Russel, (aka SonOfBilly) joined Postcrossing when the project was barely starting, and hasn't stopped sending postcards since then... as a result, he is the second user with most postcards sent in New Zealand!
Here is what he had to say to our interview questions:
- How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?
As a young 10 year old boy, an American pen friend sent me a chain letter which promised me 1,000's of postcards if I sent one to the person at the top of the list, put my name at the bottom of the list and sent the chain letter to 5 other people. My Mother said it wouldn't work and guess what, she was right.
I now travel a lot on business, mainly throughout Asia and in particular China. I have been travelling in China now for 31 years. While travelling I have always sent postcards home to my family and extended family.
Back in 2005, not long after Postcrossing started my ISP sent out a newsletter showing interesting sites and "Postcrossing" was one of them. I immediately joined and have been hooked ever since.
I even try to send postcards while I travel. I also stock up on postcards by buying them in China, Hong Kong and have recently discovered a marvelous bookshop in Taipei called Eslite that has a great selection of postcards from around the world.
- Do you have any other interesting hobbies?
Sport plays a dominant part of my lifestyle. I maintain my fitness by walking an hour a day, up to 5 days per week.
Work commitments mean I don't have a lot of spare time but I always find time to keep in regular contact with my old High School friends with regular dinner evenings. I also watch most of my favourite sports on TV such as Rugby, Rugby League, Soccer (or Football as most of the rest of the world knows it), Motorsport (especially WRC, Formula 1, MotoGP & Superbikes) Tour de France, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.
Have been a season ticket holder of the New Zealand Warriors ever since they entered the Australian Rugby League competition back in 1995.
- Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Luke, our "Postie" who delivers our mail, rain, shine or hail 6 days a week.
I buy my stamps from the NZ Post shop in the central shopping street of Auckland called Queen Street. The shop is called "Real Aotearoa". Aotearoa is the maori name for New Zealand and means "Land Of The Long White Cloud". The photo shows my friendly assistant.
This is our very basic letter box.
This is where I post most of my postcards, on the way to work most mornings, outside our local BP petrol station.
- Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
One of my favourite postcards was the very first one I received. It is black and white and shows the streets of Canton in China. Now called Guangzhou, it is the City I would visit the most in China. I enjoy all of the postcards I receive but a couple that stand out were of The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum, the Taichung Jazz Festival, Soccer World Cup 2010 and Finnish Nature.
- What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?
The sending means more than the receiving. I like to try and and match up the receivers requests with my closest equivalents. I enjoy getting a big thank you when the postcard is received and knowing that it is really appreciated.
I also enjoy finding out more information about the postcard I have received. I will try and add more information to the postcard, either when it is scanned or within a couple of weeks of having received the card. If you have sent me a postcard, please check the image to see if the information is correct.
- Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?
I sent 2 postcards to Tuvalu. The first one was posted from China and my guess is that perhaps they didn't realise it was a country, so it never arrived. Located in the Pacific, halfway between Australia and Hawaii they were formerly known as the Ellice Islands. Its population of 10,500 makes it the third-least populous sovereign state in the world, with only Vatican City and Nauru having fewer inhabitants. Because of the low elevation, the islands that make up this nation are threatened by current and future sea level rise.
- Is there anything that you are passionate about?
The only issue that I take a real interest in at the moment is the world wide decline in mailing. The drop globally between 2008 to 2010 was 14% with one notable exception being China which continues to experience growth but from a relatively low base.
Mailing is expected to decline a further 43% by 2020.
For example in New Zealand mail volumes declined 6.7% in 2009. Slowed to a 4.9% reduction in 2010 but at the same time 7,200 new addresses were added to the delivery network bringing the total network to 1.9 million addresses. This meant the Post was delivering 20% less mail per address than they did 3 years ago.