The Travelling Notebook

The Travelling Notebook

A Postal Project

For many years I have enjoyed the art of letter writing to keep in touch with friends back home while I am living abroad, or to maintain contact with new friends I have met on my travels. In today’s uber connected world I find the instantaneity of email, text, messenger, snapchat, whatsapp, etc.. overwhelming to say the least. Often I am busy when a message comes through so I skim-read it with intentions of replying later, but later never comes. Writing letters is different. There is of course the excitement upon receiving post that isn’t in the form of bills or junk mail but it’s more than that. When I receive a letter from a friend, I know it’s been lovingly constructed and is usually several pages of updates. It deserves to be read leisurely, feet up, out on the patio with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine). It demands my full attention and in return it gives me a moment of peace.

Recently, I have got back into writing letters to the usual suspects, friends who are equally passionate about beautiful stationary, interesting postcards and writing (in addition to our comments on Facebook, Insta and the like). One day, on a not-so-busy shift at work, I found myself instagramming my latest postcard outgoings #penpals and a whole world of opportunity opened up. The idea hit me. Why don’t I find myself a penpal, in the true sense of the word, to correspond with en francais!

Apparently there is a quite a community online of like-minded people searching for penpals from across the globe. Many of them put my pretty little letters to shame with intricate craft details and beautiful drawings which they share online. I found a couple of potential new friends although it remains to be seen how successful these new relationships will become. For me personally, my intentions are to create a lasting writing relationship to learn about another culture and/or practise a foreign language; the letter design comes second. I have sent one outgoing and am checking the mailbox every day for my incoming post. I live very rurally on an Island so it can take an especially long time for post to arrive, although I currently have a sneaking suspicion that my long-awaited letter has gone astray. Anyhoo, all this to say that one of my penpal connections came up with an interesting postal project and I immediately jumped on board: The Travelling Notebook.

(Image courtesy of Asmaa S. Le Blog Cocooning)
(Image courtesy of Asmaa S. Le Blog Cocooning)

The idea is pretty simple, based along the lines of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Each participant gets the Notebook for up to 2 weeks and can write whatever they choose, adding drawings, photographs and whatever else they feel will be of interest to the next person. In this case none of the participants know each other and it will be an opportunity to share cultures. The route was organised by Asmaa S., owner of Le Blog Cocooning, who will be keeping track of the notebook’s whereabouts and will ultimately become the guardian of our work when the notebook returns to its point of departure in Paris. Luckily I’ll be one of the last to receive the notebook so I’ll have the pleasure of reading from France, to Turkey, to Mexico, although that also means I won’t be receiving it until sometime mid 2016. I am unbelievably excited to be part of this!

You can follow the notebook’s journey on instagram: #TravelingNotebook1516 (American spelling – not my fault!)

France – Switzerland – Netherlands – Belgium – Germany – Poland – UK – Iceland – Turkey – UAE – Thailand – Taiwan – Malaysia – Philippines – Mauritius – South Africa – Brazil – Costa Rica – Mexico – USA – Canada

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