Reviews Stationery

Exquisite Traveller Notebook covers handcrafted in Turkey by Galen Leather

Traveller notebooks are a staple in the bag of every hipster and EDC (every-day-carry) nut. Stylish and reliable, they are the perfect accessory for those who enjoy quality products and vintage charm.

I’ve been using traveller notebooks for the past decade and watched as they slowly developed a cult following – even here in Singapore.

Perhaps, the widespread appeal of traveller notebooks can be attributed to the revival of “wabi-sabi” – an ancient Japanese worldview which centres on an acceptance of transcience and imperfection.

Being a huge fan of traveller notebooks, I was delighted to receive an email from Galen Leather in Turkey. The company was offering a pair of leather traveller notebook covers for review – having tested the covers myself, I can wholeheartedly say that they are of really thick and high quality leather which also gives off a wonderful fragrance.

Galen Leather is run by Zeynep and Yusuf in Turkey. The company makes leather covers and accessories for Midori Traveller Notebooks, Moleskine and Field Notes, among others. The pair started their business after Zeynep was diagnosed with a rare head and neck cancer in 2012 and lost her job.

Doctors told her that she would be unable to speak for a year, and thus Zeynep started her company so she and her husband could continue to provide for their family. Zeynep is now well, and I am glad that the business is also flourishing. It is delightful to see that even in our technologically advanced world, there are still family run startups offering bespoke products.


Brass charms to be attached to the elastic closure.

Galen’s Leather’s traveller notebook covers take Midori refills, but they are different from the “original” in a few key ways. Firstly, they are hand made in Turkey rather than Thailand. Secondly, the design addresses a few caveats of the original Midori Traveller Notebook. Finally, Galen’s covers also come in many colours which include purple and orange.

In the case of Midori, the metallic element and closure knot prevents the cover from being flat on the table. Galen has perfected the concept with innovations in the placement of a few key elements – by punching three holes in the top and bottom of the cover, they have eliminated the need for the metallic element and allowed you to have three refills attached at any given time.

The elastic band closure on Midori’s traveller notebook is placed right in the middle of the back cover, which also prevents the cover from lying flat on the table. In Galen’s case, the hole is punched in the spine, much like Ciak does with their Italian made (but non-refillable) notebooks. In this way, the bump created by the knot is never right in the middle of your notebook page.




Each cover comes in a hard cardboard gift box, and also contains a novel “Evil Eye” amulet fashioned as a bookmark. It does not come with a notebook refill because most users would find it more convenient to purchase a refill made by Midori. As you can see from my photos, the covers look right at home next to a vintage film camera and my fountain pen.

Galen also offers brass charms in various designs to suit your individuality – whether it is spectacles, a bicycle or moustache, they’ve got you covered. With many different colour options available, you don’t have to wait for the next Midori Limited Edition!

I’d highly recommend Galen Leather’s leather products, especially these exquisite traveller notebooks which are priced very competitively (although I am clearly biased because they’ve just given me two covers). If you’re interested to purchase one you may do so for just US$32 (regular sized) or US$23 (passport sized).

The company also offers variations like A5 size for those who wish to use larger refills. You may visit their site here or read other raving reviews of their products at Fountain of Pens and Gentleman Stationer.

It has come to my attention that there was a terror attack today (29th June) at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. It is saddening to hear such news, and I offer my deepest sympathies for those lost and their loved ones. May the people of Turkey find strength to carry on their lives in this trying time.

Check out some photos I snapped below:

Photos: Nicholas Yeo / Inky Passion

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