I had been looking forward to traveling to a particular destination last year. I was telling someone whom I considered to be a close friend (I’ll call him “J”) about the trip. He wished me a good trip, then he nonchalantly added, “Send me a postcard”.
I might have abruptly stopped what I was doing, looked up at him, and gave him a stare. Maybe I was looking for signs of irony, but I found none. I was flummoxed. Like, “Who still sends postcard”? In fact, that was my actual response. He thought my reaction was hilarious, and he’d often laughed about it when we bring up that conversation.
Why So Surprised?
I supposed my reaction might have been an overkill, but I’ve never sent a travel postcard to anyone before. Sure, I’ve sent postcards for silly sweepstakes when I was younger, but those don’t really count.
Traveling was not a luxury my family could afford when I was growing up, so sending travel postcards was not something that’s ever been on my radar. That’s not to say I didn’t write to people. On the contrary, I wrote tons of letters to my best friend after I moved. Just not postcards.
At J’s suggestion, I thought, “There’s a first time for everything. Maybe I’ll surprise him!”
Finding a postcard isn’t hard. The hotel offered two postcards in the guestbook, but they were rather dull and uninspiring. Finding the right one took a bit more effort. I was happy when I found one that I like at one of the shops.
I hadn’t thought through the logistics: I didn’t have stamps and I didn’t see a post office nearby. It didn’t occur to me to ask the front desk, either. After I wrote my little note, I carefully tucked the postcard away. I know I may have completely defeated the purpose of sending a postcard, but J had such a wonderfully warm laugh…when I personally hand-delivered the postcard to him. Beat that!
When I joked he should get me a postcard on his next trip (a destination I’ve yet to visit), I was floored when he came back and handed me not one, but two postcards! I was being silly and thought he’d forgotten about it. I really loved the thought and that simple gesture.
The Thought that Counts?
On my most recent trip to Copenhagen, I saw postcards at a souvenir shop – mostly consisting of Nyhavn scenery and the Little Mermaid statue. They were pretty postcards for sure, but they weren’t what I was looking for…
I passed and decided that it’d be sweeter, quite literally, to get some local treats to share instead.
Travel postcards? I like them, but maybe next time.
Do you still write or send postcards? How often do you still send them these days? Have you written or received any favorites? Chime in below!
We love to send them while on trips. It’s a throwback idea that is personal and special to the giver and receiver. My teenager loves to send them to her friends during I our travels.
That’s great to hear. It’s really a such nice throwback idea that I’d like to do more of.
I absolutely send postcards. There are only few things left in travel that are truly distinctive and limited to a specific locale, perhaps even unique in the true dictionary definition: the postmark. Rather than buy some cheaply-made “souvenirs” that’ll 1) break apart in a few years or 2) just be an impulse purchase you regret later, postcards are cheap, local, don’t take up space, and take time to write and send. It is almost always the only souvenir I get. Yes, I send one to myself.
Nice, you’re still one of those rare unicorns that still send postcards! I agree on the cheaply made “souvenirs” part. I don’t like to clutter my life with “things”, so I’ve long stopped buying “cheaply-made souvenirs” when I travel. I like to be simple, so my souvenirs tend to be simple too: pictures and snacks to share. That said, if I see something unique that reminds me of someone, I’d get the souvenir for him/her. When I get postcards, I think of it from the sentimental context that that person thought of you enough to send you a postcard while… Read more »
There are apps for that, just saying. I love actual postcards but almost no one sends them anymore.
Yes, apps just aren’t the same as actual postcards. I think there are apps/services that will send actual postcards for you on your behalf, but that seems impersonal to me (not in your own handwriting). I might as well just get and write my own postcard in that case. 🙂