An Adventure Journal

Posted by RichD | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-05-2009


I am thinking of doing a lot more outdoor activities this year.  Hiking, camping, rock climbing are just a few of the things on my summer to-do list.  As I think about packing for these expeditions I am thinking about keeping records and journaling along the way.  I was doing a little research along these lines this week and I found this fantastic company.


From their Home Page:

Nomad Writing Journals are a product of our passion for outdoor activities and the desire to remember, in great detail, each and every adventure. These detailed writing journals grew out of our passion for traveling and outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, bird watching, fly fishing, paddle sports and live music. Keeping detailed entries in your Nomad Journals will serve as a diary of special moments you can share with family and friends over the years. We provide you with cues to record every detail of your trips and activities as a diary would, while still providing plenty of space to record your observations. Just click a tab to see specific Nomad Writing Journals.

Man I am psyched about this place. In addition to just blank journals they have journals that are tailor made for just about any outdoor activity, complete with prompts to keep you writing about anything from kayaking to outdoor music festivals.

I’ve ordered a blank journal already to shove into my backpack as a collection book during my summer adventures.  The measurements they give are for a book that is a bit smaller than half a sheet of standard 8.5×11 paper (fold a sheet in half and see if the size suits you). The journals come in either nylon or leather covers that can be refilled with new books.  The covers can even be personalized with your name or logo.  they sell these as promotional or corporate gifts but I imagine it would be just as easy to put your own, personal stamp on one.

nomad_journal_climbsnomad_journal_wineThey even sell waterproof versions of the book refills!

Do you adventure with you journal?  If so I wanna know what sorts of equipment you use.  What sort of Journal?  Do you have an indestructible pen?  Is there a technique you use to store your whole kit?  Leave a comment and share your tools and experiences.

Flipping Over Your Journal

Posted by RichD | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-05-2009


Finally keeping a Journal?  GREAT! What kind? A daily diary? A sketchbook? Fitness Log?  Writing stories? Random thoughts.  All great ideas!  And while its perfectly wonderful to keep all of these things in on great book, sometimes it works better to keep things separate and a bit organized.

I enjoy keeping a daily record.  It’s an exorcise in consistency I love, but by no means a necessary part of keeping a journal.  I also enjoy doing random research and keeping up with projects and crazy schemes and sometimes this breaks the flow of my day-to-day log.  At one time I kept two books.  One notebook that I kept with me all day to snatch up everything as it happened and a book that stayed by the bed to get a nightly entry of the days activities.   Soon I found that by time to make that daily entry I had only a watered down version of the day’s events.  I started carrying both books with me.  I carried “journal” for catching thoughts and ephemera, and my “diary” for catching events as they happened. With two books in my bag to write in, plus whatever book and magazines I was reading at the time, I had quite a hefty load to carry daily.  In addition, I was never happy with the idea of having more than one book in which to write.  I experimented with allotting sections of the book for subjects (kind of like your notebook from school) only it was IMPOSSIBLE to know how many pages to allot for each section and I found I was having to end one section before I finished the pages in another.  Unfortunately it was my only solution for a long time.

One day I picked up a magazine to read and noticed that this issue had a “special addition” that was a dedicated second magazine that was attached to the back of main magazine only it was flipped upside down.  It was a clear demarcation of where one magazine ended and the other started.  It was, in a sense, two books in one.  I snatched the idea IMMEDIATELY!

Here is how the “Flip-Journal” works:

When you choose a book, choose one that has basically the same back as it does front.  One of those plain black sketch books work great for this.  Then choose one side and make a note of what you are journaling in this side.  Then flip the journal end-over-end and make a note about what you are journaling on this side.  I usually make an adjustment to the two covers to indicate what goes in which end.  For example, I drew the right half of a brain (complete with an ornate letter R) on one end and the left half on the other.  The “left-brained” side was for daily entries and the “right-brained” side was for what ever I felt like exploring or just jotting down.

That’s it.  That’s my simple but powerful technique to get two journals out of one book. All of the entries in one section will be totally upside down when reading from the other end. When the two sections meet (somewhere in the middle) the book is full. Both sections cover the same period in time so it’s easy to file and reference later.


Here is a brief list of some of the subjects of my Flip-Journals in the past.

