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Circle Journey Books

A long time ago, I received two blank Circle Journey kits as a birthday gift. Since then, I’ve been using one of them with an old friend. They’re amazing kits for sharing with someone else and each time I get this journal back in the mail, it’s like Christmas.

Over the past six years, my friend and I have filled this journal with images from the past and present, musings on life, love, and how it’s all turning out. The journal used to travel 3,000 back and forth between New Haven and Seattle, but I finally convinced her to move here. So now it’s mailed to and from the same zip code. I could have walked down the street and put it in her mailbox, but what fun is there in that?

The blank Circle Journey kit

I think we both regularly forget about the Circle Journal, and when we rediscover it, it’s so inspiring we can’t help but create a new entry and send it off in the mail.

It amazes me how long ago my entries feel. A polaroid of my tiny studio apartment the day I moved out and onto the houseboat, the window propped open with a scrap of driftwood. A super-saturated photo of sunlight streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the Aloha Cabana, a view my friend soon claimed as her when she moved into my apartment. It feels like ancient history.

If you have another willing friend or family member, do the Circle Journey with them. It’s so much fun and so rewarding. Each time it returns in the mail, it’s a gift to both of you. The last round arrived in a makeshift packaging with a note saying “There’s so much love, the envelopes have become too small!”

It might be helpful to choose a period of time to send this back and forth. With this particular journal, it seems to be each time one of us moves, which has been at least annually for the past decade. But you could use birthdays or holidays or seasons as a landmark to remember to contribute the journal.

I couldn’t find any place to buy them new online anymore, unfortunately. But you don’t need the kit to do this, of course. You just need a willing friend or family member and a bound journal or notebook of some sort.

Below are a few photos of our circle jounal in progress. (I especially love all the lyrics on the envelopes, including a song from the TV series, “My So-called Life.”) Click on the thumbnails for a larger version of the image.

Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit
Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit
Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit Circle Journey Books Correspondence Kit

26 comments

  1. I. LOVE. THIS. Makes me wish I had someone to do the journal with. We used to do them in high school and had so much fun!

  2. Love this post. I was so intrigued by these in college, but can’t remember if I found someone to do one with or not. Thanks for including images!

  3. It remembers me that I have to work on the two I share with two different friends 😀
    It’s just hard when we don’t live in the same country because of the size it gets and the shipping fees.

    I’m just curious but what did the kit contained ?

  4. Round-robin projects and shared thoughts are so much fun! I love recieving letters from my friend with news about their life. Letters are like snippits of a journal, written just for your eyes sharing thoughts and feelings with a friend who lives to far away for a visit. I hope that some day I will do shared journal with someone.

  5. I wish you could still buy these…couldn’t find anything on the internet about it…too bad

  6. Hello! I have a girlfriend that I have maintained a CJ with for seven years now. It’s been amazing. We are running out of room…but I keep searching and can’t seem to figure out where to go to order another one online…help? Thanks!

    • To all those of you searching for this awesome kit — there are none to be found. BUT I am putting together a tutorial video in the next couple days to show you how to make one yourself. Because you’re all smart cookies and I don’t think you need a pre-fab kit to enjoy this fabulous journaling journey. Stay tuned!

  7. Hiiii, I used to get these kits often to share with a friend overseas and have been looking for them for years. Did they go out of buisness??? I would love to contact them and inspire them to keep going. I loved these books!!!

  8. I love this little journal. A friend gave me one the year my daughter went away to college. Since then we have journaled about college, our move back to the south, her engagement, graduation from college, wedding planning and ceremony, and we just completed it with the birth of her first daughter. We talk almost everyday, but this little journal holds lots of written memories. In our day of email and instant message, written memories are precious.

