Midori Traveler’s Notebook Passport Size Review

for all the travelers who have a free spirit…

As a wandering photographer I can relate to this. Yes, I know it’s nothing more than good marketing. It’s what first caught my eye when I began looking for a new “field” notebook so the advertising did it’s job.

On my desk is a daily planner for keeping track of work stuff. I have an assortment of Rite in the Rain notebooks when I’m out in the field on one of my rough and wet photo adventures. Those two parts of my life are covered with books that work and work well for me. Like many of you, I have all kinds of notebooks and journals from the likes of Moleskine or Leuchtturm. If you’re like me you also found out early on that you never really seem to have a notebook with you that’s good for the day in and day out stuff. You run out of perforated sheets so you start tearing pages out of the middle of your pocket journal. Then there’s days where a blank page notebook would come in handy and all you have is a lined notebook. Oh and let’s not forget what a 200 page pocket notebook looks like after you’ve filled it with work notes, to do lists, hiking notes, grocery lists, drawings and so on. It’s a disaster area to say the least. If you’re like me you soon discover it’s a royal pain going back through them to find your notes on something important you did last year.

It didn’t take me long to decide that this little leather modular notebook would work well for me and eliminate some of my note clutter. LOL! I’ve always been a fan of leather and the paper Midori uses is fountain pen friendly. I like to write with a fountain pen so this is a very good thing. With a wide assortment of accessories, paper styles and being available in a passport (pocket) size things were looking good. The kicker is the system is modular by design and is meant to be setup by the person who owns it in a way that works specifically for them. The more I read about the Midori Traveler’s Notebook the more I liked it. It’s clean and simple while being flexible for anything one might want to do with it.

Now if you’re still with me then you probably have guessed that I ordered a passport sized Midori Traveler’s Notebook with a few accessories. Yep, sure did. I ordered a brown one with a couple of lined fillers, some kraft envelopes, a kraft folder, spare bands, a fix it kit, medium pen holder and a little leather tag with one of my favorite sayings that slides onto the band that keeps the notebook closed.

So here it is…

Midori Traveler’s Notebook Passport Size Review

it is what it is” – Erich Fried

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

And there it is folks, my Midori Traveler’s Notebook. As you can see I changed a few things. I like the color orange so the cover band was promptly changed and there’s the little leather tag with one of my favorite quotes. Hopefully over the years when I’m over thinking something this little tag will remind to just understand that a lot of things are what they are and that’s the way it is. In addition to those little changes there’s a medium pen holder attached to the front cover and it works just fine for a Pilot Custom 74 fountain pen. I’ve heard many people say the Midori pen holders are pretty much useless because they’re too small. Leather stretches folks. You just need to spend a little time with it.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

The first thing you’ll see when you open my notebook is a small kraft envelope with a window glued to the outside of the kraft pocket insert. Hmmm, any ideas what that little envelope could be good for? Well how about a spare SD card for the camera or perhaps a credit card and a drivers license? With a little imagination it wouldn’t be hard to come up with many uses for this little hack.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

Inside shot of the kraft pocket insert. It’s nice to have something like this so you can stash a few business cards or maybe all those receipts all of us manage to collect. Slash pockets are oh so utilitarian, I’m sure they’ll come in handy for more than a few things over time. One thing I do know is it comes in handy to lock the envelope flap so whatever is in it won’t fall out. Yeah, I really did think things through! LOL! I took the kraft pocket insert and put one of my lined notebooks inside it and then took all of that and slid it under the band on the leather cover. You’ll see why I mentioned this in a moment.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

Back cover of the lined notebook and hey there’s another slash pocket and envelope. More ways to carry and organize things for sure. The blue refill is lined which works well for lists, quick notes, jotting down ideas, writing down a phone number and whatever else. This side of my Traveler’s Notebook is basically a catchall. Since all the sheets are perforated there’s no worries about it looking like something my dog chewed on either. I can tear out sheets to my heart’s content and still have that nice clean look.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

Well hey it looks like one of my envelope hacks has been put to good use! No matter what anyone says it’s always a smart move to have some cash with you. If you go out on enough journeys there will come a day when all those credit cards won’t be what it takes to pay for that tank of gas. I should know, it’s happened to me before out in the middle of nowhere. I digress. Something to note here is I attached the second unlined filler in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook using one of the bands that I ordered. I joined the two books by finding the middle of each book and then bound them together with the band. Simple idea yet surprisingly efficient.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

How do you like my shark tooth page holder? Now we’re getting into the main reason why I bought myself one of these Midori Traveler’s Notebooks. As a wandering photographer, storm chaser, hiker and rock hunter I needed something to keep track of my “nice day” antics out in the field. That pretty much means I needed an unlined notebook with good paper for notes, drawings, doodles and whatnot. As you can see I did another hack here as well. I took Patrick NG’s chronodex idea and modified it a bit to fit my needs as a photographer. When I’m heading out with the cameras I just glue a couple of these chronodex squares to some blank pages and out I go. I can easily record the date, times, basic camera info with enough room for some notes as well. Between the clock face and notes it’s really easy to remember what kind of outdoor ambient light I had to work with. Oh and like Patrick, I really don’t like those ordered little box ways of keeping track of time. Boxes and creativity do not get along very well.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

As you can see there’s no bleed through at all (at least for me) when using a fountain pen. The quality of Midori’s paper is exceptional and being truly fountain pen friendly was one of my deciding factors in purchasing the Midori Traveler’s Notebook.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport Size Review

It’s rugged, looks good, is no thicker than my wallet and it carries comfortably in my back pocket. As you can see it’s both simple and sophisticated while remaining adaptable at the same time. Mine is setup for me, by me and works very well for what I intend to do with it.

That is the true allure of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook.

If you’re like me you’ve seen tons of posts, stories and pics of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. Some of it is pretty interesting and was worth reading. One of the things I’ve also run across is a whole bunch of whining about how expensive it is. It’s expensive if you buy it on a whim and in a week or so it ends up in a drawer. It’s expensive if you’re the type that buys knockoff items instead of the genuine article. It’s expensive if you’re time has no value. I could easily have April in Paris make a “Midori” for me and you can bet it’ll be a whole lot more money than a Midori, especially if I had it commissioned using ray and shark skin.

It is what it is and for what it is the price is fair and reasonable.

See ya….

Repost of my original article written on May 23, 2013 on DYSong Photography’s website.

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