Do you know the quest for the PERFECT journal/planner? If you’re as nuts about notebooks and planners like me and if you have a butterfly mind like me, you probably do and have probably been caught in the planner mania of the moment like me. In this post I share with you what I think is pretty much the grand final of my quest…I think I just may have found MY perfect journal/planner and who knows, it might be yours as well…

If you’re like my husband and many men I know, you might have NO clue why people would spend so much time in finding and even drawing the perfect planner. Then watch the first video in which I share my thoughts on why planners are da bomb these days and how I created my own perfect one…

My quest for the PERFECT planner

I started out with regular shop-bought diaries. Every now and then I’d sidestep to a French diary/planner because their layout was just that bit different. And I was keen on one-day-a-page diaries by Ryan for a while. But I always kept so many notebooks and single memo scraps on the side that my planning was always a little messy. I moved on to digital planning when I got my smart phone, but found that working on paper was really important to me, so I let that go. All I kept, was my online calendar so that I always had it at hand on any of my mobile devices and computer. For my appointments I still use that.

But…a good diary/planner/journal needs more than just  a space for appointments. For me, it needs to help my butterfly mind stay on track.

Tadaaah….da bullet journal!

And then suddenly there was the bullet journal! I discovered it quite early on and seeing it was a huge aha-erlebnis. Only, why hadn’t I thought of it myself? In my own messy way, the combination of diary and memo scraps was already sort of a bullet journal, in essence. But I didn’t think of putting it all on one book and giving it a gripping name…alas. I could benefit from it, though, and so I did. Within minutes I had converted a notebook to bullet journal. I had a super lovely Cangini Filippi Paros notebook, that I really want to put the spotlights on for a minute since if a hard cover notebook is your thing, the Cangini Filippi really is worth checking out because it’s more than lovely! I like it way more than moleskine because it has better paper. And it’s just a bit bigger than the Leuchtturm bullet journal. However great that notebook was, it wasn’t perfect. In the video below, I’ll shed some light on the why of it and about why I think journals and planners are the hype of the moment…and that for most of us it’s not because we’ve too much time on our hands (as I’ve heard some men say).

Migrating to a traveler’s journal

Last week I saw a video by Bohoberry on her new traveler’s journal that contained her bullet journal and her notebooks and planners and I felt this acute sense of needing a traveler’s journal. I literally set out to get myself one immediately…or no, to MAKE myself one!

Why the hassle? 5 Advantages of a traveler’s journal with elastic bands over a ring binder:

  1. Ring binders are incredibly annoying when you want to write on both sides of you paper. They’re always in the way.
  2. Ring binders offer a very limited amount of space because they always need free space to let the paper be turned.
  3. 6-hole punched paper is expensive, or you need a special hole punch for it. The traveler’s system allows you to work with ANY kind of paper. Cut it (if necessary), fold it, sew it (pamphlet stitch, see link below) and you’re good to go. So, this system allows you to even include art paper, should you like that.
  4. Taking out single pages from a ring binder can get annoying if you need to do so to write on a flat surface, rather than acrobatically folding your hand around the ring binder. From a traveler’s journal, you can simply slide out a single notebook and you’re done.
  5. You can use ANY A5 notebook in your traveler’s journal, even a hardcover Leuchtturm, should you like that.


If you’re inspired to turn your own filofax into a traveler’s journal, you can see in the next video how I did it. Be sure to read the 8 how-to steps below and the additional information, especially about the drilling. You will also find some useful links for your journal at the bottom of this article.

How to turn your Filofax into a traveler’s journal in 8 easy steps:

  1. Remove the ring binder. Be careful if you drill, because the metal gets really sharp and hot.
  2. Remove the rivets from the Filofax back and clean your journal cover.
  3. Insert eyelets in the two rivet holes in the back of your Filofax journal cover and hammer them down flat. Use metal disks to hide an ugly hole if you must.
  4. Decide on how many elastic bands you want in your journal. You need 3 holes for 4 bands, 6 holes for 8 bands. Take into account the thickness of your Filofax journal cover to see if it can hold 6 holes. Measure them and draw them in carefully and make sure there’s room left in the back to open and close the cover well.
  5. Punch small holes with a hole punch on the given measure marks.
  6. Finish the holes with eyelets to prevent wear and tear on the new made holes.
  7. Measure some elastic band. I used the length of the spine of the journal times the number of strings I would have plus 2. So in my case I had 8 elastic bands and I cut off 10 to make sure there was room for the stitches at the back and for tying them together.
  8. String the elastic band. Don’t keep it loose, but don’t pull it tight either, because that will wear out the elastic really soon. Tie it together, shove in your self-made and bought notebooks and there you have your own Filofax Traveler’s journal!

A note on removing the Filofax Ring Binder

Below you find two YouTube videos on how to remove a Filofax ring binder. In case you can see the rivets/eyelets on the binder on the inside of your Filofax, you can only remove it permanently, with a drill. If the binder is flat on the inside, you can use the second video.

  1. Permanently remove the Filofax ring binder with a drill (Be ware…CANNOT be undone, so do this at your own risk!)
  2. Change or remove the Filofax ring binder with a screwdriver

Print your own dotted paper

I was so happy to find dotted paper online that I could print. There’s lots of them online, but most have a text or a URL on them. At Incompetech I found a tool to compose your own dotted paper after your own wishes, so you can even choose colored dots. Isn’t that fun? You can print some sheets double sided, fold them in half, make a nice cover, bind them and you have an insert!

Bind your own traveler’s journal inserts

With the 3-hole pamphlet stitch you can easily bind ANY kind of paper to inserts for your traveler’s journal. Here is a good site about the pamphlet stitch. And here you will find a pretty video to demonstrate it all in motion.

The Tanka Workshop I speak about in the video?

On December 9 I’m doing a LIVE “Writing and Illustrating Tanka” Workshop in Dutch here in the Netherlands. It will be a whole day, and if it’s dry, in the evening we’ll end the day with a lovely fire under the stars… If you’re interested, there are some spots left. You can find more information here.

I hope this blog post has been of help and inspiration to you. And if there are any questions, feel free to ask. Should you give your filofax a travelers metamorphosis, will you share with us in a comment below? I’m very curious what solutions you come up with for the minor challenges you run into and of course I’m looking forward to seeing some lovely transformation…

Oh, and before I forget…these are my studio chatterboxes Winsor & Newton…♥