Monday, January 29, 2007

Village of Fishermen, Brazil

Village of Fishermen, Brazil, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This unique card is from my postcard pal Claudia. She writes that the boats are called "jangodas" in the northeast of Brazil. This is so beautiful and peaceful and exotic to me :) Lovely!

Ferrugem, Garopaba Brazil

Ferrugem, Garopaba Brazil, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Another beautiful card from Claudia in Brazil; the beach looks so inviting and EMPTY! I wonder if this is typical?

Breakwater Lighthouse

Breakwater Lighthouse, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

From a private swap; how unusual to me to see a lighthouse with a big city as a backdrop! Very neat :)

Usina do Gasometro, Brazil

Usina do Gasometro, Brazil, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

received this interesting card from a postcrossings round robin; the sender shares that this used to be used to produced energy...then it was a it is an art museum. Love it!

Usina do Gasometro, Brazil

Usina do Gasometro, Brazil, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

received this interesting card from a postcrossings round robin; the sender shares that this used to be used to produced energy...then it was a it is an art museum. Love it!

Berchtesgadener Land im Winter

An official postcrossing card with such lovely, lovely views of mountains and snow! I simply love these views and would love to visit here someday.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

An official postcrossing card with a beautiful view of Sydney!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Thanks to Kitkat from postcrossings for this lovely, inside peek at Sydney! I love when the cards show something other than the usual tourist destinations :)


Icy, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This beautiful, frosty card is an official postcrossing card from Susanna in Pori, Finland. She tells me that the snow has finally arrived up there; you know things are getting pretty bad when all of your Finnish pals tell you there just hasn't been any snow! If you ever see this...thanks, Susanna!

The Temple of Abu-Sembel

The Temple of Abu-Sembel, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This awesome card comes from my long-lost pal, Hanan :) I was glad to hear from her again after so long! This image is fabulous...look how LARGE those sculptures are! I would love to see this in person some day.

Salmon Glacier, British Columbia

Can you believe....I never really knew what a glacier was until I saw this postcard?!? I feel like a dunce :) But now I know...a glacier is a flowing river of ice! From the card: "The ice actually flows similar to a river with water. It is solid ice that is continually on the move." Awesome! Thanks to my postcard pal Saph!

Princeton University

Princeton University, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This card comes from a private trade; I used to live in New Jersey, although south of Princeton--in Cinnaminson. A nice addition to my university collection.

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This view is really nothing special--I've seen hundreds of cards with better ones :) But what I like about this is that it's one snapshot taken along the 2,000+ mile trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. I'm getting kinda old now so I doubt I could do it....but just imagine...hiking that trail!!! I may start a new collection of postcards from along the trail. If you have any, please let me know!

Common Sense

Common Sense, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

"A Federal Budget to Rebuild Our Communities." The text on this card says that we need to, basically, give up all the military spending and put our dollars into our communities. I don't know what I think of all that -- I'm really ignorant about issues like this. But I do know that I hate how many people are poor, suffering and struggling in this country--and all over the world. But honestly, the ideals themselves did not attract me to this card. The colorful artwork did :) Artwork by Karen Kerney, 1992.

African Proverb

African Proverb, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

"It takes a whole village to raise a child." Not only do I believe this as a mother of three kids with no support system whatsoever around me (except for hubby, that is!), but I also believe this because I believe in the idea of "community" and "family." Love this colorful art card--a very pleasing addition to my collection. Art by Bonnie Acker, cut paper, 1994.

Des Moines Botanical Center

Des Moines Botanical Center, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Another card that clues me in on the fact that I really do enjoy art. See that colorful sculpture that looks like dinosaur bones? I love it! :) That's the reason I selected this card for a private trade :)

Walker's Point

Walker's Point, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Kennebunkport, Maine....President Bush's Estate. When I selected this card for a private trade, I had no idea it was the President's Estate. I just liked it because it was a nice Maine view and I have few to no Maine cards :) So this is an added surprise :)

Sculpture in Downtown Charlottesville VA

I never really thought of myself as one who enjoys--or even appreciates--art. But that must be changing, as I really enjoy postcards like this! Downtown Asheville has similar sculptures; I want to make a postcard of them someday :)

San Fernando Valley

San Fernando Valley, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I have always heard of the "San Fernando Valley," but I had no idea what it truly represented. Now I know this isn't much...but at least it's something! :) From a private trade.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

in Vancouver, Canada; from my postcard pal Tam.

Silent Street, Ipswich, UK

Silent Street, Ipswich, UK, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

From my postcard pal Kerstin; I love this shot! She says she walks by this mailbox (that red thing is a mailbox!) everyday--and that the bookstore you see there is her favorite. What a neat postcard...and such a quaint, historic street!

Rajasthani Man

Rajasthani Man, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

A Rajasthani man in his traditional outfit; thank to Ram!

Life in India

Life in India, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

From my friend Ram; Indian women are beautiful, I think--in art as in life!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Chartres, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

From Marie in Anet, France; Chartres is one place I would love to see in person someday--awe-inspiring!

Dreux, France

Dreux, France, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

From Marie in France; love how the town is built around the walled castle!

French Greetings

French Greetings, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Greetings in French from my penpal Marie in Anet, France. Marie surprised me with a lovely box that included a CD of children's songs in French (wth a beautiful sing-a-long book!), postcards, a recipe book and more! This card was among the treasures :)

Ad postcard for a travel book about Africa!

I love this card! I read the book, Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik by Marie Javins ( and loved it so much that I started to read Marie's blog. There she mentioned that she had a postcard for the book. I asked; she sent! Marvelous! Highly recommended reading...get the book!

