Have you fallen in love with the Midori Traveler’s Notebook System yet? As a notebook junkie, I fell hard and fast for this notebook system when I found it online, and my love for it continues. It is so so yummy!
If you’ve fallen in love with it too, you already know how a notebook system can capture your heart and make you swoon over it’s existence. How it makes you a happier and more content human being. Right? This notebook system is so simple that it is genius. Simply genius.
I’m in love with the Midori Traveler’s Notebook System and this post has been in the making for a long time… When I find new notebooks to love, I want to share them with you guys.
If you haven’t heard about the Midori Traveler’s Notebook system yet this post is for you. Since it is my favorite thing in resent years I’ve obsessed about it on my own, but not talked about it much even though I’ve posted a couple of images to my instagram and mentioned it here and there. But I want to share all of it with you. I hope it inspires you. I hope this will be interesting to newbies and seasoned traveler notebook junkies alike, please share additional resources with me below in the comments for further reading. In another blog post I’ll show you peeks into my own creative notebooks and the traveler’s notebook system I’ve created. This will grow into a blog series about these notebooks, I’m sure.
And now, let’s dive in!
The Midori Traveler’s Notebook System
Midori used to be the brand name of the company that started to make this kind of notebook covers (as far as I know). The biggest part of the system is a leather cover, where you can add in a couple of the same size soft notebooks, to make a collection of notebooks into one system/thick folder. The covers from the Midori company (now re-named Traveler’s Company) are in plain brown leather (some other earthy colors also available), and closes with an elastic band around its belly.
It is easy to set up for all kinds of notebooks that you need on the go, it’s reusable, and very versatile, plus it’s full of potential for experimentation. It also gives you plenty of room to let your creativity bloom.
Look, aren’t all of these so yummy:
The leather covers are delivered empty, even though you might get inserts included from the company, it’s basically a blank slate from which you get to start. The cover does not have pages inside, instead you add in “inserts”, booklets. You get to pick and fill the cover with notebooks yourself, in a size that fits the cover you got. You do this by attaching a few notebooks using the elastic bands that are fastened at the spine of the cover. You just string the elastic band through the middle of the notebook, so the soft covered notebook doesn’t fall out.
Each cover has two or four elastic bands along the spine, so you can add in at least that many notebooks. You can then stick your daily calendar, a brain dump book, a notebook for your lists, or your bullet journal or sketching (or any other kind of notebook you like), so that you have everything you need with you at all times. If you can never find “the perfect notebook” for every purpose, the Traveler’s notebook might be for you.
Stringing these notebooks together is quick and easy, and it feels like magic when everything comes together. You are creating a thick, awesome, customized notebook with 3-6 different sections/notebooks. All these can have different uses, papers (any combination of grid paper, plain papers, colored paper and so on) and content. Once one is full, you switch it out for a new one, while keeping the other notebooks and staying within the same “system”.
The equivalent of this could be a Filofax calendar that you “move into” for a long time. A system that you can change up as your life changes, and live in for a long time. Like a ring binder but without the rings and whole punching really. I think of it as a system for those of us who love notebooks more than loose leaf papers.
Traveler’s Notebook Sizes
The most common Midoris are in the regular size as they call it. Maybe it’s regular in Japan? These traveler’s notebook is a really funny size to me, 21 x 11 cm (8,26 x 4,33). It is really high and narrow and feels rather strange, since I’m used to A5 notebooks. If you fold a A4 paper in three, you get the size of a “regular”. This notebook looks rather crazy when you first see it, but it grows on you… Once I started creating in the one I bound for myself, I was hooked. A new size of notebooks inspires new kinds of creativity to me. I was filling mine with lists, scrap booky memory making layouts for example, not at all the art journal or diary writing of most of my other notebooks.
Midori also makes and sells a smaller cover, for the Passport size, which is 12,4 x 8,9 centimeters big (4,88 x 3,5). This is perfect for traveling and taking notes on the go, hence the name.
There are a lot of different sizes you can get from other makers these days. Some of them have room for more notebooks or different sized notebooks. For example the A5 size notebook is the European “normal notebook” (our regular I guess) that I can find in a paper store here. There are covers for those too, but what I’m also attracted to with these are the smallness… The A5 is 14,8 x 21 cm (8,27 x 5,83 inches). There’s also the even smaller Field Note size.
The Field Notes notebook is 3,5 x 5,5 inches (8,89 x 13,9), also called Pocket Size – and so darling cute. It didn’t take me long to create a smaller size notebook to give that size a try too, and I loved it. Field Notes are about as big as my palm, and the perfect handbag size if you ask me.
I suggest trying working in any one notebook in any of these sizes, to see if you enjoy it enough to buy a cover for it and expand your notebook collection. Or get a cover for the regular size you’re already using perhaps. I wanted a smaller notebook than the A5, so it’s been a struggle to find the “just right” one, but I think I’m on my way now. Maybe.
