided Tape: I love my Towboy tape. The case is small but the tape is mighty -- seriously. I've taped fabric and ribbon and such with this stuff!

Ink Pad: Now, I have a tan chalk pad in mine, but that's just personal preference. Ink pads are useful for edging/painting papers and allow you to use found things as stamps while away from home.

Art Eraser: Because you always need one.

Paint Pens: I have a few double-ended Permapaque pens in mine because they're fun to doodle with, cover well, and can paint a page in a pinch. They're great for adding detail and fun!

Gel Pens: I adore the 207 gel pens. I bought the pack that has all the colors and use them for writing journal entires in like-colors on collages. I used to write all my entries in black, but matching the background to the pen just...adds to it, I think. Anyway, have a few gel pens in there.

Pencil & Pen: Doesn't matter what kinds. Just have a pencil and a black pen for sketching. Sitting or standing and spending time on a sketch -- no matter how good or bad -- captures MANY MORE memories than just snapping a photo and moving on. It adds a personal touch to your journal and trip.

Assorted Papers
: Under the zipper pouch, I have random papers from home. The kinds that I use a LOT -- found papers that I collage with. They're my favorite ones and are good starting points for a collage with stuff you pick up along the way.

Colored Pencils/Watercolor Pencils/Crayons
: COLOR! Something to paint/color your backgrounds with since you're without your paint. Watercolor pencils/crayons are practically no-mess and you can find some water to spread the colors wherever you are. Pretty backgrounds are fun to collage over.

Masking Tape: Gotta work quick? Pull out the masking tape and tape that thing down!

There are other supplies you could put in your Travel Case, depending on what you use often. Before packing, work on a journal page and leave out all those things you find yourself reaching for over and over; this will help you recognize what you truly need and don't need. Don't over pack! The worst thing is to be carrying around a bunch of stuff you never use. Remember: you're journaling your trip -- your most important materials are found along the way and aren't found inside your case.

Don't think you have to go AWAY to use a Travel Case! I often tote mine outside or to friends' houses to journal and play away from my desk. Give yourself a mini-vacation and chronicle your journey! Sketch or collage while stuck waiting for a train. Waiting for your child at an after-school activity. Journaling doesn't have to happen where you have all your materials and can make the perfect page. You'd be surprised at what you can create with simple materials out and about in the world!

What would you carry that I haven't listed here?