Today I would like to introduce you to Ray Blake, for those that don’t know Ray, I count him as one of the most influential people in our planner community, as well as a great friendly.
Ray runs the blog www.mylifeallinoneplace.com which features free, downloadable inserts for Filofax and Midori systems. He started the Facebook group Midori Traveler’s Notebook Resources where he remains an Admin. With Steve Morton he designed the Philofaxy range of diary layouts.
1. How long have you been using a travellers note book for?
2. What size(s) of travellers notebooks do you use?
My main notebook and planner lives in a full size cover, but I also use FN and Passport sizes on occasion, especially where I want to travel light.
3. How many inserts/booklets does your travellers notebook hold?
It will hold quite a few, but I’ve found carrying more than three at a time is counterproductive.
4. What does each insert or notebook get used for?
The first is my week-to-view diary. The second is a ruled notebook which collects information of various sorts – phone numbers, web sites I want to look at, various lists and the odd cryptic note to myself. I use it sometimes to draft blog posts and other writing. The third insert is plain paper, which I use for ideas, often with sketches and brainstorms – anything that’s a little non-linear, I suppose.
5. If you could have an insert designed just for you, what would it contain?
I do have that luxury and I’ve often thought about doing it. But then I realise I would miss some of the freedoms of blank paper.
6. Have you ever considered making your own travellers notebook cover?
I’ve made about 750 of them as at November 2014. But I actually spent a good six months thinking about it and mentally rehearsing the process before I made my first one.
7. Apart from paper inserts, what else do you carry in your TN and how?
I have a file folder and the Midori envelope. They let me carry business expenses receipts, various tickets and other loose papers. I don’t carry credit cards or cash in my TN.
8. What attracts you to using a travellers notebook compared to other formats?
I like the discipline of a bound notebook. The fact that you can’t easily just tear out a sheet makes you take more care about what and how you write. I’m keen too on the overall aesthetic: the patina the leather acquires, the low-tech securing of inserts, the string bookmark and simple elastic securing band. It all just feels right.
9. What would you like to see in a travellers notebook design?
There’s an astonishing variety in designs now. People have got really creative with the format. It’s hard to see what else could be added, but I’ve learned never to underestimate people’s desire to create and innovate.
10. What advice would you give to a new travellers notebook user?
Oh, there’s so much. But there’s one piece of advice that I believe you can’t repeat too much: remember it’s only a notebook. That means don’t be afraid to write, draw and scribble in it – the mundane as well as the profound, the hurried and untidy as well as the pristine. An empty notebook you just bought is a wonderful thing, but an empty notebook you’ve owned for some time is a tragedy.
11. Finally, what would you like to see on Travellers Notebook Times?
I’d like to see it continue to be a resource bringing a diverse set of TN-related web links together. Anything else is a bonus.
Thank you Ray, keep up the hard work on all fronts.
And if you would like to feature in ‘My Travellers Notebook’ please contact us: travellersnotebooktimes at gmail dot com