Part of the joy of traveling or going on a road trip or a camping trip is planning the stationery I’m going to bring. Despite efforts to the contrary, I’ve discovered that you can’t bring everything, which can also be a good way to unplug, giving yourself a break from the deluge of abundance. You can pick a few letters to respond to, some journaling. We were gone for four days, so I didn’t need to pack too much, but it was nice to be overly prepared for all wilderness emergencies.



Here is most of what I brought and used:

  • letter writing supplies and my camping journal in my A5 TSL portfolio
  • Caleb’s camping journal is the Life Vermilion notebook
  • pencils in my Midori Brass tin (I like this for pencils so I can easily wipe out graphite, and it doesn’t get anything else grey and dusty)
  • and all the rest of my supplies in my Superior Labor Utility Case.


And here in the photo below is what all fit into my Utility Case. It was super! It really holds quite a bit, including my TSL flap pen holder which housed some of my more expensive fountain pens separately. The TSL pen holder isn’t huge, but it does have the brass clip on the back, so it was impressive to fit that in along with the Caran d’Ache tin and also the balm. I mean, I’m discussing this, and it’s sort of hard to describe, but it does hold a lot. Glue stick, scissors, ruler, Tiger Balm, spare mask, Blackwing one-step pencil sharpener, washi tape, markers, pens. It kept all the little things tidy.



I brought some letter writing supplies in my trusty A5 Portfolio. I didn’t spend too much time agonizing over these, but I picked a few letters I wanted to respond to—long overdue, much like my library books—and some basic supplies: stationery, envelopes, postage, stickers. I do mix and match stationery in a letter, so sometimes my first sheet will be printed stationery and then the rest will be blank G. Lalo or Life Airmail. It was fun to just write with whatever I had. I didn’t actually bring any Life Airmail on this trip but in real life that is something that I like to use. It was satisfying, starting the trip out with some loose pieces of stationery, and then returning home with letters tucked into envelopes, neatly stamped and addressed, ready for the mailbox.



Here is a shot of Naomi doing some intense calculations for her alphabet work, ho ho my child genius. I brought some workbooks for the kids to do during some down time, as we had anticipated some rain (which didn’t even come!). I am trying my best to channel my inner tiger mom, knowing how much my children have to catch up, balancing that with the fact that “everyone” will “be behind.” Everyone will be behind but you don’t actually want your kids to be behind.



Parenthood has been an intense year and a half of seeing the enormous divergence in opportunities for kids, hearing about school pods with teachers supervising small groups of children, knowing that my own kids have had all the technology they need, and knowing that some kids have not had internet, have not had school supplies, have not attended a single of their virtual school classes. Where’s the moving target? Let them enjoy the summer and hope for the best in the fall? Or try to keep them engaged and reading and writing while I have them here with me? I feel like I’m always arguing with myself, with all the advice I read online, hearing what other parents are doing, tilting at windmills, birds clocked and killed by the spiraling blades. Everyone has an opinion and none of them jive with mine, mostly because mine waffle in the four directions along with the wind from day to day, moment to moment. What are you doing, making your kids practice the alphabet when they’re camping? I have no idea.


I have diverged from the path of this blog post, shockingly.


In any case, it was nice to have a different locale for all of our stationery and writing. I had a tote bag, sort of like Bill Gates’ tote bag of books, except mine was filled with kids books, library books, workbooks, my portfolio, stationery supplies. All of my life’s ambitions neatly packed into one tote bag.


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July 15, 2021 — Liz Chan

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