Family Hobby: Postcards From Around the World

Our family has a shared hobby: we collect postcards from all around the world. We also send postcards all over the world.

We use a website called Postcrossing.com and it is one of the coolest experiences we’ve had. I love that we can all participate together too.

In short, Postcrossing.com is a website that gives its members the opportunity to send and receive real, physical postcards from all around the world. For every postcard you send out from your hometown, you are guaranteed at least one back from somewhere and someone random in the world.

Each card has a numerical ID written on it, provided by the website, and when the card is received, you use the ID to register the card. It’s then accounted for on the website.

To participate in the project is completely free; the only expenses are buying postcards and paying for stamps.

My husband and I used the site a little before our daughter came along, but once she was born, we came up with a great idea: show her the world from our own home. We changed up our Postcrossing profile to tell others about our plan, sat back, and waited for the cards to come rolling in.

Once we began receiving cards, we’d hang the most interesting ones or our favorite ones on the wall in C’s bedroom. We rotate them and have about 25 cards hanging on the wall at any given time. The rest sit in a pile on the windowsill and C loves looking through them and talking about them during her diaper changes.

We plan to eventually put them all into a book as a keepsake for C as she gets older.

So far, we’ve received 54 postcards, and we’ve sent out 61. We’ve ‘interacted’ with people in 23 different countries. We’ve sent postcards a total distance of 145,326 miles and have received cards from a total distance of 169,652 miles.

Pretty cool, right?

We’re still waiting for postcards from a few areas we’d really love to interact with, like South America and Africa. We’ve sent the most of our cards to the Netherlands and to the U.S.A. (seven each). We’ve received the most from Russia (eight cards).

We hope that as C and our new baby get older, they’ll be able to use these postcards to get a glimpse of different cultures and maybe a desire to travel the world. It’ll also help them to see how many countries really are in the world, and even broader—how many cities, how many people, how many different languages are spoken.

It is so much fun for C, for me and for my husband when we get a new card in the mail. It really makes checking your mailbox every day fun— there might be more than just a bill or two in there.

It’s always an exciting surprise to see what country the card is from, what card the sender chose for us and to see if they wrote anything interesting on the card.

In our profile, we request cards that show the city or a tourist attraction, but we’ve gotten such a great variation of cards including tourist sites, animals, art pieces, gorgeous photography and drawings.

Many people write such interesting things on their cards as well, often a cool fact about their country or city, something in their native language with a translation or something about their local traditions or customs.

Some people even use really cool stamps.

We try to send out at least a few cards each month. Personally, we like to send out touristy-type cards showing attractions in Stuttgart, where we live.

We do try to cater to the types of cards people request, though. For example, some people might say they like cards that show architecture— we will pick out a card with beautiful, old-style German buildings. Other people say they like seeing castles, or local traditions or cards with our country’s language on them, or even personal photography.

We generally like to write about our city as well. We always try to include the date and a greeting in German, as well as a little bit about what is pictured on the card itself and why we chose that card for that recipient. Now that C is older and able to help us with the cards, she really enjoys using a colored pencil to “help write” some words or add some flair by including a sticker— her favorites are stars and hearts.

Some cards do get lost along the way, and the website accounts for these as well. We’ve been members of the website for more than two years and we haven’t had any safety issues— the website is very careful about who gets to see your address and in what situation.

Overall, it’s been a really fun experience and we hope to continue collecting and sending postcards with C and with baby number two for years to come!

6 Responses to Family Hobby: Postcards From Around the World

  1. this is such a fun idea! I plan to start doing this with N.

  2. You’ve convinced me to sign up! I actually do a penpal thing with R. He has 45 penpals, mostly in the US, as a way to teach him about growing up in the United States. But, I do like the postcard idea, as a way to teach him more about the world! Thanks for this post. Anything to broaden their horizons is awesome!

  3. What a fun family activity!

  4. That is awesome that you for sharing :)

  5. This is so awesome. Because of this post we signed up and have already sent out our first 5 postcards. I can’t wait to add them to the album we already have started that has postcards we’ve received from friends and family.

  6. We (ha, I guess I should say I) have had a lot of fun with this since signing up. Thank you SO much for sharing!

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