In an era of social media, instant texts, and video chatting, long gone are the days when people around the world spent hours with pen and paper pouring out their thoughts and experiences, writing letters to friends and family. Writing letters is truly a dying art. Still, even in this time of constant communication, there is an undeniable pleasure in receiving a handwritten letter, and most especially, a love letter.
Many of us may remember our first love letters. In the US they often went something like this:
You are nice. I like you. Do you like me?
Circle YES or NO.
In those days, we relied upon the good will of our classmates for delivering love letters. As we grew older, we became a bit more sophisticated, and graduated to envelopes, stamps and the mail. In those days, the arrival of the mail carrier was anticipated each day.
Today, just as letter writing has nearly vanished, letter delivery is a fading industry. Little by little, online orders and package delivery is taking over the shipping and delivery business. Nonetheless, there are still more than 8 million post workers around the world. They may look a little different from country to country, but they are still ready and available for delivering love letters.
So make a little magic. Spread a little joy. Put a smile on someone’s face, no matter where they are in the world. Write a love letter, and know that no matter where your loved ones may be, postal workers around the world will deliver your love letters!
African Love Letters:
"My dearest, sweetest, most magnificent, paragon of beauty, I hope this letter finds you in a current state of sound body and mind.
"My principal reason for writing this epistle is to gravitate your mind towards an issue that has been troubling my soul.
"Even as I put pen to paper, my adrenalin is ascending on the Richter scale, my temperature is rising, the mirror in my eyes have only your divine reflection, the wind vane of my mind is pointing north, south and east at the same time.
Nigerian Gradeschool Love Letter, reprinted from BBC World News, Africa
Mossel Bay, South Africa
In 1500, Portuguese explorer Pedro de Ataide left an important letter in a shoe underneath a Milkwood Tree in Mossel Bay in South Africa. A year later, in 1501, that letter was discovered by another Portuguese explorer en route to India - Joao da Nova. Nova brought the letter with him on his voyage, and so began one of the earliest examples of a post office. Portuguese sailors would leave letters in the shoe, and other sailors travelling between India and Europe or vice versa would bring them to their destination.
Today, there is a small statue of a boot to commemorate this rudimentary post office. The tree behind, known as The Post Office Tree, is believed to be the same tree that was there when Pedro de Ataide posted his first letter.
James at Worldwide Shopping Guide
Pictured below: Nigerian Post, by By satanoid from Austin, TX, USA via Wikimedia Commons, Kigoma, Tanzania Post, by Michael Branz / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons, and Maputo Mozambique Post, by Rick McCharles from Calgary, Canada, via Wikimedia Commons
Asian Love Letters
Da Hai: Ocean, I hope no-one will get this bottle, as we just wish you can hear our voice, and get your blessing.
‘Today is the Chinese Valentine’s Day, we pray that our relationship will last forever and we will have a long happy life together.
‘We declare our love and that we are the only one in each other’s life.
Quoted from Daily Mail UK.
Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan
If there is one thing Japan does well is their ability to turn mundane things into incredibly cute items. Like this post box that I spotted in Ueno Park just outside the zoo in Tokyo, Japan. This box was painted like a panda to commemorate the arrival of new pandas to the Ueno Zoo in 2011. However, turns out, this box is one of many decorated postboxes that can be found throughout the country. Some are to commemorate important events, a few are for tourists, and others are just for fun. Regardless of how they came to be, they all delight those who stumble upon one in their quest to send mail.
Adelina, at Pack Me Too
Port Blair, Andaman Islands, India
This really was the size of the letterbox in Port Blair, Andaman Islands, India! It belongs to the India Post which is a government-owned postal service that has over 150,000 post offices in India! The Andaman Islands are in the middle of nowhere. They are owned by India, but closer to Thailand, and really should be in a completely different time zone! This means for many locals they get up early to work due to the sun rising so early, and rely on the postal service to keep in touch and send letters to their relatives and friends in mainland India.
Craig, at No Real Plan
Himachal Pradesh, India
The photo is that of Spiti valley in the Kaza district of Himachal Pradesh in India. Although it's a green and quiet valley in the lap of Himalayas,this place is one of the largest district in the state and has a good means of communication to connect to other regions of the country.
Communication to people living in other areas is mostly done through the postal service zone available in the district.There are few courier services offered in the area to send gifts and other stuffs to near and dear ones but people mostly prefer the original and the cheapest means of communication i.e delivering letters and gifts through the red coloured post boxes for domestic purposes.
Couriers are best opted to communicate with international destinations so the service is normally available in all business days. With the Valentine's day nearing,lovers and young romantic couples can rely on these services to communicate and send gifts and parcels to their loved ones.
