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Midori Traveler’s Notebook Passport Size: How I Use It with Field Notes

OK, so yeah. I bit the bullet. I’ve been hearing about the Midori Traveler’s Notebooks for a long time now, and I am kind of surprised at how long I managed to dodge this purchase. The first review I found was this one, which utilized the MTN for a single notebook. That just seemed really unnecessary to me, so I didn’t think much of it.

I then saw Krysty’s review, and saw that it didn’t work out for her, which nixed it automatically for my fickle self. Then, I saw Bea’s post  and it was like a choir of angels (really). I went on an obsessive spiral of timesuck, watching videos and posts of setups and inserts and what-have-you.

Warning: This is a pretty long post about journals and planners, so just a warning before you go any further. The dork is strong in this one.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes

I got the Midori Traveler’s Notebook Passport Size in Brown. I switched out the brown elastic for the orange one, though I might put the brown one back, because reasons.

I’ve only had this for about a week and a half, so I can’t give you a truly accurate review of how it does in the long-term. However, I’ve been pretty happy with the set-up I ended up sticking with after a few frustrating tries. I’m sure it will change over the course of the year and the next year, though, but that’s fine.

So, like the title says, I use the MTN Passport Size with my Field Notes notebooks. I have amassed quite a stash of these and at some point, I stopped using them, favoring my Rhodia Webnotebook, a desk A5 in black (mainly because of the dot grid and FP-friendly paper), which I also recently stopped using for day-to-day activities. More on this later.

Basically, I thought I could go paperless, but alas. It was not meant to be.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes vs Midori Inserts

I should note that the Field Notes are quite a bit larger than the Midori inserts (3.5″ x 5.5″ vs. 3.5″ x 4.5″), so for the passport size, I can only actually fit about 3 books inside the cover before it starts to look a little clunky and gets a little tough to write in. I can slip in an extra notebook into the elastic front, if I really need to, but I like having everything tucked inside.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Too Big
Well, kind of.

The first thing I did to figure out my system (i.e. what to do with the refills) is to list down what I wanted and needed my Midori to do for me. I am very scatterbrained and my brain likes to work in many, many tangents, which made it ultimately hard for me to keep just a single notebook for everything, i.e. the Bullet Journal, which comes into play, too.

So, I decided I wanted:

a) a journal
b) a place for writing drafts, and
c) a place for lists

… that was compact, portable, and simple.

I had wanted a separate refill for blog posts, but I decided against it because I figured I could just transfer ideas or outlines from my b refill and into a separate notebook I kept at home. This led me to decide that all single project notebooks would stay at home and all these refills I had would have the pertinent information that I needed with me at all times.

REFILLS

Refill 1: Journal and Brain Dump
This is where the unfiltered thoughts and pasting-in happens. Tread lightly. I like using blank, graph or dot grid FNs for this. I wanted to get back into journaling and just keeping track of the things that happen in a day, since I stopped doing that at some point in the last few years. It’s made me feel a little off, to be honest. I used to carry this ginormous journal around in school, everyday, like an asshole:

 photo DSC_4737.jpg
(It expanded to something like an inch and a half or two inches of whining and other dramatic things. Hello, white iBook!)

I put random thoughts, day-to-day stupidity, and some very rudimentary scrapbooking in here. This is also a great way to pretend you’re busy when you’re alone somewhere, waiting for something or someone, haha.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Refill 1 - County Fair
Current in use: Field Notes County Fair New York Blue (Graph)

Refill 2: Drafts and Outlines
One of my 2015 goals is to write more, so this is an answer to that. I use at least a page for each “project,” like blog posts, book reviews, drafts for writing assignments, notes or anything like that. I review this at the end of the day (… or eventually in the week) and transcribe important data into my Evernote account. This essentially contains rough outlines, very informal notes, etc.

The front I’ve used to store some sticky notes I may need, though I find I don’t usually use the cutesy ones. But, you know, just in case.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Refill 2 - Night Sky
Current in use: Field Notes Night Sky Book 2: Midsummer (star/cross graph) + sticky notes

Sidenote: Night Sky’s star/cross graph:
Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Night Sky Grid

Refill 3: Bullet Journal
This is my Bullet Journal. I like using graph FN Notebooks because I have an abundance of those and they are convenient. I ended up needing a Bullet Journal because I love lists and I need day-to-day micromanaging, like a child. I started out using a Traveling Salesman FN, since it used a ledger layout inside, but I decided to leave it at home to transfer “important” lists to from my Bullet Journal.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Bullet Journal Key

So, my Bullet Journal is basically a catch-all for all lists, as it’s supposed to be. I struggled with using this after my initial enthusiasm, plainly because I’m lazy. My Bullet Journal Key is on film sticky notes on the first page of Refill 3. These are mostly task and notes-based.

