A couple of years ago my friend Jennifer moved out of town – not that far away, and in fact to my home town, so while we could still see each other from time to time, we rarely did. Through the years we had off and on complained about how we both had ridiculous collections of stationery, cards, and postcards that we never used. I can’t remember now who made the first move (probably her), but one day I got a postcard from her. So naturally I wrote back.
At some point Jennifer moved back. She is literally a ten minute drive away, and we see each other every week or two. But the postcards keep happening, at least most of the time when life hasn’t gotten too in the way.
I have continued to really enjoy this. Sure, by the time the postcard is received, we’ve probably already talked about whatever the thing was that we wrote about in it. But it still brings a smile to my face to get that random postcard in the mail from time to time.
Here’s one she sent me just last week:
This postcard is made of cedar. It’s really awesome. Although I had to hold it up at a tilt towards the light to read the shiny gel pen on it.
Because of how much I enjoyed sending postcards and letters, I started toying with the idea of getting a pen pal. But the commitment behind that was a little too intimidating. So instead I found a very reasonable alternative for the commitment-shy snail mailer: Postcrossing.
The idea behind Postcrossing is that when you want to send a postcard, you request an address and one is given to you. It can be literally anywhere in the world. Once your first postcard has been received, you’re on the list to receive one back from someone else in the world.
I sent my first postcard about three weeks ago to Germany. The recipient stated in her profile that she was a vet tech and liked funny animal pictures, so this happened.
I could do up to five, but I kind of wanted to wait and see what happened. About 10 days later, the postcard was registered on the site, meaning she had received it. She had also favorited it, which made me happy because I’m pretty sure that means it made her smile.
At the time I was in the middle of a project, so didn’t get to send anymore postcards for another week or two. In fact, I’d kind of forgotten all about it till one day Carol walked in with the mail. She looked confused for a second as she flipped through the papers, then suddenly grinned and held up this postcard:
My first Postcrossing card had arrived! It was from the Netherlands, and the sender had put two insect stickers on it (I mentioned liking insects in my profile) along with a nice note. To be honest, I couldn’t read much of the note, so I’m mostly just hoping it was nice, but it seemed close enough.
With the arrival of my first postcard, I once again got excited about Postcrossing. This week I sent three postcards:
Most of these will take 10+ days to get to their destination, although Rhode Island should only take a couple. This is exciting because that means it will put me back on the list to receive another postcard, and will make it so I can send more out.
All in all, though I just recently got into Postcrossing, I really like it. I’ve always wanted to travel, but that requires money and time and house sitters who can put up with the brattiest animals on the face of the planet. This sort of feels like getting some of the perks of traveling for just the price of a postcard and international stamp. And it’s letting me make at least a brief connection with someone else so far away.