I love “Snail Mail” and I’m proud to admit it! This fun obsession started as a young child. A Great Grandmother of mine died and I went with my Mother to her home to sort through things with family and take what we wanted. It was like a great adventurous scavenger hunt for a child, in a place full of treasures. I left that day as the proud new owner of a colorful and really neat box of old stamps. It came from one of her relatives with stamps dating back to the 1950’s and a few from even before that time. I immediately put them in a photo album that I had. I loved looking at those colorful stamps and imagining where they had come from and what they might have been used for.
Then in school we learned about places in other parts of the world and we each had a pen pal. This was in the early 1970’s and long before we had instant access to people living outside of even our own city, much less the world. I remember having a few pen pals over the years but don’t remember specifics. In high school my good friend moved to Iran with her family and she would send me letters with pretty, colorful stamps. I would search the mail that came to our home, and at my dad’s office, for stamps that I liked or that came from far away places. His partners family was from Greece so I would get great ones from him too. Thus was born an avid “Snail Mail” lover, a stamp collector, and a postcard collector as well.
Throughout my life I continued to love sending hand written letters and cards to family and friends. Fast forward to early 2010 when I hear, from a friend about a postcard club. I get excited, check into it, and then join. I instantly become a member of a FREE online postcard club called Postcrossing and anyone can do it! They also have a blog on their site to see what’s going on with other postcard lovers from all over the world. Here are some fun statistics!
Postcrossing has (to date) ~
650 postcards an hour
13,153,963 postcards received
386,264 postcards traveling
69,761,083,505 km traveled
1,740,763 laps around the world
Now how’s that for fun?! There are more stats online and you even have your own personal stats on your profile. There are a couple of other postcard groups out there, that my friends use, but I am so happy with this one that I haven’t tried them out yet.
You really should spend some time looking around their website for all of the details. There is so much to see and do there. You basically register fill out your profile then click a link saying that you want to send one out. By doing that, your name is sent to someone else in the World, and they send one out to you! The only cost you incur is for the card and stamp that you are sending. You are able to send a few at a time and then as time goes by and you show that you are wanting to really do this you can send up to 10 at a time or more. You can always just send one at a time too. What you do is always up to do. You can even set your account to be inactive if you are busy for a while. They’ve thought of everything and make it so easy and fun! Your cards are tracked and you can even upload a picture to share when you receive it. The history of Postcrossing dating back to 2005 is an interesting read as well. Oh there’s too much to explain here so just check it out for yourself!
Besides receiving interesting cards from far away lands, I have made many new friends that have enriched my life. I know that technology is what makes Postcrossing such a success, but it has also aided my fun in connecting with my pen pals in other ways. I have at least 10 really good friends that I chat with on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Skpe with often. This is a great advantage that we didn’t have when I was a child. I’ve also met some of my dearest friends now through postcrossing. The perfect example of that is my best friend Monique. She was the first address that I was assigned to send a postcard to. I was so excited about this new club that I looked up her profile and sent her a message and something just clicked! She sent me a card back immediately, which is not required or the norm. The first two postcards she sent me are pictured up above and are from her home in Holland. We now exchange postcards with each other whenever we travel. We spent the next 2 years chatting nearly every day until she SURPRISED me with the news that she was able to visit the USA, for the very first trip to my country ever! I’ll share that story another day.
My postal carrier gets excited too in seeing where in the world my recent card has come from. My family, though some of them will never admit it, like it too! It’s been a great learning tool for my young nieces to learn more about geography. I know some people that pin a dot on the map for each card that comes. I have sent a few cards to school teachers in other countries that are using this as a class project. I have so many cool stories to tell just from experiences that have come about from each situation with each of these postcards. That will be a story for another day as well.
Just like during my childhood, when receiving a new stamp or letter would make me happy, finding a postcard in my mail still brings me joy. Do you have any experiences with pen pals or postcards? I’d really love to hear all about them too.