The Paper Voyager


Scrolling through the feed of Tina, @thepapervoyager, is like finding yourself at the start of a path. It leads you to a forest, where you can almost smell the earth below your feet, the sap of the trees, and the woods around you. There is a solace to be found there. It is a quiet respite for contemplation and a safe space for creation.

Look more closely at her photography and you feel yourself surrounded by the warmth you might find in some of the most cherished libraries in the world. There you will find mahogany floors, caramel colored leather chairs, and brass lamps with their green bulbs, casting shadows on stacks filled with antique books. You can feel the paper of those tomes crinkle and disintegrate and somehow that makes them seem even more beautiful. This is the palette that weaves throughout the Paper Voyager: soft, gleaming and rich.

Tina has created a private and magical world. Gratefully, she allows us all the privilege to travel with her in it. She has invited us to be a paper voyager. 

Recently, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Tina about the origins of the Paper Voyager, the inspirations for her creative process and pursuits and her thoughts as we start a new decade. Now, we are happy to share what she said about her own voyage with you.

Do you remember making your first post? Who did you think might see it?
Absolutely! I remember stumbling over some photos & accounts on Instagram where people were sharing their journals, art & planner system. That moment a new world opened up to me because I always wanted to meet people with the same hobby. Back then I started with pictures of my analogue ring binder planner system & first travel journal. I was just happy to share my creativity with others. Little did I know back then which path it would lead me over the next years.

What has been the biggest surprise for you in sharing yourself through thepapervoyager?
For me personally creating & writing is an intimate thing. I put so much of myself into my creations & into the things I do. Sharing myself through “The Paper Voyager” is giving my creative soul a space to express, to exist & to grow. Unfortunately, I do not enjoy being put on the spot to answer questions, to be the center of attention. I need time to think & contemplate before I share my thoughts or give my response. So one of the biggest surprise for me in sharing myself through “The Paper Voyager” is that I found a voice I otherwise couldn´t properly communicate & express.

Putting my creations, my thoughts & emotions documented in pictures into this space for others to read & see is sometimes scary but also exciting. Especially the moment you realize that you are not alone, that people can relate or even be inspired by what you share. I never expected the feedback I have received or the precious connections, even friendships I made so far. It always was & still is kind of surreal to see that there are people out there who want to hear & see what I have to share. So, these connections, the community is another beloved & valued surprise. I really appreciate this.

I love your definition for the paper voyager. Do you remember the thoughts you had when you were defining it for yourself?
Yes, absolutely. I was searching for the best description of all the passion I have for my creative hobby & the love for pen & paper. I wanted to define my joy in letter writing & snail mail, writing a diary but also my interest & love for pen, paper & traveling. So that´s how I ended up with “The Paper Voyager”.  A “Paper Voyager” is either a person whose thoughts and ideas travel by paper in written or printed form, or a course of travel/passage by paper to a distant place or generally a supporter and lover of all things paper. I wanted not only to define myself as a Paper Voyager but also wanted to let it apply to others, too.

How did you get interested in fountain pens and stationery?
Well, I´ve been told by my family that I have been drawing & writing since I was able to hold a pen. I was always fascinated by beautiful handwriting or creating something with pen & paper. Holding a pen in my hand always felt magical. Like an instrument that would give me the power to create my own world on paper. Just softly sliding with my fingertips over a new journal or some paper makes my soul feel happy & excites me to use it. I love the analogue world, beautifully designed writing instruments, the haptic of a journal in my hand or beautiful stationery to express myself on my creative journey.

Since I was a teenager I kept handfuls of journals & attempted to write down the happenings of my young life & all the emotions. As my best friend from kindergarten moved away, I was heartbroken, not being able to see her every day as we used to. I wanted to stay in contact with her, to express my emotions regarding our friendship. So, we started exchanging short letters. I guess that´s where my love for handwritten letters was born. Besides that, I used to be a very observant & introverted person. I tend to prefer communicating with the written word & paper creations or photographs versus speaking aloud. I soon found out that for me personally, writing, creating & photographing allows me the time to think of what I actually want to say. This in combination with beautiful fountain pens & stationery makes me feel most comfortable. The rest is history. I always say that some of my fountain pens & journals are my best friends.

