A rather old-fashioned ritual is emerging between me and a handful of likeminded friends — we mail one another travel postcards. The group ranges in age from early 30s to mid 40s and suprisingly is mostly male, but now and again, a couple of female pals pop into the mix. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite activities, both as a receiver and a sender of the missives.
As a consummate letter writer (so much so, that I’m a card-carrying member of the Letter Writer’s Alliance
, “a member-based organization dedicated to keeping the art of letter writing alive”), it’s yet another fun method of correspondence and admittedly an excellent excuse for this lover of paper products to buy more stationery goods.
The beauty of postcards, especially for those of few words, is that much like Twitter, you are limited to the amount you can write. It takes but a few minutes to dash off a few sentences, or better yet, one sentence — how mysterious. It’s no surprise that several of my postcard compatriots are fellow journalists, but many are not and notes from their travels are just as welcome, entertaining and treasured by my household. Some even get their children in on the writing, either directly or via dictation to mom and dad. If you’ve never received a message spoken to a grown up by a 4-year-old, you are missing out on an experience that is often both hilarious and sweet.
For anyone stumped as to what to write on a postcard, the best advice I ever received on the matter is to simply describe where you are and what you are doing — travel to an exotic locale not required. For example:
I’m camped out at a coffee house in the French Quarter. An afternoon rainstorm began about 20 minutes ago and the sound of the showers outside are making this latte even more enjoyable, as I lean over the steam and breathe in its sweet aroma. People watching and sipping a hot beverage on a rainy afternoon in New Orleans is just about the best way I can imagine spending a Saturday. Wish you were here!
Xoxo Love, Melanie
The refrigerator at home has become a work of art in its own right with cards from places near and far, including Greece, Philadelphia, Arizona, Miami and beyond. Some feature gorgeous scenery or landmarks and others — including an 80s-era fellow on a beach sporting a Speedo and quite a mullet — illicit giggles with every pass through the kitchen.
A simple hello from afar — or from your own city — will brighten not only the day of the friend or family member when they open the mailbox to something other than bills and junk mail, but also yours for the act of expressing yourself and connecting with another soul.