Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Essential Notepad

I was reading the Lonely Planet Guide to Travel Writing today, and it reminded me of something I've been doing since at least 2006... carrying a notepad and pen. I know what you're thinking, "Haven't you ever heard of a PDA?" Of course, but an electronic gadget is often more trouble than it's worth for quick notes. I can keep the notepad in my back pocket for an entire year, sitting on it day after day, without fear of breaking it. A notepad doesn't need batteries or a connection to the Internet cloud. It doesn't need to boot up. It doesn't crash. It's also got convenient history and messaging functions; turn back a page or pass a note.

Obviously, the other essential item is a pen. I prefer the Zebra F-301 blue or black pens. They look sharp, handle well, and haven't failed me yet. The pen lives in my the left pocket (I'm left handed) of my jeans, clipped to the top, near the back. It stays put surprisingly well too, ready for the quick draw. My Swiss Army Knife also has a pen, but it's small and awkward, so it's strictly a backup. As a side note though, I heard Swiss Army officers were originally issued knives to sharpen their quills for record keeping.

And as you can tell from my blog, I've got a ways to go on my travel writing...

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