My Bullet Journal setup is very much based on a modified version by Interpuncted Thirty that includes a modified months page that’s more forward planning-friendly. I still kept my Index Page because I’m using this refill/Bullet Journal for other lists, too.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Bullet Journal Daily

The back page is a tracker for “daily tasks” like flossing (lol), vitamins, achieving my water intake goal (the boring ol’ 8-glass standard), and computer-based things I need to get out of the way everyday to keep on top of things. I know this makes me sound like a crazy person, but I have slid down a pit of doom many times, and I just really want to get myself back on track. I think micromanaging is the way to do that, unfortunately.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Refill 3 - Cold Horizon + Night Sky Back
Current in use: Field Notes Cold Horizon, opposite the back cover of Field Notes Night Sky

ACCESSORIES

I don’t really have any fancy accessories like the slide-y pocket (though I’m looking to get that one) for cards and sticky notes or (I ended up getting it, haha) any of the fancy inserts people buy on Etsy or print out for themselves. I just don’t like how the handmade inserts look + I don’t want to bother.

Fuji Instax Share SP-1, Midori

I do use washi tape for decorating and organizing, and I borrow my dad’s Fuji Instax Share SP-1 to print some photos, occasionally, for journaling. Other than that, my MTN is a pretty standard 3-insert deal.

NOT MIDORI RELATED

Forward Planning
Right now, I need a visual way to present my plans (ha what plans), and I honestly favor the Weekly Views for calendaring.

Evernote Weekly Planner, I.DO Weekly Planner

For all my forward-planning needs, I got the Evernote x Moleskine Planner for 2015 to try digitizing my manual notes. I was going to just try to solely use my MTN, but then I bought this back in September. I just have a Weekly View, so I mainly rely on my Google Calendar for a monthly overview. I am thinking of printing out a Monthly Grid View and slipping it somewhere with my MTN inserts, just so I have it at hand without having to use technology, heh. I’ll probably make a separate post for that if it ends up working out for me.

Pre-2015, I used this I.DO Weekly Planner (there are similar ones here from Artbox) that you have to input the dates in. I brought this around everywhere but, unfortunately, only sporadically wrote in it. I think I really have an aversion to cutesy stationery after all. In the final stretches of 2014, it’s working out well for me, and I guess that’s what matters.

I.DO Weekly Planner Notes Layout

On one page, there is a weekly view of columns. On the other side, there’s a three-column memo page with a checklist, a blank space, and one with grids. I mainly use this planner for scheduling blog posts, social events, and trips.

Project Planning
For now, this is sort of anything goes territory. I like dedicating a single notebook (i.e. a Field Notes notebook) to larger, more time-consuming projects that have many little tasks (e.g. a web project or a book design) or are continuous (e.g. blog ideas and scheduling). For shorter projects, I file them away in the aforementioned Rhodia Webnotebook. It really all depends on what would suit whatever it is more.

FLAWS IN THIS SYSTEM

The flaws of this system mainly concern the paper quality of Field Notes and my affinity for Fountain Pens. Some Colors editions (LE Field Notes books) take on FP ink better than others, but I mostly stick to Pilot Frixion Pens (I mainly use the Frixion Ball Slim in black and red, and this Frixion Colors pen/marker set) or the Uni Pin Fine Line Pens (0.05, 0.2, or 0.5) for my Bullet Journal.

My other pen of choice is the LAMY Safari (2013 Neon Yellow!) with an EF nib (OK on County Fair and Night Sky, HORRIBLE BLEEDING MESS on Cold Horizon).

Naturally, I can change the refills, but I mainly wanted to try this system because of my overflowing stash of Field Notes notebooks, so I’m kind of in a bind. (But not really, because this is kind of a minor gripe.)

That’s it. That’s the only thing I don’t like about it, and it’s not even the MTN’s fault.

