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Blog > A Postcrosser European Tour


Who says Postcrossing is only traveling on your imagination? Postcrosser Felice Hutchings proves it isn’t. She decided that for her 50th birthday, she would do a trip in Europe, and that the stops would be her Postcrossing friends!

It went splendidly well, and we are happy that she shared with us her country hopping adventure in Europe. So here’s how it was in her own words – enjoy it!

When I joined Postcrossing last year, it wasn’t because I wanted to collect postcards. It was always about the people and the words. It was the possibility of the unmet friend. I love to collect vintage cards but the real thrill for me is to make connections with people in places, some of which I know nothing about until I get the card or the address. It’s always exciting to see a new place with all it’s beauty, but the most memorable travel experiences are those about the people I have met along the way.

Over the past year, I became pen pals with four women: Isabelle from Germany, Anya from Denmark, Suzanne from England, and Loona from Estonia. To Isa, I sent my very first postcard and when I came to Germany in December, she organized a Postcrossing meeting in Cologne with 10 others. It was so much fun, and after that we continued to write letters and emails. Then I began to think about planning a trip for my 50th birthday in May. I wanted to do something really special, so I decided to let Postcrossing create my itinerary. It seemed important to visit everyone this trip, even though they were spread across the continent. I started in Paris, one of my favorite places, traveling for 8 days with a good friend from home. On the fifth day, two other good friends arrived to surprise me and stayed for my birthday! Felice, IsabelleThen I took a train to Antwerp and met Isa and her husband Norbert who had driven two hours from Germany to meet me for the afternoon! They picked me up from the train station and we went to explore the old town together. They brought me some delicious chocolates and took me out for a wonderful lunch for by birthday. We walked around and shopped for postcards while Norbert documented the afternoon with camera. Sadly for me, they had to get home to their children so our visit was short but wonderful. I was so happy that they made such an effort to come and see me!

AnyaI flew to Copenhagen to meet Anya. At first it was really strange. Suddenly all the writing became a real live three dimensional encounter and it was awkward for a short time…Oh no, what do we talk about?!? In a short time, we relaxed and discovered our friendship beyond the written word. I am her first American friend and she is my first Thai/Danish friend. We went to Malmo, Sweden for two days, of which my favorite thing was the art museum in the castle. Our last day was in Copenhagen where we spent the evening in Tivoli, a magical amusement park, taking pictures, going on a ride, watching a ballet and a concert and having a wonderful dinner serenaded by very enthusiastic Romanian musicians. Of course there was also postcard shopping and writing. I was so grateful to meet Anya! She is planning to study fashion design in addition to her master sewing degree and since I work for a fashion designer, I have this little dream that one day she will come to Chicago and work for our company! Three days went too fast.

LoonaNext I flew to Tallinn, Estonia, to meet Loona. We spent three days in the city where we took both bus and walking tours and went to a beautiful open air museum. Then we went to the small rural Island of Kihnu for two days with two of her friends, where we: rode bicycles; discovered rare flowers, dead snakes and beautiful birds; ate barbequed meat; were eaten by mosquitos; killed mosquitos; drank beer; drank vodka; laughed a lot and took a million pictures! Back in Tallinn, Loona took me to a rather crusty local bar where I sampled their legendary secret recipe shot called a “Jellyfish”, which one could only be sure contained tequila and hot sauce. Never in a million years (if not for Loona) would I have discovered that bar and tried that drink. In fact, I probably would never have gone to Estonia or the Isle of Kihnu! Although Loona speaks English very well, I am her first American friend and the only one with whom she practices the language. And so, I got to represent America in Estonia to a few people.

I then flew to London to meet Suzanne. She and her husband had kindly offered to fetch me from the airport, an hour’s drive from their hometown of Alton. I sauntered up to passport control with this false sense of confidence. After all, I was entering a land without language barrier. No worries. I was required to provide an address of where I would be staying in England and unfortunately, I had not brought Suzanne’s address as I knew they would be greeting me at the airport. I explained that I was staying with a friend and the next question was: “Have you ever met this friend before?” Oh god. I got that instant flash of doom. “Well, no.” “Have you ever spoken on the phone?” “No.” “How did you meet?” “Postcrossing, a postcard website.” “So you met on the internet…” Suddenly, all that was beautiful and cosmic had been misconstrued as sleazy. I was then drilled with many humiliating personal questions. I gave her Suzanne’s cell and she walked away. When she returned, she said that she spoke with my friend and our stories matched. She let me know that I was a complete idiot for taking the chance of visiting a stranger. She stamped my passport and when I walked up to the baggage claim, my bag was sitting alone as everyone else from my flight had been long since set free. So let this be a warning to all my Postcrossing friends: “Do not attempt this stunt” without an address and the confident story that you are meeting a friend that you have known for years!

SuzanneSuzanne had been very ill for the past year we’d been writing each other. I was worried that my visit could be a challenge to her health, but instead I found her to be feeling relatively fantastic. She was clearly happy to have me there. Her husband, Adrian, had taken a couple of days off work to drive us around! We went to Portsmouth and around Alton, we went to Jane Austen’s house and a few beautiful cemeteries. I met both Adrian and Suzanne’s mother, who were lovely, and had the opportunity to answer the questions of their 17 year old son, George, and his friend about what it was like to live in America. No, we don’t all have a swimming pool, etc. (Oh, television.) I was especially grateful for the home cooked meals which become more of the luxury when traveling for so long. They really went out of their way to make me welcome and I loved staying with them. Once again, we are mutually the first friends of our individual countries. I spent the last 5 days alone, exploring the coast of Cornwall. I sent postcards to myself from each place, offering a story of the day as a kind of travel log.


