Postcard from Galapagos


Instead of stamps and postmen, the Galapagos isle relies on a barrel and the kindness of travelers to move its mail.

Lost all goods at sea

Living in abandoned shell

All I have is yours

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 19

An Ancient Postal System:

Galapagos island relies on travelers to deliver the mail

“Floreana Island’s postal service hasn’t evolved from its origins hundreds of years ago. But unlike Darwin’s finches, it doesn’t need to adapt to survive.

Instead of stamps and postmen, the Galapagos isle relies on a barrel and the kindness of travelers to move its mail. The guests, mainly cruisers eco-touring the Ecuadorian islands, sort through the stacks, looking for addresses within delivery distance of their homes. They also drop their own messages into the receptacle, adding another link to the chain of mail.

The practice started in the late 1700s as a way for English whalers to communicate with friends and family back home. The men heading out to sea would deposit their correspondence, which sailors returning home would collect and deliver.

The “post office” looks like an installation piece by Robinson Crusoe, with artful piles of driftwood and other organic detritus surrounding the elevated barrel. Stickers, scrawlings and a poster of Golden Age Hollywood stars adorn the artifacts as if they were a bathroom wall in a bar.

A New Yorker named Maura approached my parents with “Brookline,” thinking that the Boston neighborhood might be close to their home in western Massachusetts. She kept one destined for Cambridge, