Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "travel-mode"

Reto (aka Acclax) from Switzerland went on a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip in February to a very special place, and wrote back with a report of his adventures. We’re always happy to hear about the special places postcrossers explore and send postcards from in Travel Mode, and Reto’s postcards from the southern tip of the world have started arriving to their destinations today, so this seems like a good occasion to publish this blog post. Enjoy!

South Georgia Post Office

I had the opportunity to travel to the island of South Georgia this February. This island lies around 55° S and 36° W in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean. It’s biggest “village”, Grytviken, is home of the most southern post office of Great Britain, with an official letter box and daily emptying hours. With only three permanent inhabitants in summer (and none in winter), it’s a very popular stop for ships visiting Antarctica.

Together with Postcrossing, I was able to post the first 20 official postcrossing cards with a GS-code to people scattered all over the world. Even though I posted them on March 3rd, they are still on their long journey to its recipients.

Whaler ship

Grytviken once was a Norwegian, later English whaler station. The whalers used every part of the whales: the blubber and meat were rendered to extract the oil, and the bones and meat were turned into fertilizer. Elephant seals were also hunted for their blubber. Around 300 men worked at the station during its heyday, operating during the southern summer from October to March.

Shackeltons grave

You can still see the ruins of the big tanks, working facilities together with some old houses, barracks and a little church. There is also a very interesting museum where you learn a lot about the history of Grytviken and South Georgia. Next to the village is a cemetery where you can visit Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave. In 1914, Shackeleton planned to cross the Antarctic continent, but the Endurance, his ship, was broken by ice in the Weddell Sea in November 1915. To save his men, Shackleton and five of his men went back to South Georgia to get help. Believe it or not, all 28 members of this expedition survived. During my trip, the wreck Endurance was discovered on March 9th on the ground of the Weddell Sea.

Fur seals Young sea elephants

Between the ruins you find fur seals in abundance, they are everywhere, the young ones very curious and extremely close. You also find sea elephants in Grytviken and king penguins.

Mail Box

And of course, there is the post office where I posted twenty cards with the code GS-1 to GS-20. When I asked at the post office, how long it takes to send these cards, I was told, that it could take “some weeks” to be picked up. Hopefully, these cards will have been shipped to the Falkland Islands by now. From there, they are brought to London. From there, they are being distributed to all over the world.

So, if one of you reading this receives a card with the code GS-1 to GS-20, you can be sure that your card had experienced a long, special journey!

PS: Planning to visit a special post office or mailbox? We’d love to hear about it!

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June is just around the corner and around here it feels like summer already! 😍 This is the start of the holiday season in the northern hemisphere and many postcrossers and their families are probably planning or getting ready for their vacations. So it’s time for our yearly reminder that the Inactive State and the Travel Mode are here to help!

If you’re going to be away from your address for a while or simply need a break from Postcrossing, we recommend that you switch your account to inactive a few weeks in advance. You can still send postcards if you’d like, but you won’t be sent any until you’re ready to receive them.

Going on holidays?

In addition to using the Inactive State, if you’re going on holidays somewhere and would like to send postcards from that location, then the Travel Mode is for you! When you get to your travel destination, connect to a local internet connection to set your account to Travel Mode, grab some local postcards and stamps, and enjoy sending them with the right Postcard IDs, maps and statistics.

While you’re using either of these modes (which you can easily switch on and off on your Account Settings), Postcrossing will not give your address to other members. Don’t worry though — we’ll still keep track of all your due postcards, and will send them all to you when you’re home again and your account is back to active.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out through the forum. Enjoy your holidays!

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Andry (aka Andry1961) from Estonia is a special postcrosser: over the past 7 years, he has mailed postcards from over 30 different countries! Before the Travel Mode came along, this was not a very easy task… but his diligence and determination to get those countries on the map were part of the inspiration behind the new feature.

