My Postcrossing adventure began last year when I was just scrolling thru Instagram and I saw a picture of the postcard someone received via Postcrossing. Seeing the stamps and the unique penmanship on the card immediately got me interested because this was something that travelled all the way to the Philippines from another part of the globe. At that moment, I searched what Postcrossing was about and signed up for an account. Summer was fast approaching and I knew that I’d have so much time on my hands so I decided to push through with sending my first batch of postcards. This wasn’t intended to be just a one-time experiment but neither did I expect this to grow into a hobby that would bring so much excitement and learning to my life.
How does Postcrossing work?
“Send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person in the world!” This is what you’d see on postcrossing.com and that’s basically how it works. You request an address from the site, mail the postcard to the address, wait to receive a postcard, then register what you received in the system. Once you sign up for an account, you’ll be asked to create your profile and fill up your “About Me” portion. From the languages that you know to what kind of postcards you want to receive, you can write absolutely anything about yourself here! Your mailing address (Make sure you know your zip code!) will also be asked but don’t worry because this won’t be displayed publicly. You are, however, free to send your address to any user via Direct Swaps. First-time Postcrossers can have 5 postcards travelling at the same time but this number will increase with the more postcards you send! You’ll be given a Postcard ID that you must write on the postcard -- the recipient will need it to register your postcard on the site and confirm that it reached its destination. Once registered, you are eligible to receive a postcard from another user and in line for the next person who requests to send a postcard.
My first postcards traveled to China, Germany, Ukraine, US, and Russia. After being a Postcrosser for more than a year, I feel like I’ve immersed myself in the different worlds that existed apart from my own. Thanks to Postcrossing, the process of give and take and of patiently waiting for something is much more relevant to me now. The message at the back of a postcard is just as valuable as what’s on the front and it is through both sides that I’m able to share what it’s like in my country and get a glimpse of what it’s like in another’s. I didn’t even know a country named Belarus existed, haha! All of my postcards come with a personalized sticker which I ask them to stick on any place they find special or cool. It's my own little way of making my mark all around the world, I say. Most of the time, I receive very well-thought out messages and well-made postcards and I know that the person has carefully read my page. It’s so difficult for me to choose which one is my favorite but for now, I’ll pick the giant citron-shaped one I received from France. Frédérique, the sender, talked about their Fête du Citron and what their Lemon Festival means to him. He hoped that one day I get to see and experience everything there myself. From the usual Postcrossing process, I’ve received 26 postcards but I actually have more than that because of the direct swaps and penpals I made. My penpals are Du Tao from China and Ola from Poland. One time, Du Tao sent me compiled journal entries to describe how her everyday life is like and she even included signatures of her classmates who wanted to say "hi." I learned more about Warsaw, Poland from Ola and she showed me how it was restored to the beautiful city that it was before WW II. She also gave me a Groszy coin, it had the smallest value in their currency but holding it meant good luck.
- Stacey Bellido
Foreword by Victoria Urrutia
*all photos courtesy of Stacey
Visit her Postcrossing profile here.