Back to Home Back to Notes

The Joys of Handwritten Communication

Sending and Receiving Postcards Worldwide
21st June, 2020

I like postcards -- not only receiving them, but sending them too. I like post cards with handwritten messages so much that I sometimes shamelessly ask folks to send me a postcard from wherever they are. The messages are sometimes from friends and sometimes from strangers, ranging from seemingly gruff to extremely affable, and anywhere between one-line texts to streams of consciousness, and I appreciate ALL OF THEM! I enjoy having a window, albeit small and temporary, into the sender’s views and thoughts in that moment.

Besides learning what inspires the sender, such as poems or natural beauty, or something personal about the sender, I’ve also learned some odd but fascinating facts. Here’s a postcard from Dunedin in New Zealand, showing Baldwin Street, which is the steppest residential street in the world!

Here’s another card, from China, and it’s one of my favorites because the handwriting is just so perfect and aesthetic that it could be turned into a typeface.

This next one is from Washington state. It was an amazing coincidence that the sender loves bats, and I had a few postcards with pictures of the Congress Avenue bridge in Austin, Texas, which is home to the world’s largest urban bat colony. It was an absolute joy to hear that I happened to have something that I could share with this total stranger.

Here’s an absolute gem of a card from Turkey. It shows the Haydarpasa train station, built during the Ottoman era, circa late 1800s. It still stands today, although there were concerns whether the station would be sold to build a luxury resort. The postcard itself is made with paperboard, and it is clearly something to cherish.

Finally, here’s a postcard from Colorado. Despite the simplicity of the picture, I love how the illustration brings the picture to life. It has inspired me to learn to make illustrations using vector graphics programs. I’m mostly fumbling at this point, but I aspire to be able to create artwork like this.

These postcards were exchanged not just because of the generosity of friends, but also because of a little-known website called Postcrossing, which randomly picks a recipient anywhere in the world for you. Once your postcard is received by the recipient, you become eligible to receive one as well, when you are presented as a random receipient to another sender.

The anticipation, surprise, and joy of finding a handwritten message, from a location far away from you, is absolutely a thrill, and I encourage you to try it as well!

Back to Notes