Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Perfect Gifts to Capture Your Expat Stories

Sometimes you find a product you love so much you need to shout about it - and that's why I'm putting Gadanke journals in the spotlight. It's that time of the year when we're all looking for those perfect Christmas gifts and Gadanke products are very special indeed. Gadanke is an award winning handmade journal shop using eco-friendly materials. That's it in a nutshell, but there's oh so much more.

The Story Behind Gadanke

The story of how Gadanke came about is wonderful, the idea behind the journals is heart tingling and the journals themselves are awesome.

The Expat Bit

Katie Clemons is the face behind Gadanke, (which comes from the German word for idea or thought). Whilst living in Berlin with her German husband she crafted her first journal.

And here's another awesome bit: Katie now lives in a converted airplane hangar in the Rocky Mountains in the US, having just moved out of a tire house. You can follow the couple's creation of and move into their dream home via Katie's Making This Home blog.

But what I like best of all is that Katie's journals are more than pieces of paper strung together so that she can make a living. To Katie, it's much, much more and that is so evident in the pieces she handcrafts. She doesn't just make and sell journals, she prompts journal owners to celebrate their story, to get memories down on paper, to record the past for the future. In her own words,

"I believe story is power. It enriches our lives, challenges us to dream bigger, and strengthens future generations."
Katie has a Facebook page where she regularly poses questions that often make me stop what I am doing to cast my mind back. Here's an example:

"You and I are 10 years old. It snowed 12", and now we've got the whole day to play. What should we do?"

Where do you go when you think about the answer to that question? I was instantly taken back to my childhood days with my younger brother wrapped up in winter coats, woolly hats, scarves and gloves, playing in the garden trying to make a snowman. We'd beg and forage for all the bits we could use for the snowman's eyes, nose, arms...... I hadn't been to that place for a long time! It was so great to pause and rewind to the past.

Gadanke Journals

Gadanke journals are made predominantly from recycled papers and contain not only writing prompts but embellishments such as tags, little envelopes or library cards, stickers or carnival tickets. The themed journals make the perfect gift for expats.

Take the "Love where we Live" journal. Many expats move from place to place and this journal helps expats capture the essence of the place they call home. Not just bricks and mortar but what makes the town you live in tick? How does it smell? What happens there? What does the room you play in look like? Capture it. Record it. Celebrate it. When your expat adventures are over you'll have a collection of stories and memories to treasure and share with your children and their children.

What Expat Stories Have you got to Share?

Stories about expat life cry out to be captured, as Katie so wonderfully sums up,

"As expats, we're venturing into this all-new territory. Even the simplest things like grabbing a few towels at the store becomes a challenge because first you have to figure out which store sells towels! You can have the funniest experiences as well as the most frustrating. I still remember my classmates in language class pronouncing my name "Kevin"! But how much of these stories would you and I remember if we didn't pause to document them? I think that it's so important for an expat to journal. Trust me. It helps you work through your experiences. It helps you celebrate them! So many former expats have told me, "I wish I'd written that down. I wish I could remember how I felt and what it was like."

Your story matters. This adventure you're navigating through matters."

And I couldn't agree more.

I haven't even gotten round to mentioning the baby and wedding journals, kids' journals and the journal to help you find direction, to capture your travel adventures, the mother and son or daughter journals, to record recipes.... phew, you know what there are so many more why don't you head over to Gadanke and check it out for yourself.

Links to Gadanke are affiliate links.*

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