When was the last time you received a postcard? I don’t mean a junk mail postcard touting yard service or a tire sale; I mean a good, old fashioned “Wish You Were Here” postcard with, for instance, a photo of a Florida alligator or the Golden Gate Bridge.
Postcards are losing their place in airport kiosks, souvenir stores or hotel gift shops because so many people, instead, use mobile technology (texting, email and social media sites) to immediately – and virtually- include their loved ones in their family vacations and business travel. I am “old school,” though. I still like choosing the right postcard, applying an intriguing foreign stamp, and then trying to find a mailbox in places as diverse as Dubai or the Dominican Republic so that the card arrives with an authentic, international postmark on it.
The most far flung mailbox I’ve come across was on the uninhabited island of Floreana in the Galapagos along the Pacific equator.
A barrel with a hole sawed in it just beyond the beachhead contained postcards. On it, a handmade sign asked eco-tourists who pass by, having arrived by exploration boats, to look through the barrel and deliver any postcards that happen to be addressed to a location near their home. Now that, fellow travelers, is patience!
I broke my postcard rule though, recently, at the very classy Casa de Campo: the world’s largest (and yet most remote) residential resort near Punta Cana featuring Le Cirque cuisine in its restaurants. I snapped digital photos of the rugged, rocky coastline along the resort’s dramatic “Teeth of the Dog” golf course and took some elegant shots of a polo match taking place on property not too far from the marina, where I couldn’t help but photograph some of the mega yachts and intricate sailboats. Casa de Campo gives every guest a golf cart to traverse its’ 6,000 verdant acres and I made full use of it pursing the sporting life with my lens. I was stopped in my tracks, though, when I arrived at the placid, private beach at twilight. Blasting through a darkening, stormy sky was a blazing, serene sunset on the sea. Slack-jawed, I snapped a photo and, without moving my feet, texted it to a close friend in the north.
Moments later, sitting in the sand, I received a return text from Rev. Mark Inglot, a Catholic pastor, in Michigan. It read: “Such beauty and tranquility! Today here we had tornado warnings. The beauty and fury of ‘Mother Nature’ mirrors the human soul. The image you sent will be in my mind all week. Blessings and sunsets and sunrises, my friend.” Father Mark captioned the texted sunset image with his returned “postcard of words” and enhanced my travel experience in a personal, immeasurable manner…without even needing a stamp!
Michigan-based Travel writer Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted at InviteYourself@aol.com or via www.TravelTattler.com His statewide radio and TV show may be heard weekday mornings in Lansing on 92.1 FM and Fox 47.