• Keeping Friends

A Conversation with Alison and her friends behind The Traveling Journal

Published: November 1, 2010 | Last Updated: January 6, 2017 By | 7 Replies Continue Reading

How did the five of you meet?

We’re all from the same town in Iowa. Sioux City sits on the banks of the Missouri River. It’s 54 square miles surrounded by oceans of corn. We all met at different times-Morgenne and I (Alison) met all the way back in Mrs. McAlpine’s second grade class, but some of us didn’t become friends until high school. Through shared activities like choir, musicals and cheerleading, the five of us became better friends.

Dawn is now a wife and mother of three small children in the suburbs of Chicago. Melissa lives in our hometown, works for the city and cares for three teenage stepchildren. Tonya is police officer south of Los Angeles who met her husband on the job. Morgenne is an English teacher in Arizona who loves doing anything outdoors. And I (Alison) am a writer who lives with my husband in Greenville, South Carolina.

Why did you create the Traveling Journal?

I started the traveling journal right after graduating from college in 2000. I was living in St. Louis at the time, and missing my friends who were already scattered all over the country. I took an empty journal, wrote in it, and sent it on its way not really knowing whether the other girls would actually pass it on or if I would see the journal again. Turns out they loved the idea and now here we are, nearly ten years later, with these priceless books that tell our friendship story.

Because it means so much to us we want to inspire other long distance friends to stay connected in this way. So we thought if we could design a line of handmade journals and offer accessories to compliment the experience, we could motivate other friends to start this tradition. That’s how we started TheTravelingJournal.com.

Who is the journal intended for?

The traveling journal is intended for any friends who want an easy, fun way to develop and cherish their friendships. We envision recent high school or college graduates, like we were, starting a journal together. It could also be a group of women who lost touch over the years and want to reconnect. It could even be for a couple in a long distance relationship who want more to hold on to than an email.

How can it help friends stay connected? Under what circumstances?

We are all so busy these days and staying in touch is really difficult. Facebook, email and text messaging are great, but they can be very superficial. With the traveling journal, you are holding the same book in your hands that your friends held. You are seeing their handwriting, cataloging memories together, and really writing your friendship story. That blank book quickly becomes priceless.

Our traveling journals have become so precious to us because it’s a tradition the five of us share exclusively. Our husbands don’t even read them! If we ever need a reminder that we are loved, we just flip through the pages of the traveling journal. The hard part about long distance friendship is missing out on the normal stuff-shoe shopping, grabbing coffee or taking in a chick flick. But the traveling journal gives us that shared experience even though so many miles separate us.



Comments (7)

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  1. Karawang says:

    interesting article,, thanks for sharing .. I am glad to read it because it adds to my knowledge

  2. Irene says:

    I need to have a way to contact the winner so please include your email address at least. Thanks! Irene

  3. Lori says:

    I would use it to re-connect with four high school friends. We live in California, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, and Alabama. Over the years you begin to feel that you’ve lost the friendship, but then you see the special bond that is still there if you’d put time toward it in a way other than facebooking or emailing…………xo

  4. Christina Marable says:

    I’m big on communication, that’s manufactured by hands and voices. I prefer face to face communication and phone calls over facebook and email any day. But I really love to do is write letters. I like to write letters because you can tell a lot by someone’s handwriting, the choice of ink, and the spelling. You can also include things in handwritten letters that you can’t replicate in emails. I had a pen pal in summer camp when I was a child, and I used to draw poodles in the margins of our letters.

    I think I like letters so much because of the sense of privacy that you get, that goes beyond a chain email or a funny facebook message. With all that said, I’d love to win a travel journal. This year I took a leap of faith and decided to complete a dream I’ve always had. I decided to teach English in Costa Rica. I’d like to go to Asia next, and I write my friends letters from Central America. The only problem with letters is that I can’t always remember what I wrote and I’d like to have a log, a record of what my friends and I said to each other. I think this would be a fun way to keep in touch.

    I like to think of these years in my life as being years that I’ll always remember. In the future, I predict that when I’m married and have a grown up job I’ll be able to look back on these years, and maybe we’ll have a journal. At least this is much more interesting and fun than reciting old stories.

  5. Sue Fernandez says:

    I have had a penfriend in Australia for 25 years…but lately, time just gets the best of me….I would love to use this to rekindle our continued friendship!

  6. Irene says:

    Please be sure to include your email address, Steph and others, if you want to be eligible for the prize! Thanks! Irene

  7. Steph says:

    I love this story! The journals are gorgeous, and I am planning to give one as a gift this holiday, but if I win, I will also send one to my friend Suzette in Miami. She just had her first baby and I am having a baby and I wish we didn’t live so far apart. I think it will be amazing to look back at our journal when the kids are grown!

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