| Postcrossing

| Writing postcards for fun

| Date: 02 January 2024
| Tags: misc

An example card from the Auspost ‘Aussie Big Things’ set 1

In December 2022 I started writing postcards on postcrossing. As a brief overview, on the site you are matched with random people from around the world and you send them a postcard. When they get it they register it on the site and then get the option to send you an email response. For each card you send (and is received) you receive a card in return from someone else. By default you will not receive a card from someone you have sent to (and vice versa), but you can also message members to organise a direct swap if you wish.

I started doing this because I realised that since graduating uni I was only rarely handwriting anything and so the skill had atrophied. Over the last year I have written 75 postcards on the site, a few long form letters and a few dozen cards to friends. Over the year my handwriting has improved a lot, and getting into the flow of writing a paragraph of text has become much easier. A side benefit has been that I can write much faster too, and it now only takes me about half the time to write a postcard compared to when I started a year ago.

I find the whole process of selecting a card the recipient will like and writing a suitable message to be extremely cathartic. It really feels great to get a thank-you message from the receiver that loved what you sent, and similarly I really appreciate the effort that some of the senders have put in to make something for me. The whole experience is enhanced by the tactility of the medium and the inherently large travel times involved, which can make it feel really special when a card finally arrives.

Over the course of the year I have exchanged some lovely messages from all across the globe and have heard from a wide variety of people in different stages of life. I find that I live in a bit of a young-professional-in-Sydney bubble so its nice to be able to step out from it a bit and hear about the experiences of others.

The only real downside to this hobby is the cost: currently it is $3 AUD to send a postcard anywhere in the world and with my 2 postcards a week habit it translates to about $500 AUD a year in postage and stationary. Considering the satisfaction I get from it, that price is worth it to me but I can definitely see it being an impediment to some. Overall I would wholeheartedly recommend this hobby and indeed a few friends have picked it up since hearing about it.

  1. The image & thumb are a scan of a maxicard from the Auspost “Aussie Big Things” maxicard set, specifically of the Giant Murry Cod in Swan Hill Victoria. The photograph on the card was originally by Alex Cimbal. I chose this one for the thumb/article image as a high quality photo is already available on the Auspost store website so I don’t think I’m stepping on anyone’s toes by reproducing it here. It can be contentious in the postcarding community to provide high quality scans of cards as they can be copied and made into bulk packs without the original author’s knowledge (or compensation).