For years, we’ve been fascinated by Andry’s many travels around the world, so this spotlight interview was long overdue — come meet a globetrotting member of the community! :)

How did you discover Postcrossing, and what made you stay?

I have always spent a lot of time in post offices sending postcards to my acquaintances. One day, my girlfriend sent me a link about Postcrossing and told that this might be something that interests me. That was true! It was very interesting to meet other people who shared the same interest to send postcards, to receive them, to choose them, to explore the stamps from different countries and of course the label “par avion”.

When and how did your traveling adventures around the world start?

I have been interested in collectibles since the early days of my teenage years. As the collectors gatherings happened all over the USSR, it led me to travel alone to Riga (Latvia) in 1974 when I was just 13 years old, then to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) in Russia, after that to Chisinau (now part of Moldova) etc. Since those days, I have already visited 115 countries of the 193 member states of the United Nations.

Andry mailing some postcards in East Timor
Andry mailing some postcards in East Timor.
What are your favorite countries so far (if you can choose) and why?

Countries where I want to go back again and again are Australia and USA. To rent a car there and to just drive and stop in places which are really famous or maybe places that I have never heard before. In Estonia, where I live, you can drive 3 hours maximum and then you meet the state border.

One of the most valued travels were to Antarctica (I went there in 2009 with research ship Akademik Ioffe), to Ushuaia (southernmost part of Argentina) and I especially value a travel to Iraq.

We traveled to Iraq in November 2012 with a small group of 13 people from Estonia, going to Bagdad, Samarra, old Mesopotamia, Karbala, Najaf and Basra. We did not come across any other tourists there, but there was a lot to see! The locals asked us to pass on a message: “It is safe here, we are waiting for tourists!”… but just half a year later it was impossible to travel there. I also sent some postcards to postcrossers from there. I was supposed to send one postcard to Israel, a country that you couldn’t even mention in Iraq, much less send a postcard to. I wrote the address as it was, but instead of Israel wrote Ireland as the country name. I guess they figured it out in the post office in Ireland, as some time later the postcard reached its Israeli recipient. Great thanks to them!

The visiting of Iraq post office was also a very special. Although they assured us it was safe, they did not allow us to go anywhere alone without an escort. So, they organized a visit to the post office for the whole group because of my passion, with an escort of 12 soldiers and two local guides. :)

What’s your favourite part about visiting a new country? Is there anything that you do in all the countries you visit?

Visit a post office (and I’ve been doing this since the age of 13), go to a market and if possible, use some form of local public transportation.

Outside a post office in South Georgia
Outside a post office in South Georgia island.
What countries are next on your list?

This year I have plans to visit Andorra, San Marino, Saudi Arabia (If I get the tourist visa) and Columbia. In the first half of the next year I plan to visit 7 African countries located along the gulf of Guinea. And of course, the neighboring countries of Estonia, including attending some meetups nearby.

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Aaaaaaah… June is here at last! 😍 This is the start of the holiday season in the northern hemisphere, when school is out for the summer and many families are packing for their yearly vacations. So it’s time for our regularly scheduled post to remind everyone that the Inactive Status and the new Travel Mode are here to help!

Going on holidays?

If you know you’re going to be away from your address for a while or simply need a break from Postcrossing, we recommend that you switch your account to inactive a few weeks in advance. You can still send postcards if you’d like, but you won’t be sent any until you’re ready to receive them.

In addition to using the Inactive state, if you’re going on holidays somewhere and would like to send postcards from that location, then the Travel Mode is for you! Just set it on for your destination, connect to a local internet connection when you get there, grab some local postcards and stamps, and enjoy sending postcards with the right Postcard IDs, maps and statistics.

While you’re using either of these modes (which you can easily switch on and off on your Account Settings), Postcrossing does not to give your address to other members. Don’t worry though — we’ll still keep track of all your due postcards, and send them all to you when you’re home again and your account is back to active.

Got questions? Feel free to reach out on the comments or through the forum — as always, we’re here to help.

Enjoy your holidays!

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