Friday Feature: Midori Traveler’s Notebook

I’m not particularly superstitious but thought I’d better not post the usual blogger interview today just in case the featured person is. I don’t know much about urban legends and rather than dwell on the bad juju that may befall us, I’ll just show you what has been occupying my time lately.

plannerbug - midori travelers notebook

I came across the Midori Traveler’s Notebook (MTN for short) on many Instagram photos and YouTube videos before but it was largely ignored because I didn’t think it could work as a planner. A couple of weeks ago, I met a friend who uses an MTN as a planner and after playing around with hers for a bit, I decided to grab the last brown one that was available in Kinokuniya at that time. Don’t worry, Kinokuniya restocks MTNs more frequently than Filofaxes so you haven’t missed the boat.

plannerbug - midori travelers notebook

The system is a bit of an odd one. It’s basically a rectangular piece of leather with elastic strings looped through the middle to hold different notebooks together. You can get notebooks in different formats and insert them between the elastic to create a collection of notebooks. I think it’s a lot easier to see how it’s done rather than describing it so I’d highly recommend going through YouTube for tutorials on how to set up an MTN.

The standard MTN set (regular size) comes with a cotton bag (but it’s rather small especially after you’ve stuffed the MTN), a leather cover (the main MTN leather piece), a blank notebook, and 2 spare elastic strings.

plannerbug - midori travelers notebook

There are quite a few accessories to help you customise the MTN. I got the kraft file and the zipper pocket to stuff in different stationery. I use four notebooks; an undated monthly calendar, a dated 2015 weekly diary (horizontal), a grid paper notebook and a blank paper notebook that came with the original set. I also got what Midori calls connecting bands, but these are basically just large rubber bands and you can substitute with the 2 spare elastics that comes in the set so you don’t need to buy extras.

plannerbug - midori travelers notebook

I don’t know what it is about the MTN that draws me in. I love handling it and love the larger pages (compared to a personal sized Filofax). I was also pleasantly surprised that the leather lies completely flat. I’m not sure why I thought it would be too stiff and that it wouldn’t.

And speaking of the leather, can I just say how much I love the leather cover. It’s about 2.5mm thick but is very pliable. The front is treated with vegetable tannin and many folks have complained that there’s a white residue and that it smells chemical-like. But I think mine has been aired quite well as it sat on the display shelves in Kinokuniya for about a week and hardly has any residue or smell. All I can smell is the leather. The inside is untreated and has a distressed quality to it.

The elastic spine seems durable and I’ve yanked it many times but it hasn’t frayed or broke. There is tin clasp on the top that holds the elastic and a bookmark string. But the clasp is flexible enough that it lies on its side so it doesn’t poke out when I lay it on a surface.

plannerbug - midori travelers notebook

My biggest concern and what held me back from getting one before was whether it will work as a planner. I watched many setup videos and several I watched multiple times to decide how to set mine up. Majority of what I’ve seen online use DIY Fish inserts for planning but I didn’t want something that I have to print, cut and bind myself because my printer is really old and doesn’t handle printing too many sheets well.

Instead, I got the 2015 horizontal calendar notebook (split by 6 months per notebook) and the undated monthly one, which is closer to how my Filofax is set up. I also have a grid notebook for notes, and a blank notebook for random creative things.

As the MTN pages are longer and wider than personal sized Filofax pages, I find that I can fit everything from household to work into the WO2P calendar. At least I don’t have to compromise my preferred weekly view. This is probably one of the main reasons why I feel “at peace” using the MTN as a planner because I do not have to split things up into two Filofaxes.

Those who follow my blog will know I’m a big proponent for loose-leaf binders and I still am because I think it’s a really flexible system. But the Midori format is relatively flexible in its own way and I like that I can just remove a notebook and take it with me when I’m out and not want the bulk. It’s also a lot easier to archive an entire notebook compared to loose-leaf pages.

plannerbug - midori travelers notebook

The Midori Traveler’s Notebook is understated, elegant and simplistic in nature.The more used the leather is, the more aged and beautiful it gets. I must also mention the Midori papers are a joy to write on. What else can I say? It’s love, true love. Who would have thought that some string and a piece of leather can bring me so much joy? I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops for the rest of the year 🙂

Do you use a Midori Traveler’s Notebook or a similar fauxdori? Do share in the comments below as I’d love to receive more inspiration on how you use yours.

