How I Found Field Notes

Field Notes Pen.jpg
My first craft Field Notes given to me by a Field Nut.

Something happened in the new year that suddenly took over my personal life. Field Notes. These little pocket notebooks have struct me with full force and I just can’t get enough. It started when I was searching for my new 2016 journal. Sit down, make a cup of coffee cause this post is about to get long.

Since I was young, I have always loved the feeling of a fresh notebook. Stationery shopping has always been one of my favourite past times when I was in school and later continued through my adult life at university.

The years following university, I no longer needed to do stationery shopping. Technology and iPads came, taking books and note taking to a whole different level. But, something was different. I found myself not really re-reading my notes. My online journals were just that, online. Never to be looked at again. Yet I found myself re-reading and reliving all my memories through the pages of diaries I kept as a young child before the online age came around. And the interesting thing is, when I read these books, my old journals, I remember the infomation in more detail. The images of that day, that thing I wrote about comes back clearer to my memory. For this reason alone, I have a drawer full of blank notebooks. Or notebooks that have the first few pages filled in with thoughts. Drawings. Random words. Random notes I took. All doing nothing but wasting space and trees.

There are many studies which have proven that when we type something as opposed to when we write something, that we use different parts of our brain and these studies have proven we remember better if we write things down rather than typing. Think about it, how often do you re-read your twitter posts?

This brings me to a tangent in this post. A year ago, I visited my family in Australia and quietly watched as my mum sat at the table writing diligently in her diary. “what’s that” I asked her, interested in how focused she was at what she was writing. “Oh, this…this is my diary…I just write things in here about my day”. I got up and took a quick look. She was there, writing in all the things her and I had did during the day. “I just write what ever in these–been doing it for about 4 years” she continued to me. “Can I read?” I asked, not in anyway to be nosey, but rather just to glimpse at the effort she had put into these books, thse diaries, these relics which one day will be looked back on by future generations and read.

I flipped through the pages and saw she had noted everything. Her daily happenings. Her thoughts. Random maps. Telephone numbers of people she met. The places she ate at with her friends. Shopping lists. The information was just that, information. No set rule, no set order.

“May I see the others?” I asked her. She looked at me for a second, probably wondering why I was asking to see her personal diaries, but, I was intrigued. My mum had put a lot of time and effort in writing every day in these books, and I was genuinely intrested. She went to her room and returned with 4 other yearly diaries. A quick flip through and as she said, all pages were written in. More maps. More information. More thoughts. More details about life in the previous 4 years. “Mum, this is amazing” I told her. “You have documented your life for almost 5 years, preserved your writing, your thoughts, your experiences, its all here”. To this day I dont think she quite understood how important what she had done/is doing actually is. I dont think she realizes how impressed I am.

Later that week, I went to the newsagency and she bought me my own 2015 diary where, like her, I too have preserved my thoughts and experience daily. I have kept my promise to her (and my innerself) and wrote in it daily. It became December and as the new year approached it was time for me to start thinking about the next diary/journal/notebook I would purchase. I am quite picky when it comes to things I use regularly. So this new notebook had to be perfect.

I got on the net and while looking at which notebook to get I somehow managed to stumble on a website which outlined famous persons and their pocket notebooks. Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson, George Lucas, the list goes on and on. Albeit this website just focuses on the great men who kept a pocket notebook, but, think about the great women in history who also kept a famous diary. Anne Frank. While I was looking at their pocket notebooks, I couldnt help but think about all their effort, like my mum, they took to write everything they did or thought. The diagrams, the note taking, information upon information for future generations to read and discover. It is all kind of exciting. Not to mention the linguistic properties each diary contains. Language of an era preserved in its most raw state. From the brain of one human, through ink to the pages. I too wanted to change the way I had been writing my diary and purchase a smaller notebook for 2016.

I decided on purchasing the Moleskine 2016 ruled daily pocket soft cover. I chose this because I needed a notebook that has daily pages for every day of the year, a book that has ruled lines edge to edge, a book that can open easily without the fear of it breaking, and softcover because I prefer softcover moleskines to hardcovers. I love the feel of wear and tear later on as the edges begin to curl. That worn-in-feeling gives the notebook a feeling of history.

Left: Moleskine 2016 daily journal. Right: Moleskine soft cover pocket ruled notebook.

Most importantly, for 2016 I downsized the notebook to palmsize so I could carry it with me every day. My 2015 notebook was the size of a novel, so I left it at home and wrote in it each night, but this coming year I want to take the notebook around with me and write in it whenever an idea, a thought, a moment, or when an experience comes up. A kind of hybrid pocket notebook and daily diary. That is what a diary should be. A book that makes you want to fill its empty pages.

Later in the year while browsing notebook blogs, I kept hearing the name Midori Travellers Notebook being talked about here and there. At first I ignored it as I was all about Moleskine this, Moleskine that, but the Midori buzz would not go away. Even my YouTube recommended feed was starting to show me Midori Setup videos!

I gave in to the internets and watched.

Later that week, I was the owner of a Midori Travellers Passport Size Black Notebook.

My Midori
My Midori setup: Plastic sleeve, craft folder, Field Notes Ambitions Schedule, Field Notes Two Rivers (language study notes), Field Notes Unexposed Orange (catch everything notes).

Then my obsessive compulsive side took over and I needed to find refills for it, but, I wanted my refills to be the same, colourful but most importantly a unified design. I wasn’t happy with the Midori inserts and stumbled upon a video of a girl using Field Notes as refills.

This my friends is how I discovered Filed Notes.

I went from owning 0 Field Notes to owning everything in the picture below in about a month. Thank goodness for Tokyo and the honeypot of shops carrying stocks of older editions like Red Blooded and Ambitions.

Field Notes Collection
My current Field Notes collection (as of February 11th, 2016)

Now I am part of the Field Nuts community on Facebook and enjoying everyone’s discussions and photos on there.

Looking forward to sharing more stories like this here with you all.


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