The International Penman – Travel Tools

They say that life finds a way, and the “way” life is finding is a way to screw with my schedule. Family, work, and introspection have take over all of my free time lately, so I during a long-scheduled week vacation, I disconnected from just about everything online. But, being the good pen addict I am, I brought along a few tools to keep the ink flowing.

I had intended to do one of those “pre-trip here is what I travel with” type posts, but I work a lot. And when I’m not working, I’m thinking about working or being anxious about something else out of my control. All that is to say sorry I’ve let my backlog build up, but I’m recharged and ready!

Here is an overview of what I took on a week-long trip out of the country. Full reviews to follow,


To say I didn’t “need” to pick up any new pens and inks for this trip would be… accurate. However, I enjoy pens and I enjoy picking up new stuff to commemorate big events. And as though they planned this just for me, the Goulets received a fresh batch of some Jinhao fountain pens and made them available for purchase just in time for me to order and receive them before I leave. Along with those new pens, I will also bring two of my most reliable favorites, just to cover the bases.

Jinhao 8802 “Shell”

This is a Pelikan “Inspired” metal fountain pen with a steel number 5 nib, Jinhao proprietary converter, and very attractive seashell-type inlay around the barrel. I have inked the pen with Colorverse Gravity Wave, which is similar to Diamine Marine but darker and with some sheen. Expect a full review of both in the near future, but spoiler alert; I’ll probably pick up a bottle of Gravity Wave in the near future.

Jinhao 993 “Shark”

I had seen this pen around before, but assumed it was just a Pilot Plumix with a special cap that was region-exclusive or something. The barrel is actually a little shorter than the Plumix, but the nib really makes this model special. Well, that AND the Shark Cap. Rocking a hooded steel Extra fine nib, the 993 is an absolute steal at less than $4. I’ll have a full review up soon for this as well, but honestly, just pick one up next time you order from Goulet Pens. It’s a quirky piece that is great for any collection, and writes very well so far.

Kaweco Sport

This was a last minute audible. I’ve had a little trouble with eyedroppers in the past, flow issues, seal paranoia, I shelved it for a while. But I decided to put it back into the rotation at the last minute and I’m really glad I did. Inked with Colorverse Mars Curiosity, the Kaweco was my go-to for the trip. The seal did have a minor leak a few days in, but nothing catastrophic or clothes-ruining.

Kaweco Sport

Karas Pen Co. Fountain K

I never leave home without this pen, and I’m not about to start now. Even though I didn’t end up using this pen during my travels, it will still stay in the travel roster. The aluminum barrel and Bock nib make it ideal for carrying around anywhere and everywhere.


One of my main issues when planning for a trip is worrying too much about what notebook to bring. Especially for a trip like this, I want to have something special to commemorate the occasion, but I also want to be prepared. For what? I don’t know, but I think my fellow stationery addicts get what I’m talking about. When I say it out loud, three notebooks does sound like a lot. But these each have a specific purpose, let me explain.

“Traveler’s” Notebook

This one was a last minute Amazon pick up. I’ve been looking at the Traveler’s Notebook line for a while now, but I can’t bring myself to commit to the format. At half the price, this one seems like a good way to test it out. the sizing is a little off-proportion to the passport size TN, but I’ll figure out refills if and when it comes to it. This notebook shipped with one line, one blank, and one craft paper notebook inside, as well as a plastic card sleeve and zipper pocket insert. The paper appears to be pretty fountain pen friendly, and the size is somewhat pocket friendly. This will be the notebook I carry with me for our off-ship adventures.

Travel journal

Baron Fig School Set Vanguard

I’ve been using this notebook for the past month as a sort of side journal. Without going too far into what I like to call “Bummer Territory,” I’ve been having some issues related to mood and overall mental wellness. I started using this as a journal to track progress since day one of starting to correct those issues. I might go more indepth on that subject at some point, but it doesn’t really feel appropriate for a pen blog. That said, so far, so good. Baron Fig makes quality products, and this Composition Book-inspired Vanguard is no different.

Baron Fig School Set Cover Single

Licensed Doctor Who “River Song” Journal

This one is not really the type of notebook I would usually recommend since it was really designed as more of a reference to a TV show than an actual quality product. That said, the paper seems to stand up to fountain pen ink slightly better than I expected, and the notebook itself is of great personal significance to me. This book will be used for special occasion passages, reflections on the journey, scrap-booking, and an idea catcher should inspiration strike. The book fits well enough into my Nock Co Seed A5, but is lacking a bookmark and back pocket.

Honorable Mention: Hippo Noto A5

I’m very close to bringing this as well, although I fully recognize that would be excessive. The Hippo Noto is just a dang-near perfect notebook. The $40 price tag is probably a deterrent for most, but is is a truly beautiful piece.


Overall, the pens performed well and without issue. I have enough material to write reviews for the new items, and I think I’ve made some decisions as to which will make it into the regular rotation. Check back soon for my full reviews of the Jinhao Shark and Shell pens.

11 thoughts on “The International Penman – Travel Tools

  1. I wasn’t a fan of how the shark pen held up but I also got one that looks different from yours! (no hooded nib) Maybe tempted to give it another try… :O


  2. Hello. I am new on the block but not to blogging. I have a mental health personal blog and decided to venture that into a business, my passion project, combining the two, stationery and mental health. It seems a perfect fit because journaling helps to aid our ills. I was happy to see that you mentioned, ever so briefly, about your mental health. It is important and should be openly discussed anywhere. I applaud you!!! And thank you. (Same goes for your above commenter).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for saying so. You’re absolutely right! I’m still grappling with an exact definition of it and if it has a place ony blog. But I think it’s just as much a part of me as my pen “addiction.” I’m working on being more open about it.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s