Somnath at Travel Crusade
Pictured below, China Post, by Michael Pham from Melbourne, Australia; cropped by uploader Mr.choppers via Wikimedia Commons, Floating Post Office, India, by Mike Prince, Singapore Central Post Office byWilliam Cho (Singapore Post Headquarters) via Wikimedia Commons, Saigon, Central Post Office byPrenn via Wikimedia Commons
South American Love Letters
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
Quoted from Odyssey Online.
South American Post
Gypsy With a Day Job apologizes to our collaborators on this post for our tracking error and accepting the same location twice. We appreciate both contributions, and thus have shared both.
This tiny post office is in Isla Negra in Chile, which is the property where one of the former homes of poet Pablo Neruda is located. He lived here with his third wife Matilde until he died. His house is open for tours and includes a room devoted to his shell collection.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers at Travels With Carole
Floreana Island in The Galapagos
Floreana Island in The Galapagos is home to a unique Post Office. Back in the 19th century the whalers put a barrel in place for mail drops. Passing ships would pick up the mail and deliver it to the nearest port. Today, the barrel serves as a unique way of getting your postcards back home to loved ones.
Visitors grab a handful of cards flick through and find cards that they can hand deliver themselves. We picked up one for Las Vegas as the USA was our next stop. And Julie left one for her Mum in the UK. Within just three weeks it was hand delivered by a dishy chap who lived nearby. Bonus!
Steve Ford & Julie Jane, 2checkingout
Post Office Bay, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Post Office Bay is on Floreana Island in the Galapagos. While not a “traditional” post office, this barrel and collection of driftwood has been connecting loved ones since the 1700’s. It was originally used by sailors who would leave letters on the island in hopes that other sailors would pick them up and deliver them (assuming they traveled nearby the intended recipient). It is the same system today, where travelers will leave their letters and pick up others to deliver when they get home.
Vy Tran at 7 Crossroads
Also pictured below Buenos Aires Central Post Office by Mpb eu via Wikimedia Commons, and the Post Office at Ushuaia, the End of the World, Argentina, by Albano Azarian via Wikimedia Commons.
Oceania Love Letters
“It astonishes me with that tobacco hair and those tangled black eyelashes that you do not have brown eyes. Your eyes … are cool-coloured, sort of air force blue-grey, and strangely unreflecting. You slide them away from most things and look at people through your thick eyelids, under your hair, your eyebrows and your lashes. You look at mouths more than eyes. Is it because you hate to look up? It is very shy and graceful and tantalising, as well you know.”
Quoted from Milligram Journal
Wellington New Zealand Post Office
Pretty much all post offices in New Zealand look like this. They’re smallish and easily spotted from afar. Parcel delivery is straightforward and stamps, as of 2017, cost a $1.00.
Priority mail and parcels enjoy delivery six days a week. Standard mail is five days a week, sometimes six. The post office aims to deliver most mail within three working days.
Mailboxes in the city are usually modern looking and almost all of them say, "No Circulars" or "No Junk Mail".
Scott and Hayley at International Hot Dish
Also picture below, Australian Post, by By Josh Parris at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons, Mattinbgn via Wikimedia Commons, Mattinbgn via Wikimedia Commons.
European Love Letters
No more to you at this present,mine own darling, for lack of time, but that I would you were in mine arms, or I in yours, for I think it long since I kissed you.
Written after the killing of a hart, at eleven of the clock, minding, with God’s grace, to-morrow, mightily timely, to kill another, by the hand which, I trust, shortly shall be yours.
Quoted from the Anne Boleyn Files.
This post box is situated in front of one of the entrances of the Archiepiscopal Palace of Braga, which has housed Braga's Public Library since 1930. It's in the heart of the city's old town area, a beautiful neighbourhood to walk through. As a keen travel photographer, I love including post boxes as a focal point and source of colour in my images and found this one provided a striking contrast to the warm honey-coloured stone. On the subject of mail, I love to send letters, cards and postcards during my travels -- sending and receiving real "snail mail" is such a pleasure in this era of emails and phone messages.
Kavita Favelle Kavey Eats
Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
This tiny post box is set into a stone wall in a village in the Vale of Glamorgan, a rural area to the west of Wales' capital, Cardiff. It dates from some time in the late 19th century - the letters VR at the top stand for Victoria Regina, i.e. Queen Victoria. The note on the front gives collection times in both English and Welsh, as do all official notices in Wales.
The post is collected from the box each weekday at 4pm. There is no post office in the village, and as you can see, the opening in the box is only wide enough to take letters. So the 19th century postbox doesn’t really cater for the 21st century customer, but you can bet the people in the village would fight to keep it if there was ever a chance of it being removed.
