I’m Leaving Home For 10 Weeks and Bringing These Pens with Me

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be on a plane to Bulgaria, where I’ll spend the next 10 weeks living out of a carry-on bag. I’ll also be 9,771 kilometers away from my stationery stash, and it’s been quite the puzzle figuring out what goodies to bring with me.

I’ve always packed lightly, be it for a backpacking trip, motorbike adventure, or jaunt across the Atlantic. The whole idea of bringing a bunch of notebooks and pens clashes with my minimalist packing tendencies. As I only started bringing paper back into my life within the last couple of years, finding balance here is something I’m still working out.

First, I must apologize for reusing the following photo from last week’s post. It’s been crazy busy at Penster HQ as I’ve scrambled to prepare for my trip, and I didn’t get a chance to gather everything for a nice photo shoot.

For paper, I’m taking the Hobonichi trio I wrote about last week. This is a case where Hobonichi’s dedication to making compact notebooks really shines. Space is at a premium in my carry-on bag, and these three cram a lot of pages into some wee little books.

I was really torn about taking my Traveler’s Notebook, and ultimately decided against it. Spending 10 weeks in Europe sounds like the perfect chance to get my TN on, but due to certain particulars about this trip, I won’t have the time to do much travel journaling. I think I can get by with my Techo alone. But who knows — this might come down to a game-time decision. [Update: I changed my mind because of course I did. My TN is tucked into the last remaining space in my bag.]

When I started thinking about what to pack, I set a limit of six pens. Even six feels like too many, but I have some reviews in progress where I need to give the pens more of a workout before I can pass judgment upon them. Bringing the pens along will kill a few birds with one stone.

Here are the fountain pens I’m taking:

  • Pilot Metropolitan (F nib)
  • Lamy Vista (EF nib)
  • Namiki Vanishing Point (M nib)
  • Wing Sung 698 (F nib)
  • TWSBI Vac Mini (F nib)

The Metro, Vista, and VP are workhorse pens that I use on the regular. They’re traveling empty and un-inked. The Wing Sung 698 and TWSBI are newer acquisitions that hold gallons of ink. They’re on the flight with me fully inked because I like to live dangerously. (I also want to test the TWSBI’s ink shutoff valve.)

Mathematically-inclined readers might have noted that I’ve only written about five pens. That’s because the sixth pen I’m taking is not a fountain pen.

This sleek beauty is my everyday pen at work. It’s a vintage Pilot 2+1 multipen and I’ve never seen anything else quite like it. I don’t know much about it — not even what its real name is. I’ve been told that it’s around 40 years old. Despite its age, it takes most D1 refills.

Speaking of refills, I’ve packed a few spare D1s. For fountain pen ink, I have a nearly-full bottle of Waterman Inspired Blue, a few Lamy cartridges, a pack of Pilot Blue-Black cartridges, and a small 8ml bottle of Iroshizuku Yu-yake. That should be plenty.

If I run out of anything, I’ll just buy more. I’ll be scoping out the stationery scene regardless. If it’s anything like the bookstore scene in Sofia, I’ll be in great shape. If not, there’s always the Pilot G2 I stash in my laptop bag as a spare. And the other G2 I keep in my carry-on. And the other G2 I clip inside the top of my sock, like a shiv.

Always be prepared, I say. See you on the other side of the pond.

9 thoughts on “I’m Leaving Home For 10 Weeks and Bringing These Pens with Me

  1. rupertarzeian January 10, 2018 / 5:21 am

    Good choices. Safe travels and I look forward to hearing how the lucky six pens cope with their Bulgarian adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul Godden January 10, 2018 / 6:14 am

    Six pens? You are going for TEN WHOLE WEEKS and only taking SIX PENS????!!!! And only three notebooks? I am in complete admiration of your restraint, and I’m really looking forward to the posts.

    But… SIX PENS?? For TEN WEEKS!!!??? I couldn’t last ten days with only six pens. What if you need a [fill in a really obscure colour here] ink and you don’t have a pen to match? Or even worse, you haven’t got the ink? That’s unthinkable!!!

    You’re a brave woman. Enjoy your travels!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Economical Penster January 10, 2018 / 8:07 am

      As I was cleaning all the pens I wasn’t taking with me, it occurred to me that six pens might not be enough. But I consider this an exercise in using what I have instead of my usual hummingbird tendencies.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Paul Godden January 10, 2018 / 8:11 am

    I have hummingbirds in my garden. Lots of them. All sorts of colours. Hummingbirds are beautiful and fascinating creatures. Nothing wrong with hummingbirds.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. annemony January 10, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    sweet travels and adventures! looking forward to hearing more

    Liked by 1 person

  5. independentclause January 10, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    Oh thank god. You can’t have rugged (if work-filled and nontouristy) adventures without your traveler’s notebook!! And Paul, I think the hummingbirds have all migrated?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul Godden January 11, 2018 / 10:23 pm

      You’re right of course, the hummingbirds are all long gone on their travels too… but I can’t believe that they wouldn’t have taken more than six pens with them.

      Liked by 3 people

      • independentclause January 12, 2018 / 4:58 am

        Very small pens. But hummingbirds are a bit like pens: long nibs, brightly colored bodies.

        Liked by 1 person

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