I heard about the release of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook Star Edition on the first anniversary of my trip to Hong Kong so I was particularly nostalgic about this special edition. To add to my sentimentality, I also rode on the Star Ferry several times while I was in Hong Kong so this kit meant something to me personally. The Star Edition collection includes a lot of additional accessories beyond just the leather notebook cover and I took this opportunity to indulge in purchasing just about the entire kit. There is Star Edition washi tapes, a passport-style Star Ferry stamp, a bullet pen, Star Ferry-themed sticker set, a special Star Ferry notebook refill and charms designed for the theme. I purchased the life buoy charm but there is also a brass plate charm available as well. The only thing I didn’t indulge in was the die cut brass paper clips in the shape of the Star Ferry.
Tucked inside the kit is one free ride on the Star Ferry coupon but as I mentioned before, the cost for a ride across the harbor is less than a dollar so I would rather keep the coupon with its gold foil accents as a momento.
The leather notebook cover is a warm brown color with a green elastic closure though the kit came with an extra brown elastic. Needless to say the green elastic is perfect for me. The leather is thick but flexible and feels quote durable. The cover will show scratches and nicks but it adds an interesting patina to the cover that will probably become more enjoyable over time. There is one brown cord bookmark attached to the cover itself (you can see the knotted end on the lower left corner of the photo above).
On the back of the cover is stamped the details of this notebook being a special edition. I also added the life buoy charm to it and left the ties hanging down like an extra bookmark. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to attach the charm as the cord is woven around the buoy.
Inside, the special custom notebook features a gold foil stamped cover on green linen cardstock. Inside, the book includes history and information about the Star Ferry Company. It would be a great place to include ticket stubs and travel momentos from Hong Kong but I’m not sure I’d blemish this notebook with everyday grocery lists and to-dos so I also purchased a couple of the notebook refills in plain paper and lined. I have yet to purchased the higher end MD refills but I might add that to my list soon.
I was curious if the “passport size” really was passport sized and if the cover could be repurposed as a passport cover and, lo and behold, it is exactly passport sized. Now you know.
Next I wanted to compare the Traveler passport notebook to the Field Notes. I’ve heard some people suggest that they refill Traveler with a Field Notes but I found that I could not fit the Field Notes in the book as it is about an inch too tall. The refills for this notebook are held into place by an elastic down the spine. Just open a notebook and slip half the pages onto one side of the elastic and half on the other to secure it. There would be no way to squeeze a Field Notes into it without damaging either the spine and elastic of the cover or cutting or damaging the Field Notes to get it to fit.
I have a larger Pelle Journal which has elastics to hold up to three notebooks inside. The passport sized Midori Traveler’s Notebook appears to only hold one notebook which is a bit of a disappointment for me.I used my Pelle while traveling in Hong Kong and China last year and liked having a lined paper insert for notes and a plain paper insert for sketching and a place to collect paper ephemera from the trip. (Correction: I found a tutorial to add more than one notebook insert to the Traveler Notebooks. Duh!)
Of course, the final test is how the paper in the refills actually performs. Since the notebook itself is quite small (3.5″ x 4.5″), I was not inclined to use a wide writing implement. As it is with my small writing, I could only comfortably fit about six words per line so all the tools I chose to test were fine line gel pens, pencil or a very fine line fountain pen.
What is surprising is that the paper feels very thin, comparable to the weight of a Moleskine but performs much better than Moleskine. There was show through on the reverse of the paper but no bleed through. The Ohto Graphic Liner left the most noticeable show through but for as thin as the paper is, I expected much worse. I will definitely try the higher quality MD paper refills to see if it stands up better to fountain pens.
I am not inclined to like ballpoint pens in general so I was quite surprised to discover that I had accidentally ordered the Star Edition bullet pen. I thought I was ordering a pencil. When I opened the package though, I discovered what a fine point this ballpoint had and was pleasantly surprised. I’ll include a more thorough review of the Midori Bullet Pen in the future but if you like this compact size and a razor-fine tip you may want to seek out one of the Midori ballpoint pens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised too.
The whole kit was quite a treat and made me a little nostalgic for my epic trip, especially since the time I spent in Hong Kong was my favorite part of the whole, exhausting journey. I don’t know if anyone else would get the same enjoyment out of the Star Edition kit that I did unless you live or visit Hong Kong. As this was my first purchase of an actual Midori Traveler’s Notebook, I will admit that its lived up to its hype. The attention to detail makes it a lovely gift and the quality of the materials makes it quite useable for the long haul.
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(I purchased the Midori Traveler’s Notebook Star Edition from Resor Shop who kindly included extra stickers and stamps as a kindness to the delay in shipping that many encountered as a result of delays from Midori. It was unnecessary but wholly enjoyed. Resor packages their orders beautifully and kept me well-informed throughout the shipping process. If you are looking to buy Midori Traveler’s products in the US, I highly recommend them.)