My boyfriend and I often joke how we are more 75 than 25 years of age. He does cross-stitching and I read books next to a candle – and those are the wild nights. Being such an old soul, I always yearned for the times of hand written notes. For a traveller, postcards combine the beauty of a photograph and the excitement of information from far away. Sadly, the world of writing postcards has largely passed and never in my life have I received such a greeting from afar. However, I always believed in the postcard magic, and thought of the joy I would feel if someone, somewhere in the world, thought of me, and wrote me a few lines. In order to revive the old tradition, Nemanja and I started writing postcards when we travel, and this is why you should too!
1. Buying a Card
Buying gifts is one of the great pleasures in life, especially when you find that perfect something for a person close to you. From landscapes to cityscapes to well-known landmarks – postcards offer a variety that not many other souvenirs do. No matter who is on the receiving end, you will always find the one that fits. I used to spend loads of money on gifts quickly broken or forgotten, until I realized that the cheapest thing (when you are travelling on a budget this does matter!!) can become the most special.
2. Writing the Postcard
Long ago, postcards were used as messages from afar. Today, we send messages instantly and are in constant contact. However, that does not mean that the postcard needs to die out, but that we should just tweak its purpose.
Being a writer, I take this (too) seriously. I compose drafts, take my time and write personalized jokes, mostly to the grandparents, and mostly how we are starving and will probably never come home. They love it! But, no matter what you write, a postcard will always put a smile on their face. How could it not? It is not the text that makes them happy, but the fact that even so far away, you thought of them.
3. The Experience of a Post Office
For me, travelling is all about putting yourself in new situations. I’ve learned that experiencing a post office of a city, and especially of a country you have never visited before is the perfect cultural exploration. Not only are post offices sometimes grand, but they have a feel of old and traditional about them. They can be architectural statements, or small corner offices with 2 employees. Either way, fighting your way with a language you do not know and trying to explain that Serbia is neither Siberia nor Syria is a challenge in and of itself. At the end of it, you walk out, somehow feeling victorious.
4. Let the Postman Bring Something Apart from Bills
The postman is at the door, specially announcing that “the kids have written”. For that one day, when he is bringing a postcard to a family, he isn’t only carrying problems, but also joy. Yes, more often than not, we found ourselves home to receive a card we had sent three weeks before from Vietnam, but, so what. The important part is the postcard.
That little piece of paper has travelled great distances, passed through many hands and in it carries something inherently good – a thought for the loved ones. When they get a postcard, they don’t just join you on the journey through the photograph you chose, but they feel the love. It is the time you had spent on the postcard that makes it special. This is why next time you travel, you should write postcards to your loved ones.
5. The Memory
No matter the amount of money or time I spend on the best jumper, t-shirt, mug or fridge magnet, they always seem to disappear. That’s not because my mom and dad don’t love me (I hope), but that these things are just things. The magnets fall and break, the shirt has a huge “I Love X” print on it and is embarrassing and the shot glasses are hidden in the cupboard as they are most likely hideous. Still, whenever I sit in my parents’ living room, I see them. I see the image of Warsaw’s old town, and the African safari, and the traditional Vietnamese scene. Even though these old postcards are just pieces of paper, the thought and effort that had gone into them seem to last forever.
Do you write postcards? Have you ever received one? Share your thoughts in the comments below!