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You Can Collect Postcards From Around the World

Hobbies are fun and keep those gears in our heads going. Here is something that keeps my gears going

I love to travel and postcards make it better!

Kyoto's Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kyoto's Kiyomizu-dera Temple

I have to admit I haven't traveled as much as I'd like but I have been all over East Asia and much of the US. Whenever I'm somewhere new or interesting I look for a local postcard. When I see something I like, I slap on a stamp and it send home.

Souvenirs clutter my place but postcards, no matter how tacky or mass-produced, are easy to put away and are the same size (usually). At the same time they live and breathe the locale. I look through my collection and with each postcard I touch I remember the entire experience: the food, the atmosphere and the people.

Take a look through this article. During your travels I hope you can enjoy this hobby as well.

When did it all start? And why?

I started collecting postcards when I least expected it: in the Army. After Basic and Advanced Training, the Army thought I’d serve my country best in a military hospital, stateside. There I stayed until my discharge while my friends traveled the world and fought in the wars. A few of them emailed me pictures of where they'd been.

This revived my interested in travel, which was one of the reasons I enlisted in the first place. While in the Army, it’s always difficult to travel overseas while on leave. A soldier has to tell his supervisor months in advance. It also takes a lot of paperwork including copies of tickets, hotel reservations and so on.

For this reason, as well as the cost, my travels never took me far. Like many other young, single soldiers, I traveled alone. The last thing I wanted to think about while on leave was the Army.

Whenever I visited a new city I’d see the sights and send my family a postcard. Then when I visited them one Thanksgiving they showed me everything I sent them. The postcards added up. They were from cities all over the country and reminded me of my time on leave. Each one took me all of two minutes to buy, write and send.

While flipping through them, I suddenly had a new hobby: postcards.

How do I get started? And where?

Japanese plum blossom

Japanese plum blossom

There's no need to join the Army to get into postcards. Your own city might have postcards of its own. Keep an eye out for them at your local convenience store. If not, larger cities nearby will definitely have them.

If a city has enough tourist attractions, then each one of them might have its own postcard. Don't worry, you don't have to buy every one you see. But there isn't any reason to stop looking the next time you're back in town.

If you're somewhere new during an unexpected layover, swing by the airport gift shop and send yourself a postcard. I always carry extra stamps in my wallet just for this occasion. The staff will be happy to drop it in the mailbox for you. I got a couple postcards from Charlotte, NC and Palm Springs, CA this way.

Wherever you are, look for something local. For example, it's more fun to get a postcard from the Statue of Liberty than the state of New York. Write your address on it, stamp it and drop it in the next mailbox you see.

When you get your postcard, it will have a stamp of the country it was mailed from, the date it was mailed and the location it was mailed from. Years from now, whenever you pick it up, you'll see all that and you'll remember your time there.

I currently live in Japan. Like everyone else, they love visiting new places. Even the smallest towns and sights seem to have something going on. Believe it or not, some train stations have their own postcards.

Every time I step out my door, I always keep an eye out for something new, clever or funny. At first it was overwhelming but every time I look at my collection, it's well worth it.

What do I write on my postcard?

Port of Kobe, Japan

Port of Kobe, Japan

OK. So you bought the postcard, wrote your address and put on a stamp... anything else?

You can write anything you like. Personally, I think it's a little weird writing "Wish you were here!" or "I miss you!" to myself. My mind always goes blank here and so does my postcard. I don't write anything aside from my address. Sometimes I don't even write my name on it.

When I send a postcard to friends or family members, it's different but to me it's blank. My memory fills in that blank later every time I look at the postcard.

Should I write something to myself? Would you? Let me know in the Comment section!

There are other types of postcards!

I was surprised when I saw Postcards in the Hobby section of Hubpages. I was even more surprised when I learned that people collect different kinds of postcards. According to Wikipedia, "Deltiology is the study and collection of postcards" and it is the "thought to be the third largest hobby after stamp collecting and coin/banknote collecting." Wow!

I love postcards but my main interest is in travel postcards mailed from their specific location, preferably blank. Yes, it does seem a bit specific but that's the way I like it. My friends seem puzzled by all this until I show them my collection.

Then, when they tell me of their travel plans, I always ask them to send me a postcard just the way I like it. Often enough, they find the time to. I'd say the most exotic postcard I have is from Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.

Japanese postcards are different. Take a look...

Does this sound fun to you?

Any thoughts? - Any postcards?

anonymous on May 20, 2013:

I have thousands in my collections and still look for less-travelled countries that I do not have yet.

Delia on March 25, 2013:

I have a postcard collection going back for as long as I can remember.

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on February 11, 2013:

Sound like a fun hobby, thanks for sharing.

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on September 20, 2012:

Thanks for sharing. What fun! ;-)

Rosetta Slone from Under a coconut tree on September 04, 2012:

I'm not a serious collector, but I have a whole wall in my study that's covered in postcards from my travels and those that friends have sent, too.

olmpal on August 19, 2012:

That's a great hobby idea! And if you get them from the places you visit they are connected with your memories.

clerk1993 on August 16, 2012:

i would like to start to collect some postcard too. but not really travel much.

dancerene on August 07, 2012:

I collect postcards too but I don't send them to myself, I just keep them empty as a remembrance of a particular place I visited. However, now with digital cameras, I am buying less postcards. I only buy postcards of places where I can't take photographs, like inside a cathedral or concert hall, etc.

intermarks on July 31, 2012:

I have collected less than 100 of postcards.

ussiandiram on July 30, 2012:

i used to collect postcards

WriterJanis2 on July 22, 2012:

I used to do this. I really should start again.

Michey LM on July 20, 2012:

I collected postcards as a kid.... this means long time ago... but even know I collect what look interesting and artistic...

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on July 20, 2012:

Thanks for sharing, it's a great idea. I do not travel so I have never collected postcards from around the world. Happy postcard saving, great hobby.

Michelle from Central Ohio, USA on July 18, 2012:

I love postcards and so, naturally, I was drawn to your lens. Telling your personal collecting story puts a unique spin on it too. Rocket Squid Greeter tip: Read through your intro module. You have a misspelling or two and an error in tense, "But the postcard...live and breath the local."

Monica Lobenstein from Western Wisconsin on July 16, 2012:

I have my own collection and I have inherited my mother's and my great aunt's collection so there's find history there. It's fun and the variety of cards is so great you don't get tired of looking through them.

Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on July 15, 2012:

I have collected postcards for a couple years. I've used postcrossing.com to exchange cards. My favorite card sent to me was an extra wide card of Bran Castle - aka Dracula's Castle in Romania, from someone who lived near it.

I had a hard time finding local postcards, but was finally able to find them in a local University's bookstore.

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