Do you collect postcards or send them while you are traveling? Far from being obsolete, it is a regular travel ritual for me and I always leave time in a place that I am visiting to roam the streets and search for them, even if I have been to the particular place before.
An article recently published in the Washington Post ponders on the question of whether postcards are now obsolete in the age of digital connectivity, Facebook, and Instagram. At just one moment, many simultaneously can be instantly gratified by seeing or reading your posts in one push of a button. If you are one of the creatively gifted ones or have spent years refining your skills in photography, those images or posts may be even better than a postcard that you can pick up on Canal Street, at the tulip market in Amsterdam, or even next to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.
For me, I still send them on my travels. Perhaps the charm is encapsulated in a scene with the actress Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun where she writes a postcard for the mother of the fellow traveler who later in turn didn’t appreciate what she penned on the postcard intended for her mother. The exercise in creative imagination or writing to support connection in an increasingly disconnected world where often wifi is not readily available or data plans too costly. Perhaps channeling Ernest Hemingway or Gertrude Stein in the confines of Shakespeare & Co. in Paris.
There is something about holding a tangible object that has carried a memory from a foreign place. The choice of the card can reflect the tastes and interests of the sender, something that has inspired him/her, or the postcard’s recipient depending on the degree of the relationship. It is my thing and some of my family and dearest friends have received them from me in the past letting them know that I thinking of them, they are special, or simple words of comfort that I am safe abroad.
Sometimes it is even handy to have a postcard around just to jot travel notes down.
National Geographic searched for participants for the #PostcardProject and offered a chance to be featured in National Geographic Traveler magazine in its August/September issue. Even though the issue has already been published, it’s stil worthwhile to give the project a new heartbeat and continue. For more information on the #PostcardProject click link here.
When you receive a postcard, it is one of the rare moments in life when the past meets the present again and whispers, “Wish you were here.”