What is Postcrossing? | Guest post by Charlotte

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? (Cards from your Auntie Maud containing your yearly £5 birthday cheque don’t count).

I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I received anything handwritten. The chances of receiving a handwritten letter these days is virtually none, but the excitement and anticipation it brings when it happens, is immense!

Just knowing that someone has taken the time to pick up a pen and paper, written down their thoughts, fears, loves and good wishes and then having to get up, go outside to buy a stamp and then walk to a postbox shows me that I must be important enough in their eyes for them to do this for me, fills me with such joy.

To celebrate National Penpal Day on the 1st June, I thought I’d share my love of receiving the almost daily ‘Snail Mail’ through the fabulous Postcrossing project.

About 20 months ago, I started looking into getting a pen pal.  The only thing is, I don’t really have the patience or the time to sit and write long letters; so when researching into getting a pen pal, I stumbled upon the Postcrossing project it was absolutely perfect for me. Postcrossing is pen palling, but instead of writing letters, you write postcards!

The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free.(Well, almost free)! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random ‘Postcrosser’ from somewhere in the world.

Postcrossing started in 2005 by Paulo Magalhães, a Portuguese gentleman who just wanted to share his love for sending and receiving hand written mail and has grown to having almost 700,000 registered users in 209 countries and these members, in turn have exchanged a massive 41 million postcards!

So that means the postcards have travelled 209,003,638,679 km (or 129,868,840,098 miles) — that’s 5,215,312 laps around the earth or 271,854 return trips to the moon or 698 return trips to the sun!

How does it work?

Well you register your details and set up a profile page.

Request an address from the website.

Write the postcard and mail the postcard to the address.

When the postcard arrives, you will be notified.

Wait to receive a postcard.

When the postcard arrives, register the received postcard in the system.

It is that easy!

In the 20 months I have been a member of the project, I have received and sent around 450 postcards from over 50 different countries, and I love it!

I really enjoy reading all the profiles and choosing the best card for them. I must admit, I have a massive love for buying postcards everywhere I go now and probably have over 200 in stock, just so I have the perfect card to post. I decorate each one with fun stickers to make then even more personal.

My favourite thing about Postcrossing is, seeing the beautiful stamps from all around the world. I never knew how interesting and fun stamps were until I started the project.

Postcrossing is such a great way of communicating and you can learn so much about other people’s lives and cultures as well as receiving some awesome postcards all for the cost of a postcard and the £1.17 international postage, so why not get Postcrossing?