As a travel blogger, I often get asked what I use to write my articles when I am travelling. Do I use a Moleskin notebook and pencil? A laptop or old fashioned journal? Well, it depends on how long I am away for and where I am, but here are the two things I use most on blog trips and my travels around the globe.
I got my latest toy a few months ago and the novelty still hasn’t worn off. The Asus Eeepad Slider is a tablet with a twist. With one easy movement the screen slides up and a fully QWERTY keyboard appears, giving it all the flexibility of an electronic notebook. This is invaluable because I can’t write properly for any length of time on a touch screen. They are great for tweeting, texting, brief emails and all sorts of other things as we know and I would not be without my iPhone (other ones are available!) but when it comes to writing articles or composing a longer email then a proper keyboard is a must. It’s light and easy to carry in my bag and has a really good battery life, another plus for a travel blogger. The most I have got out of it so far is almost 7 hours.
There’s loads of memory (mine has 32G) and it’s got a really neat camera which can shoot HD video – mind you, I haven’t worked out how it use it yet! It took me quite a while to used to the Android system; I have had to tell myself it is not a pc but more like a super-duper phone as it is App-driven. Fortunately the Polaris software is compatible with Microsoft so there’s no problem transferring documents, which I have to do regularly. What I love is the expression on people’s faces when I am using it – it lies there like a regular tablet flat on the table as I scroll through photos, emails, websites etc – then I suddenly flip it up to write something and hey presto – it’s a mini-pc. Magic!
For many people the very idea of writing with a fountain pen is an ancient skill, lost in the mists of time … but for me it is the ultimate way to connect with my creativity, although a very inky one at times. I’m of the last generation that was brought up with the scratchy old fountain pen and inkwell at school; I can still remember the pottery ones we had in our old desks. The invention of the biro was a godsend to all but I’ve always loved the flow of ink from a good fountain pen and still use one regularly today.
I have a collection of different pens (and coloured inks) but my absolute favourite and the one I take
on all my blog trips, is a very old Mont Blanc fountain pen with a gold nib. For those of you not familiar with the pecking order of fountain pens, the Mont Blanc is considered by some to be the Rolls Royce of the writing world. I bought mine from a quirky little shop in Kendal, run by the lovely Alan Lloyd, well-known connoisseur of vintage pens, inkwells and writing accessories. He also introduced me to Italian Visconti ink and I have a vast supply of the turquoise – and you’ll often see my fingers covered in it!
Travel Blogger Journal
I write in a journal and in 2011 published The Quirky Traveller Travel Notes, which is a lined notebook with favourite quotes, and I made sure it was designed with a spiral binding big enough to take my favourite pen. I’ve no idea how old my pen is, but when I use it I seem to be more creative and connected to my thought-process. Long may the travel blogger and others be able to combine old and new forms of communication …