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.
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.