Posts filed under Travel

Stationery Travel Notes

Stationery Travel Notes

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

I've been on the road a lot lately, and in the sky, on the water, and even on the train tracks. And that means, so have my pens and papers. Where I go, they go, and I've been on the move! It's taught me a lot about how I, personally, travel with stationery, so I've decided to share my top ten pen travel takeaways. YMMV, of course, in both the literal and metaphorical sense.

Stationery Travel Tags

1: My magic number of pens is seven. Three fountain pens, a rollerball, a ballpoint, a pocket pen, and a multi-gel pen. This meets every need I might have for a solid week. Now I just need to remember this and stop overpacking my pens.

2: On airplanes, it occurred to me that those fountain pens I had carefully filled and stored upright were now sideways as I slid my backpack under the seat in front of mine. There was no avoiding it. But I did not have even a tiny leak on any of the eight flights I've recently taken. However, one pen friend I spoke with on my travels DID have a small inksplosion in her bag. I asked her if her pen was completely full or only half full, and she said it was half full. So perhaps therein lies a clue. Or possibly I just got lucky.

The Bone Weaver's Orchard

3: Holy cats, I do not need that much paper. I fill paper quickly, but wow. I brought too much every time. I really don't need more than 150 pages, even for a trip devoted to writing. Someone please remind me of this before my next trip. Paper is heavy.

4: A small bag is better. I know. I love big bags! They hold the most books! But that's the problem. Big bags are heavy and too easy to overstuff. They can become a burden when you're running around. I downsized to a smaller backpack for my most recent trip and it was such a relief.

5: On that note, it's okay to check a bag on a plane. I bet most of you already knew that, but it was news to me. I hate checking bags (to be fair, I do have the lost bag curse), so I have always made do with strategic carry-on packing. But on one of my trips this month, I had no choice but to check a bag (yes, one of the reasons was BOOKS), and... it was so freeing. I felt so light. It was so nice to not carry stuff! I'll be checking a bag again on my next flight.

Stationery Travel Knitting

6: I guess I'll bring some tech sometimes, too. I don't usually travel with any tech other than my ancient phone, but I did bring both my laptop and kindle on one of my trips and I guess it wasn't the worst. Maybe I'll do it again.

7: Ink choice is more important than pen choice. Pretty much all of my travels had a business element to them, so it was important that not all of my inks were shimmery or neon green. Just some of them. I made sure I brought a big pen loaded with plain old blue, too.

8: Nib variety is important, though. I brought a fine, medium, and broad. Fine for notetaking. Medium for writing/drafting, broad for signing books. It was a great setup! And since I had the rollerball, ballpoint, and gel pens also handy, they could tackle any weird paper situations.

Stationery Travel Pics

9: Have that practical selection of pens in a good case, with a workhorse pen or two in a more accessible spot. I had a Schon Designs pocket pen as my handiest pen, usually in a pocket, or in the outer pocket of my bag when my outfit was pocketless (why there are even pocketless outfits is beyond me). The result of which is that I used that pen 90% of the time, because it was easy. But when I sat down and spread out my kit to work, I'd dig into my pen case and pull out the whole family. The case kept them safe when I wasn't using them, but they were there when I needed them.

10: Bring tools you're excited to use. Practicality is best when traveling, but we love our stationery because it's FUN. Be sure to bring some vacation pens even if it's a work trip. You never know when you might have a moment to jot a poem in some sparkle ink.

My travels aren't over. Next up is a family trip which will involve me flying alone with my kids and will require the utmost in minimalist packing. Then after that is a road trip to a week-long work seminar, which means I can bring all the pens and paper. Or I could follow my own advice. We'll see.

Stationery Travel Lakeside
Posted on May 30, 2019 and filed under Travel.

New Orleans is a Pen Destination

Papier Plume

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

When you think of New Orleans, stationery might not be the first thing you think of. I'll admit, it wasn't even for me. But when I found out I would get to spend a weekend in New Orleans this spring, you can bet I looked into it. As any healthy pen addict would. Turns out, it's a fantastic place to indulge in stationery tourism. So I did.

