I'm obsessed with customization. I love that everything can be unique to each person like our bodies–sure they look the same when you glance at it, but when you take time to look, you see tattoos and blemishes that make us truly unique. Take me for example: I have scars on my forehead from childhood when my bicycle helmet rubbed against a cluster of chicken pox spots (no tattoos, I’m terrified of needles). I think that's why so many gravitate towards Baum-kuchen’s TrulyYours Customization service. Out of the box a Traveler’s Notebook looks smooth and flawless. Add a brass plate to the front, a charm to the bookmark string, or pockets to the inside covers, you have something that's unique to you and tells your story.
It should come as no shock to some that once the TrulyYours service reopened, I jumped on board the caravan. I was so excited about making my TN mine and functional at the same time. I had a clear vision of what I wanted – a wallet pocket to hold precious notes, a library card, with a photo of my dad. Beside it would be a large pocket to hold notes or the 2022 TN plastic sheet. After seeing the Grape Vine Travel for Life Wallet, I decided that the leather had to be in a similar dark brown leather that reminds me of the melted chocolate my stomach craves.
A few back-and-forth emails of cheerful chatter later, I was elated when Wakako sent me the specs Frido prepared. It was really happening! In just a few days my TN would be going to the shop that inspired me to grab TN in the first place, and it would be in the presence of warm and inspiring people. It was hard not to be a little jealous of my TN; it was going on a paid vacation, hanging out with cool people, and here I was slogging away at work! Once I carefully placed it in a bubble wrap envelope and encased it in packing tape, I whispered a reminder: don’t talk to strangers, stay out of trouble, and have fun. As I walked from the post office I swore one thing to myself: this would be the one and only time I would pay for a vacation that I wasn’t going on.
During my TN’s journey to BK, I wondered what options others went with. It was pretty amazing to know that I had this amazing new connection to my online friends and so many I admire. Sure we never met in person but knowing that the same two people would carefully add new embellishments to our notebooks was comforting and exciting. What would they all look like? How would they be used? I eagerly checked my Instagram to see what others had chosen and how they looked.
What made the experience memorable was the communication between myself and Wakako. Sure there was business sprinkled into our emails, but it always felt more like checking in with a friend. “How’s my kid doing? Is it having fun in Altadena?”
Months prior, I attached my favourite brass plate to the cover a tad closer to the edge than I wanted (when you're a sewing novice stabbing holes in leather, you'll settle for any hole you can make). I was worried it would cause problems but an assuring email from Wakako said that the plate was far enough away from the edge so there were no worries. She added that Frido offered to resew the plate to the cover for me, for which I am eternally grateful. That plate carries with it a constant reminder that everything I do is part of my journey, and the endgame is unknown (and that this girl needs to get comfortable with that fact).
The moment I opened the returned envelope and touched my TN, it was like a wave of calm washed over me. Not because of any anxieties–I would trust BK with my firstborn if I had one–but because it was home, by my side once again. And the pockets were just like I imagined it, but better because everything from BK is always better in person. Running my fingers on the stitching is a tactile experience; you can feel the care and craftsmanship from the Wakako and Frido in each stitch. Their friendly notes on the invoice and specs sheet currently sit in a box that holds letters from my friends and family.
My TN has become even more precious to me, warming my soul like a security blanket.
It was no mere business transaction I experienced. It was a true collaboration between friends that took place–my TN didn’t just get a physical makeover, its trusty spirit was infused with positive and warm vibes. It’s something that can’t be replicated.
So I encourage you to take the journey–make it truly yours.
Text and photos by: Heather
BK Artifacts featured in the story:
- Bk Truly Yours
- Traveler's Notebook Camel
- Travel for Life Wallet || Grape Vine
- "Journey is the destination" brass plate
- Option 2: Large Pocket / Right
- Option 5: Wallet Pocket
- [BKxTRC] JIYU Weekly Planner
- Stickers / Leave Space for the Unknown
If you are interested in customizing your Traveler's Notebook with BK, please consult with Wakako for the design!