  9. I tried these with a couple of friends and was successful with one. We had two books and now after two kids each, are trying to start another one. I hope I can get my hands on one again. I love snail mail!! Thanks for this post. 🙂

  10. well hey….this is paul. I am soooo happy to read these great notes and see some Awesome circle Journey pages. 🙂 i am the Paul that created Circle Journey a long time ago…..after more than 10 years on the market, we finally moved on to other design and business opportunities. Just so you know, my heart was completely tied into to this for way more than 10 years…and will always love it. i even proposed to my girlfriend in a hand made leather cj. she said yes! so if some of you really are still trying to find some…I can probably pull together some kits…..with stickers and everything but the packaging…if you’re not too picky on design. 🙂 we’ve donated many to YSC breast cancer support groups and other worthy causes. we can not do anything too quick….cause we’re going crazy with some other exciting things…but let us know. We’ve been amazed with the incredible stories and awesome cool memories that Circle Journey was able to help so many people create 🙂 keep writing, sharing, creating!! p a u l

  11. Paul,

    I work at a stationer and have had people coming in asking for your circle journals. I was so intrigued, I had to go searching. I’m sorry to hear you no longer make them, but would love to get my hands on one for my own personal use. Any chance of that happening?

    Good luck with all of your future endeavors.

    -Diane

  12. I would like to buy another paper circle journey book – have shared on with a friend for ten years and we have filled it up – the bookstore i purchased from no longer has them available. can i purchase from you?

  13. I still have mine. Bought it years ago, but didn’t know anyone who would be committed. I had a single letter-writing friend back then. Wish I could buy two more. Maybe four. 🙂

    Thanks for some great, old memories. 🙂

  14. I love this book but don’t have anyone who is committed to doing with me, would love to do this with someone. I just use it as a planner for my wedding currently and people think I made it. I’m looking to purchase a new one and find someone to do it with.

  15. Adding to the crowd. I did one of these with a long-distance friend back in high school, and I thought it was just the coolest concept — I got excited about having physical mail to wait for (as one of the kids of the ~*~*INFORMATION AGE~*~*~ of facebook, texting, and e-mail) and the fact that it was something we were building on together — rather than just isolated letters, which are also nice — was awesome.

    I’m gonna echo the sentiment — I know these aren’t for sale anymore, but any guidance on building your own circle journey kit would be fantastic! I want to do it in the most cost-effective way because a really good friend of mine is currently living on the other side of the world and I would love to do this with him.

  16. Hi everyone! I am in the process of making a similar product. I have never seen a Circle Jouney book in person, but a friend told me about them. We are a small business, and we just got a storefront in St. Louis. I’d love to ship these out to whoever would like one when they are finished (after you see them of course 😉 PLEASE send me an email at Tori@paperkeet.com if you’d like me to contact you when they are ready for purchase. They will most likely cost 30-40 dollars for a set. I’m trying to get them done for holiday gifts THIS year! Email me!

  17. I would like to order a few Circle Journey Correspondence Kits but it is not available at my local book store any longer.(Barnes & Noble) Please let me know how I can obtain these. Thank you.

  18. I came here in hopes to purchase a Circle Journey kit… I can’t seem to find one at all… any ideas where I can buy a kit?

  19. I just found one on eBay! Looks like it was the only one though, sorry guys. My sister and I literally live on opposite sides of the country, so I’m so excited to do this with her. One of my New Year’s goals was to write a snail mail letter to a friend. I did this Circle Journal in high school when my family moved to Singapore to keep in touch with my best friend back in the US. Unfortunately it got lost in the mail. We both still wonder about it and wish we could see what it contained (we did several rounds before it got lost)!

  20. Just sent you an e-mail about this very thing! I always seem to find them once they’ve been sold on ebay. LOL

    I hope you can do a post/tutorial on making your own.

  21. Paul,
    I completed three circle journey journals over the years – they are among my most prized possessions! Since I moved out of state my nieces have become old enough to start circle journeys of their own. I am very interested if you could still pull together a few kits . . . I just can’t figure out how to contact you direct.

  22. I used to do these with a few of my friends. I did one with the little girls I babysat for when I moved away and it was SO much fun. Do you know where to buy them these days? I’d love to start a few more!!!

  23. So any current news on the Circle Journeys?? My sister just moved and found ours, so she resent it with new entries… The last one was 10 years ago and WOW, how things have changed!!! What a beautiful gift to share with close friends. Would love any updates!

  24. I have used one for now 10 years with my friend, but it is full, where to get a new one , please help !!!

  25. I just found an unused one at a thrift store! Anyone want it?

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