For happy mailboxes all over the world!
Dear Ciao community, today I want to tell you about a hobby of mine - Postcrossing!
is a project made for exchanging postcards all over the world!
While it may sound like a project for avid stamp collectors at first, it is so much more - though it's certainly helpful if you are fond of foreign stamps!Postcrossing
makes it possible to recieve postcards from all over the world, which is very exciting - it's so much nicer to check your mailbox and await more than just bills and adverts.
How does it work?
When you sign up and want to start sending cards, you are given addresses from all over the world, one at a time. Then you send a postcard to this individual. Every time you get ready to send a postcard, you get a code with the address you are going to send your card to. You have to write that code on your postcard, too. The recipient will use it to register your postcard on the website so it is documented that you have really sent it. As soon as the postcard is registered by the recipient, your own address is unlocked and will be given to another random user who wants to send a postcard. That person can be from all over the world, so you never know where you will get a postcard from next! So when you send a postcard to the Netherlands, the one you might recieve next might well be from China - you never know!
To sign up, you simply go to www.postcrossing.com and give your information. Of course, you have to give state your real name and address so the postcards will arrive correctly. But don't worry - your address is not displayed openly and will only be given out when someone wants to send a postcard and you are the one chosen by the system!
You also get to fill out a profile. You don't have to write anything in there, but it's much nicer for the person who is sending you a postcard to know something about you. You can write whatever you like. Usually, people write something about themselves. You can also state what postcards you would like to recieve best - for example, city views, animals or cartoon cards. A lot of people use their profile to tell their sender what they would like best.
Once you're all set up, you can start sendinga postcard. In the beginning, you can demand up to five addresses to send postcards, too. Then you simply write your postcard to the given recipient, write the code you were given on it so the recipient can register it when it has arrived and wait. As soon as your first postcard arrives, your address will be given to another random user who sends you a card with a code as well. Then you do the same your last recipient has done with your card - you register it with the code on the card to notify the sender that it has arrived!
As time goes by...
It didn't take long for my first postcards to arrive! My first ones went to China, Finland and the USA. Of course, the further a country is from your home, the longer it takes. But after two weeks I already recieved my first postcards! I was very excited and liked how some senders had taken my postcard wishes seriously. I got really nice cartoon cards, vintage pictures and even a really wicked postcard of the band Kiss!
Every time you reach a certain amount of registered sent cards, your maximum of travelling postcards gets higher. When you start, you can send up to five cards at the same time and then have to wait until some have arrived and are registered. I think that is a good way of making sure people don't claim twenty addressed at the same time and never get around sending the cards off. As you reach certain numbers, you can send even more. I have sent 41 cards so far and am now allowed to send nine cards at the same time!
At your own speed
You alone decide how many postcards you send! You only get an address of a recipient if you requested it - so when you don't feel like it or don't have the time to send a card, you can just leave it. You only recieve a card after you have sent one, so there is no guilt involved when you're too busy to postcross!
Your wall of postcardsPostcrossing
also allows you to create a wall of postcards by taking pictures of cards after you have recieved them. Your wall is a section of your profile. There you can see your sent postcards as well as the ones sent to you. I love taking pictures of mine as soon as they arrive so I can keep a record of them.
Taking a picture of the card can be done by both the sender and the recipient. If you want to make sure your sent postcard will be displayed as well, make sure to take a picture and upload it before you send it - some people forget or simply don't have the devices to take pictures. Your postcard will only be displayed to the recipient when he or she has recieved it, so it won't spoil the fun!
What to write, what to write...!
On my postcards I usually tell the person something about myself or pick up a topic they have started on their profile. When they have mentioned their pets, I tell them about mine. If the recipient seems to be fond of music, I tell them what music I enjoy and what concerts I have attented and liked! It's really up to you! Some people don't write anything but "Greetings from [country]!", but I am always the happiest about cards telling me something about the sender and their life! But really, it's up to you.
Does it always work?
As it is with mail, sometimes postcards get lost - but out of 41 times, it has only happened to me once so far. In the beginning, I was very worried this would happen a lot when I was about to get started, but Postcrossing
members are surprisingly reliable!
The postcard not arriving doesn't have any negative consequences for you - after all it's not your fault when it disappears on the way.
The website looks really nice and is very easy to handle. Registering is done quickly and is not complicated at all. When you are logged in, all the things you can do on the website and with your profile are listed on the left and it is very easy to navigate. The website is also fast and reliable. I've been registered for almost four months now and it has never been out of order so far. Uploading pictures to your wall of postcards is also quick and easy. I've never had any trouble navigating!
Why I like it so much
I think Postcrossing
is a beautiful way of connecting internationally. It actually gives you a possibility to lear something about countries and people from all over the world. I have recieved cards of Asian temples and people have written to me about their culture, which is really interesting! I like cultural exchange so much and I almost feel like the project is making an anti-war statement, à la "Don't make war, send postcards!" and it feels incredible to be part of something like that.
I also think it's great that Postcrossing
keeps you writing! Nowadays we do so much on the computer and often don't write for days! I like writing so much and am glad to do it with such a nice purpose.
A great aspect, as I mentioned before, is the pleasant surprise of finding something nice in your mailbox! I love finding a new postcard in my mailbox and sitting down to read it. Some are so nice that I plan to put them on my wall! I've gotten all kinds by now - Asian temples, musicians, cartoons from all over the world, pictures of little dogs (which I requested in my profile!) and so many more.
is absolutely free in regards of using the website. Of course you have to pay for your stamps and cards, but since you can choose if and when to send a card, there is no trouble.
However, you can make a donation to the project which I plan to do as soon as I can. How much you want to donate is up to you, but I really want to do it because the creators of the project have to pay for the webspace!
has become a great hobby of mine! I love showing my cards to my friends and family. My parents always ask me if I've gotten a new one and my father is a stamp collector and loves checking out the interesting stamps on my cards!
The project is so much fun and I can never wait until my cards arrive. As soon as the recipient have registered my card, I send a new one. Sending them is just as much fun as recieving them!
I really recommend Postcrossing
! I am amazed by how well it works and how much fun it is. So if you love writing and cultural exchange, start giving some happiness to mailboxes all over the world!