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Around the World: One Stamp at a Time

Growing up did any of you have a stamp collection? Back in the days when letter and card writing was more prevalent, my sister Sabina and I each started a stamp collection. As a result of our parents being international school teachers, we grew up in Africa, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Being a TCk, a Third Culture Kid, and attending schools with classmates from 62 nationalities meant the population was transient. You can read about these experiences at:

In order to stay in touch with friends throughout the years, we had penpals all over the world. Whenever an envelope would arrive we carefully ripped the stamp off and saved them. Every once in a while we would take the time to soak the torn off stamps that were stuck on the envelopes. We became pros at this process and all it took was a bowl and some warm water. Once the stamps separated from the envelopes we would air dry the stamps. The next step was to put them in our stamp collection books. I can still remember the pages had about 6 rows of wax paper like slits where we would carefully place the stamps in the slits. To this day I wonder where our stamp collecting books are! Unfortunately, I have a feeling they were given away during one of our many moves.

Another vivid memory is of Sabina and I sitting on the sofa and going through our collections page by page. Since she was older than me, Sabina would often read the names of the countries on the stamps for me. It was as if we were taking a trip around the world, page by page. The different stamps reminded us about special times with friends from the various countries.

Nowadays stamps in the United States are like stickers.

I find them beautiful, practical, and for sure I don’t miss licking a stamp to adhere onto an envelope. Do any of you remember how yucky licking a stamp tasted?

Recently, I was reminded of my stamp collection when I was taking a walk around Alameda, California. Someone had put 4 books filled with stamp collections for grabs. I decided to take one of the books home and enjoy looking through stamps from the 80's.

If only I still had my own collection I would curl up with a cup of tea, admire the stamps page by page,be reminded of my friends, and "take a trip" around the world. I would then make a variety of cards and mail them to friends. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a written card or letter! Is there someone from your past that you want to reconnect with ? Head over to to choose a card that you will send to that someone in your life! And while you are at it have fun choosing which stamp you will adhere to the envelope!

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