Midori Travelers Notebook - Brown - Field Notes - Setup

I plan on posting another update about one month in, and maybe three months, six months, and so on. As you can see, I’m still pretty attached to this system. I just hope it stays that way.

ETA: I’m trying out a modified version of a Spiraldex/Chronodex and holy cow, I waste so much time being idle. It’s a tedious additional task to remember to do, but it’s good to visualize your day and how you spend your time. I think that I underestimated just how much time I waste sitting around, procrastinating. This is, for sure, an eye-opener for me.

I also purchased a zip/cardholder insert where I put my Spiraldex print-outs, a few bills, and washi tape and post-its. I’m in lurve.

INFORMATION

Where to Get an MTN: Scribe Writing Essentials (I got mine at Megamall)
How Much? Php 2,295.00
Where to Get Field Notes: I buy mine directly from Field Notes. They ship to the Philippines, but they take a while. They are locally available at the ff:
Avalon
My Ticker Tape Parade

This post is affiliate link-free.

  • This is so interesting! Love how you put in every little detail of your Midori setup :D I’ve been putting off making journals a part of my life for so long because I never use them as much as intend to (I really just enjoy acquiring planners, notebooks and papers and not using them for some reason), but recently I’ve taken the time to at least use one for trying-hard to-do lists and drawings haha! Thanks for this post! It’s inspiring me to continue using a journal from now on.

    I had no idea Midori is available here in the Philippines, I’m so ignorant. I’ve only heard about it recently through this blog (hope you don’t mind if I share): http://seaweedkisses.blogspot.com/2014/10/how-i-store-travel-ephemera-with-midori.html

    Anyway, looking forward to more of your updates :)

    • Thanks, April! :) I was afraid that it would be a bit TMI, but I’m glad to learn that it doesn’t seem like that, hehe. I panic when I acquire too much, and I used to be such an anal person when it comes to “not ruining” stuff I buy, but at the end of the day, it’s just paper, really… and I really forget when I don’t take note of or write down stuff. Journals are great, because no one else can (or is supposed to) see them, so you can “mess up” and it would be OK. :)

      No worries, thanks for the link!

  • andy

    I’m obsessing over this post haha!

    • Carina

      Yay! :) Haha

    • Yay! Haha :)

  • sleepcircuitry

    Aaah! I once glimpsed a Midori planner a year ago and it stuck with me as this lovely thing, I didn’t know it was so trendy! Kaks is meaning to get one! I am guilty of buying planners with big dreams of this decorated, creatively organized lifestyle but find that every day, a simple grid notebook is my go-to because it feels the freest! I’ve recently switched to a Muji weekly planner that’s planner pages on the left, grid paper on the right. Love what you’ve done with your Midori though and those posts you shared sent me down a crazy rabbit hole. And I LOVE “how i do things, here’s my materials of choice” type posts. Feeds a process-geek in me : )

    My question: What do you think about the fuji instax share printer? i’ve seen it a few places lately and am intrigued – i’ve been actually considering buying some kind of cute mini photo printer to get more photos in a tangible, realworld form.

    • Yeah, it’s like all over the place, it’s nuts lol. I quite like the Hobonichi planner, too, but one thing at a time. :) I realized that I don’t actually like them super decorated because I spend more time on the floofing up of the planner instead of doing shit. So this is the perfect utilitarian-but-also-nice-looking setup for me.

      I love grid notebooks, too. :D I know people are constricted by the lines, but I love them so! I used to use a similar layout as you, the Moleskine weekly planners but they had lined pages instead of graph on the “notes side” :(

      Anyway, I was kind of on the fence about posting this weird obsession, but it’s good to know that other people like “process”/workflow posts, too.

      I love the Fuji Instax printer, but it gets kind of expensive since you need to use the Instax film! I’m looking into getting a Canon Selphy printer (compact, wifi, sd card reader) but it only prints up to 4×6 inch prints! I’m going to think more on it since I’m trying to lessen my consumption/acquiring!

