post it forward

i've stumbled upon a website which satiates the snail mail geek within me, and that's postcrossing.

apparently, this project designed for postcard enthusiasts has been around since 2004--allowing people to register with a profile for free and then giving them the opportunity to receive a stamped postcard from a random country. once you register, you are given a maximum of five mailing addresses to send a postcard to, each with a unique postcard ID number which will track your postcard and ensure that it was received by the intended recipient. when that person registers your postcard using that ID number, your profile indicates that your postcard has been received, and your mailing address gets released to another user who is instructed to send one your way! it's automated postcard-swapping via the internet!

i think it's a brilliant way to proliferate a hobby which ensures that you get a postcard from abroad. unlike traditional letter-writing/penpalling, you are not obligated to keep writing the same individual. with postcrossing, you send one out, and you get one in return, but from a different user. kinda like "pay it forward", only it's postcards. it is also a clever way to collect postcards while learning about different cultures and countries. not everyone can afford a european tour, so let europe or the rest of the world travel to you--in postcard form, that is!

i recently registered for this site and have noticed that the postcards reach germany quickly, usually under a week's time. to my delight, the very first postcard i received is a gorgeous landscape of an italian locale called varallo sesia. even the stamps are a sight to behold...i especially like the one with the venetian gondola. it's one of my dream destinations!

bellissimo, isn't it?

i'm excited about the postcards i'll be receiving. it costs 90 cents to send a postcard internationally, though. but it's postal therapy for me. :P

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