So, folks, in my attempt to take a moderate hiatus from frequent blogging, I’ve been holding out on you: I’ve been sitting on the best incoming mail post of all time for the past few weeks. Before 2017, I had received mail from only three of the world’s continents – Europe, North America, and South America.
And now I can add Antartica to that thrilling list!
If you’re gazing at these adorable penguin postmarks and wishing you too could be so lucky to see them in your mailbox, fear not! Any citizen of the world can request up to two philatelic postal covers per year from the U.S. research station, McMurdo, down south. The entire experience has been utterly magical from start to finish – maybe you’ll join me and try it out yourself?
To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life. – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Every week, I send and receive letters that travel to places I’ve never been–and they end up in the hands of people I’ve never met. If you’re feeling trapped and sad in your comparatively dull little world, there’s nothing I’d suggest more than finding a pen pal or two.
While I remained physically in Massachusetts this week, a beautiful trio of letters sent me on a hand-written journey to Italy, Spain, and Ireland. That’ll have to do until the day that I can randomly jet off to Greenland like Ben Stiller!
It’s very rare that the pen pal community and mainstream news intersect–and yet the recent announcement that US stamp prices will go down by 2 cents come April is undoubtedly the talk of every American snail mailer. It’s easy to see how this might be misinterpreted, at first, as good news. You’d think that the postage drop, if tiny, will make the pen pal lifestyle slightly less pocket-draining and more accessible.
In reality, cheaper stamps are ultimately terrible for a postal system that is already struggling to keep itself afloat financially. Folks, the USPS is amazing! Isn’t it wonderful that we can just fling letters and packages in blue boxes and they will magically travel across the country and around the world?
To put it in unnecessarily overdramatic terms, no post = no pen pals in America. Truly the darkest timeline.
So let’s do what we can and support the postal service, okay? In April, I urge you to help keep our mail system alive by investing in lots of the beautiful new stamps available for 2016–and sending off extra letters to faraway friends.
(Disclaimer: this post is in no way sponsored or paid for by USPS (I wish!)–I just really love stamps. And mail. And pen pals. By this point, though, does that really surprise you?)
How often do you really take the time to appreciate stamps? The sheer number of variations on these basic postal forms of currency that have emerged over the centuries (the first iteration of the modern stamp was released in 1840!) astounds me.
Still, sometimes I’m so distracted by the beautiful mail art my pen pals send me that I hardly notice their postage choices. Not this week!
Today, I’m eager to celebrate recent stamp acquisitions from Germany (pictured above), Norway, North Carolina, and Ireland–as well as some non-stamp-related incoming mail that’s just plain pretty (also pictured above). I couldn’t resist!