Sunday, March 8, 2009

Preparing for something memorable

I'm going to Ireland in two and a half weeks. Until I land in Dublin, my international experience will have been limited to 24 hours in Niagara Falls, the Canadian half. And, I guess, lots of strolls past embassies when I lived in DC. And the UN in New York. But basically, this is my first REAL international experience. I'm incredibly excited. So I've decided I'm going to try, one more time, to keep some semblance of a journal while I'm there.

Now, journals and sketchbooks and I have a checkered past. I always have great intentions and awful follow-through. So I decided to make my own journal, in the hopes that I could make what I need. I ended up with two:

One with lots of different kinds of pages, lined and unlined, different colors, etc. This will be for anything and everything. Thoughts, sketches, notes, directions. Whatever I want. Whatever I do with it will be what I intended, because I also think I need permission to fail, to be mundane, to write poorly, to clutter it up. It'll be what it'll be, and it'll be fantastic.

And one that I'm modeling off something my Mom came up with for one of our family vacations when I was younger. She used a tablet of sample paper (somehow we always had paper samples lying around the house) and labeled each sheet with a letter of the alphabet. The whole trip we recorded things we saw, heard, ate, whatever on the appropriate alphabet page. Sometimes with explanations and/or illustrations, but sometimes just a word or two. It was a low-key, simple way to document a trip--and I recall it being awesome.

So I'm going to try it for Ireland. Wish me luck!

And if you've been to Dublin and want to share stories, tips, good eateries (esp. cheap and/or vegetarian!), best things to see and do, etc.-- don't hold back! Drop me some comments.


  1. I LOVE the idea of the alphabet journal. I want to start one right's reason enough to plan a trip! And its great that you've given yourself permission to clutter up the other journal... sketch yourself silly, and save everything, ticket stubs, labels, etc. So much better for later inspiration than a tidy book would be.

    I've never been to Ireland, but friends have told marvelous tales of that magical place. Have a wonderful time!

  2. Traveling can be an exciting and scary adventure but always worth it! I have never been to Dublin but I hear it is a beautiful place with breath taking scenery. Hope you enjoy your trip!

  3. Have a wonderful trip, I look forward to seeing what you record. I take all my drawing stuff when I go away and often don't use it but I find that I have renewed inspiration when I return. The alphabet journal is a great idea.

  4. how exciting!! that first international trip is just magical, especially the anticipation that builds up in the last half hour of the flight, thinking about what you'll see, what you'll do, what it will look like... oh, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and please tell us all about it when you return!

  5. Very cool! I love the alphabet sketchbook idea. Can't wait to see what you post. Have fun!

  6. How exciting!!! My hubby and I went to Ireland about 3 years ago. Just loved it. We only spent one night in Dublin, although I wish we could have stayed longer. We then then flew to Belfast, rented a car and drove down the coast. Driving in Ireland is a trip, let me tell you! I also kept a little diary, sketchbook thingy. You will be glad you brought it, there are lots of things to record.

    Have a fantastic time!!!!! I know you will!

  7. The handmade journals are totally cool (your mom's idea is awesome!) and I am excited to see what you do with them (at least the parts you want to share on the interwebs). I also have trouble with my own good sketchbook/journal intentions but it looks like you've found a great solution. And finally, I have to admit I'm a little jealous (never been and always wanted to) and I hope you have a perfect time!

  8. Those travel journals are a great idea; have fun in Ireland!



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