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On a heat afternoon at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan this September, I discovered myself with two hours to spare earlier than my flight again. It had taken me three tries to get to this nationwide park, which is just accessible by boat or sea aircraft, and I used to be worn out from my morning hike. As an alternative of venturing out once more, I purchased a beer from the camp retailer, settled in at a plastic desk outdoors and began writing postcards.

At a time after I can (and have) FaceTimed my mother from a volcano in Hawaii, I’m nonetheless a author of postcards. Anytime I cease someplace notable, I’m certain to ship one to my mother, my dad, my nieces and nephews, a handful of mates and till she died in 2019, my grandmother. I began doing this in 2017 after I spent the summer season going to the 18 states I hadn’t been to but. The behavior caught, for 2 causes.

A visitor’s guide to America’s 63 national parks

First, for me: It forces me to take a break from no matter I’m doing on the typically weeks-long street journeys I take. The act of selecting out postcards, sitting down to jot down a message, tackle them and affix a stamp, is usually sufficient to remind me to not rush from one spot to the subsequent. And whereas I don’t typically bear in mind what I wrote, I can nonetheless see a number of the writing areas: a bar in Hilo, Hawaii, a desk at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Walt Disney World,picnic tables on the Indiana Dunes Nationwide Park and Bandelier Nationwide Monument. There’s additionally the ice cream store whose title I can’t recall, in a city I don’t bear in mind, although I can nonetheless really feel the tender fur of the proprietor’s cattle canine, partially as a result of a number of weeks later, I adopted a cattle canine of my very own from a shelter in Idaho.

Second, it’s a simple option to make somebody’s day, as a result of whereas that precise picture may need been printed on hundreds of postcards and ship to hundreds of individuals, those I’m sending are coming from one individual solely: me. As an alternative of an Instagram or Fb publish, a bodily postcard is private. The be aware could be dashed off, a pithy “hideous, clearly!” on one from Lake Placid depicting Whiteface Mountain at peak foliage, or honest, even a bit of unhappy, like about lacking New Jersey’s blueberry season regardless of being at a pool in Las Vegas.

I’m writing travel journals again. This is how you can make one, too.

I had time to consider what I wished to say on these postcards from Isle Royale, one thing that may seize each the frustration of what number of occasions I’d tried to get there and the elation of that journey being virtually full; I settled on a brief and pithy: “I made it!”

Every week later, my buddy Katherine despatched me an image of the postcard after it arrived at her residence. “I discover them intimate and one of many kindest acts,” she advised me. “Who takes time to jot down? Purchase stamps?” A minimum of for me, it’s the identical one that nonetheless drives a stick-shift automotive: each experiences are extra tactile than their digital counterparts, and make the act of touring a extra hands-on journey.


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