Custom Travel Journals from DomesticPapers

I discovered these beautiful travel journals on Etsy just recently. Lee, the talented woman behind the shop and these journals, creates them and as soon as I found them, I was intrigued. Luckily for me, Lee was more than happy to answer a few questions for myself and you lovely readers.

Originally these beauties are filled with blank paper, perfect for a person who likes to sketch or who has straight hand writing. Sadly, I’m not one of those people. Not only do I prefer the aesthetic of lined paper, my writing goes completely off-center without them. Lee kindly agreed to fill my journal with lined pages and then we got on to discussing what the cover should be like — we were so caught up with the lined paper that we nearly forgot about the outside!

Every customer gets to choose what part of the world they would like their map to feature. My decision was easy, I left a piece of my heart in Thailand and knew that I had to have a map of Southeast Asia as the cover of my journal. You also get to choose what you would like to bind your journal; a globe or a plane? As you can see from this photo of my journal, I chose a plane.


Hello, it’s wonderful to meet you! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your Etsy shop?

My Etsy shop, Domestic Papers, combines my great love of All Things Paper with my lifelong fascination with antiques, tools, and paper ephemera. You’ll notice my books all have a “vintage vibe.” I love to mix old images with modern papers, throw in some centuries-old bookbinding techniques, and make something both timeless and useful.

What inspired you to create your custom made travel journals?

As a bookbinder and avid book collector, I’m always cruising the library discard sales for hidden treasures. I struck it rich with a box of ‘worthless’ encyclopedias from the 1920’s. The geography section of each book held a gorgeous color map bookplate. I experimented with reproducing these maps, since the original paper is practically ancient, and came up with an idea for a portable book for travelers that shows off how the world looked nearly 100 years ago.

My handmade journal!

What makes these journals the perfect companion for travelers?

I designed these to be not only beautiful but durable. The take-along size fits handily into a backpack, tote bag, or carry-on luggage. By using heavy-weight artist canvas and archival materials, I’ve created a cover that is sturdy, flexible, and somewhat water-resistant.

Inside, I’ve hand-sewn folded acid-free pages into a roomy spine that allows space for attaching maps, brochures, biz cards, and other mementos while still providing space to write travel notes. I always attach a little pocket to the center section that can hold small items… a bus pass, train ticket, hotel key, or such.

What is your favorite thing about making and using the journals?

I love how not only can I customize this travel journal, but the user can customize it too. Their design choices make creating each book a unique experience and that keeps it fresh and fun for me. When I’m searching for a map for a customer, I feel like I have the whole world at my fingertips! I love to travel but I’m still a ‘homebody’ at heart, hence the name Domestic Papers.

Another map in the middle of my journal

What custom options are available to those hoping to purchase one for themselves?

I start by asking my customer “Where in the world do you want on your book?” I look through my large collection of vintage maps, going back to 1883. I also search more modern atlases and National Geographic maps to find an image the right size and shape for our journal. Some countries are tiny and others are vertical when I want them to be horizontal- that’s geography for you!

I do my best to find wherever in the world my customer wants on the cover. Sometimes, I’ll add a map to the interior of the journal if I can’t quite fit where we want on the cover or if we want a detail map. Also, the customer can request extra pockets, additional pages, lined or unlined pages, a color range for the papers inside, and a style such as romantic, masculine, tropical, or vintage. Of course, to top it off, it’s their choice of brad closure on the front cover.

Choosing all of these elements together is like creating a unique recipe I then follow to make the perfect map travel journal to accompany you on your next adventure!

*A closing note from Lee: My grateful thanks to Michelle for the opportunity to share my map books with you!*


I could not be happier with the finished product of this journal. I had mine done in the regular size, although Lee offers the option of having mini journals made for those that want to travel even lighter and have limited space. The regular sized journal is light-weight and the perfect size to bring with you. My only criticism is that I wish it was filled with more paper because I write a lot on my travels and am going to be able to fill this baby up pretty quickly. I wish that I had some upcoming travel plans because I want to write in it so badly! But I don’t, so I’ll have to be patient and wait for my next trip to fill it up with beautiful memories.

