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I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded Diary – February 23, 2011
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Kate Pocrass is a San Francisco-based artist whose work has been exhibited in venues throughout the world.
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I WAS HERE is a guided journal. There are 21 blank pages for notes in the back, but the bulk of the journal is guided observation. There's a small "Before You Go" section to record lists, recommendations, and addresses for postcards. The "Journeys" section makes up most of the book, and it's full of suggestions for more fully observing and interacting with where you are. Activities include: photograph typographic specimens from store signs, license plates, and street names; for one day, shoot all photos from hip height; buy a mundane kitchen accessory that you'll use daily at home; order two things at a restaurant: what looks best, and what looks most different; look for "districts" in town that focus on utilitarian objects (the fabric district); sit on a corner for an hour and record what people are saying, doing, wearing; ask people to draw you a map; ask people for their favorite recipe; take rubbings of city textures (currency, subway tile, sewer grate); etc. There are seven itinerary pages and seven neighborhood pages: each with space to include things to do and see. There are spots to record 11 restaurants: what you ordered, yum/yuck, and other thoughts. The final "Notes" section has lined, gridded, and blank pages (21 total) and there's a small pocket in the back of the book. There are reference pages of illustrated measurements, common words in several languages, clothing sizes, etc.
EN ROUTE is a more traditional journal. There are 13 pages of checklists at the beginning (to research; to do; morning of; etc.). There are half-pages for dated diary entries (12 sections with room for a date, and weather icons to circle, and a half-page for notes). The bulk of the book is mostly blank/lined/gridded pages. Nearly every page has some travel-themed illustration. There are a few full-page illustrations interspersed (international teas, snacks on a stick, a collection of flowers). Most of the illustrations appear in both books. The reference pages (common words, measurements, sizes) are mostly the same between the two books. There's a small pocket in the back as well.
All in all, it was fun to complete the pages that I could. Most folks are nice, and will play along answering questions. As a nearly 40 year old woman, I felt a little silly asking strangers child like questions.