Journaling: An Exploration Inside

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Model @enekogarayalde takes a moment to pen some thoughts in our new Travel Journal on our Hunter Green Diplomat shoot in Sitgas, Spain. 

This quote by my great-great uncle (no kidding!) has always perfectly captured the spirit of SteamLine for me. Today more than ever, I think not only about the beautiful things we literally carry, but the thoughts and feelings that are inseparable from our interior lives. As we venture back into the world, may we continue nurturing the beauty inside through slower habits we may have gained during the great strange pause of our past year, through rituals that foster calm and clarity of mind.

"Journaling, the simple act of putting pen to paper, is known to sharpen the senses and ground the scattered mind. It is a form of inward travel with the power to help guide us through each day."

My longtime travel motto has been “Slow down, look up.” It’s a reminder that anchors me in the present moment and a practice that serves me equally well at home.

I hope that SteamLine's first Travel Journal inspires you to see, reflect, and express in ways that create more of life and travel’s greatest moments, the ones where time almost seems to stop.

With wanderlove,





SteamLine Founder, Sara Banks


All About the Details: Our Custom SteamLine Journal

Like our luggage, we couldn't hold back when it came to our first Journal! Customized for SteamLine by Duffy Bookbinders, Ireland’s oldest bindery, our Travel Journal is hand-bound with a vivid blue linen-finish cloth and embossed with bright gold text. We chose to fill it with 160gm ivory paper for a substantial feel that we hope elevates your pondering experience. The heavy ivory paper is also perfect for wonderful ink pens or heavy markers that can bleed on normal paper, making it equally perfect sketch paper for the days when maybe words aren’t enough and you are moved to doodle the impression of a scene that’s caught your eye.

Why We Made a Journal

Like so many over the past year, the SteamLine team has assessed and re-assessed its relationship to the digital world. We've all lost and gained more than anyone could reckon on this "year less traveled," and we are filled with conflicted emotions around how much we miss travel, dining out, cultural events, social gatherings, and so much more. We say conflicted because, at the same time we rue missed adventures, it has also felt beautiful and necessary to slow down, take spiritual stock, and be intentional about the activities we choose to resume when able. It all begs the question, on the quest to stay busy, to FILL up life, what have we been running from, and whatever for? As Fathom founder Pavia Rosati so eloquently explores in a recent piece, How—Not Where—to Travel in 2021:

"We firmly believe that travel should be one of life's fundamentals, with "travel" defined not only by long-haul flights and well-stamped passports, but by any experience that lifts us from our usual routine into a new world. Visiting a local neighborhood you've never explored, paddling a canoe across a nearby lake: This is travel."


Because the proven benefits of handwriting are endless. It's so elemental and gratifying: the look of ink on paper, the script that is all our own. But have you written out a card in recent years and found your hand to cramp or been unhappy with your penmanship? Whether or not you have had this experience, it is medically recommended to upkeep your handwriting skills. The act is proven to calm blood pressure and anxiety while increasing cognitive focus—natural coping skills that are wise to foster in our wild world. So pick up an old or new favorite pen—we love these handmade wooden fountain beauties from Irish Donegal Pens—and practice your handwriting!


The joys of physical journals are many: the colors, the textures, the pens, the POTENTIAL. The joys of shelves filled with dusty journals we cannot easily catalog or search are NIL. After searching the umpteen journaling apps that all feel like functional (useful but uninspiring) versions of the same things—quick note takers and memory trackers—we were delighted to find Day One, an app which emphasizes a scan function that will save your handwritten pages for posterity. The next time you fill a journal, upload scans of your pages, and never risk losing your precious memories and thoughts. (And feel free to clear those shelves.)


For better or worse, we all know the mind and body are ever entwined. Journaling after exercise may just become your new favorite habit and way to simultaneously double down on your physical and mental health improvements. Remember how your school days were a mix of required and elective classes followed by sports practice? Daily adult life can lose this aspirational balance, as we focus on just getting the job done and leave too little room for elective reflection. The next time you exercise, pick up a pen while those endorphins are flowing. Maybe you had a poignant thought or especially good idea while running or practicing yoga that you should put into words when fresh. That inspired self is your truest self; let him/her speak!



