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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Postcard stories

Postcards are things I'm passionate about - whether it's browsing, writing, sending, or collecting them - so I've decided to write a magazine article about the travel postcard. If you share the passion and would like to share any postcard tales with me for my story, I'd love to read them. I'm keen for anything at all: do you still send postcards when you travel or do you prefer to email people or stay in touch some other way? do you consider the cards you're selecting or do you just grab a stack of any old cards? do you plan what you're going to write or do you just go with the flow? what do you write? do you write about what you're seeing and doing, what you've experienced, or what you're thinking or feeling? do you write a novel or just jot down a couple of sentences? do you try to fit as much as you can on to a card or as little as possible? does the location where you write the card matter? should it be at an atmospheric cafe, al fresco bar or in front of some inspiring scenery? or could just as likely be on your hotel room bed? do you set aside part of the day to write? (for instance, at the end of a day's sightseeing with a drink in hand?) or do you cram in a card whenever you can (at a bus stop or airport for example?) do you give each card personal attention (with the recipient in mind?) or do you write the same note and tell the same stories each time? how many cards would you send on one trip? do you write to the same person more than once? do you ever address and stamp the cards and not get around to sending them (or is that just me and my mum?) and if so then what do you do? do you send cards cause you're passionate about it or is it just a matter of duty or out of habit? do you still like receiving postcards? and if so, what do you do with them when you get them? (do they go on a fridge or in the back of a drawer, or in the trash perhaps?) or do you just buy cards for yourself cause you collect them? Have you ever sent a postcard to PostSecret? Please leave a comment below, or email me if you prefer, and, if you're happy to be quoted provide your name; if not, I'd still love to get your comments. It would also be really helpful if you could fill out the survey to the right so I have some stats for the article. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lara,

Thanks for your post which has provided me with a heart-warming trip down memory lane on an otherwise cold and wet Monday morning.

From the age of 9-18 I was at a boarding school in England whilst my parents lived in Switzerland. We weren't even allowed to use the phone and Internet had another 20 years to go before being christened as such so postcards were a real lifeline. My father was always travelling on business so I probably got 2 cards a week from him, from different countries. By 10 I had a better than average knowledge of geography thanks to tracking my father's movements by the postcards received. The box of cards has now been inherited but my oldest daughter (11) and not long ago we sat down together and went through where each was from (to make me feel really old a good few borders and country names have changed since then!).

Funnily enough my father, now retired, still travels a fair bit and still sends a postcard from each trip...the only difference is he now addresses them to his grandchildren who are as excited to receive them as I used to be.

I send cards to family when I am on a holiday and to my kids when on business trips of two nights or more. I try to chose themes that illustrate the things I have appreciated about the place visiting (and that I describe in the text) but also account for the interests of the person I am sending it to.

On a professional level, (I in tourism marketing) we still use postcards in marketing campaigns though I have to admit that gradually these are becoming "virtual postcards".

Good luck with the article and do please send me a postcard to let me know when it is published

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

When I travel somewhere I usually get a postcard showing the place I am in for my nieces/nephews back in Australia who I know will NEVER get to see some of the places I see... Growing up I never really had anyone sending me cards but when I did get them I would lay them out and dream of one day going here and there but since dad died in 1978, mum couldn't afford to take us places like I would have loved to... then when I met my husband and moved to the US, it was then I started to travel... Hawaii, around the US, Italy, Argentina and even back to Australia where I was a tourist in Sydney for the first time... but like I said... I want my nieces/nephews to see all the places I go to, to get the card with the stamp from that country... I don't really write all that much on the card cause for them they are more interested in the picture on the card itself... I hope that because of me, one day they will get the desire to travel and see other places - instead of just the town they live in... the next country we will be going to is China... that is something I am really looking forward too.. though we are going to 'adopt' a daughter from there... just to go to China where culture etc are completely different... one day I hope that I give the bug to travel to my daughter also... I like these pieces about postcards... I collect some old postcards - the ones that really interest me, or I get ones of the places I visit but we also buy old US cards (and a few other countries) and sell them... it is fun looking at the older cards... take care

Anonymous said...

I rarely send a postcard myself, preferring the e-mail, blog or flickr site, especially when on a long-haul trip.

But I do force my kids to send a postcard to their grandparents - especially when we're in Europe. And their grandparents always send postcards to them. It's a way of saying, we're thinking of you and thanks for the ice-cream money you gave us!

Also I often buy a handful of pretty postcards and bring them home to use as thankyou notes or invitations when I'm back home.

Lara Dunston said...

Thank you all so much for this wonderful stuff on postcards. It's really really appreciated. I'm so glad to know there are still people out there who value them as I do.

Chris, I'd love to go through that box of cards of yours!

Prêt à Voyager said...

I've always loved postcards (my dad would always send them from his business trips). Really though, my best friend is the queen of the postcard. We met when we were studying abroad in Paris, and ever since then we've corresponded primarily through letters and postcards (nevermind the fact that for the first time we live in the same city- we still send each other postcards from time to time).

On my last trip I sent 25 postcards to friends and family! I always try to get something unique for the person (but usually fail, as postcards aren't always representative of the place I see...Christiana hated the postcards I bought in Cyprus- namely because I thought they were funny (women baking bread)- saying that they weren't representative of Cyprus at all!). Really, my favorite postcards to send are the free one you pick up in restaurants (the best have text written in foreign language...and the more random, the better as far as I'm concerned).

So yes, I postcard when I travel. Finding the time is hard, but I still think it's the best (and cheapest, also the fact that it doesn't take up room in your suitcase) souvenir out there. I write small and fill the card with as much as I can fit. But I do the same on a regular basis. In fact, I have a wall in my apartment devoted to the postcards people have sent me (namely from my best friend- I could always count on one a week). Postcards are the easiest way to make someones day! (But also note, there are certain people who really know how to WRITE a postcard - the ones that make you laugh instead of just recounting an itinerary).


Lara Dunston said...

Anne, we are so similar it's scary! thank you so much for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

For me, sending postcards is the activity to do during the "idle moments" during a trip - while waiting for my dinner (I tend to travel alone), while taking a long train journey, while lying in bed in the hostel / hotel room winding down after a day of solid travel.

Correspondence by postcards still carry that old world charm. Don't you get thrilled when you get a postcard from remote Surinam? Aren't you excited by that postcard with an Angolan stamp? When you read the handwriting of somebody you know well, it's as if that person is talking to you. Surely emails don't give you that feeling at all - emailing is at best a cheap means to tell loved ones that you have safely arrived, nothing more.

Isn't it fun to go through that postcard-sending ordeal - finding a local post office, trying to communicate with the guy behind the counter that you want to buy certain amount of stamps for international postage, etc.?

Monna said...


Your writings on postcards helped inspire this post at:

I linked the post back to your site.

You might also want to check out:

Thanks for the inspiration.