What I feel is most special about Postcrossing are the random acts of kindness that happen as a result of this project. It is joyful to try and send a stranger something that will make them happy. It is healing to receive these little gifts in the mail box at the end of the day. These friendships I have made are like discovering treasure! I believe there is a reason that we find each other but now it’s just a little easier to find each other anywhere: across countries, oceans and continents. I have many antique postcards from 100 years ago. I always wonder what they would think if they could see us now.

29 comments so far

Blogger, United States of America
Amazing! Such a wonderful idea. Now if Paulo and Anna will start a tour company,... :D
xtlera, Germany
Hello Felica,
nice to see you here again after the meeting in Cologne last December. I am sure you had a great time in Europe :)
Best wishes Anke
Claudia1205, Netherlands
Wow! this is what it is all about: doing something nice to each other. If only by sending a greetingcard or even to cook someone a meal. Love your story, Felice!
Claudia from Holland
roavanvalleia, Netherlands
What a great story. Haha, you give us an idea for a special postcrossingtour, that would be a new hobby for all postcrossers!
dianagracaoliva, Malaysia
this is such an amazing story...just the kind that puts us with a smile on our face :)
Di from Italy
Lori45P, Canada
What an amazing adventure, Felice! Thank you for sharing.
isagv, Germany
It is a pleasure to know Felice! I enjoyed every minute! :-)
glaesmann, Germany
A great idea!
I'm glad that everything turned out so fabulous and that you enjoyed your stay in Europe!
Geminiscp, Portugal
@9teen87: how about :D
Great story, thanks for sharing with us! :)
Postcrossers are the best...
jellybean, Australia
Yes, it is the people we met through postcrossing which makes it such a special hobby, no matter how far away they may be. Isnt it special to be able to visit these friends and feel they arent strangers, but important people in our lives. Thankyou to all postcrossers who make it such a wonderful what where my plans for my 50th birthday, have a few years to plan!!! And Felice, what are your plans for your 55th birthday??
kazinhabueno, Brazil
Wonderful travel!!!! I'm emotional...
MsCookie, United States of America
FIRST: congratulations on your 50th birthday, Felice, and on being able to have taken this wonderful postcrossing inspired journey.........I can feel myself there with you and your postcrossing families/friends as I read your story. :)
SECOND: This spotlight section is probably one of the best ideas I've seen in postcrossing. Now, we ALL get to meet more people each week and dream of one day being in their country and the countries they've visited, making new good friends.
solarts66, United States of America
What a wonderful story and adventure! Thanks so much for sharing your travel journey Felice. What a great idea to treat yourself to a fun trip to Europe meeting your post crossing pen pals.
solarts66, United States of America
chandlerguera, United States of America
Lovely story with great details about your European adventure. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Stephany, Netherlands
Great story maybe about 10 years i'm gonna do the same. It's very inspiring.
willemijn, Netherlands
What a wonderful trip you've made. Thanks for your marvelous story!
freshwater, United States of America
"It is joyful to try and send a stranger something that will make them happy. It is healing to receive these little gifts in the mail box at the end of the day."

This is exactly how I feel about postcrossing, but you put it into words so well....thank you!

Congrats on your 50th birthday, and on planning and carrying out such a wonderful adventure!
zasa, Switzerland
speechless! Just great!
Ninocas, Portugal
Great story!! Thanks for sharing :)
nyassa, United Kingdom
So near and yet so far! You were just up the road from me when you were in Alton! What a great trip and wonderful story.
suzeroo, Canada
I have tears in my eyes!
What a wonderful story!
Many thanks for sharing!
mylifeasadog, Thailand
wow your trip is amazing and when I read all comment.
I'm happy I'm not the only one who have a tear about your wonderful relationship with postcrossers !!

Happy Postcrossers visit :D
Dees, Netherlands
Dear Felice,(dear 'mrs PC')

Wow... isnt this just what it is all about. I read THE SECRET and this whole pc-ing seems the best example!!!
Great you shared with us!
ilsem, Netherlands
Wow, such a great experience! Wonderful story and a great idea!
marites1034, Philippines
wow! that's so cool, Felice. To be able to travel and meet fellow postcrossers..gosh, i'd love to try that. thank you so much for sharing!
kazzamac, United Kingdom
sounds like a great trip wondering if you made it to Scotland
dollart, Finland
Great trip you had had and seen so many great friends and visited great countries. I have also been fortunate to meet postcrossers on my journeys. When i was in Germany i met lovely Kasi0408 and Nane85. We had lovely postcrossing meeting and went shopping postcards.
In Budapest i met Ice-H and Pika001 and her lovely daughter. We went for cafe and wrote postcards.
Meeting these local people on my journeys has given me more value for my travels. You get to learn more about the place with your friends. Postcrossing is fun way to bring people closer to each other.
SonjaIceland, Germany
Such a great story and journey! Just yesterday, I had my own "meeting a internet friend in real life" adventure. It was fantastic.

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