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An Astronaut Convinced Me to Keep a Journal. Here’s How I Stuck With It

Strategies for staving off boredom and anxiety work just as well in outer space as they do in apartments.


This is Kind of Obsessed, a column about all the stuff our team is really, really into right now. This time: an affable notebook.

Spaceships and Brooklyn apartments are more or less the same. They’re small, expensive, and — during a pandemic, at least — you can’t leave them easily. So when Scott Kelly, the astronaut who spent an entire year in space, suggested journaling as a way to cope with being isolated, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Months later, I’m still going strong. And my notebook of choice, the Leuchtturm1917 B5, is a big part of why I’m still doing it.


The soft-backed journal features 121 numbered lined, dotted, gridded or plain pages and comes in a variety of colors. The pages open flat, making it easy to write clearly even when writing close to the spine. The notebook also features a folder on the inside back cover, an index on the front page and a series of stickers for both the spine and the cover for identifying it. Ribbons attached to the spine serve as a bookmark. An elastic band attached to the back cover as a closure. The 80 gsm paper takes ink well, too. Both high and low flow pens stick to the page.

Most importantly, though, the B5 feels special. Picking it up, thumbing through its pages, and feeling the smooth cover — this notebook is not the computer I write emails in or the scraps of paper I scratch out grocery lists on. It is distinct from normal things. And so writing in it is more a ritual than an activity, one that takes me to a place so distant from the egg-caked frying pan my roommate lets sit on the burner, the dusty tea candles on my window sill, and the sounds of sirens and chants out the window that I may as well be floating in space.

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Managing Editor J.D.
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