Village in the Pyrenees

Village in the Pyrenees, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Lovely card from France; this is actually one my husband received! But his cards go into my collection so it's really for me :)

Aerial view of Oulu, Finland

Aerial view of Oulu, Finland, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I really enjoy this card showing Oulu, which is in North Finland. The sender, Anitta, wrote to tell me how even in Northern Finland they are suffering for a lack of snow! She said she feels for the people in Southern Finland because it is so dark and dreary...and without the snow to brighten things up, people feel really depressed. She is making lifestyle changes in her home to do something about the climate change--conserving energy and all. Maybe if we all work together...if we all do just a little...we can make a difference after all.

Bantay Church, The Philippines

Received this card from Aislinn for an organized group swap; love the architecture of this church.

Philippine Products

Philippine Products, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Another card from Aislinn for the organized swap; I love this one because it showcases local handiwork and gives me a flavor or sense of the country :)

Christmas card from The Philippines

This is the very nice card Aislinn sent with her cards; it is a keeper--will have a place in my postcard album as well! The back of the card tells me that it was printed in the Philippines under license from Hallmark, and that it benefits the L.I.F.E. organization: Leukemic Indigents Fund Endowment, a charitable firm dedicated to saving the lives of poor children with leukemia by way of sustained medical treatment. And this makes it all the more special. :)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More good travel-tale resources

I was interrupted yesterday in my quest to share with you some of my favorite tools for laptop travelling. But I'm back again today...with more!

1. Bill Bryson is one of my favorite writers. Check out his A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail for a really neat tale of his attempt at hiking the whole length of the more than 2,000-mile long Appalachian trail.

2. Next is Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, and his African Diary. As with A Walk in the Woods, both of these books are funny and share with you what life is like in faraway places.

3. Lonely Planet the Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World. This awesome book is an almanac like no others! It gives you the basic facts about each country: population, major languages, etc. But it gives you so much more--large, excellent color photos, things to do to experience the culture, and even things about the country that will surprise you. At right around $20, this book is an awesome deal. We keep it out like a "coffee table book," and so I regularly find my children reading it and looking at the photos.

Will post more blogs and whatnot as I find them.

What would we ever do without the Internet?!? :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Travel blogs, journals, books...good stuff

Let's face it. Postcards are nice...penpals are nice. But they just don't cut it for someone as addicted to the idea of global travel as me (only the idea of global travel because I haven't travelled anywhere).

So I looked for...and am now addicted to...some heavier stuff.

Check them out!

1. Marie's World Tour. Want to know what it's like to travel the world alone, as a single woman? Even if I had twice the gumption, I don't think I could do half the stuff Marie has done...even if someone was with me! Read through her travel journals for an amazing look at life as an intrepid, budget traveler set upon making it around the world without using airplanes. And when you're done, buy her book: Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik about her adventurous travels from southern to northern Africa! (I read it in less than 24 hours; was that good!)

2. The Travellin Ts: Travel journal of a family on their trip around the world; I didn't connect with them as much as I did with Marie, but I still enjoyed reading about their challenges and experiences!

3. Aaron in Africa: Excellent blog with lots of photos of a young man's time in Africa with the Peace Corps. Love it!

Have more to share....but the kiddies just arrived home so it's time to take care of some mommy business!

If you know of an excellent travel blog, journal or book, please let me know!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Postcrossing, group swaps not all they're cracked up to be

When I picked up my postcard collecting hobby again in July, 2006, I was so very excited to find! I was even more excited to find the postcrossing forums, where gazillons of private swaps, tags, trades and robins are made on a daily basis! Later, I discovered, which is more for the artistic among us but still with a decent supply of postcard swaps.
So I swapped.

And I tagged.

And I joined robins.

And I traded.

Then I found organized postcard groups at Yahoo Groups: Postcard Addicts and Friends and Postcard Paradise, to name two. When you join these groups and sign up for them, you're included in your choice of organized swaps held each month.


Rec'd from my sister Maria, who traveled to Japan.

So I swapped and I traded some more!

But then, suddenly, it seemed like I was sending out a WHOLE LOT MORE than I was receiving. Plus, I was joining all sorts of postcrossing tags for fridge magnets and keychains and other touristy items, yet receiving either nothing at all or junk.

I have received homemade things that were falling apart...they were of such awful quality that I myself would have been ashamed to send them...and other stuff that is not what I consider to be of swapping quality: angel "ornaments" made from fuzzballs or foam, yellow-stained magnets that had obviously been sitting on the fridge for a decade or so, magnets made from bottlecaps or stuck to the back of photos of people's cats. Receiving those items seemed even worse than receiving nothing at all.

And yes, I did get lots of nothing!

--No magnet from France
--No magnet from Hungary
--No 10 and 15-card swaps from a few places
--No candy
--No magnet from the UAE
--No tourist items
--No postcards from just about every swapping country I know
--No holiday cards from four different people

It's horrendous.

I'm appalled.

I'm disgusted.

I'm ready to quit altogether and be one of those funky old stodgers who send ONLY after receiving myself.

Yet here's the problem.

Note that this is not my image and I do not send these particular things!
I found the image online simply to represent stuff I have to send :)

I have TONS of postcards to send. And an entire drawerful of tourist-type items like magnets and keychains and booklets and brochures and stickers and yummies and other goodies just begging to be sent!

If I can send one to you...if you'd like to trade...please leave me a comment here to let me know.

I have not completely given up hope yet, but have quit trading on the postcrossing forums, have stopped using swap-bot completely, and--although I'm sorry to say it--am about to stop signing up for organized group swaps as well.