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Friday, August 22, 2008

Postcard stories: share your passion here

I was delighted to discover that Budget Travel asked readers on their forum the other day: Do you still send postcards? To which they received a whopping 300+ comments! Way back in February, starting on Valentines Day to be precise, I began writing a series of posts on postcards, inspired by seeing racks of faded cards during our travels in Crete, starting with Postcards: does anyone still send them? Then I wrote Postcards: our processes of selection and identity formation (about how we choose postcards that say something about who we are, or perhaps the person we want people to think we are); Postcards: to my Mum (about the cards I sent daily to my mother in 2006 while she was in a coma in Australia and I was finishing a job researching a book in Greece, and thinking about her on those long daily drives); Postcards: sending secrets (about Frank Warren's wonderful PostSecret community art project that has become a global phenomenon); and then Postcard stories, where, due to the positive response from my readers (of course I didn't get 300 responses like Budget Travel, but it was enough for my modest little blog!), I decided to write a feature story for publication on the resurgence in popularity of sending postcards. In Postcard stories I put out a call for comments and asked a number of questions that I hoped would inspire you to think about how you feel about postcards, why you send them, whether you keep them, and so on. I'm still developing that article and incorporating the many comments that I've already received (and quoting you, so please let me know if you don't want me to use your name), however, I would still love to hear from more of you, as I don't really think we've really got to the heart of it yet. Not even in the many comments over at Budget Travel. I'd really love people to think a bit more deeply about it. So if you love postcards as much as I do, please take a look at the Postcard stories post again, and leave comments at the end of that post or here. Or email me privately if you prefer to remain anonymous.

Oh, and Pam over at Nerd's Eye View also has a fun Postcard Revival Project underway, which you can read about here.


Anonymous said...

There is a site at (called PostCrossing) which is designed to send to and receive postcards from randomly assigned registrants from around the world. Not really travelled themed, but an interesting site none the less. Finland is particularly well represented for some reason.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Mark - thank you so much for this tip! I'll check it out. How curious about Finland. Very interesting. I've only been to Helsinki, but I loved it. Interesting to know that the Finish love postcards. Or is it the people going to Finland sending them? I'll definitely check it out.

Anonymous said...

I have a good friend who always sends me postcards when he travels. I like to believe it's because he saw something he thought I would enjoy or that made him think of me. I've sent him your link and asked for his comments. Look forward to reading your article.

Anonymous said...

Lara, great post! In fact, I like it so much that I'm inspired to do a postcard post on my blog too, and I'll include your link. (

Who I send to: My practice has been that I send a postcard to my mom & dad, sister and brother everywhere I go. Then if the trip is more special than normal, I send one to my grandmother, aunts, uncles and closest friends. Then if the trip is extra special, I send postcards to my work, old friends and distant relatives...the Christmas Card list.

Graphic Subject: When I am at the shop, I pick cards that are visually interesting to me, then I later choose who gets which one. I only send postcards with photos or illustrations of places or scenes that I have actually seen or experienced. I prefer for the subject matter to be architecture, but I sometimes pick up cards with graphics, like the London Tube map, or people, like a Bangkok street vendor. I also prefer that all my postcards have unique that when my sister visits my mom, she doesn't say, "Jamie sent me that card too!"

Note Subject: If possible, my note is about the image on the front. I also cater every note to the individual. If I'm writing my niece I tell her the things I did that day that she would have loved, like watching the ducks play in the lake. If I'm writing my grandmother, I tell her more about the sensory experiences. I try to keep the note simple and short, aka viewer friendly!! And I always date the postcard the day I write it, and I often include the time. This way when I forget to put it in the mail (see below), they still know I thought about them while I was away!!

Where I write: I would love to write every post card while I'm experiencing the subject of that particular card. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn't. I often write them as a big group at a park or coffee shop, or sometimes at the hotel as I decompress from a long day.

The added perk: STAMPS!!! I love picking out stamps from foreign lands. Again, I try to pick ones that represent the host country, and I always walk away with a few for my own journal pages.

Unsent cards: Sometimes I forget to buy stamps at my destination, so I end up carrying written postcards with me on the plane home. When this happens, I buy fun stamps at home and send them anyways and hope that they don't notice!!

As a recipient: I don't receive many postcards, probably because I move around so much! But when I do, I love it and they go up on the tack board in the kitchen for a month or so, then they move into a drawer with all of the other cards and letters I have received since I was 10.

I hope my comments are helpful, and good luck with your research!


The Bohemian Bahamian said...

I love Jamie's method (above). I collect postcards from places I go (also only of places/things I've actually seen/experienced). Historically, my trips have been short enough so that I would beat the postcards back so I pick ones I like for friends/family and give them out when I get back as their souvenir.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Tamara, I'm like you - a big postcard collector - it's about the only souvenir I buy these days because my luggage is so heavy with all the technology and books we carry. Bringing them back as souvenirs is a good idea too.