I annoy my travel buddies. They lose track of me as I step into alcoves, cross the street or duck around a corner to take a picture or twist to film a panorama. Then there’s the indignity of waiting.  Often I pause, sit and write, digging through a bag for my pen, any pen as I usually carry several or none at all – and then lean on a support or stoop to write in my traveler’s notebook. My travel companions just have to adjust!

The Luxury of writing by hand

When you spend so much time working online taking the time to capture a phrase, a thought, a description with pen and paper is a luxury. Writing slows me down, the pause between words allows my mind to fly and I have to admit that often my fingers struggle to keep up so most of the words are barely legible. But writing helps the brain to configure things freshly. I don’t ruminate when typing, fingers fly and the ruminating comes later – if it comes at all.

A slim Traveler's notebook cover by Galen Leather

My new travel companion – a Traveler’s notebook cover by Galen Leather

This post was spurred by the gift of a travelers notebook cover from Galen Leather but all opinions are my own.

Writing can be sensual when it’s in a beloved and beautiful traveler’s notebook. I have a new red one from Galen Leather and love reaching into my bag, feeling the smooth surface and then when pulling it out, loving the color too. Their selection of sizes helped me find my perfect fit.

Don’t take my word about how writing by hand is beneficial. “According to plenty of different studies, there are brain-friendly benefits of writing out letters, notes, essays, or journal entries by hand that you can’t get from typing. Writing by hand really connects you with the words and allows your brain to focus on them, understand them, and learn from them.”

Hand stitching one of the Galen Leather bindings.

Hand stitching one of the Galen Leather bindings.

Benefits of writing in a travelers notebook

  • You remember and understand more. “One study found that students who took notes by hand had a greater understanding of a lesson than those who took notes on a computer.”
  • Writing engages more of your brain. I used to bring my laptop to meetings and events where my fingers would fly during discussions. I’ve become fast enough to capture most conversations. Don’t ask what me what was said though! There’s a ‘reading circuit’ that’s triggered when you write and it involves more of your brain than typing does.

Writing calms!

  • Do you have a hard time falling asleep or wake up with your head buzzing with thoughts? Writing helps to calm the brain. Graphologist and handwriting expert Dr. Marc Seifer claims that Jotting down a sentence like‘I will be more peaceful’ at least 20 times per day can actually have an impact, especially on those with attention deficit disorder.
  • Writing helps to keep your mind sharp – whatever your age. Toddlers have been shown to develop stronger memories by duplicating shapes (like letters.) “Brain-flexing” tasks like writing help keep our minds honed.
My mother's notebook, well worn and lovely but a bit too big for my travel style.

My mother’s notebook, well worn and lovely but a bit too big for my travel style.

  • Writing makes us more creative! Since we’re using more of our brains we have more to work with when we write.  I remember crafting my signature and then trying out different handwriting styles when I was in high school. A writing style can also be one’s brand. Think of famous signatures like Picasso’s.

Meet the Galen Leather traveler’s notebook in this short video

Writing is therapeutic

  • Perhaps you were an angst-driven teen as I was? I kept a diary and it continued the habit into my twenties. Writing helped me figure out how I felt and ease loneliness, confusion, and pain. Now, I admit that writing remains a release and it’s helpful in processing problems.
  • Writing as yoga?! There are claims that writing in cursive is a rhythmic exercise and calming.
  • Writing by hand helps with focus. I get distracted easily and keep multiple tabs open when I’m writing on my laptop. The world – a bar of music, light shift, a bird’s flight – may distract when I’m writing but thought-flow continues.
a box of old travel notebooks

My old travel notebooks, disorganized and definitely not lovely!

  • Writing in my traveler’s notebook helps me be more creative. Writing in cursive especially taps both sides of the brain. How much so varies by person but the stimulation of either the analytical or artistic side of the brain opens up possibilities that tapping a keyboard won’t.
  •  Also, brain and memory functions improve when writing in cursive. One teacher and language specialist sees improvements in her dyslexic students as well. I wonder if writing things out helps keep our brains younger too.

All of this has me considering that it’s time to polish my cursive skills and keep writing wherever I go. How about you?

A collection of a few of the Galen Leather goods.

A collection of a few of the Galen Leather goods.

Here’s where you can find out more about the beautiful traveler’s notebooks and other fine Turkish Leather goods that Galen Leather creates.

Travelers Notebook Pin


Travel Notes & Beyond

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