"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Essentials for the Traveling Creative

While this post has the word "essentials" in the title, this is really just a list of creativity-related items I plan to take with me on my semester abroad. If it were possible, I would probably take every notebook I own (I have a bit of an addiction), but unfortunately I have limited room in my suitcase.

1. Pocket Moleskine + Mini Pen Set: Both of these items fit neatly into my purse, and they are a huge help when it comes to staying creative on the go. In the past I've used my pocket notebooks for all manner of things, from to-do lists to short story ideas. On this trip I'd really like to break free from the rigidity of the lined notebooks I've used in the past and try to include sketches, poetry, and thoughts from the places that I visit. I plan to write sideways, upside-down, and in spirals. I plan to fill every page with doodles and words, and to really get in the habit of using my notebook as a catch-all for random thoughts I have while traveling.

2. My Favorite Notebook: My uncle gave me this beautiful Rhodia notebook in 2012 and I've been slowly filling it ever since. I have a strange habit of saving certain notebooks for special occasions, and that's definitely the case with this one. I bring it with me on all my trips and try to write at least one entry for each one. This notebook as seen Iowa City, West Texas, New York, Paris, and soon, London and Florence. While my pocket notebook will be for fragmented thoughts and observations, this notebook will function as a journal where I reflect more deeply on my experiences.

3. Shared Travel Journal: Since my friend and I both went abroad this year, we are documenting our adventures in separate travel journals and then swapping them at the end of our travels. While I'm not nearly as prolific in mine as she is in hers (she filled one journal in the space of 12 very exciting days), I'm looking forward to sharing my adventures with her in this journal.

4. Watercolor Supplies: While this watercolor set and notebook looks bulky, I'm very attached to it. The actual set is probably 20+ years old and I inherited it from my mom. I could probably go out and buy a smaller set, and maybe even a smaller notebook, but why not work with what you have? Doing watercolor sketches is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. It makes you look closely at your surroundings, and grounds you in a place much more than just snapping a photograph would.

5. Laptop: This one is pretty self-explanatory. I will need it for school work, updating this blog, and any other writing I do while studying abroad. I'm hoping to keep up with my creative writing projects while I'm there, probably through a website called 750words.com, where you write at least 750 words a day and it tracks your progress.

6. iPhone (not pictured above): The iPhone 6s, which I was lucky enough to receive for Christmas, has an amazing camera. I thought about bringing along a point-and-shoot, but I realized that it would just be another thing I'd have to carry batteries and a charging chord for, and so I decided against it. Besides, I know I will be posting to Instagram as much as I can.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my suitcase! How do you stay creative while traveling?

London and Florence Countdown:
Days until departure: 3 days
Excitement to Anxiety Ratio: 80:20

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