David, of Delve Into Wales
Also pictured below, Deutsch Post, Dusseldorf, Germany, Rural Ireland Post Box, by Gypsy With a Day Job, and Old Ukraine Post Office by Arne Hückelheim, via Wikimedia Commons
North American Love Letters
Happy Birthday Princess,We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me.You influence me for the better. You're the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess.
Quoted from the Country Living.
North American Post
Kailua, Oahu - Hawaii
In the town of Kailua in Oahu, Hawaii, a lot of the residents have customised their personal mailboxes! Being a Hawaii, a lot of them were ocean themed, with sea turtles, waves, a couple were even mounted to surfboards! I thought it was a nice touch that on one of them, they had left a greeting for their mailman, I hope it makes him (or her) smile every morning they see it! These type of mailboxes are used for the regular 'USPS (United States Postal Service)' mail, each house has their own and letters, small packages and newspapers are left inside them. There is a small flag on the right hand side, where residents can send outgoing mail from their personal box (rather than go to a post office) by raising the flag to alert the mailman that there is outgoing mail!
Kylie Neuhaus at Between England and Iowa
Post a Nut, Molokai (Hawaii)
Ever wanted to send a coconut to your loved ones? Well, then you should visit Molokai (Hawaii). The mission of the one and only post office on this small island is to send the Aloha Spirit via coconuts around the world. They check every coconut for bugs before they send them out - so they make sure your special gift will arrive at the destination. They usually have a collection of coconuts there. You just have to pick one and put the address on. If you are a creative one, use the pens and draw something on the coconut to give it an individual touch. If you don't want to embarrass yourself, bring your coconut to the lady at the bookshop in Kaunakakai - she will handle the colourful design for you. This post office is a very special place on this small Hawaiian island.
Nate, at Unbridled
Black Rock City Post Office - Black Rock City, Nevada, USA
Every year in the Black Rock desert three hours away from Reno, Nevada, a city emerges from the dust. Black Rock City is home to Burning Man, the annual community and arts festival which welcomes over 70,000 people from all around the world. The city exists only for a week but it has everything most cities do — including city planning, emergency services, sanitary infrastructure, an airport, AND even a post office. The Black Rock City Post Office is fully functioning and you’re able to send mail out of BRC in the form of postcard art and letters - the stamps used are all donated, and each piece of mail is stamped with a Black Rock City watermark. All mail is collected and sent out on the last day through the post office in the neighboring town of Gerlach. Receiving mail is also possible - senders just have to make sure their mailing labels are as accurate as possible with the following details: (Person/Camp Name, Address on playa, Intersection), Burning Man, P.O.Box 149 Gerlach NV 89412-0149. While I’ve yet to receive something on playa, I did send a postcard out to my mom in India which she was pleasantly surprised to receive a couple of weeks later!
Christabel, at Wheres Bel?
Whilst living in Toronto Canada I would often see these bright colourful post boxes. I found them quite fun and couldn’t resist taking some photographs.
When posting mail in Canada you would need to buy the correct stamps or visit a post office. The cost of posting will depend on the destination, such as within Canada or international. It will also depend on the weight of the letter, such as up to 30 grams, between 30 grams and 50 grams, and there are prices for heavier letters as well as parcels. There are also options to get proof of delivery such as a signature and insurance in case of loss or damage.
To find out more about posting in Canada head to www.canadapost.ca.
Mike at Travel and Destinations
The United States
The United States Postal Service was once the largest civilian employer in the country, with over 700,00 workers, although those numbers have decreased in recent years. Currently, there are around 550,000 US Postal Workers, and delivering to every single address in the country on a daily basis is still possible. At less than half a dollar for a letter stamp, it is still the best bargain in the world for customers. A love letter, or any letter for that matter, can go from Miami to Fairbanks, in 3 days, for less than a cup of coffee!
FoxyRoxyK at Gypsy With a Day Job
Write a Love Letter!!
‘…Susie, forgive me Darling, for every word I say – my heart is full of you, none other than you is in my thoughts, yet when I seek to say to you something not for the world, words fail me. If you were here – and Oh that you were, my Susie, we need not take at all, our eyes would whisper for us, and your hand fast in mine…’
Quoted from The Culture Trip
The idea of sitting down with a pen and paper may seem daunting when a keyboard is more your style. But we assure you, a hand-written love letter will mean the world to your dear one!! Valentine's Day may come and go, but this will remain true.
We also assure you, that where ever they may live or wander, there are workers around the world ready to get your love letters into the hands of your intended, even to the bottom of the earth, on Antarctica, or the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
We would like to thank all of the fabulous travel bloggers who contributed to this article! We love them, and hope that you will check out their websites. You may fall in love too.
Grand Canyon Delivery by Elf (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons. Prot Lockroy, Antarctica Post Office by Apcbg at from Wikimedia Commons.
Cover picture courtesy of Sherman Yang/Flickr Creative Commons.