This month's #PencilPrompt: Where do you take your pencils on vacation? We'd love to see! Special BONUS: Throughout the month of July, in each online order we will be tucking in a #pencilsonvacation postcard. Color it, doodle on it, whatever you want, and send it back to us for a discount off your next order!
We're deep into summer travel season, so we've got a bit of vacation-brain here in the office. (It doesn't help that we don't have shop hours to adhere to currently). Of course this gets us talking -- how do you take pencils on vacation?
Perhaps the first and toughest question is just how many pencils to bring? We discussed the every day carry in last month's Prompt, but packing for a vacation requires some extra thought. I mean, it seems silly to add too much bulk to luggage by bringing too much stationery, but what if you lose one pencil, or work all the way through it, or *GASP* you need to take a cute Instagram and don't have a pencil to match.
I like to take a PYP approach (because if I don't establish packing rules, I will just dump my pencil cup into my suitcase.) for traveling, though I do usually bring a multi-colored pencil just for embellishment on postcards. PYP is a terribly genius term we came up with that stands for "pimp your pencil." Basically, it's pencils that are fully accessorized - an eraser cap, a point protector, and a pocket clip*. Or, you can even go one step better and use a Perfect Pencil cap or a Kum Tip Top, so you don't even need to add a sharpener to your carry on.
Speaking of sharpeners, we have been asked a number of times if sharpeners are allowed on airplanes. The short answer is yes - TSA regulations do not prohibit small bladed items like razors and pencil sharpeners. Of course just because these things can be unpredictable, there's no guarantee that your sharpener won't be inspected by TSA, but I have truthfully never heard of that happening. Except that one time Caroline brought an El Casco 24ct gold-plated canister sharpener in her carry on to bring to the Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum in Ohio -- OF COURSE the TSA were like "WTF is this?" I mean, how often do you come across a gold-plated sharpener in someone's bag? They were terribly amused to discover it was a sharpener. Traveling to a sharpener museum. Lesson learned: gold plated sharpeners go in the checked luggage.
Pencil tourism in and of itself can be a really fun addition to a vacation. Our secret trick for finding unique pencils is to dig into old art or office supply stores, or even places like used book stores, antique stores or thrift shops. Pencils are collectible, but still many people think of them as a discardable item, so it's easy often easy to snag vintage finds on back country roads. And, of course, nearly all gift shops everywhere all the time have advertising pencils, so those are easy to pick up.
Of course, if you REALLY want to be a pencil tourist, there's a number of places you could pilgrimage to around the world. Caroline's even got a short chapter on it in The Pencil Perfect. (Also: please don't worry, CW Pencil Enterprise will be back to a physical location you can actually visit in the very near future). Here's a few in the US:
Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum
The Pencil Factory (aka the Eberhard Faber Factory), Brooklyn, NY
Joseph Dixon Crucible Company, Jersey City, NJ (these are actually apartments now, but the building is a neat walk-by!)
Pencil City, USA (the Musgrave factory in Shelbyville, TN)
Henry David Thoreau Collection, Concord Museum, Concord, MA
World's Largest Pencil, City Museum, St. Louis, MO
Anyway... Here's a couple extra tips we've picked up in our travels: Toothbrush holders make excellent pencil cases for 2-3 pencils, which is good for keeping things minimal! Collapsible shot glasses are great shavings catchers on the go (though my person trick is using the plastic case the Masterpiece comes in). Drug store makeup sections always have pencil sharpeners in a pinch. Do you have any tips or tricks for toting pencils on vacation?
Where are you and your pencils going? We're eager to see where in the world our pencils travel to! Share your #pencilsonvacation with us on social media, or send us back this month's special postcard with your destination penciled in.
*Pencil clips coming to CWPE soon!! Stay tuned.