Sending postcards is a ritual I have when I travel. I love browsing postcard racks in strange little souvenir shops, hole up in a cosy cafe-bar with a drink and ponder your trip, before crafting your thoughts into a message. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember, and took it to a new level when I was travelling the world in 2001. A friend wanted to follow my journey so asked me to send him one from every place I visited to pin on his wall map. Nowadays, the only mail we seem to receive is our mobile phone bill; sending postcards is rare, but today I stumbled on a heartwarming project celebrating the art of snail mail…
It’s called the Thousand Postcard Project. It all started when a Naomi, an artist, blogger and snail-mail advocate in Australia, was given 1000 unused vintage postcards by her husband and challenged to send them all out. “This is for no other reason or agenda, other than to give them life and spread joy, one letterbox at a time,” she tells me. What a great idea – and what a thoughtful husband!
To give it a personal touch, each postcard has to include an individual story: a funny, touching or surprising moment from her life; a passage or poem from a book she loves; thoughts and goals for the year; maybe even a drawing of some sort… it could be anything, but it has to be meaningful.
The postcards date from between 1900 to 1970, and most reflect American life, advertising hotels and stores, landmarks and movies. Some are classic, others kitsch, some hilariously bad*! The first batch has been sent out, each one numbered (for example 34/1000), so even though they will be scattered around the world, they’ll still represent a cohesive collection. “I like to think about them all belonging to one another and uniting us in some small way across the world.”
If this sounds like something you’d like to discover in your letterbox, she would love to send a postcard to YOU. Snag? There isn’t one. You don’t have to do anything, pay anything, acknowledge receipt or reply. All she asks is that you share the snail-mail love by writing something to somebody else, just to make their day. Want to play? Join in with Naomi’s Thousand Postcard Project here.
(*Disclaimer: Please remember that I can’t guarantee the aesthetic beauty of each postcard – many of them are definitely more kitsch than classic, and some of them are hilariously bad – and each postcard I send will be selected at random. After all, I don’t think I’m up to matching a thousand postcards to a thousand sets of interests or desires. If you are hoping for something from 1905 and instead receive something from 1975, I am sorry. But the mystery is part of the fun, isn’t it? Like a lucky-dip at the school fete…)