Nearly ten years ago I started a tradition. I took a blank, boring journal and filled the first few pages with bad poetry, dorky photos and a heartfelt note. Then I sent it away to a friend. The pages of that journal eventually got filled with memories and what was once a cheaply made book became one of my most priceless possessions. For my four friends and I, The Traveling Journal became an illustration of our friendship that no amount of emails, text messages or Facebook status updates could ever match.
This year it occurred to me that more and more friendships are long distance. Spouses, jobs, and promises of warmer weather are pushing people to pick up and move away from the people that mean the most to them. So I, along with a few founding friends, decided to launch TheTravelingJournal.com. It’s a place where people can get their own journals (much better quality than ours was) and accessories to enhance the experience of The Traveling Journal. Just about everything is custom-made, mostly by hand.
I realize that in an iPad world, The Traveling Journal may have a hard time finding its place. There’s no technology involved. There’s no immediate gratification. And you actually have to hold a pen in your hand to make it work. But I can tell you from experience there’s no better feeling than being able to flip through the pages of a friendship, to hold the same book in your hands that those closest to you have held, and to be reminded every once in a while that you are deeply loved.
My friends and I all agree, we would not be as close as we are today if it weren’t for our Traveling Journal. And when it comes down to it, life is about the people you love. So as a writer, I hope to encourage others to write in the pages of their own Traveling Journal. And I trust that one day, The Traveling Journal will become just about the most precious thing you own.