Love and Postcards

My love affair with postcards is no secret.

It began a long time ago when I was young and my grandparents would send each of their seven grandchildren a postcard during their annual “snowbird” sojourn to Florida. I had not travelled outside of our province at that time and these postcards with their white-sand beaches and orange trees heavy with fruit seemed exotic to me. Receiving these postcards from my grandma made me feel more worldly. That feeling never wore off. My mother is also a postcard person as are my friends CJ and Jenn. For as long as I can remember, there have been postcards decorating my bedroom and, later, my office at work. The postcard as art!

So it is clear that I have come by my own postcard passion quite honestly. DP and I travel more than the average bears (it’s a trade off, of course; we don’t own a home or a car) and there has not yet been one postcardless trip on our travels. Okay, maybe Real de Catorce in Mexico but if you had ever been there, you would understand why. I like to stand in front of the postcard rack and gently touch the postcards. I want to discuss with DP which ones are actually great photos. I love the sensation of tucking a small paper bag of just-purchased postcards into the back of my journal. Later, that day, at an outdoor cafe (or if the weather is cold, inside a snug little restaurant with a lovely piece of chocolate pie) I will unwrap those postcards like a treasure. The act of choosing which postcard goes to whom is a delicate and precise one and I don’t start writing even one until I am sure I’ve got it right.

What to write? I am Canadian so there must be a mention of the weather. What we are doing and seeing and how it makes us feel. Surprises… like how much I loved Budapest. Best meal. Best painting. Best sunset. Connections to my shared past with this person… Remember when we visited…? Wish you were here. I am never at a loss for words.

It’s also what the postcard represents that delights me so. Friends who were Here last week are now There and soon they will Return. The postcard often marks the mid-point of their voyage. The arrival of the postcard declares that I too can make the journey from the comfort and familiarity of life at home (wherever home happens to be) to the decadent lands of far, far away. For those of us who love to travel, the postcard is a personal invitation, a reminder of adventures not yet taken, a love letter from the other side of the world.

I even love the format and the aesthetic of the postcard: photo on one side and space for a lovely short story on the other. I have tried to reproduce that magic on my blog here.

It’s not just me; other bloggers have been writing (about) postcards too! Lara at Cool Travel Guide has written a series about postcards here. Pam at Nerd’s Eye View has begun The Postcard Revival Project here.

Tell me about your favourite postcard. Did you send or receive it? Where was it from? What makes that one so special?

4 comments

  1. I am just discovering my love for postcards. Yesterday, I sent my first batch of hopefully many. Unlike you, I did not grow up in a family (or culture?) that sends postcards. But I am fond of traveling and always wish I traveled more. You said, "For those of us who love to travel, the postcard is a personal invitation, a reminder of adventures not yet taken, a love letter from the other side of the world." What beautiful words. Exactly, as I see it. Thanks. (And I'll probably be quoting you again…)

  2. Hi Gail,What a lovely compliment… you are welcome to quote me again! I popped over to your blog to check out your postcard project only to discover that you had actually made your own! Nice! Thanks for leaving a comment.

  3. Great post! I don't need to say more because you know how I feel about postcards. I'll actually be publishing a story soon on postcards which was a result of the research that arose from that poll I did a while back so I'll let you know when that's out.I'm just catching up on my blog-reading after being on the road for a while with little internet access, so it's great to read you again. I'll go and check out this postcard project too now.

  4. Lara,I look forward to reading your story about postcards. Your postcard post about your mom was really memorable and beautifully written. Thanks for sharing those memories at Cool Travel Guide.

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