What if I told you that you could collect a unique memento from each destination you visited? It will cost you less than £2, all in, you can keep it forever and you’ll be able to reflect back on it for years to come. Would you be surprised to learn that I’m talking about the humble postcard?
In Britain, the first ever postcard was sent in 1894. It captured Scarborough’s iconic seafront and since then postcards have become a symbol of holidays, happiness and fun. People have used them to write to their loved ones, to tell them about their adventures. But how many people send postcards to themselves?
From me, to me
I was in Munich, on a work trip, with my dear friend Annemarie. Over lunch she pulled out a postcard and asked everybody at the table to sign it. She went on to explain that she got the idea from reading Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal’s Journey from Down Under to All Over. After reading the book, she’d been inspired to send a postcard to herself, containing memories of each trip, every time she travelled.
I was really taken by the idea and over the years that followed, I was lucky enough to visit lots of different places. Each time I’d purchase a postcard and a stamp. I’d then take time to sit, reflect and write about my holiday experiences. Then I’d send the postcard back to myself. A few weeks later, the postcard would land on the doormat and I’d read it and relive each trip.
I have been sending postcards to myself for over eight years now, so I have quite the collection. I store them within a box frame that’s on display in my spare bedroom. Occasionally I get the postcards out and I look back and smile. I also find that they bring back details of trips that I’d forgotten. I also think this is an especially lovely exercise for solo travellers to partake in, to capture their memories.
A new chapter in the journey
I’ve started a new collection of postcards, depicting our family’s adventures. I hope that as my son grows he will write his own postcards and continue the tradition.
These mementos will also be a great thing for future generations to look back on. According to Lonely Planet says, postcards can be used as “a means of tracking the changes in both travel and popular culture”. So as well as creating a persona memento, you’re creating something that future generations can look back on.
Is it worth it?
I love writing, receiving and reflecting back on my postcards. It’s a cheap way of ensuring that I have something unique to look back on. Sometimes it’s a faff finding somewhere that sells postcards and stamps whilst I’m away, but it’s more than worth the slight inconvenience for the joy they bring me.
So next time you’re on your holidays, why not consider sending a postcard to yourself? Not only are postcards thrifty souvenirs to collect, but you’ll be able to look back on them for years to come. Sending a postcard back to myself has certainly become an intrinsic part of my holidays. Hopefully we will all be able to travel soon, but until then, we can certainly wanderlust with some armchair travel.