using a journal on holidays

An excerpt from my [xl]

"At this height, and beset by fatigue, the sky is the sea and the mountains are islands and the clouds are rising whales to his weary mind, he sees them curve and weave, pointed heavy heads, gigantic, and delicately tapering blue-grey bodies turning and powerful tails trailing fluidly across the water-less sea above the young land, evoking a fear, a dread, an awe. A man standing on this mountain edge, four thousand feet…five thousand… who knows, and who cares for that matter; a man who no longer knows the sea from the sky and sees no division in mist and steam, who imbibed all this great land had to offer, his body full with the joy of boundless walking, expanding ice fields, flat green expanses, black slopes; devouring tumbling falls and rising fjalls with virgin appetite, such wonders, created at the hand of a godless land who teases and rewards in equal measures, a dangerous coltish land, racing wild power, pulled by horses, surging water, windblown rain, snow driven might, on valley and ridge, on hidden rock giants shackled in fjords, a power shaping itself into something unceasing, raging from within, waiting, bursting, four hundred...a thousand, who knows, but it calls out, comely, to him, who is ready, who is free and calm with no beginning or ending, only an element, mere matter against this scale, awe, awe, where to drift into this sea would be serene…

'Should we keep going, dear?' she asked him gently.

'Let’s,' he said and a blink took it away from him."

How I use my leather journal when travelling


I'm Paul from the paper republic team and I wanted to share a personal experience inspired by the world and love of paper and how I use my journal while travelling. 

Recently, I made a holiday to somewhere I love: Iceland. I didn't bring much with me, nor did I need much. But I found myself carrying my grand voyageur every day. I am a recent convert to using a journal. For years I used a laptop to write things down or used random notebooks which were lost and discarded along the way. 

In fact, when I first learned of paper republic I had to be persuaded to get one. I didn't understand the concept, or the benefit of using one lifelong cover. But now I do.

I had my [pocket] in my big bag which held all the "important stuff": my passport, my 2021 planner with all my dates of where I was meant to be staying and when (although I choose to ignore these on some days), my printed tickets for buses, planes and translated phrases I'd written down beforehand.

My [xl] was thrown into my day bag beside the sandwiches and the water bottle; its purpose is different, it is my inner self. It has my writings, my thoughts, letters I write to people (which I may or may not send), occasionally terrible drawings of things I see.

But it doesn't matter how good or bad they are, for no one is meant to see the things in there.

It is for me, it's mine.

Unless I choose to share it with someone.

Until then, everything is kept safe in my leather enclosure, seen by no one but me, for when I'm feeling nostalgic or lonely, or happy, or bored. And the thing is, when I do review the things I'd noted down I'm transported back to the time and place where it was written - it's the talent of our brains and emotions that they can carry us somewhere at the trigger of our senses.

For while your mind may wander in wary doubt about what you once thought about something, when it is written down, you can always be sure what that person you were at that time truly meant: how the world looked for them, how a feeling reverberated in them, how a touch felt, or what a kiss meant. Our minds are forever changing and things are lost in the depths of recollection and while we kid ourselves from time to time, what was written on paper doesn't learn to lie, is immune to influence and takes a lot longer to fade away.

So, here I sit in Vienna writing to you, while nestled on my knee is my open grand voyageur and I am reading the words a version of me wrote in the past; I am gone from here, living instead in my head where no one can follow. I said..I choose to share it. And this one time I would like to share it with you, for I hope it inspires us all to be more open (sometimes), and to remember to write (always!).

So, write and continue writing, and share it with those who should see it.

For life is too short.

Yours in writing,