#StationerySundays (9/6/20) – Postcards from the Edge

Fall in Fort Tryon Park by Claire Sterling

After nearly six months of U.S. travel remaining at a relative standstill, many of us have been forced to rethink our idea of what constitutes a “destination.” Particularly in densely populated urban environments like New York City — where most residents lack access to private space, nature, and a car, and the safety of public transit is questionable — anywhere outside of walking distance has become quite the excursion. Those places “Beyond” that we once took for granted because we could easily get to them now take on a sense of otherness.

But this phenomenon has a flipside: The area to which each of us is now largely confined might be considered a “Great Escape” by someone else. Among employees who do not work at a physical office, Airbnb bookings for long-term stays have been surging in locations that otherwise would be neither tourism magnets nor conveniently located to hubs of activity.

So often, the grass is greener on the other side. Many who are confined to city living have been pining for a standalone residence, a front porch and/or backyard, and a car, while many who are confined to more remote areas have been experiencing overwhelming, unprecedented levels of isolation in the absence of typical ongoing social activities and diversions.

These days, many of our most significant journeys are turning out to be inner ones, but that doesn’t mean postcards are obsolete! Postcards provide an easy yet colorful way to convey a short message to someone who’s on your mind. It’s not just the big cities and major tourist destinations that appear in postcards — even many small towns have local-interest postcards available (if not of the place itself, then of noteworthy attractions nearby).

If you can’t find a postcard of where you live at your pharmacy, grocery store, bookstore, or post office, you can find U.S. vintage photo postcards from Arcadia Publishing’s Postcard History and Postcards of America series.

Custom postcard option from VistaPrint
Custom postcard creation capability from VistaPrint

If you have digital photos you’ve taken of local scenes, another option is to create your own postcard (as I did with the photo at the top of this page). You can upload any image to a postcard template of your choosing, and select from various paper stock, font, and color options with platforms like VistaPrint (left), Zazzle, and Cafe Press.

If nothing else, you may see the area where you live in a new light and unearth some of its formerly hidden charms, both for yourself and for your recipients.

Published by clairesterling

Please see my personal website at clairesterling.com for information about me.

7 thoughts on “#StationerySundays (9/6/20) – Postcards from the Edge

  1. I LOVE the idea of making your own postcards out of photos! Have you thought of doing that as a side hustle? You have soooo many great photos and I bet people would buy them. I know I would!

    I might play around with some of my photos as an Artist Date – it sounds really fun. I don’t take that many pictures, and I’m not all that great at it when I do, but still sounds like a fun thing to try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for that piece of encouragement, April, I really appreciate it! Once in a great while, I toy with the idea of somehow trying to monetize my photos, but have never really pursued it. Perhaps I’ll dip my toe in at some point and see if I get any nibbles. I would love to hear about how your Artist’s Date ends up going and what postcard(s) you come up with from your photos!


  2. That’s really a beautiful photo of Fort Tryon Park, and I can see how it would make a wonderful postcard. Very good idea, especially for those (like you) who are talented photographers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Once upon a time I was a big sender of postcards when I traveled. My approach was to write the address on the right side only as large as it needed to be for the postal people to read it easily. I circled the address and then filled the whole left side of the card and the lower part of the right side with relatively small writing to squeeze in as many words as I could. When it came to postage, especially in a foreign country, I would go to the post office and buy the fanciest stamps I could find. In short, I made a big production out of sending postcards. For better or worse, I haven’t done that in a long time. Good luck with your campaign to keep the art of postcards alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Steve! I can definitely relate…I used to religiously send postcards from most of my vacations too…and also squeezed in as much text as I could! I would also bring home some postcards for my own collection as well. Your photos are really cool, by the way! You could create postcards of your own from those!


      1. By the way, I just noticed that in this StationerySunday post your phrase remaining at a… standstill stands in for the homophonous stationary.

        I’m glad you like my photography. On that score I haven’t been stationary, but have been working at it a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

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