I love notebooks. And earlier this year, I found the perfect one. The notebook for life.

In July, I discovered a beautiful notebook cover with inserts while shopping for someone’s birthday present. The Traveler’s Notebook is a leather notebook cover and modular system of inserts that enable you to customise your notebook in countless ways. It’s made by a relatively small Japanese company and comes in two sizes, the regular large one and a smaller “passport size”. I bought the passport size, which is about as big as a regular Moleskine.

I’ve been using Moleskine notebooks since the early 2000s, when I was still in school and had to ride on my scooter from Duisburg to Düsseldorf, because the only store that stocked them was there, about 30 kilometres away from where I lived. A few years ago, I switched to Leuchtturm 1917 because they were locally made close to where I lived in Hamburg and, frankly, better quality than Moleskines. But since July, I have not looked back.

I absolutely love the modularity of the Traveler’s Notebook. And the fact that the gorgeous leather cover is extremely durable. The company offers easy-to-use repair kits to renew the binding and rubber strap. And the starter kit even comes with a spare strap. There are all kinds of accessories like little pockets to put things into, a pen holder and page markers. And of course, there are many inserts. And they sell rubber bands that allow you to put two or three inserts into the cover at once, if you want – which I very much do.

The best feature of these inserts is the paper quality. The Traveler’s Company (apparently also known under the brand name Midori) uses the impeccable Tomoe River Paper from Japan. Which is famous in the circles of those who write with fountain pens for its quality. I personally hate fountain pens, but I’ve started to love this amazing paper for the same reason that fountain pen people do: It sucks up ink in no time, without feathering or any other line artefacts. This is important to me because I often write with gel ink pens, which take much longer to dry than conventional rollerballs – which they have in common with fountain pens. This paper is brilliant for gel pens, pencils and standard rollerball pens, which is pretty much everything I use. I used to have to be very careful to let my writing dry with Moleskines so as not to get smudges. This got better when I started using Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, but the difference to the Traveler’s Notebook is night and day.

I love this notebook so much that I recently got calendar inserts for 2021. These come in two parts with six months of the year each and I now have three inserts in my notebook: A weekly calendar, a dotted paper insert for to do lists and quick notes and a plain insert for longform notes. Additionally, I use a Kraft paper envelope and the zipper case to store odds and ends right in my notebook. I also use the pen holder and some brass index clips. I often used to carry a pocket notebook plus a larger calendar around with me (first Moleskine, later Leuchtturm). But these times are over now. I have everything I need in a small, gorgeous looking package now. I love my Traveler’s Notebook!

The 2021 passport size weekly calendar refill for the Traveler’s Notebook (Photo: Traveler’s Company, Japan)