Morning: Better than Coffee

Morning Pages, the morning practice of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing is a cathartic way to start the day that births new ideas and opens creative doors. As thought-starters, we recommend documenting your dreams; they are a trove of insight into your mind. Take inventory of gratitude. Purge any sentiments you don't want flavoring your mood. Review how you are feeling and your loftiest goals for the day alongside your realistic ones. Journaling in the AM will calm and charge the brain for your most joyful and productive day.

Noon: An Emotional Siesta

Many cultures take a midday rest for a long lunch and nap—a siesta—that other cultures would never consider, feeling the need instead to scarf down their lunch with one hand and continue working with the other. While you might not be able to lounge at length in the noonday sun, you could power off to write and reflect for fifteen minutes that will do you a world of good, injecting the rest of your day with a level of peace and productivity that will avoid the afternoon slump.

Night: The Ultimate Sleep Aid

Wind down before bed. Sipping a tisane or digestif, or just before switching the light off and your sleep app on, journaling before sleep is an age-old way to slip into Proust-worthy dreams. Keep a journal and writing tool bedside to ensure you are prepared to write away any bedtime angst. For inspiration, we can't say enough about Julia Cameron's timeless classic, The Artist's WayHer methods are the cure to even the stubbornest creative blocks!


Whether you have a large house or small apartment, designating a place where you journal is key to sticking to it and enjoying it. Have your "writing spot" set up with your favorite writing tool and, depending on the time of day, a coaster for your water, tea/coffee, or a glass of wine, whatever symbolically marks the occasion. Also, shut the door, turn off any pinging notifications, and (gently) ask anyone you live with for an uninterrupted spell.


Multi-hyphenate creative Onyi Moss captures her SteamLine Sweethearts between two chairs that look like heavenly journaling roosts.

"Journaling is a great way for me to reflect. It's amazing how putting down your thoughts can put things into perspective and highlight even the most minute things to be thankful for. It's something I'd definitely recommend to anyone trying to reflect and process their thoughts. I've gotten some of my friends to pick it up and they are already attesting to its benefits."

Onyi Moss



Free Writing

The creative-writing class practice of free writing is an ideal way to start and let your mind run, especially when you have a short amount of time. Get ready, set a timer for 5-15 minutes, and GO! The key is not to hesitate, self-edit, or lift your pen. You won't believe what comes out.

Letter Writing

If you feel funny writing "Dear Diary" or lacking a salutation, try writing TO someone. They can be living or dead, friend or foe, someone dear to you or a celebrity you've never met. This method can help focus your subject matter and clarify your train of thought.

Thought Writing

Ever have a thought you can't shake or an idea you haven't succeeded in wrapping your head around? This could be a source of tension in your personal or professional life, or a huge concept you keep wrestling with. While you may not ever reach bedrock, the journey is the thing!

Memory Writing

Think back on a favorite memory, whether recent or long ago, and document everything you can recall. Start chronologically or with whichever moment comes to mind first. Don't judge yourself for what or how it comes out; just keep going.  You will know when you are at a good stopping point and be so glad you put this sacred memory, whether happy, painful, or bittersweet, into words.

"Whenever I take the time to write out my thoughts for my own clarity, I inevitably feel better and more organized about the issue that’s weighing heavily on my mind."

Whitney Leigh Morris

Because You are a Writer

You don't have to be Virginia Woolf, one of many famous journalers, to call yourself a writer. In this day and age of avid communication, we are all writing at a furious rate—publicly, privately, and in our new world of remote work. Journaling is integral to wrapping your head around your thoughts, and to the practice of effective, compelling communication—the kind that achieves your desired ends, whether it's getting a laugh or a job, gaining followers or winning hearts. Effectively communicating your needs to a loved one is particularly well-served by journaling!

Here's to future travel journaling on all your adventures to come!


Further Fascinating Reading

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