Opinion | Brooke: The simple postcard, an antidote to social media malaise
I have a couple of good friends who still send me postcards when they travel. Over the past decade, these two friends are also the only people, at least in my life, who still purchase postcards as an endearing travel tradition.
In 2013, CNN reported that only 16 percent of travelers still buy postcards and that with the waning sales, the postcard has achieved first place on the endangered travel item list. In its heyday, postcards were purchased for the simple pleasure of delighting a loved one with a nice read on the sun porch. The cards were carefully preserved in the thickest of photo albums, so that memories could be locked in and looked back upon, in a tangible way. Postcard photos were thoughtfully designed and represented the character and way of life where one traveled.
In spite of its lost luster with modern travelers, the 35-cent postcard remains the single most cost-effective artwork on the planet. It is an artifact stamped by a former time and place, complete with a photo and originally illustrated with our own handwriting. If your postcard recipient is anything like me, they will be tickled merely by the rawness of hand-written words and signature, in a note addressed to them personally, whether you wrote it from a cliff’s edge or the comfort of your hotel room.
In the modern day, most of us text to communicate, but we still write to remember. We text the items we need to pick up at the store or the address of where to meet. Yet, when we pick up a pen, it’s reserved for something extra special, like letters to Santa and anniversary cards — the things we wouldn’t possibly want to forget over time. Paradoxically, the average traveler spends nearly $145 per day on their trips, yet these experiences are regaled by the same filtered texts and social media posts they could have taken from their own backyard.
If our journey means a bit more than another text reminder to pick up rolls of toilet paper, why not skip the text to tell about it; instead, step it up with a brief hand-written postcard. While we are out on the grandest powder day of our life, the least we could do is to send each friend back, working hard at the office, a solid, tangible reminder that circumvents the zip codes — after all, if we are going to deliver a message that fills them with envy, let’s make it one they can’t possibly delete.
Taryn Brooke is a longtime local living and working in Breckenridge.
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