DIY Traveler’s Notebooks
The best part of the Traveler Notebook system is that you can create a lot of it yourself! For a DIY:er like me, this is like a dream come true, because of course you can make your own traveler’s notebook cover, and then make your own simple, saddle stitched or stapled notebook, using any kind of papers. There are also a gazillion places you can get cool notebooks and covers these days, on ETSY and beyond. There are crafters that make their own leather covers or quilted fabric covers, design notebooks, calendars, printables, charms and all the things you can imagine to decorate and bling your notebook.
The worst part, to me, is that it’s hard to resist the craving of buying new stuff and a lot of it is rather expensive. For me, everything is also abroad so the shipping needs to be added to everything. Even the non-brands, often called fauxdoris, can be costly. And now that so many are offering covers and cute notebooks, you can really get caught in a notebook addiction that is hard to resist…
As I didn’t already have a big notebook addiction!
Another thing I want to warn you about, before you dive into the TN world without a clue, is that there are so many options that it can a bit overwhelming. You can investigate different brands, sizes, cover qualities, papers, and ideas that your whole life will become a notebook investigation. That might lead to too many buys, or non at all. Worst case scenario, you will get so many different things that you won’t use any of them, and no notebooks will be filled. And as you know I’m a firm believer that empty notebooks are sad notebooks. To prevent this I’ve made my own notebooks for quite a while now, and I will blog about those later.
The cost of the cover is one reason I’ve hesitated in buying one, and the other is the many options there is which made me indecisive for a long time. This is why I’ve gone the DIY rout all the way until now. I’ve just ordered a leather cover that haven’t arrived yet. I had angst about deciding what to get and what size I really wanted to commit too, but more about that in another post… I decided to order a leather cover after using my own handmade cover and traveler’s notebook system for almost two years. Not sure what the new one will feel like, but at least I know I’m in love with the system and will keep using it.
This trend has grown during the past years to become a whole culture of crazy notebook lovers and a community of like-minded journalers online, and along with the Bullet Journal community and the Planner Girl craze, it seams it won’t go away in a hurry. You can find obsessed girls and women on instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and some even write long blog posts about their notebook addiction as you can see…
Midori Traveler’s Notebooks on YouTube
If someone had described this system to me I doubt I would’ve listened very closely, because a few years ago I wasn’t at all interested in anything in brown leather (I didn’t like the look) or soft cover notebooks (love hard bound because they truly protect the paper), except for taking lecture notes in. Everything else I created, I wanted to keep in sturdy hard bound “real” notebooks, so that’s where I’ve got all my journaling, sketches and art. But nobody told me about this “Midori Traveler’s Notebook System”… Instead I found it myself and it caught my eye for some reason. I happened upon it on YouTube and started paying close attention to all the videos about it there. After watching people handle their “systems” I was hooked. So hooked. They made me crave handling one of my own!
I’m pretty sure YouTubers are to blame for this trend growing so fast…
Here are a few of the videos that got me hooked, to get you started too. Midori 101, everything you need to know by Cory:
And her lovely video Midori Insert Decorating (where plain notebooks becomes colorful, creative and fun, fun, fun):
And below is my playlist of quality Traveler’s Notebook videos (40 of them that I’ve collected for your viewing pleasure, get a cup of java before you start watching) with videos on How to DIY a Midori Traveler’s Notebook in leather, fabric or paper, make inserts and folders, and then how to use them, decorate it and some pretty setups of junk journals, bullet journals in pocket size…
Stay in the loop
I really want to film my own setup video soon (although here’s a ihannadori peek for now), so stay tuned!
If you don’t want to miss the big news from me, Join the iHanna Newsletter! Then you’ll get the next few blog posts about this system, and my free notebook printable of course. Also, if you’re new, check out my DIY Postcard Swap – you can still join in!
Chime in below, is this for you? Does this sound like a notebook system you’d want to try?
Please note: I am not an expert, just a big fan. All images in this post are by others and were collected through on Flickr, shared via Creative Common License. Click the images to take a closer look.
Also, I and many others online call these book covers/notebooks “midoris” but the Japanese company Midori changed their name to Traveler’s Company two years ago, so Midori is no longer the brand name of them, but will remain their nickname for a long time I’m sure. Especially since the fauxdoris are often called something-dori. The leather of the original Midori is produced in Chiang Mai, Thailand, so some people call it a Thai company, but the company although selling worldwide, originates from Japan. I am not affiliate with the brand, and have so far never seen their products IRL, but I’m a big fan of the concept, or what I’m calling “the midor traveler’s notebook system”.
** Update: read my post Falling in Love with the Traveler’s Notebook System with video of my notebook.