Papier Plume Shop

The first place I went (and I don't just mean the first stationery store--I mean literally the first building I entered upon arrival in New Orleans) was Papier Plume in the French Quarter. It is located at 842 Royal St, conveniently near a million fun things, so you can't miss it. Patrick and Renso run the show there. You may have seen them at a pen show, but nothing beats seeing them in their beautiful shop in New Orleans. The store is gorgeous, beautifully furnished with art and antique furniture, with big windows that let in tons of light and a view of the iconic ironwork galleries across the street. And then there are the tempting wares--shelves and tables full of beautiful papers, glass dip pens, handbound leather journals, desk accessories, seals, Italian leather bags, and of course pens. Many in styles and brands from Europe that I had never seen in person before. Of course I caved. Happily.

Jean-Pierre Lepine Indigo Classic

I purchased a Jean-Pierre Lepine Indigo Classic in Cocobolo wood. I was charmed by its wee pocket size and lovely woodgrain. And I paired it with a handcrafted leather and marbled paper journal. The perfect souvenir match. The only reason I didn't buy any ink is because 1) we were traveling without checked bags and I feared for a delicate bottle in my backpack, and 2) I honestly couldn't decide on any one among the incredible selection. I'll be placing an online order soon, I'm sure.

PP purchase 3.JPG

Patrick and Renso were as warm and welcoming as their lovely shop and I can't recommend them highly enough. You can, of course, shop online--but I suggest a trip to New Orleans, instead. Also, a little bird told me that they'll be making an appearance at the Atlanta and Chicago pen shows.


Later that weekend, I ventured out to Scriptura at 5423 Magazine St. This shop is located in the Garden District of New Orleans, possibly one of the most walkable neighborhoods on earth if you love browsing beautiful architecture. And when you're done picking out all of your future dream homes, you can pop into this wonderfully appointed shop to purchase your housewarming invitations. This shop, which retains a rich historical character inside in keeping with its surroundings, caters mostly to paper and letter writing. Their selection of cards and papers is infinitely browsable and endlessly tempting. They also have a case of rollerball and fountain pens, including some nice pieces by Pilot, Retro 51, and Lamy. There are also shelves with a nice ink selection.

Scriptura inside

I picked out a lovely postcard, a notecard, a 2-pack of Cavallini & Co pocket notebooks with bugs on them, and a midi-size Paperblanks Flexis with 240 pages, a ribbon bookmark, and beautiful marbled edges. I hadn't encountered the softcover Paperblanks before. I think I'm in love.

Scrpitura purchase

I didn't get to chat much with the proprietors, but they showed me some of the past Retro 51 New Orleans special editions. It's probably best for my wallet that I couldn't buy them anymore, but you can bet I added my name to the list to find out about the next edition. They were also kind enough to let me use their outlet to charge my phone so I could continue taking pictures. As much as I devote my life to analog tools, my sketches would not have done the place justice. You really must see it for yourself, and I very much recommend that you do.

I did a lot of wonderful things in New Orleans. The city completely captured my heart. I know I'll go back someday, and when I do, I look forward to visiting my new pen friends there and shopping for souvenirs.

Posted on April 4, 2019 and filed under Papier Plume, Scriptura, Travel.

Five Stationery Stores Not to Be Missed in Taipei, Taiwan

(Original article posted 11/29/2017. Written by Takuya Takahashi. Translated by Bruce Eimon.)

The people of Taiwan are just as passionate about their stationery as the people of Japan. Similar to Japan, there are strong communities of people who love their stationery and planners, and you will readily find bookstores and gift shops that carry a wide variety of such products. Last November I had the opportunity to visit Taipei with my close stationery friends, and here are the ones I was most impressed by.

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Everything trendy in Taiwan under one roof: eslite Xinyi Store (誠品書店 信義旗艦店)

The eslite bookstore is one of the most prominent bookstores in Taiwan that also carries a wide variety of stationery and lifestyle products. It is known amongst local people as the place where you can find “all of the trends in Taiwan under one roof.”

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On this trip I had the opportunity to visit eslite Xinyi (誠品書店 信義旗艦店), their flagship store. Not only do they tout to be one of the largest bookstores in Asia, but the building also houses approximately 150 stores from Taiwan and around the world.

