For the record

In How-to, Instant Film, Travel, Uncategorized
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In my previous post I shared a few of the many digital images I captured on our trip to London and Paris at the beginning of summer. And I have a confession: all those lovely images are still sitting on my computer, awaiting attention. All my good intentions to immediately sort, edit and print my favorites have not spurred me to action–yet.

Which is why I’m so happy I decided to keep an analog record of our days abroad. At the end of each day, while details were fresh and images newly captured, I sat down to write an overview of our adventures, filling the pages with both words and instant film images.I’ve been keeping a weekly log of a similar nature now for several years, so I had an idea what to take with me for on-the-go journaling. Though I’ve been using a Traveler’s Notebook for a while, I wanted a different format this time. After shopping around (so many choices!) I settled on this Midori notebook with grid-lined pages, as well as the clear notebook cover (perfect for personalizing with postcards purchased on the trip) and a new pen.

My “secret weapon” for making the daily journal work was this little Instax printer. When I first purchased the printer, I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it or if I’d be happy with the results. However, I fell in love with it! The size makes it easy to pack, the film is affordable, and the phone app is very simple to use. Each day I was able to sort through my photos, choose a few that represented our day, and print them on the spot for inserting into my journal. So satisfying!The other device that helped immensely is this SD card reader for iPhone. I wanted to use my Fuji X100s for the majority of my photos (rather than juggling between iPhone and Fuji) but I also wanted to be able to access the photos from my Fuji quickly and easily. This card reader did the trick! I was able to transfer images quickly from the card to my phone, then edit and share online or print for my journal.

My second camera for this trip was my newly-refurbished SX-70, an absolute favorite of mine. I ordered a stash of the new Polaroid Originals SX-70 film before traveling, and those prints, along with the Instax minis from the printer, provided the visuals for my journal.Because we were traveling light, I packed just a few other journaling essentials in a small zippered pouch: photo corners, small TSA-approved scissors, dry adhesive for affixing ephemera, and a limited supply of washi tape. Taking a small kit simplified everything and made it easier for me to stick with the process.

There were many long days on this trip, and I was often tempted to tumble into bed instead of taking time to journal. But I knew if I skipped even a day, I’d forget the details, lose my enthusiasm, and come home with an incomplete record of our journey. So I stuck with it, and it was truly rewarding to return home with a journal I could thumb through, share with others, and immediately enjoy!

I still intend to sort my digital photos and create a book before the year is gone, but this little analog journal will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a tangible reminder of the special days we shared, and absolutely worth the time I put into it.

If you travel anywhere, near or far, in the coming months, I hope you’ll put some of these tips to good use. And please share your creations with me when you do!







  1. OMG, Leslie! This is incredible! I absolutely love this idea and simultaneously marvel at the amount of work it seems to take. Haha. It looks like you’ve figured out just what you need and the outcome is just perfect. I’ve never been one to record my travels, except for the photos but then they end up sitting on my computer like you said. To be able to view them tangibly, alongside written memories would be amazing. I still thumb through the scrapbook I made after my college study abroad trip years ago. You’ve inspired me to be more proactive during my next trip. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Chinwe! It was a fun project and very rewarding, too! The process was very fun once I got into the groove.

  2. Love, love, love, LOVE this!! I had drinks a few weeks ago with two college friends that I traveled through Europe with right after graduation. We had the best time looking through old photographs and reading what my friend had written in her journal. She had kept train tickets, etc and it really added to the journal. It made me realize how important the written word is in addition to the photographs. I, too, have years of photos and videos on my computer…I’m slowly getting there. Thank you for the inspiration! We have a family trip to NYC coming up in October and I’m going to give this a go!

    • Yay, Laura! I hope some of these ideas will work for you. I tell you, that little Instax printer was well worth the price! I use it every week for my weekly journal and I know I’ll be packing it on my next trip, too.

    • Ah, thank you! It was fun to share my journal in person with you and Tate. 🙂

  3. Totally wonderful Leslie, I have big crush on your organization skills!!

    • Thank you, Audrey! Once I honed down my plan, it was very easy to get into a groove and stay motivated! (Plus now I have the best souvenir of my travels. ?)

    • Ah, thank you! I appreciate your kinds words.

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