With the new year fast approaching comes opportunities to explore places we’ve never been before. These travel journals may just be the perfect companion for yourself on your next adventure or as a gift for someone who loves travel.

If these journals capture your interest, head on over to Lee’s Etsy shop Domestic Papers to browse her creations and contact her.


Perfect Fit Protein: Protein Powder Perfect for Travel!

As a vegetarian, I try my best to get my protein in other ways like through beans, nuts, vegetables, and protein powder! I’ve tried all sorts of protein powders for my smoothies. Okay, so mostly whey protein and soy protein powders. Some people love them, but I was never a huge fan. When I discovered a nutrition and fitness plan called Tone It Up, I came across Perfect Fit Protein Powder, a protein powder made from organic, brown rice protein. This protein powder doesn’t make your stomach feel funny and has a delicious vanilla flavor. Perfect Fit is organic, gluten-free, raw, vegan, sugar and fat-free, dairy and lactose-free, soy, corn and wheat-free, non-gmo, and allergen free!

Perfect Fit Protein Single-Serving Packets!

Enough about what it is, because this is a travel blog and not a nutrition blog! If you want to find out about what it is, you can read more here. The only downfall is that if you live outside of the U.S.A or Canada, shipping costs are quite expensive.

my perfect fit

The reason I like this protein powder so much is not just because of the fabulous taste but because you can get it in single-serving packets! These packets are perfect for traveling. They are compact and light-weight, so they’re not going to take up much room in your suitcase, purse, backpack or even your money belt. I’m always super excited when I find something that I love that will benefit me while traveling! On my next trip I will definitely be bringing these with me for adding them into my fruit shakes in Thailand, sprinkling it over fruit cups in Italy or adding it into that cappuccino in that cute local cafe you stumbled upon.

Perfect Fit Protein  is my perfect fit because it accommodates my travel lifestyle (when it happens). Even if you’re not a traveler,  this protein powder is perfect for those with a busy lifestyle. Do you bring protein powder or other health items with you when you travel? Have you found one that works perfectly for you?

Packing with Mesh Bags/Clothing Organizers, Yes or No?

Packing a backpack is an art. It takes skill and practice before you figure out how you like your stuff. As it is a backpack that you’re lugging around on your back, packing light is essential. Ditch the cardigan that has been sitting in the back of your closet for a year. Bring only the essential jewelry for a night out, maybe a nice pair of earrings. And honestly, you don’t need six pairs of shoes.

Distributing the weight inside your backpack is important. A lot of people think that heavy things should be at the bottom, but that can wreak havoc on your back. For regular, every-day use of your pack, keep the heavier stuff higher up in your backpack, aiming for it to be in-between your shoulder blade area. If you plan to do some intense hiking, heavier things at the bottom can help root you to the ground.

On more than one occasion my bag has somehow exploded into a frenzy of clothes, gadgets and toiletries everywhere.

three girls with exploding backpacks.

 It’s like a bomb goes off inside my backpack. I found that when packing with mesh bags, the chances of this happening were much less. With mesh bags you can tightly roll up all of your tops in one bag, your pants in another, undergarments in another. You don’t have to go digging through a mess of clothes that, though you rolled them tightly in the beginning, have loosened and unraveled on the journey.

I personally love mesh bags. They are soft, which means they can be squished down by your toiletries. They are compact, so they don’t take up much space. They are very light, adding very little extra weight to your bag. Four of these little guys worked perfectly for me. I know some people who do the same thing with extra large zip-lock bags, which kind of works the same way. I like the mesh clothing organizers more because they are less disruptive for your roommates if you are staying in a hostel. The only thing I do usually keep in a large zip-lock bag is my explosive-prone toiletries like shampoo. More than once I’ve had my clothes covered in shampoo because I didn’t conceal it in a plastic bag. Check out a previous post about solid shampoos/conditioners if your liquid shampoos have exploded on you too!

