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Postcards From The Edge

Even during this modern digital age I still enjoy sending postcards from abroad. The difference being these days I’m more efficient in my approach and post them when I get home.

Buying and sending postcards

I used to spend half a day trawling up and down backstreets in foreign countries, following bad advice by locals who didn’t have the heart to say they didn’t know, just to buy a stamp and send a postcard. Even then there was no guarantee it would arrive. I can’t be bothered with that these days.

Instead I buy the card from whichever beautiful place I’m visiting and post it from London. It keeps the tradition alive but takes the pain away from the process. Basically people still know I’m thinking about them, but it’s not a total ball-ache.

Filling the space
Previously when I sent postcards from abroad I had to find the stamps first, and then write the cards with the remaining space. You see, it was a lucky dip how much space would be taken up with an array of brilliantly coloured international stamps, sometimes to the point where I could only make the briefest of notes. By sending them when I get back to the United Kingdom I know it will be two stamps max and what space is left to fill up with messy handwriting.

I’ve been sending postcards to my Auntee for years who saves them all. When I was back in New Zealand a while ago, I flicked through them and was surprised to see that most had exactly the same information. I talk about food, the weather, how much fun I’m having and always start and end the same way. Am I that predictable? Well, yes it turns out I am. I need to get a template so I can just start stamping the back of a postcard, add a date and then into the postbox.

A holiday reminder
Some of the best postcards I’ve sent to my partner or flatmates have arrived long after I’ve made it back, emptied my pack and am back at work. Then one day I’ll get home and they’ll be a postcard with a beautiful temple or idyllic beach scene, faded by the sun waiting for me. A nice little reminder of how different the previous weeks were. I think it should be mandatory for everyone to send themselves postcards to help overcome the post-holiday blues.

Photo credit: Panda.org
Photo credit: Panda.org

When the tables are turned
The thing with keeping the tradition of sending postcards alive, is that loved ones will ultimately send them back to me! This can feel like a double-edged sword. Yes, there is nothing like being at work and receiving a postcard with a beautiful idyllic beach scene gracing the front cover, only to flip it over and be reminded in explicit detail of the luxury I’m missing. “Wish you were here”! Yeah ok, thanks buddy. I love you dearly but I did not need this on a wet British afternoon!

Why keeping tradition alive is a good thing
I’m a stickler for tradition but I was raised this way. I remember my parents trailblazing the postcard revolution when I was just a young boy, Even when they turned up weeks after my folks had returned, I still enjoyed a visual of where they had been, hearing what they had been up to and steaming off the stamp just because it didn’t have a picture of the Queen on it.

In this modern world there are some traditions which are on the edge of dying out, so next time you’re walking past a stand of postcards faded by the sun, by a couple and let people know where you are, even if the card gets handed to them when you’re back and meet them in the pub!

Happy travelling folks!


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