In a world where thumb muscles are huge because of texting and email is as accessible as the phone in your pocket, not many people take the time to write actual letters anymore. It’s rare to find a handwritten note among the bills and junk mail in your mailbox. But let’s face it, if you do receive something personal, doesn’t it just brighten your whole day? Give you a smile and maybe a spring in your step? Writing a note doesn’t have to take long and you’ll surely brighten someone else’s day. Traveling in your RV is a perfect time to pick up the lost art of letting writing.
Postcards are an ideal way to start writing. No need to find an envelope and paper, just write on one side and attach the stamp. And while you’re traveling, postcards are relatively easy to find. They are inexpensive and the postage is also less than what is required for a first class letter. Plus, there’s not much space to write. This is perfect, since you might already think you don’t have the time to write a long note; it honestly doesn’t take many sentences to let someone know you’re thinking about them.
What Should I Write?
You may remember being taught how to write an essay: An opening paragraph, three paragraphs with supporting details and then a clincher paragraph that summarizes your main points. A postcard is not the place for an essay, but follow this easy plan for writing your note: A sentence with a greeting or other sentiments of “thoughts of you.” A sentence or two about your current RV adventure and then a sentence or two (potentially questions) about the receiver’s life. Finish with another nice sentiment.
Here’s a sample:
Just dropping you a note to say you’re in my thoughts. We’ve been traveling for 1500 miles and have seen 7 states in 2 weeks. My favorite museum exhibit is shown on the front of this card. I saw pictures on Facebook of your son’s graduation. You must be so proud! Can’t wait to catch up when we get back.
Or another idea:
When I saw this mountain covered in snow, I thought of you. Do you remember sledding when our families went on vacation that one winter so long ago? We had so much fun! I’m sorry to hear of your father’s accident. When we get back, I’d like to come for a visit.
See? Not at all hard or long. There are not a ton of details, but it’s enough to let the addressee know that they were in your thoughts. Sign off using “Fondly” or “Your Friend” or even “Love.”
To Whom Should I Write?
Of course you can write to children, grandchildren, siblings or parents, but also think outside the box. Maybe it’s an elderly neighbor who was recently widowed or a single adult who is an only child and doesn’t have much family or a co-worker’s child that is struggling with illness. Sometimes those who aren’t family are the ones who appreciate the pick-me-up the most.
Making It Easy
When starting a new habit, you want to make it as easy as you can or it will be hard to keep up with it. The best way to do this is to gather the necessary supplies. Purchase postcard stamps before you travel and gather your address book, if you still use one. Put these things in a gallon-sized storage bag or small box or drawer to keep everything together in one place. If you don’t have an address book, search on a site like whitepages.com to find the addresses you’ll need. If you think you’ll write to a person again, save yourself the hassle of looking it back up and create your own address book. When I receive Christmas cards, I cut out the return address label and just tape it into a small notebook. Then I can access those addresses easily. You might want to purchase postcards ahead of time, but my bet is that you’ll want to get some along the way. Just add them to your stash for when you get a minute to write.
Don’t forget the final step of actually mailing the postcard. I’m sure there are many letters that have gone unsent because a stamp or address has been missing (re-read the above paragraph for how to combat that problem), but there are probably others signed, sealed and yet undelivered. We all know those USPS blue mailboxes have been deemed relics like a telephone booth. If you don’t know where the nearest post office is located, most gift shops or campsite offices will mail your postcard for you.
One Final Note
A previous post on this blog talked about souvenirs and making your memories with a consistent collection of some sort. It’s almost a certainty that you can find someone to whom you can mail a letter, but if you can’t or if you’d prefer to preserve your own memories, mail yourself a postcard. Include something from each of the senses — remember them from Kindergarten? What did you see? Hear? Taste? Touch? Smell? A few sentences will help you relive your precious memories.
Go Ahead. Make Someone Smile. I Dare You.
Get organized with your supplies and compose a few sentences. Share the scenic sights you’re privileged to see and bring some cheer to a family member or friend. While you’re on the road (or at home for that matter), it doesn’t take long to send a note.