• Daily Diary / Random Journal
• Random Journal / Sketchbook
• Random Journal /Fitness Log
• Sketchbook / Wine Journal (yeah, a Bohemian phase)
• Random Journal / Blogging drafts and ideas (currently)

Collecting Your Thoughts

Posted by RichD | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-05-2009


waxtabletThe ancient Egyptians didn’t write directly on the walls or papyrus .

The Romans and Greeks rarely sat down with a blank scroll and just started writing.

Even Leonardo DaVinci didn’t pull out a pristine book and start making notes and drawings and just trust his luck that all of his thoughts would come out in the order he wanted them published.

The Egyptians (like many ancients) would make notes on pot-shards (broken pots were a dime a dozen and you could scratch on them with anything) then later collect the important information in a more usable format.

Likewise the Romans did day-to-day note taking on wax tablets.  These were shallow frames of wood with wax melted into them that could be scratched into with a stylus.  These notes could be later transcribed onto a scroll.

The “Notebooks” of DaVinci didn’t start out as actual books.  He made notes on separate leaves of paper and then organized them as to topic.  It was years after his death that his followers managed to have them bound into books.

As much as I love having my clunky journal around to write and scheme and make notes, sometimes (actually quite often) it’s just not that practical to pull out and start scribbling.  At the same time, if I don’t write these things down they may become watered down in memory or even forgotten before I can get to my book.

My advice for journal keeping on the go is to take a lesson from these great thinkers of history.  Use something else to collect your thoughts.

I don’t carry pot-shards or a wax tablet but I do carry a small spiral notebook, or, four or five 3×5 index cards in my back pocket.  I can get a lot of information on two sides of a single index card.  I write small and do a lot of on the spot shorthand but later I can expound on the notes and ideas.

You can even get a sheet of the printable business cards and separate out a couple and keep them in your wallet for a more elegant solution.

You could try a folded sheet of paper like a Pocket Mod.  Go to their website an you can create and print a small book that is blank or has lines, grids, columns, calendars …  just about anything you can think of to help you stay organized.

Lately, however, I have been utilizing my cell phone as a collection book.  When journaling on the spot or making notes I can pull out the phone and start typing away.  Then just email or texts the notes to myself and I don’t even have to re-type them.

Think texting yourself a few notes is too tough.  Check out Robert Bernocco.  He managed to knock out an entire science fiction novel on his cell phone.

Okay, I admit that I am actually using an iPhone with an Evernote app that stores all sorts of information, including voice recordings and photos.  In any case, it’s actually become quite trendy to be typing into your cell phone when out and about, whereas scribbling in a notebook might actually be considered rude.  Go figure.

Just because you don’t have your journal with you doesn’t mean you have to stop journaling.  You can use almost anything to collect your thoughts or notes on the go, and then transcribe them at your leisure.

Reasons to Keep a Journal (Maybe You Already Do)

Posted by RichD | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-05-2009


If you are still thinking of journaling as a “Dear Diary” kind of thing maybe you should give it another look.  Keeping a journal, or even several journals, can be an important part of reaching your goals or keeping records.  Specialized journals can keep you on track.

So here is a quick list of things you might want to journal (you may be doing it already).

•  Workout Log— Keeping up with what you’re doing in the gym is a sure way to improve your performance

Diet Log—Like a workout log keeping up with what you are eating will show your, pretty quickly where you can make adjustments.

Journaling for your Family—They grow up so fast.  Keep a book of the milestones and achievements in your family.

Get it out of your head— Keeping information in your mind keeps in ON your mind.  Getting it down in a place you can get back to relieves a lot of stress by clearing up your thought processes

Problem Solving—Writing out a problem is often as useful as talking to someone about it.  And don’t forget making lists of Pro vs. Con

Do You Garden?—Keeping up with what you plant along with when and how, an then making records of what did well, when things bloomed and what was harvested gives you larger payoffs in seasons to come.  Consider pressing a flower or two in the pages as well.

Lists List Lists—So where do you want to eat tonight? What movie do you want to rent? What was the name of that book you heard about?  Keeping running lists of things that interest you make it easy to answer these questions.

Are You a Connoisseur? — If you keep a journal of wine tastings or favorite cigars not only can you relive the good times but you can make recommendations to others and make wiser investments in the future.

There are far too many things that can be logged or journaled to ever list them all here.  You can keep separate books for each of your logs or keep them in all in one book.  I don’t suggest taking your journal to the gym just to log sets, but, to each his own.

I hope to take each of these sorts of journaling in depth at later dates, but this should at least get you thinking about what you can keep in your journal on a day-to-day basis.