Are Two Journals Better Than One?
September 20, 2023 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Just starting out on a five week journey out of the country and discovered I left my journal at home and will have to buy a new one for the trip. How can I integrate two half full, hand written, journals into one ongoing document?

I have a number of half finished journals at home. Without getting to the end , the journals lack cohesion and context. I like my current journal and don't want it to get lost in the shuffle that is this trip. Looking for creative analog ideas about how to integrate the two books without using a computer.
posted by Xurando to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What if you make the new journal be just the journal of the trip which will give it its own cohesion of a beginning, a middle and an end. When you return, let any blank pages in the trip journal stay blank or use them as a scrapbook for photos and memorabilia from the trip. When you return, use a double page spread in the current journal to make a note that from entries for to are found in the trip journal and then turn to the next page and continue on as normal.
posted by metahawk at 8:17 PM on September 20 [8 favorites]

Slice the used part of the journals out and rubber band them together in the right order, or get them rebound in increments of time by a bindery.

You can also clearly mark each section with dates and context, then keep writing in the other half, THEN bring the project to the bindery as a whole and let them deal with it.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:17 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]

just mark an area of the pages of the trip journal (just use a cheap notebook for this) that is a little smaller than the pages of the main journal at home. Number and date your pages and write only in the allocated areas of the page. When you get home, cut the written areas of the trip journal out and tape them onto the blank pages of the main journal.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:14 PM on September 20 [5 favorites]

I second the separate-journal-for-the-trip idea! I sometimes go backpacking and have to bring a lightweight mini-sketchbook instead of my regular big ol' chunk of a sketchbook. When I return, I put the mini-sketchbook with my pile of completed sketchbooks. When I later complete the bigger sketchbook from that time period, sometimes I slot the mini-sketchbook into the pages in correct chronological order, but it's also nice to store the mini-sketchbooks together next to each other.

As to your current journal getting lost in the shuffle, maybe set a calendar reminder to come back to it at the end of your trip?

Otherwise, for the tape-em-in advice, I recommend using a tape runner for less additional bulk.
posted by 26thandfinal at 10:50 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]

I'd consider not buying a new journal but instead trying to collect paper ephemera throughout the trip: tickets, packets, flyers etc. and jotting short notes on them. Paste them in your journal when you get back. Consider it a challenge in brevity as well as a different way to remember your travels.
posted by guessthis at 4:15 AM on September 21

Response by poster: I collect stuff while traveling as a matter of course, but the journal tracks the inner non-collectable journey of emotions and mental states.
posted by Xurando at 5:42 AM on September 21

Buy some cheap copy paper; it's thin. Cut in half. Bind with a couple binder clips, using a manilla folder as a cover, cut to fit with some overhang. When you get home, trim the pages, glue the pages in to your journal. You only need a strip of glue at the top (book creators call this tipping in). If it makes the journal unmanageably thick, slice out some pages.
posted by theora55 at 12:36 PM on September 21

What fingersandtoes said, but don't use tape. Use hide glue, in dots or strips. Tape is terrible stuff after only a few years. And don't use cheap paper, if you can avoid it.

Only write on one side of your travel journal pages.

Or, copy it out by hand into your "real" journal.
posted by the Real Dan at 4:10 PM on September 21

Response by poster: I found the perfect solution at a bookstore at the Seattle airport. I bought a tiny lined journal that I can easily tear the pages out.
posted by Xurando at 2:30 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]

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