23 comments

  1. Havok says:

    Ohhhh I’m so glad you posted about this! Because I’ve spent the last week and a half days obsessing over MTNs and Fauxdoris and all that good stuff (if I like something, I get sucked into it pretty hard!). And as we got our tax returns back, the Mister decided he was going to buy computer parts, and I decided if he got to spend some of his money, I could spend some of mine…and you see where this is going xD

    Now the question is, what are you going to do with all of your Filofaxes?! xD
    I don’t blame you for switching, though, I’ve heard lovely things about the original Midori and how it feels and how it bends and gets all weathered and beaten looking (which is somehow gorgeous).
    Havok recently posted…The Mush-Less Valentine CollectionMy Profile

    • lyn says:

      Oh, I know what you mean by getting sucked in. I’m the same! I will probably sell off a few Filofaxes but will wait until after the Lunar New Year. I really like what you’ve done with your Happiedori 🙂

  2. Hadirah says:

    I love traveler’s notebook so much! Too bad that both of my TN are not midori but fauxdori ( who cares anyway haha). I use one of my TN as a planner to list down university assignments, tutorials, and reminders while the other one I use it to sketch, drawing and watercoloring. I hope you like your MTN as much as I do! Have a happy day ahead!

  3. Linda in Aus says:

    Hi Lyn, did you get this at the shop in Suria KLCC. If so I just told my husband that we must go to this shopping center, we are staying at The Renaissance which I don’t think is too far away. I don’t know anything about MTN but after seeing this post I WANT one. Hopefully they have restocked.
    Xx Linda

    • lyn says:

      Hi Linda, Yep, it’s from Kinokuniya in Suria KLCC. But I won’t really recommend getting one there because their stock is rather erratic. In fact, you are probably better off ordering from shops in the States. Goulet Pens, Baum-Kuchen and Resor carry MTNs. There are loads of Etsy shops selling handmade fauxdoris too.

    • lyn says:

      Hi Jo, I didn’t think I could part with my ring-binders too but after having the MTN and falling completely in love with it, I’m actually struggling to find a use for my ringed planners.

  4. Smash Attack Ash says:

    I have a Kikki K but I am honestly so intrigued by the Midori. I think it might make a great work planner, and I can use Kikki K for home and personal. It has crossed my mind a half dozen times… 😀

  5. Yuri says:

    Lyn – Where did you get the pre dated year by week? I’m late to the MTN party for 2015 and I could use that notebook! Thanks

    • lyn says:

      Hi Yuri, Depending on where you are, there are a few online shops you can get this from. I got mine from Stickerrific. There are also undated weekly refills, which may be easier to find. If you’re in Malaysia, you can try tabiyo.com or the Stickerrific FB page. If you’re overseas, it may be best to order from Baum-Kuchen, Goulet Pens or thejournalshop.com (UK).

  6. Aquaria says:

    I have a Midori Traveler in blue, and I love the thing to death. I can’t think of a better planner for a busy college student like myself. It’s big enough that I can log my day-to-day assignments and quick notes in the weekly planner, but I can also have a “big picture” calendar for upcoming events/assignments thanks to the monthly planner. I have the zippered pockets for storing things like index tabs, stickers and receipts, plus the kraft pocket for storing stuff that I need really quick access for.

    And yet it’s all light enough that I don’t feel like I’m lugging the Encyclopedia Brittanica with me everywhere. It’s large enough that I don’t have to risk locking up my hand to log my assignments, but small enough that it fits wherever I put it in my backpack. It doesn’t mind if I toss it on books, or down a dark corner of my backpack, like that out of the way pocket where I keep my granola bars and trail mix. There are no rings to get bent, nothing for them to catch on, no pages falling out because the holes have worn out or gotten torn. Everything stays neat inside the notebook, and held together with the rubber band.

    I love that it’s entirely customizable to MY needs, not those of some corporate weenie who has no clue what I need or want, and never would know that. I don’t need the Lily Pulitzer vomit-inducing fluorescent color schemes, sexist “mani-pedi” nonsense, cult-like entries on MY pages about corporate weenie birthdays OR disgusting horoscope filth in a notebook/planner. I need a calendar, and some space to jot down important information. I can add my own decorations and topics I want to see, thanks.

    Most of all, I love the understated elegance and Zen-like simplicity. It’s like a blank canvas that I fill the way I want, which means that it gives me exactly what I want and need in a planner, nothing more, nothing less. It’s such a simple idea, but it turns out to have infinite possibilities. How awesome is that?

    It is worth every penny I paid for it–and then some.

    • lyn says:

      It is an awesome system and I am currently using the regular size as a journal. The passport size has been converted to my planner. Nothing frou-frou, just simple, straight-forward bullet journaling.

  7. Mary says:

    Hello Lyn,
    Great article about Midori, I just ordered. Would you be willing to share where you purchased the camera charm and the other charm on the front cover? Thanks again. Mary

    • lyn says:

      Hi Mary, The charms came from a pendant I got from a handmade shop a decade ago. Unfortunately, the shop has closed down. I’m so sorry I’m not much help but I think you can find something similar online or in craft shops.

  8. Pearl says:

    Hello Lyn, may I know where did you get the pen loop from? and … I’m wondering if you’ve attached it to the book or stuck it on the cover? 🙂 Thank you!

    • lyn says:

      Hello, sorry about the delayed reply. Regarding the pen loop, I stuck mine with washi tape onto the clear zipper pouch insert. I didn’t remove the sticker backing to stick down permanently because I knew I would reposition or use it in another TN. Hope that helps.

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