(This story is dedicated to the pair of scissors that got confiscated from the pencil case in my hand luggage while passing through airport security in 2015. Journaling on the plane just wasn’t the same without you.)

Journaling began for me, or so I thought, as a way to record memories while travelling.

To record the ‘highlights’, sure. Cutting out and sticking in tickets and photos of us standing next to landmarks, as if our photo wasn’t just one drop in an ocean of instances where countless others stood and grinned in the exact same spot.

But not just the highlights, the small details too. The pages of the journal like a net, scooping up and capturing every funny moment, every synchronicity, all the little things never to be lost once they’re safely adhered to the pages.

Before any trip, big or small, I would pack up my pens, pencils, glue stick, scissors, washi tape, stickers, and mini handmade journal into one of the many fabric pencil cases so lovingly crafted for me by mum. Adorned with my favourite enamel pins, the pencil case was my container for creativity: any inspiration I picked up along the way, be it map, napkin, note, leaflet, would be added until it was bursting. Any spare moment meant time to journal. To create the pages that had been building in my mind as the journey unfolded.

Back then, the adventures happened and the journal was a mere tool for documenting them. Somewhere along the way though, that changed.

Slowly, softly, my focus began to shift from what I was recording in the journal, to the act of journaling itself.

To journal is to recall a past moment, to record a moment for a future version of yourself, and yet somehow simultaneously, to also very much live in the present moment. Tearing, cutting, writing, drawing, sticking, breathing. It becomes a meditative state.

Little by little, the journaling became the journey…

The journey to my online community, where I found others like me and we bonded over our shared love of this craft that can encompass so many other crafts within its pages.

The journey to my past self, to my inner child. Uncovering dusty boxes in my parents’ loft full of my old diaries, sketchbooks, and even journals. Realising that my travel journals were not, in fact, where my love of journaling began – that was many years earlier, but long forgotten. Holding a felt journal in my hands and turning the textured page to see where 11 year old me had scrawled so proudly ‘welcome to the book thats made entirly by me!!’ felt like reuniting with my first love. Like coming home to myself.

The journey to peace. To flow. To creating my own happiness. To making a mess, creating without expectations, without limits. When I am journaling I am both in a creative frenzy and completely calm.

And the journey to my future. I don’t think 11 year old Kia would believe me if I showed her how far our journaling journey has taken us. For years, I journaled purely for the love of it, never realising it would land me the opportunity of my dreams, to write and illustrate a series of children’s activity journals. They sit proudly on the shelf now, nestled amongst overflowing journals within the bookcase in the home art studio where I work since following my path into becoming a fulltime creator. The anxieties of my past lives are now mere sentences in the pages of one of those journals, forgotten but not gone.

The journaling is the journey, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.