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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Send me a postcard!

I have a favor to ask of you... but let me explain first.

There are couple travel traditions that are starting to go out of style. New technology à la Iphone or 3-oz security rules and pay-for-luggage policies have made travel more perfunctory and less pleasant. Everything now revolves around efficiency: condensing, organizing, minimizing and streamlining. That is today's travel mantra. Those Up-in-the-Air George Clooney's out there love this, but those traditionalists of the days of yore, like me, miss the unruly, space-gobbling, unplugged simplicity of million-fold maps (instead of GPS-es), paperback books (rather than Kindles) and decks of cards (in place of digital brickbreaker).

Photo from "I Antique Online"

I'll admit that I even have unwarranted nostalgia for some of these traditions that passed before my time, traditions like leather, square-box suitcases adorned with stickers from various countries. (Completely cumbersome and inefficient for frequent travels, but great looking!)

Even from when I was young, however, travel has changed and traditions have diminished. Stewardesses used to give out blankets and pillows to customers, and kids would receive playing cards and little wing pins to wear proudly. Patch collections from different countries or states were common and would be sewn on backpacks or leather jackets (oh the '80s!). Passport stamps were more decorative and culturally representative than the current "Valid for a 30 day stay. Work not permitted" stamps of today.

Picture Source

And postcards. Postcards were my favorite tradition. This tradition hasn't faded away as quickly as some other ones. However, postcards aren't sent as frequently or with as much enthusiasm as they used to be. And of course not- Why send a postcard which takes 1-2 weeks for delivery (assuming it makes it) when you can use your IphoneDroid to post all your vacation pictures and hear everyone's comments of jealousy while you are actually lounging on that beach you are talking about? 

Point is: it pains me that this tradition may no longer exist one day.


I know that all you reading this are in interesting places (I find all places interesting!), and I get really jealous just hearing about them. So, I would like you all to send me postcards from wherever you are. However, by postcard, I just mean:

  1. A digital picture, preferably representative of the place you in which you are living (or visiting) like a tourist.
  2. A short max 3-line message describing the one thing that any tourist to your city needs to see.
  3. Your name (or clever alias)
I will turn the photo you provide into a postcard similar to the one you see below and post it on my blog for everyone to read.

I know that e-postcards are not a new invention. However, I also know that they aren't frequently used... So I have decided to use this modern twist on the tradition to resurrect it, but also to share with everyone the experiences of other everyday tourists out there.

So start sending in your pictures and messages to touristliving (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wish you were here, or as is more often the case, wish I was there!