Mesh Bags!

These colorful mesh bags helped to keep me organized and it was quick and efficient to find what I needed each day. They can be found at most outdoors/travel stores like Camper’s Village, REI, Mountain Equipment Co-op, etc. So, what’s your verdict? Have you used mesh bags or other clothing organizers before? Are they something that you would try?

Solid Shampoos and Conditioners, Do They Live Up To The Hype?

If you know me you will know that I am terrible at packing light. It’s not the clothes that cause the issue it’s all of the hair and body products. I end up thinking that all of them are absolutely crucial. As I don’t usually bring a heat tool to curl or straighten my hair, I’ve usually got two to three products for scrunching along with a hairspray and a nice smoothing serum. On top of that I’ve got my big bottles of shampoo and conditioner to lug around. I’ve even succumbed to bringing a 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner to save space which ends up leaving my thick, frizzy, dry hair even more dry and brittle.

There has been a lot of talk lately about solid shampoos and conditioners and whether or not they really work. I’m not the type of person to just jump right in, purchase a solid shampoo and conditioner and then head off for a few months. I like to know that what I am bringing with me is going to really work and that I won’t be regretting it two weeks down the road.

Jungle conditioner on left, Seanik shampoo on right

I went into my local Lush store meaning to get a gift for my friend’s birthday. I came out not only with her gift but with two bath bombs for myself, a solid shampoo, a solid conditioner, and a tester for some other hair product. As soon as I got home I jumped in the shower to give my new products a go.

Let me tell you, I was skeptical. I really didn’t think I was going to like the shampoo or the conditioner. I have fairly long, very thick, dry hair that is naturally between a wave and a curl. If I leave it to go wild it will look like a lion’s mane. A poofy, frizzy, fluffy mess flying around my head. Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight. So I really didn’t think that these solid options were going to work.

I love the look and texture of this Seanik shampoo!

The solid shampoo I got is this pretty blue one called Seanik. Seanik has two different types of seaweed that is supposed to leave you with soft hair and help care for your scalp, sea salt for body and shine, lemon oil for even more shine, and mimosa and jasmine fragrances to keep you smelling yummy all day long. I was really impressed with the Seanik solid shampoo. It lathers up really easily and I was able to get lots to really work into my hair and it smells great!

While I wasn't entirely sold with the Junge conditioner, it smells great!

I am a conditioner fiend. I use a lot of conditioner on my hair and I was really nervous about getting enough off of the solid conditioner bar. I bought Lush’s solid conditioner called Jungle. I didn’t love it. I found it really difficult to build up enough of a creamy lather for my hair and I could barely tell that it was there! You know that lovely soft, silky feeling your hair has when you’re washing out the conditioner? It’s my favorite feeling ever and this didn’t have it. I was so disappointed but as my hair dried it felt much softer than usual! So it must work. It took a bit of getting used to as the function of the conditioner while in the shower is so much different than a liquid conditioner, but I’ve grown to like the feeling of my hair afterwards. You just have to get over the absence of that lovely conditioner feeling.

Solid conditioner and shampoo from Lush!

When you buy these products you also get a complimentary container to keep them in. Would I use these while traveling? Absolutely! Next time I pack my bags I am definitely going to be swapping my liquid shampoo/conditioner for the solid alternative. I’m actually going to continue using these in my day to day life as well. While I probably won’t continue using the conditioner once it’s gone, I will gladly buy the shampoo again and again. I am really happy with the shampoo. They both leave your hair smelling like you’ve just been to the salon and they take up much less space in my backpack. Also, there’s no more fear of having my shampoo bottle open up and explode all over my bag(this has happened every single time I’ve brought liquid shampoo traveling). Overall, I liked the solid shampoo a lot more than the conditioner but I was impressed with both and am definitely bringing both on my next trip!

Not only that but apparently you can get 80 to 100 washes out of one solid shampoo or conditioner! That is a lot considering how small they are!

What do you think about solid shampoos and conditioners? Have you ever tried them?

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