Ilona Tipp loves postcards.
Some days, there are a dozen cards from around the world waiting in the Exeter, NH, music teacher’s mailbox.
“Postcards are a great way to connect with people spontaneously from around the world, especially if you love getting mail and stamps like I do,” she said.
Tipp belongs to Postcrossing, an online community of people who enjoy exchanging postcards in the mail. She figures she’s exchanged nearly 2,000 cards since discovering the site about a decade ago.
“After I signed up and sent some postcards, I immediately started getting really cool postcards from around the world,” she said. “It’s pretty neat.”
National Card and Letter Writing Month, held each April, calls attention to initiatives like Postcrossing, which was launched 12 years ago by Paulo Magalhães, a postcard enthusiast who manages the site from his home in Portugal.
The site has grown by word of mouth and now boasts 724,000 members around the world who have exchanged more than 46 million postcards.
“It can be fun to send and receive postcards and make unpredictable connections. It might be a college student in Japan or a grandmother in Peru. The surprise element makes it more interesting,” Magalhães said.
There is no fee to become a Postcrossing member, although you must create an account to participate.
Tipp, who also enjoys letter writing, said Postcrossing helps bring back fond memories of her late grandfather, Robert Cort, a postal clerk in Kansas City, MO.
“He’s a blessed memory now. But until he died, I always wrote him letters and postcards,” she said.