The stationery departments are on the 2nd and 4th floors. The 2nd floor has an area for high-end writing instruments, with an impressive selection of fountain pens from around the world. [Image 2 eslite inside.jpg] When I visited in November, there was a special display of 2018 planners by the registers - just like you would see in Japan!

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Image 4 eslite inside journals.jpg

Here you can also find local Taiwanese products as well as eslite’s private brand products.

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On the 4th floor you will find more casual products for daily use.

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I was especially impressed by their display of colored pencils!

Image 9 eslite inside colored pencils.jpg

Their product displays were quite different from what I am used to seeing in Japan - everything was so accessible that I couldn’t keep myself from reaching out and trying things. Their wrapping paper and ribbon section was also quite impressive.

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Image 11 eslite inside ribbons.jpg
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As a trend-setter of Taiwanese culture, you will find eslite bookstores in many neighborhoods, with each store having its own unique theme/character. It is a store you surely will not want to miss when you visit Taiwan.

A place to enjoy functional stationery, coffee, and craft beer: Plain Stationery Homeware & Cafe(直物文具Café)

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This is a store run by one of my stationery friends, Mr. Tiger Shen.

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You will find a range of functional stationery curated by Mr. Shen as well as tasteful houseware.

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Image 16 plain stationery display 2.jpg

He also has a line of his own products, with the latest addition being rubber stamps.

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These are cute stamps that are perfect for decorating your planner.

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According to Mr. Shen, these fountain pen ink cataloging stamps were quite popular when he took them to Japan. There is also a space to play with calligraphy pens, which is quite the “thing” in Taiwan now.

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In the back of the store there is a space you can enjoy local tea, coffee, and even craft beers.

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Image 22 plain stationery beer.jpg

It is a charming store where you can enjoy good stationery and good drinks. What more could one ask? I love this place.

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Mr. Shen speaks good Japanese, so don’t be scared to ask him questions.

Where you can find charming stationery & houseware: VVG Thinking

Image 24 VVG Thinking 1.jpg

The Huashan 1914 Creative Park houses many fashionable gift shops and boutiques. This is a commercial zone that was built back in 1914 on the site of an old sake (rice wine) distillery. VVG Thinking (好様思維) is a store in this complex that carries antique books, select housewares, and stationery.

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You will also find a wide variety of gifts and stationery products made in Taiwan.

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Image 27 VVG Thinking .jpg

It is walking distance from Plain Stationery Homeware & cafe(直物文具Café), so I highly encourage you to check out both.

A sanctuary for Taiwanese stationery lovers: TOOLS to LIVEBY(禮拜文房具)

Image 28 Tools to Liveby 1.jpg

TOOLS to LIVEBY(禮拜文房具)is a place that many Taiwanese stationery lovers refer to as their ultimate stationery sanctuary. Inside the store that looks like a renovated garage, you will find, fashionable stationery from all around the world, with no room to spare. The display is tasteful and well thought out.

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They also sell original products and bags. It is a perfect place to stock up on gifts.

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This is a magical space where a whole day will pass without noticing if you are not careful.

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A store with a great selection of Japanese stationery: Vision Stationery (明進文房具)

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A short walking distance from TOOLS to LIVEBY(禮拜文房具)is Vision Stationery (明進文房具). This is a stationery store with a great selection of Japanese products. Here you will get a feel for which Japanese products are popular in Taiwan. There are not many local products, but I found some interesting washi masking tapes.

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They also carry store-branded Kokuyo Field Notes as well as a original rubber stamps.

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Taipei is merely a 4 hour flight from Tokyo, and even closer from Osaka. With many low-cost carrier competing for your business, it has become very easy for Japanese people to visit Taiwan. If you like stationery, I urge you to treat yourself to a stationery tour of Taipei, Taiwan!

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eslite Xinyi Store (誠品書店 信義旗艦店) (Map)

Plain Stationery Homeware & cafe(直物文具Café)(Map)

VVG Thinking (好様思維) (Map)

TOOLS to LIVEBY(禮拜文房具) (Map)

Vision Stationery (明進文房具) (Map)

Posted on March 2, 2018 and filed under Mai-Bun, Travel.