Before Instagram there were postcards – “Don’t forget to send me a postcard.” We still send postcards, shopping for them, in my case sketching them, and then mailing them, is a way to interact with the culture, usually a pleasurable experience. Our friend Mary did have a challenge in Paris, but I chock that up to a rogue event, and not the norm. Of course there is also the observation made by the receptionist at a hotel in Provence, “Parisians do not know how to smile.” Still over the years our experiences have be pleasurable.
How about a new way for postcards to enhance capturing the moment? This idea was planted by Sky Sherman – Travel writer & Editor. Here is the article: Why You Should Always Mail Yourself a Postcard from Food & Wine Magazine.
First a bit of background. Post cards are a product of the 1870’s with photo postcards first introduced in the 1890’s. They became a worldwide sensation; thirty-seven million purchased in Germany in 1875, in 1876 England it was seventy-nine million. In France, after much resistance, postcards were introduced on 15 January 1873, in the first week 7,412,700 were sold. Postcard albums were ubiquitous in most homes, treasured along with the family Bible. They were criticized and demonized much like Instagram and Texting; people would forget how to write. Today postcards still have an allure different than selfies or snapshots, if you don’t send them I encourage you to start.
We travelsketchers can make our own postcards, a truly special missive to send to a friend; an actual work of art. Blank postcards on heavy watercolor paper are available from multiple sources. They are blank on one side for sketching, and pre printed for address and message on the reverse. I often just use the pads for sketches I never intend to send as the 4” x 6” size is quite convenient.
Sky Sherman sparked an idea. She says that when they travel they always send a postcard to themselves, not just friends and family. She describes the benefits of learning about the postal system, meeting locals, and even ending up with a bit of a stamp collection.
My new idea is to start sending a postcard sketch to myself. It will be a different memory than a sketchbook since it will have a local stamp, postmark and a bit of the wear that comes from mail-handling. I envision an album, or framed collection in the future. We have found that we usually get home before many of our friends have received the cards we sent them while on the trip, if that holds true for the ones we send ourselves then we will get a souvenir in the mail a few days after we are home.
I think a sketch like this would be a nice memento of a wonderful meal.
Now, if we can just start traveling again… in the meantime I am thinking that some folks who are tired of all this crazy 2020 might appreciate a postcard from Mukilteo, I know I would if someone sent me a sketch, so I might give it a go.
Keep traveling as you can, and always keep sketching.
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