How do you decide what your daily carry is going to be?
This really depends on the appointments, things I have planned & also the mood I am in. Usually I always have a journal & at least one or two pens with me. One is always a fountain pen! Which journal, size or pen I chose really depends on which is my current favorite. I just make sure that it somehow fits my color scheme. If it happens that I can´t decide what to take with me, I usually go with a combination of leather, wood & brass. That always works for me.

Can you share some of your daily creative and writing practices?
Usually, when I feel inspired or even not inspired at all, I sit down at my desk in my creative corner of my “Teal Room”. That´s where all my magic happens. Honestly, I don´t really have daily, typical creative or writing practices. But my creative workspace always inspires me to either gather new ideas for potentially new pictures or to simply use some of the stationery & writing instruments I have. I prefer to just listen to my intuition & grab the pen & tools I think of first or feel drawn to using that moment.

In general, writing or creating a journal spread helps me communicate more effectively & openly. It helps me to sort out my thoughts & feelings. I noticed that I always learn more about myself or how I feel about something after I spend time writing about it. Writing & creating is my healer.

What I always enjoy while spending time being creative is soothing, relaxing music, warm light & an organized desk.

How would you describe your style in three words?
Nostalgic, Earthy & Vivid (I´d love to know how you describe my style in three words!)

Your palette is a hallmark of thepapervoyager. You even live within your palette down to your nail color, so it seems to be a part of your life outside of your writing tools and accessories. How did you arrive at it?
I think earthy colours are just my thing & also fit my personality best. Since Fall is my favorite season, I do really love all the colors that this season has to offer. Besides that, I always loved warm, cozy & wooden style/themes with a touch of vintage/antique. I always preferred muted colours instead of loud colors. Besides that, I always admired handcrafted products out of metal, wood or leather. All this in combination is just me.

Nature seems to be an important part of what you share and do. Why is it a prominent part of who you are?
As an introvert, empath & highly sensitive person I need a lot of solitude & enough time for myself to recharge my batteries. For me it is either spending time being creative or in nature, especially the woods. There I find calm, inspiration & solace. I´ve always found a special comfort in nature. When I am stressed or overwhelmed or need some time to silence the mind, I enjoy walking in a forest or along meadows & fields. Bathing in the forest between the trees & all the natural growths around me makes me feel connected to the world & even more with myself. Sitting outdoors with my journal and a pen gives me the space I need to let things settle in my mind.

You and I seem to have a shared love for Frida Kahlo. She shows up fairly often in your feed. What is it about her that you relate to or inspires you?
Despite that I am fascinated by her paintings & the meaning behind them, I am inspired by her willpower, creativity & her strong personality. And despite of or maybe even because of her lifelong health problems, painting helped her deal with the pain. She processed her experiences, her pain & loss in her paintings. Art was her coping mechanism. Her paintings were her reality. It´s not that I can relate in any way to her life. But I understand that it´s a blessing to find an outlet in creativity & the possibility to express yourself in any kind of art.

Do you write new year’s resolutions?
I stopped doing this years ago. I think that actually every new day gives us the opportunity to follow through with change or good intentions. Instead of writing new year´s resolutions I prefer to reflect on the past year & write down everything that comes to my mind. All the good & bad that happened to me, the experiences I made, the lessons I´ve learned. I write about the things I am proud of or what I could have done better or should maybe give a try the next year. About the people I´ve met or the loss I experienced. Usually I jot down some possible new projects, creative ideas or personal goals I want to work towards to in the upcoming year. But I don´t do typical new year´s resolutions lists. Still I usually prefer starting something new always on Mondays with the beginning of a new week. Since for me personally a new week always brings a fresh start.

Do have any special tools you are looking forward to using in the new year?
Most importantly I want to improve my handwriting. Therefore, I look forward to trying different pens, mainly fountain pens, nibs, etc. I recently got my first 1:1 stub nib on my Esterbrook Honeycomb & definitely want to practice with this a lot more. Maybe I am also going to test a glass dip pen. But besides that, I am looking forward to use whatever the new year brings on my creative journey. I love to be inspired & also enjoy rediscovering the tools I already have.

What are you most looking forward to in 2020?
For me, 2019 has been a year of healthy challenges, heartache but also personal growth & acceptance. And I am grateful for all of it. I can only imagine what´s in store for 2020. But l look forward to making an even deeper connection with my creative self but also with other creatives. I look forward learning new skills, meeting new people & continual personal growth. 

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