Snail Mail It With Postcards
Did you know that the dictionary has a word for postcard collectors? That's right - they are called 'deltiologists', and the hobby of collecting postcards is 'deltiology'. Humans may have largely given up on snail mail, but there are many who still swear by pen and paper. And postcards. You could get the plain Indian ones from your local post office with a bunch of stamps, or pick up handpicked ones that showcase beautiful destinations across the world. For instance, we found postcards of gorgeous vintage posters of places in Italy. The set showcases the retro style of vintage travel posters of the 1920s and 30s, with Art Deco fonts, some made by well-known artists. Check it out here.
For ideas about what to collect and where, check out our writer Sayani Manna's account of her postcards collection here.
ALSO READ: A Brief History of Postcards in India
Plan for Sustainabiity Goals
The undated hardcover planner from Bare is all about sustainability goals, and mindfulness. It will help you take small steps each day to reach your goals and dreams. It may be great for goal planning, and bullet journaling, as well as for memory keeping, and simple scheduling. Inside you will find sustainability tips, motivational quotes, a habit tracker, monthly and weekly planner. We love the recipes and the dedicated space to manifest your dreams and ideas. Check it out here.
William Penn is a brand known for exquisitley crafted diaries, planners and, of course, writing tools like pens. The Pennline Ruled Notebook with laser-engravable Italian leatherette cover is a classic and one of their most popular items. The A5 notebook features a laser engravable leatherette cover available in four colours (you can pick yours - pearl, yellow, coral or green). You can choose from more than 800 graphic options to personalise from and make it your own. Details like the last 16 pages which are plain and bookmark ribbons that match with the engraved graphic colour make it stand out. Check it out here.
Games People Play
Among the things that we love to keep for general time-pass and entertainment while on holiday are books and board games. You could pick up the popular Catan or Cluedo. But we would highly recommend Azul (the word is Portuguese and translates to 'blue'). It was release by Plan B Games in 2017, and is based on those lovely Portuguese tiles - azulejos - that you will find in Goa. In the game, players take turns drafting coloured tiles from suppliers to their player board. You get extra points for specific patterns and completing sets. Talk about aesthetics. Azul was the 2019 UK Games Expo Best Abstract Game People's Choice Winner. Check it out here.
Next up is books - always a great gift for travellers. We have several great ones to choose from. If you want to read about people exploring cities, you will find that almost always the books are by men. So it is time we recognised the 'flâneuse'. Women travelling and exploring, alone. Their stories are always different from the solo male traversing the world, which is why women travel writers have a very distinct narrative. Our list of books by women writers will open up whole new worlds, and change the way you explore different spaces.
We all know that Google Maps has opened a world full of possibilities. And let’s face it, maps today are a lot more accessible than they have ever been in the past. But have you explored the world of conceptual maps? If the magic of maps hasn’t transported you yet, these books are sure to seal the deal. Explore what it means to live in India, one page at a time with this list of books.
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You will find most of these books at independent boosktores such as Rachna Books in Gangtok, Champaca in Bengaluru, and more. And they all deliver across India. Take a look at our list of indie bookstores here.
Reach for the Stars
A star-filled sky is as mysterious as it is sublime. What are we looking at? How far away and from when? How do I tell the Little Dipper from the Big Dipper? Is that Cassiopeia or Orion? Is the moon waxing or waning? Whether you're an occasional backyard stargazer or wouldbe astrophysicist, you'll find pages of useful information in this brilliant notebook. Stunning four-color images from the Hubble and ESA space telescopes are interweaved with ruled pages for your own celestial observations, notes, and star-based wishes.
Check it out here.
RELATED: Stargazing in the Hills
A Poetic Holiday
Any friend on your list who is a budding poet, or has a creative side, will love the Liberty Faber Poetry Diary 2022. Produced in collaboration with high-end London emporium Liberty, this elegant diary showcases the Faber Poetry list. Originally founded in the 1920s, it was shaped by the taste of TS Eliot, who was its guiding light for nearly forty years. Each passing decade has seen it grow with the addition of poets who are arguably the finest of their generation. This full colour hardback A5 size desk diary with a week to a view, comes with poems you can dip into for inspiration. The poets featured in this 2022 edition include Zaffar Kunial, Sylvia Plath, William Shakespeare, WB Yeats, Wendy Cope, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Christina Rossetti, Marianne Moore, and Walt Whitman.
Check it out here.
Go for Analog
You've been there and done that with the Polaroid cameras, but have you heard about the Lomography movement? According to iconic camera store website, Adorama, true lomography uses analog film cameras to create soft-focus images with bright colours. This unusual style of photography allows enthusiasts, or lomographers, as they are called, to incorporate techniques such as distortion, blurring, and multiple exposures into their photos. Ironically, these methods are all considered to be “bad” in conventional photography. However, lomographers abide by the “Don’t Think, Just Shoot” philosophy that enables them to take quirky, interesting shots from unusual angles and in different lighting conditions.
You can read up more about lomography here.
Check out the Lomography La Sardina/Flash Orinoco here.
Explore Cities Via Artworks
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Cities are full of character, each with its own unique ambience. Yet, how often do we see the interesting patterns, the people, the architecture when we go to a city? We found illustrators who have taken these everyday commonplace themes and turned them into arresting or quirky art pieces that capture the mood and essence of cities. From interesting doors to street hawkers, it's a joy to discover and explore a city through their work. For instance, pick up the works of Paul Fernandes. Identifying himself as a humourist and cartoonist, Fernandes has given a quirky and fun angle to all his city sketches. He has captured Mumbai and Bengaluru - from old cafes to bustling mandis, busy coastlines, people flocking local tea stalls and even daily activities. Pick up prints here.
Another artist who has captured cities to the last detail is the iconic Mario Miranda. If you want an immersive travel experience to a city, without going out, we suggest you pick up Miranda's works. The Goan artist's incredible art has captured the moods of places and people. Pick up his works here.
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You can also check out more artists and their works here.
Leave a Stamp
At a time when electronic mediums have relegated the postal system to the back benches, it may be a great idea to gift your traveller friend a set of handpicked stamps.
Oxford Bookstores stock collections from Royal Mail, Britain. Many hobby stores do the same. Or you can pick them up online. We can recommend a few stamps to look out for which showcase Indian destinations. In the eastern part of the country, especially in West Bengal, burnt bricks have also been used to build temples, often covered with beautifully carved terracotta panels. The commemorative set of seven stamps issued by India Post in September 2020 highlights some of the known and lesser known temples found in Chattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Most of these temples are easily reached and can be visited during winter on a short vacation.