I have been a member of Postcrossing now for a number of years. Compared to some people, I have a relatively low level of activity: I have sent out 45 postcards and received 47 so far (though that still feels like a lot to me, especially with the price of stamps these days). It’s difficult to gauge just how well-known the project is; it is certainly a niche interest, but one that deserves to be publicised.
I have sent postcards to whole classes of schoolchildren, to experienced travellers, to countries I have barely even heard of before. It’s a really addictive little hobby, and a creative way of finding out first-hand information about different cultures.
Sometimes people offer up information and statistics about their country, or fun facts about their town. Other times people can say barely more than a hello, or can list their favourite hobbies or food. You never know what you are going to receive, which is half the appeal of the project.
As well as the educational benefits, I also enjoy the creative elements. Some people spend just as much time decorating the postcard as they do writing the message (I am one of these people). It’s been really nice to have contact with people who share my love of postal exchange; there really is quite a big community on the Internet, with Postcrossing having over half a million members, and reaching 213 countries.
The only downside, like any mail project, is that you have to be comfortable giving out your address to strangers. This isn’t something I generally like doing, and I imagine one day I will invest in a P.O.Box for that added security.
Postcrossing is free to join and enormous fun: www.postcrossing.com
Swap-bot is another great website for more general mail swaps.
Used Postcrossing before? Know of any other postcard/mail exchange projects? Comment below!