My Security Blanket: Traveling With Too Many Pens

I love the thought of going away. Seeing friends, having new experiences, taking in fresh scenery, enjoying a break from home and work routines. Finally a chance to exhale.

But travel itself, especially when flying, is fun and draining at the same time. The packing. The security rigamorole. Timing airplane bathroom breaks appropriately. Not losing any of your stuff. There’s always some point along the way where I kind of wish I was home. Just an inkling of homesickness creeps in along the way.

I miss my things–my husband (if he’s not with me, as on this current trip), our crazy pups, my own just-so pillows, a well-stocked refrigerator, ice on demand.

I swear, I have an easier time deciding what clothes to pack than picking out which pens to bring. I always miss the ones that aren’t with me. I stock my Nock Co. Brasstown with more pens than a sane person needs, then typically swap things in and out until zero hour. There’s so much mental chatter in my head about my pen selections that it makes me feel like I must be going off the deep end. But what a deep end it is!

Part of me wishes that I could embrace minimalism–pick ONE pen and use ONLY it for the entire trip. Maybe someday. Right now that thought gives me what is technically called the heebie jeebies.


So here I am in California, oh so far from home, with new and old pen favorites. For this trip (a conference), I brought along:


Pilot Metropolitan White Tiger fountain pen. Nice fine point for note taking. Replaceable should the unthinkable occur.


Karas Kustoms Two-Tone Retrakt outfitted with Pilot G2 0.5 mm black refill. Great pen in my favorite color.

Ti2 Techliner Red Alert and Orange Crush. The Red Alert is outfitted with a uni-ball Jetstream  0.7 mm black ballpoint refill while the Orange Crush holds a uni-ball Signo 207 0.7 mm gel refill…both excellent options.


Amy Grigg’s Apex Kickstarter pen with a Schneider Topball 850 rollerball refill. Great on the Levenger Circa Vivacious paper in my notebook. Smooth. Dark. Gorgeous wood.

 
Bigidesign’s Ti Post Raw Pen + Stylus
, also with the Schneider Topball 850 rollerball refill. Do I need to carry two pens with the same refill? Nope. I never said any of this was reasonable.

Retro 1951 Lift-Off with a Schimdt P8126 refill. It’s my newest Retro so why shouldn’t it travel with me to California?

I also have my Lamy Scribble tucked into the Hightower, should I need to do pencily things. I have not tired of this mechanical pencil. It’s a gem.

There’s no need to carry this many pens across the country. Technically I could survive with a few of the Bic Stic Queen Mary pens the hotel provides. But these pens and pencil (and pen case) make me feel secure. They’re unique, well-made, and reliable–comfortable to hold and top-notch performers. They remind me of the connections I have with the folks who make and sell them. We’ve exchanged everything from brief messages to emails to long letters. Pens aren’t just pens. They’re the people behind the pens.

And that feels like home.

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This post was composed and photographed entirely with my iPhone, so excuse the lack of links (too cumbersome) and any formatting and lighting oddities. Fun fact– the photos were taken on the desk President Eisenhower used while aboard the Queen Mary. I’m sharing his suite with a friend. Pretty cool.


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EDC vs EDU: The Ti2 Techliner (Gonzodized Shorty)

Welp…let’s jump on the Ti2 Techliner bandwagon, too! Lots of talk about this pen out and about in the pen world lately, and with good reason.

Ti2 Techliner Shorty

I passed on the Ti2 Techliner project on Kickstarter the first time around because, quite frankly, I was put off by the way the writing tip inelegantly poked out of the front of the pen. The look was strange—different than anything I was used to—and I thought that, given that odd design, the tip might wiggle around because there was nothing to hold it in place.

Ti2 Techliner tip and grip

Turns out I was wrong, wrong, wrong. (Did I mention “wrong”?!)

Not TOO long after that fateful erroneous decision, Brad Dowdy extolled the virtues of the Ti2 Techliner on an episode of “The Pen Addict” podcast, and suddenly the pen I thought I’d loathe rocketed to the top of my “I must have it” list. In an odd stroke of luck, Mike Bond launched a second Kickstarter project soon thereafter and I POUNCED without hesitation. The Shorty Gonzodized version was my instantaneous pick. The Kickstarter project proceeded without a hiccup (unheard of), and soon I had my very own Ti2 Techliner in hand. Thank god for a second chance.

And, Brad, YOU WERE RIGHT!

Ti2 Techliner Shorty

The “shorty” version is the perfect size for me, measuring:

  • 5.1″ capped (129 mm)
  • 4.8″ uncapped (122 mm)
  • 5.4″ posted (136 mm)

This titanium pen is perfectly balanced whether I’m using it uncapped or posted. It’s on the short side, but definitely long enough unless you have giant hands. I haven’t tried the longer (regular) version, so I can’t speak to how the two compare.

Ti2 Techliner Shorty

The coolness factor is ramped up significantly by the presence of neodymium magnets in three places—inside the tip of the pen, in the “butt” end of the pen, and inside the pen’s cap. The magnets keep the refill snuggly in place so there is not one iota of wiggle (as I originally feared). Their presence also means that the cap snaps onto either end of the pen with a serious, substantial THUNK. There is nothing wimpy about these magnets. They are the perfect strength. PERFECT. And cool.

Ti2 Techliner grip area

The Techliner’s grip area features sort of a “waffle-cut” pattern so your fingers stay exactly where you want them. The pattern is “rounded off” enough that it doesn’t bother your fingers in the slightest. Another perfect feature. That same pattern is repeated at the other end of the pen for an appealing symmetrical look.

Tail end of Ti2 Techliner

The Gonzodized finish is unique—a muted blue with the underlying titanium peeking through. Instant patina that will only get better with time. Mike explains the finish this way: “Gonzodizing is a unique method of anodizing by fellow Kickstarter creator Brad Martin. The result is a unique two-tone blue/gold patina that evolves with wear.” It’s a sweet, sweet look, unlike any other pen I own.

Writing tip

But NONE of this matters if the refill is a dud. Like everything else with this pen, the uni-ball Signo 207 refill is top-notch—one of my all-time favorites. The 0.5 mm tip hits the sweet spot for me—neither too thick nor too thin—and never falters. It’s consistently smooth, dark, precise, and reliable—the perfect match for this killer pen.

Ti2 Techliner Shorty

While I carry a bunch of pens to and from work every day as part of my everyday carry (EDC), there are very few that make it to everyday USE (EDU) status. Mike Bond’s Ti2 Techliner Shorty (Gonzodized) is at the top of that very short list of pens.

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For more information on this pen, check out:

  • Mike Dudek’s video review HERE
  • Brad Dowdy’s written review of the original Ti2 Techliner HERE
  • Talk of an exclusive Nock Co./Ti2 Design Techliner collaboration HERE (Hold onto your wallets when this is announced!)
  • Ian Hedley’s interview with Mike Bond AND an Urban Camo Ti2 Techliner Giveaway HERE