  • Sheena Siao

    I have a similar holder that I just got from the National Bookstore sale bin. It’s been okay for the past few years but I do use it on and off. Similar to the Midori but I use Moleskine cahiers just because Field Notes is slightly bigger. I’ve been worried about how I’ll replace it when it’s used up – but since Midori has the whole leather-lasts-just-add-mink-oil, I might give it a try! On FP friendly paper, I know what you mean but I haven’t been having trouble with the two notebook brands. Maybe because of the ink? I’m still using up my Lamy pots but I’ll experiment with Winsor & Newton after that. This year’s great notebook find was Mnemosyne for me. FP friendly and smooth paper but it’s on the bigger side, haven’t seen anything smaller than A5. I love how the paper dork is strong in this post!

    • Ugh, I looked and looked and looked in National for something similar (I read about it!) but couldn’t find it so the impatient me just jumped the gun and bought this. (Not that I regret it or anything). I’m not sure what you mean by “it” running out—do you mean the cahiers?

      I don’t think Winsor & Newton are FP inks! They’re drawing inks to be used with brushes and calligraphy pens. Unless I’m mistaken? I think they can clog your pens. :0 Thanks for sharing your notebook find. :D

      HEHE PAPER DORKS FOR THE WIN!

      • Sheena Siao

        I had no idea o_o. Thanks for letting me know! At least it justifies me buying more J. Herbin vials. Nah, I felt (up?) the Midori during my Scribe visit, the feel is much much better. :)

  • This is legit the most inspiring post I’ve read amid the sea of xmas round ups. I’m getting to work RIGHT NOW.

    • HAHAHA I’m so glad. I love your resolutions post! Heh, consider posting about yo planner setup? :) Happy New Year!

      • Oh god I don’t know if it’s attractive enough for me to post. I’ll think about it!

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  • Guest

    So I looked this post up because I wanted to see how you use your field notes! Haha I’m really trying to get into it because they’re so pretty haha. I might make my own Midori-style notebook holder though, because the process seems easy…but we’ll see!

    • Ayisse

      This is Klarisse btw lol Disqus is being uncooperative :P

      • Yay hi! Yeah, the process is pretty easy but sourcing the materials takes so long here because traffic T^T haha so I just got one when I was in the vicinity of a Scribe store. YAAAY :D

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  • Stephanie

    Hey, great article… I learned a lot from this post. I’ve been thinking of getting the Midori.. i’m more convinced now. Thanks!

    • Yay! :) Hope you find it as useful as I do!

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  • Carlito Alo

    Great post and writing. Thanks.

  • Carlito Alo

    How are you strapping in multiple notebooks?

  • Yuri

    Great post. I’m having the same dorkscapade. I like the FN size as well, so I searched out a Midori type cover for those and found Zenok Leather on Etsy who makes FN sized covers, and the products get rave reviews. Mine is in transit. As for paperdorkdom, Hobonichi, Banditapple, Doane Paper, Clairefontaine, and Rhodia all make FN size books that take FP ink MUCH better than FN brand for replacement when your supply runs out. Of course the Midori notebooks are good with FP ink as well. Thanks again for the set up info.

    • Thanks, Yuri! I hope it works out well for you. I recently got a Hobonichi, and it is mindblowingly awesome. I don’t think I’ll run out of Field Notes, though, LOL. I have 100+ unused singles right now.

      Thanks for reading and the comment!

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  • Jason West

    The Baron Fig Apprentice notebooks fit the Passport sized Midori perfectly. http://bit.ly/1VRTZ2v

  • Trinchero

    If you don’t mind getting rid of some of your “Traveling Salesman” FN I’d be happy to help you out with that ;) Just today I called FN to see if they had any laying around…no luck! Please let me know. Thank you!

  • Taryn Marie

    This post is everything! :) I have a regular sized midori notebook, but wanted to downgrade to a passport size to use as a wallet, and have taken to a “Novel Journal” as my regular journal (if you haven’t heard of them, look them up. It seems li ke it may interest you). I just purchased them both on Amazon and am eagerly awaiting them! Thank you for the lengthy post and abundant detail – very much appreciate

    • I’ve seen the Novel Journals around and they’re so pretty! :) Thank you for reading!

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  • brandika

    Hello! I recently ordered Field Notes (from their main website, because the limited edition I was looking for is not available locally). I chose ‘Economy Shipping’ to the Philippines and it’s around $7. However, it says on my invoice that it’s shipped via ‘FEDEXINTERNATIONALMAILSERVICE’. Does your invoice say FedEx too? Have you experienced any issues regarding customs tax? Did it arrive at your doorstep or the post office? Thank you!