Do you have an obsession you spend far too much time over, and then feel remorseful about afterwards? Maybe a guilty indulgence that brings you more joyful raptures than you would care to admit to a friend? Or maybe just a “perfectly normal” addiction (sure) that’s not really an addiction because you totally have a grip on how crazy it gets (suuure).
Of course you do – everyone does. Well, my cue for crazy comes from postcards. Postcards?, you ask, confused. Followed by: (If you’re above 30) You mean those things that cousins on vacation used to send, instead of getting me proper souvenir-gifts? (Or if you’re under 30) You mean those things nobody sends anymore? With real stamps and all?
The very same, yes.
My affection for the near-forgotten picture postcard goes a long way back. For the lazy person I am, I have always – surprisingly – loved the elaborate ritual of hunting down lone postcard-selling shops in places to which I travelled, then hunting down post offices where I could find stamps to affix on the card before posting it to myself. For me, it’s one thing to look at pictures of past travels; quite another to actually hold a card that not only shows that place I loved, but was also written, stamped and posted under that sun.
Things got simpler the day I discovered an online community of fellow postcard-nuts called Postcrossing and since then there’s been no freakin’ account of the time and effort I’ve spent on my damned postcard collection, exchanging cards with people from places as far away as Chile and Costa Rica, as close as Pakistan and Bhutan, and as ‘recently discovered’ (er, by me on the world map – geography was never my strong point at school) as Lesotho and Guernsey. Only, the intent has changed. I no longer have postcards only of places I’ve visited myself. I now have shoe-boxes full of little glimpses of places that I know I want to visit some day.
I received this postcard from an American soldier serving in Afghanistan:
And this from a friend who was awesome enough to post me a card from the Santa Claus Village in Finland:
Boyfriend pestered some Brazilian friends of his to send me this one from Rio:
Chile was on my bucket list even before my mailbox was hit by stunners like these:
And this one below actually put British Columbia on the list, since I’d never considered the thought earlier:
This lady in my mailbox brought back memories of a heady flamenco dance in a dim-lit club one night in Barcelona:
Turkey, ah – only a big sigh really defines you, never mind the weather-beaten card you sent my way.
Connections from college time were leveraged with a great sense of purpose for this rare post from Lesotho:
And Russia, for some inexplicable reason, never ceases to send a thrill of excitement through me.
One day in 2015, I will sit down cross-legged on the floor of my room, spread all my hundreds of postcards around me, close my eyes and pick ONE card.
And within six months, I promise, I’ll be off to that place, no matter where in the damn world it takes me. :-)