My Most Recent Obsession: Journaling + Travel Notebooks

Anyone who knows me knows that I am practically obsessive in my organization. I am that person that writes copious to-do lists, will block out everything – including break time – in my google calendar (to the point where it gives my roommate anxiety, oops), and has had a long standing love for anything paper.

It’s no wonder I chose to study architecture. What other discipline would allow me to utilize my organizational skills in order to accomplish everything that’s needed to be accomplished – building overly-complex models (my professor once said that I was a masochist because I would plan out the most complicated and intricately beautiful models even though they were way too time consuming), creating beautiful and minimalistic and informative drawings – and still, somehow, succeeding to sleep more than most of my classmates? And most importantly, I got to play with nice paper and nice pens all the time.

One of the things I’ve regretted the most about my past few years here at MIT is that I never took the time to document my experiences here. Sure, I still have my memories, but memories are fleeting and easily forgotten. Writing things down on paper or drawing them out or blogging about it on here makes it all so much more memorable and tangible. For example, most of what I remember of the past few semesters is all of the struggles and long nights in studios and arguing with studio professors trying to explain to them why I thought my ideas were valid and good. But I’m sure those semesters weren’t all awful – I was probably spending time with friends, watching TV to relieve anxiety, learning to dance – but I don’t remember because often the miserable memories outlive the happy ones.

I’ve been making a push towards documenting everything this past semester in a forgotten sketchbook that I have – making it kind of a planner-journal hybrid, where I’ve been drawing weekly spreads, making to do lists every day, and journaling a little bit of what I did and how I felt that day. It’s really helped me notice trends in when my anxiety flares up but also it’s helped me remember all the little things that I do to make myself happier. The sketchbook is really fun to flip through – the other day when I did so I realized that I had totally forgotten that I had gone to the New England Aquarium with my class and I found how nice it was to be able to bring back that memory.

I’ve been slowly coming to the end of the sketchbook – it most likely will only last until the end of the semester – and so I have been looking at replacement notebooks. As a child, I hoarded notebooks and would write in them a little bit before abandoning it for a newer, prettier, better notebook, and now that I know I actually will use up this first sketchbook I’m letting child me come out to pick out the newer, prettier, and better notebook. I happened upon these Midori Traveler’s Notebooks the other day and child me (and grown up me!) fell in love.

here’s an example of a Midori Traveler’s Notebook from
the blog True Life on Earth

I love the flexibility that these notebooks offer and all the different types of inserts that you can purchase to go inside, and the mission statement is something that really speaks to me. These notebooks seem so nice and sophisticated and timeless, which really aligns with my aesthetic as someone who prefers minimalism, like many other architecture students who have been immersed in architecture for so long. It’s been taking a lot of effort for me to not immediately go out and buy one, but I promised myself I had to use up my sketchbook first. Grown up me can’t succumb to all my childhood whims, and I definitely don’t have the space to be hoarding more notebooks.

I have, however, promised myself that if I don’t finish my current sketchbook by the end of the semester, I’m allowed to buy this Midori notebook for myself for Christmas and also to document my Christmas vacation in its own separate little notebook. Especially since, if I’m not wrong, I might be crossing off another continent on my list.

What have you guys been into recently? Do you also think it’s important to document your memories?

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