Why I’m collecting stories from different women in a traveling diary
I thought about creating a traveling diary because I wanted a way to be able to connect with people from all over the world. The idea came to me one night when I was up late, just having a conversation with my partner about ways to help people connect more deeply during this time of isolation. I began to wonder about what other women in different countries, states, cities, towns, cultures, and areas were experiencing during this isolation period in their own words. I wanted to learn some of the things that they might be experiencing culture-wise, particularly women — how they were managing family, how they were managing work, other responsibilities, things that they felt like they were responsible for, but maybe, in reality, they really weren’t.
As I imagined listening to these stories, I wanted the experience to be as enjoyable and engrossing as listening to a vinyl record played on a record player with a nickel delicately placed on the needle to keep the songs from skipping. Hearing their stories through interviews streamed online in a manicured setting did not interest me at all. I wanted an experience that felt authentic, safe, and open.
And so, I thought that it would be interesting to see if different women from all over the world would be interested in participating in an experience that felt like it was NOT the year 2020 — one that has a nostalgic element to it. I decided it would be something as simple as using the snail mail. We threw out different words, and travel, diary, came up and I thought, “Wow! I think that’s it! I think that a traveling diary could do it.”
So, I got an old school black and white composition book. If you’ve gone to elementary school in the U.S., you’re pretty much familiar with those black and white composition books that we used for writing. And when you see one, if you went to elementary school here, it could immediately bring back some of those memories. It resonated deeply with me in terms of writing. And I thought that it could be used as a vessel — a vessel to capture people’s thoughts, hopes, dreams, ideas, information that they wish to share during this time in isolation with other women, with the world, just to get it out in a space that feels safe, welcoming, and warm — and that this vessel will then take that information and protect it and keep it and then go on to the next person on its tour to collect again. And then, that person would then be responsible for making sure that the vessel gets to the next person, and then everyone would do their part until the vessel comes back to us.
That’s what I envision for the traveling diary — to invite people into an experience where they get to perform an act of kindness towards one another, where they are really pouring out their hopes, dreams, ideas during this period that the whole world is in right now. And then, they are making sure that they’re also protecting what’s put in there from the woman that wrote in it before it got to them.
I wanted to do it in that way because women when you look at us, we’re tribal, we’re a community, and we’re so good at creating community — just always have been — and I thought that it just would have been such a good time to use these stories as a way to thread us all together because it just feels like for the first time, at least in my lifetime, that all over the world we’re going through the exact same thing. We’re being exposed to the same thing that’s happening and it just feels like barriers are broken down and our humanness is coming forth to where we can relate to one another or at least, if we cannot relate, even in the midst of this, but we can do something that is very, very important to every human — and I think that is to be heard.
If you’re interested in being added to the snail mail queue as part of the traveling diary tour, sign up at thetravelingdiarytour.com or visit our Patreon community @thetravelingdiarytour