Wish You Were Here

Today I got a postcard from abroad!   So what? you may think.

So absolutely fantastic that I did an impromptu jig in the hallway when I picked it up before reverently placing it in a prominent position so that I could look at it and admire it for a few more days.

Ronda

Do you remember how exciting it was to receive a postcard in the days when people sent you postcards?  Those mountain views, seascapes, hotels with the X placed just where the sender’s room was?  The whiff of abroad that unsettled you as you sweltered in a stuffy office or maybe dreamed in your kitchen or garage as the evenings grew shorter and the winter light faded?  You remember it now?

Japan
Mount Fuji, Japan

Next time you’re away from home, put away your smartphone, pack up the tablet, venture out and into the touristy gift shops and buy some postcards to send to your friends  Postcards are physical things, things you hold, read and re-read, pass along to friends to read; they give rise to conversations “So-and-so is in Venice this week.  I’ve had a card”.  “Oh, does (s)he like it?” and so on.  A whole conversation opens up in which you discuss former holidays, your bucket-list of places to see, the food you ate, the weather (always good) and how the children loved it.  You don’t need to look down at your phone to check anything, it’s on the card, as is the view, not a blurred selfie taken and then hastily dispatched to all and sundry.

Russia
Russia

You can’t store the postcard in your Inbox only to have it deleted after the set time (in my case 30 days), you can’t Tweet it, upload it to Facebook, Instagram it or save it to your computer. But you can be cheered by it every time you look at it and think that someone has thought about you enough to go out and buy a card, then a stamp, then find a Post Office in which to post it. I know sometimes the shop will sell stamps and take them for posting, but not always.

CUBA
Cuba

So, what sort of Postcard are you going to send?  One of those innuendo-laden Donald McGill cards that used to make everyone laugh, even the Vicar on a good day? Or a view of the sea/sand/mountains?  A donkey, Flamenco dancer, famous painting, or two fluffy kittens in a basket?  You have to think of the right card for the right person, and as you do, you’ll realise the pleasure it is going to give to whoever receives it, whether it be an aged aunt or a nine-year-old nephew.

Italy
Rome, Italy

Writing and sending postcards means time away from interfacing on Facebook, emailing the office, or poring over selfies of friends out on the town, but isn’t it a great excuse to ditch the technology for an hour or two?

Yorkshire
Haworth, Yorkshire

I don’t mind what you send me.  I just love that lift I get when I receive one, to know I’ve been remembered, and that you have spent time buying, writing and posting me a Wish you Were Here thought.

Beach

Wish You Were Here!

14 thoughts on “Wish You Were Here

  1. Mari, this is a fabulous post. I love both your words and your photos of the postcards. I’ve lately taken to also sending postcards home to myself; it’s a nice surprise that I’ve usually forgotten about until I get home and walk unsuspectingly out to my mailbox one day. It’s a surprise reminder of my travels. It’s also so much fun to receive them from others, but it seems everyone is too busy with all the things you mention to send me any. 😦

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    1. Thank you so much for those words. I really do miss the cards I used to get but it seems even older people today have given up on sending cards. I still do, but only to close family and a few friends who don’t think me odd for doing so. Most people email me on holiday and although it’s good to hear a full story from them, it’s sometimes not as good as that little rectangle of cardboard that gives so much pleasure. I often buy cards just because I like them and I know I will not be able to get that photograph, but when I get home I wonder what to do with them. Your idea I think I will adopt, send one or two to myself!

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  2. I love postcards too and still have a box full that I keep intending to dip into for stories, but there’s never time. Too busy with now. 🙂 🙂 I do regularly send Viveka at My Guilty Pleasures a postcard, as she does me. It’s a lovely thing to do.

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    1. I’m not a voice crying in the wilderness then! So glad to know you feel the same way. I always buy too many but add it to my file on wherever I’ve visited. I had to get rid of a lot when I downsized a few years ago and that was sad, but a couple of hours sitting on the floor going through them brought back some lovely memories.

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  3. I used to collect postcards, both ones I bought myself and ones people sent me, but got rid of them all in a clearout some years back. I can’t now remember the last time I received one – they dried up when I stopped sending them! Tbh, it was always a slog. The only person who really needs to know how I am is my mum and she has an iPad so I can send her daily photos which, as they are of us, i’m sure she prefers. If anyone else is interested, they can wait to read about it on the blog! Which is also a bit of a slog these days, but that’s another story.

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    1. I do emails as well when on holiday, to family mainly, but I don’t send photographs as I never use the IPad for this and have never grasped the technicalities of how to transfer from camera to pad for sending. I have to wait until I return when my familiar desktop takes care of all that. Don’t let anything become a slog. If the blog is beginning to feel that way, take a break from it for a week or two, it’s what I do. It can become trying sometimes, always thinking of what to say and what images to record when out for a walk, or enjoying a visit to another country. Up until recently, I was a professional writer and even today I can’t travel without thinking of markets and how to approach them with ideas. I have to really take myself in hand and I even left the camera back at the hotel on one occasion just so that I could immerse myself in the scenery without having to think about composing for the page.

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      1. You can buy a nifty little connector that attaches your camera card to the iPad and boom! It’s done.

        The trouble with the blog is I really want to do it to keep my personal memories for when I can no longer get about as much. That keeps me going, along with the interaction with others which I enjoy very much. I enjoy the actual writing less these days! Time for a rethink in my approach probably.

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  4. I had one of those gadgets that attached to the IPad and it worked for a few months then I had problems inserting it and rather than possibly corrupt the pictures, I gave up on it.
    Re, not wanting to write so often, just follow your feelings. I’m a great believer in listening to my mind and body and I try to do what they tell me. Mind you, it’s taken me a long time. Since the death of my husband I try to keep telling myself that I only have responsibility for me now and I mustn’t feel guilty about not keeping busy and not being continually occupied (that was my problem). But I’m with you on keeping memories fresh. I’ve embarked on the massive task of digitising all my slides and photographs. I doubt if I’ll ever get it finished because I get so wrapped up in the memories of past events and holidays, but ………… everyone must have a task!

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  5. I still buy postcards … mainly to stick in my scrapbook, but there’s always one I send to my favourite coffee bar to add to their extensive collection. My mother had lots of albums, in which she’d stick any postcard that came to her … some dating back to the 1930s. My cousin has them now.

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    1. Those albums could make a nice article of the “seen through the ages” type. It must be delightful to look through them. I’ve got a collection of Victorian Christmas cards which I love. Unfortunately, the person who gave them to me pulled them out of the album in which they had been lovingly pasted (he wanted to post them to me). It would have been great to have the album plus content together.

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