Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Meet Alison (aka alison41) from Cape Town in South Africa 🇿🇦. She’s a very enthusiastic postcrosser in her country, and a fan of books, writing, and mahjong! She has sent us quite a few interesting postal-themed articles over the years, and regularly updates us on the postal situation in her country… so we thought it was time we got to know her a little better. Here she is!

Alison41 Postcrossing spotlight interview
How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

A local magazine “IDEAS”, featured a 2 page article with pictures, about Postcrossing — at the sight of the international stamps and Par Avion stickers, I was immediately interested! I love receiving mail. I’ve been a letter writer my entire life, and had literally dozens of penfriends over the years. I still have one or two, particularly an Australian lady, we still correspond — by now it has been nearly 50 years.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

Apart from being an avid reader, and writing articles for my two blogs (Despatches from Timbuktu and The Booksmith) my other passion is playing Mah Jong. I have been playing the game for nearly 50 years. I learned in Rhodesia, during the early 1970s, and have been playing, and teaching others how to play, ever since. I run a small club in the retirement village where live.

Mahjong play set

I found a couple of Asian themed cards to display next to my Mah Jong set.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

Reading the biographies of the people to whom I’m about to send a card. As a writer, I find people and their lives intensely interesting. So I enjoy reading everyone’s profiles, because here you have insight into their personalities, likes and dislikes.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Alison41 Postcrossing spotlight interview

Blue mailboxes and the red outgoing box at the Big Bay Post Office. The view from the post office balcony cross the bay to Table Mountain is stunning!

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

I love my cat-themed postcards, and have displayed some of my current favourites in front of my work table, so can see and enjoy them daily. I am a huge cat fan!

Alison41 Postcrossing spotlight interview

But apart from my Cat Cards, I’m involved with Gonny in the Netherlands, and we have our own “story card” project, inspired by a post on this blog from September 2017 titled “Postcard Stories”, about a woman who published a book consisting entirely of stories written on postcards. I don’t think we’ll produce our own book, but we’re having a lot of fun!

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

Mexico! If you live in South Africa, then Mexico is a very far way foreign country; ditto Iceland and Greenland.

Have you met any other members in real life?

Regrettably not; South Africa has very few members, and it is a big country. I’d love to attend a local Postcrossing get-together… but I think for that to happen, I’ll have to organise it myself!

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

What else excites me? Going to the theatre; book sales; cats; current affairs; books and reading; my monthly writing group; attending monthly meetings of the University of Third Age – the speakers are usually professional people who come and speak about their field of expertise. I run a monthly Book Club meeting at the local library and I’m always delighted to meet other readers and chat about books.


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Some time ago, our friends at the Royal Philatelic Society of London tweeted about a mail-themed playlist, and we’ve listening to it on repeat ever since, so we wanted to share it with you all.

It’s called “Putting a stamp on it”, and consists of 39 (mostly) golden oldies tunes, all featuring postcards, letters, stamps or mail carrier themes. From Carpenters’ “Please Mr. Postman” to Elvis “Return to Sender”, you’ll find a lot of familiar tunes there… but there’s also a few surprises! Overall, they’re upbeat songs that promise to fill your snail mail moments with happy vibes. We love it!

You can listen to it on the player to the right, or using this link to open it on Spotify.

Are there any songs about mail that you know, that might be missing from this list? Let everyone know in the comments!

PS – While you’re at it, check out this mixtape that postcrosser Peter (aka p22earl) created some years ago, and the Little Mail Carriers visit to the Royal Philatelic Society of London.



March at last! We’ve been anxiously waiting for this day to finally reveal how many postcards for a good cause were sent from Germany 🇩🇪 last December. Are you ready to find out? Here goes…

Send a postcard!
Postcrossers in Germany sent a total of 89,777 postcards during December, raising €8,977.70 for Stiftung Lesen!

Hurray! Congratulations to all postcrossers for this record-breaking achievement! 2018 was the best year yet in all the years we’ve been running the Cards for Literacy campaign with Deutsche Post. We really admire the dedication of our many German members — whether you’ve sent 1 or 100 postcards throughout December, they’re all appreciated.

And of course, every postcard has a sender and a receiver, and they’re both part of each exchange — so thank you to all the recipients as well. Your prompt registration of all these postcards also contributed to this record.

And last but not least, a huge thank you to Deutsche Post, for collaborating with Postcrossing and standing by their commitment to improve literacy in Germany every year. Hurray! 🎉

All that is left to do is for Paulo to run his magic script to choose the winners of this year’s prizes. If you’re in Germany and participated in this campaign, keep an eye on your email — if you won a prize, you’ll receive a notification shortly! 😊


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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

This month, our suggestion invites you to think about those sayings that stuck with you. Here it goes:

In March, share a favorite quote or motto.
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Where to start, right? There are so many good quotes and life mottos that spring to mind, that it’s rather difficult to pick one. And how can you explain to the recipient the significance of that quote to you?

So… I’ll try to go first. In one of his books, American writer Kurt Vonnegut introduces his uncle Alex, who would often complain that human beings rarely noticed when they were happy. So, in order to notice and appreciate those moments, now and then he would interrupt whatever he was doing and exclaim “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is". I liked this idea so much that I adopted it as my own motto and started doing it as well, pausing briefly every so often to acknowledge my own happiness. It’s amazing how many simple moments throughout the day are sources of contentment and gratitude.

What about you? Which quotes have stuck with you, or which words do you try to live by? Share them on the postcards you send out this month!



Filling mailboxes all over the world with postcards fills us up with happiness… but it also has an impact on the planet. We are committed to running Postcrossing in an environmentally friendly way, and have been working on this goal over the years. Today we would like to update you all on our choices and initiatives, and invite you to join in as well!

To run an online platform like Postcrossing, we need servers. Since a few years ago, all our servers are running in a carbon-neutral datacenter in Europe, run by Amazon AWS. Their sustainability program builds wind and solar farms that offset the energy consumption of their data centers, with the long-term goal of having their infrastructure 100% powered by renewable energy. We’ve also switched to a renewable energy provider for our tiny home office.

We believe these are steps in the right direction, but we also wanted to do something more tangible. So a while ago, Postcrossing started to regularly donate to Quercus, a Portuguese non-profit environmental organization whose initiatives include reforestation projects and the nurturing of existing woods. In a country devastated far too often by fires, this cause was dear to our hearts and seemed like a good way to improve on the environment around us.

As part of our donations, we were invited to plant some trees, so last weekend, in a different kind of Postcrossing meeting, we got together with some volunteer postcrossers, rolled up our sleeves and planted a thousand trees in central Portugal. A tiny Postcrossing forest made of two different pine species was born! We took some pictures to show you:

Paulo planting trees Planting trees Planting trees Quercus plantation group photo

The event took place in the historical Pinhal de Leiria, a pine forest created in the 13th century to stop the nearby dunes from advancing inland, and whose trees provided wood for the Portuguese ships that sailed all around the world. Sadly, this forest burned down almost completely in October of 2017, and it is still heartbreaking to walk those woods with their charred tree skeletons… but at least we’re making a tiny difference in its rebirth. Everyone loved the experience, and we plan to repeat this initiative in the coming years.

And finally, there are always choices each one of us can do to make this hobby more eco-friendly. For instance, prefer postcards made with FSC certified paper, or walk/bike to the post office instead of driving there. We’ve compiled a list of green tips on this page, and welcome further ideas on the forum or on the comments below.

We believe that every action counts, so join us in making Postcrossing a greener hobby, one small step (or tree!) at a time.


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