by Christina Santos
“For every traveler who has any taste of his own, the only useful guidebook will be the one which he himself has written” – Aldous Huxley
Some people collect stamps. Or coins. Or figurines. I collect notebooks. My vast collection of notebooks, chronicalling my life and travels since I was a little girl, mean more to me than a collection of used stamps ever could.
My notebook of choice has and always will be Moleskine (pronounced “mol-a-skeen-a), the preferred notebook of Pablo Picaso, Bruce Chatwin and Ernest Hemingway alike. That’s why I was excited to learn that Moleskine now has a new option for the journaling traveler—Moleskine City Guide, the travel guide you write yourself.
The first thing I noticed was the quality of material used. Each Moleskine City Guide is leather bound and has thick paper made to stand the test of time and the demands of travel. Not to mention the demands of the user—since you are writing your own thoughts and chronicalling your discoveries, your attachment to your Guide will only grow.
At nearly 50 cities strong, spanning the globe from North America to Asia, you’re sure to find a City Guide that’s right for you. Each City Guide include: the Key Map that summarizes the overall city layout, a map of the metro system and list of stations, blank pages for jotting down notes and recording your thoughts, 32 removable sheets for loose notes, 12 translucent sticky sheets for tracing your routes and sharing itineraries and a 96-page tabbed archive for collecting everything that matters most and keeping it at your fingertips.
In addition to all the listed features, my personal favorite is the unit converter—perfect if like me, you can’t keep straight your kilometers and Celsius.
If you’re into scrapbooking and keepsaking, you’ll appreciate that each journal comes with an expandable pocket attached to the back cover—I find it perfect for storing odds and ends such as used museum entrance tickets, receipts and foreign boys’ phone numbers scribbled on napkins.
The City Guide even features a few loose-leaf papers wherein the user is asked to jot down any inaccuracies or suggestions they have to improve the city notebook and then send it in. It’s this commitment to quality that really sets Moleskine apart.
Perhaps the only thing I could find to send in was the complete lack of any suggestions of places to visit. I think the average traveler would benefit from being pointed in the right direction to at least one place per category, then left to discover the rest of the destination on her or his own. With that being said, the City Guide might be better suited for the city the user lives in or has ample time to explore; I am making good use of my San Francisco City Guide.
If you prefer a more straightforward, no nonsense notebook when travel journaling, the Moleskine Cahier and Volant are also available in a wide array of sizes, textures and colors. Slim fitting and flat, they fit into any pocket. My favorite is the bright green volant—there’s no misplacing that!