The dying art of the postcard


I love postcards.  Really, really, really love them.  I love sending them and I love receiving them.  Sadly, however, it seems to be a dying art. 

I seem to be alone (or in a rapidly shrinking population) in my love for the post card.  They seem to still be readily available in some places but impossible to find in others.  In Norway we were able to find (rather expensive) cards in the over-touristed town of Geiranger but stamps were another endeavor entirely.  The hotels all simply have postage meters now rather than real stamps.  The card will arrive just the same but it isn’t as much fun. 

In Hong Kong I actually struggled to even find post cards.  I asked at several hotels and looked in the various stores I passed as I wandered the island.  None had cards.  Once I finally found cards there was the next adventure – finding stamps.  It wasn’t quite as difficult as in Norway, but it certainly wasn’t simple.  Fortunately the cards all found their way to the intended recipients.

In India we had quite the adventure getting our post cards home.  The post offices there are quite efficient normally and we actually weren’t too troubled with lines or even figuring out how much postage we needed to add to the cards.  But the stamps apparently had no glue on the back of them like we’ve come to expect.  We did our best with saliva and I’m honestly not sure how they actually made it back to all our friends, but they did.  And we came out of it with a great story of wandering Goa and licking (and re-licking) stamps for a couple hours to get them on the way.

One of the current iPhone commercials these days is showing off their “app for that” for sending postcards.  They have a picture of Paris and some “wish you were here” text and the person taps and it is sent.  That just isn’t the same.  Sure, at least one of those services (shootIt!) actually prints and sends a physical post card, not just something electronic, but you don’t get the fun of the random stamp, trying to figure out how much postage you need, the cool postmark from a foreign land and the anticipation of waiting for the cards to arrive at their destination.  The fact that postcards generally arrive well after the trip is over actually adds to the fun for me. 

There was also the discussion we had with the others in our group as we were on the fjords in Norway.  Someone mentioned something about simply sending a text or SMS message when they’re abroad.  There’s no sense of place from such an action.  I’m not a fan at all.

I’m a huge fan of many things digital.  I live online in many ways, both for work and leisure.  But when it comes to travel there is still one bit that I’m happy to keep offline: my postcards. 

Want to receive a random post card from somewhere around the world?  No guarantees, but drop me a line and I’ll see what I can wrangle.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

3 Comments

  1. I'm going to Russia next week…. if you email me your address I'd be happy to send you a post card… I too LOVE post cards…. and know exactly what you mean about finding them…. and stamps.. don't even get me going on the stamp issue too..

    reiziger [at] travelingtheworldaround [dot] com obviously remove the [at] with an @, etc.

  2. Funny…while I was packing for our move recently I actually came across a random postcard that you had sent during one of your adventures.

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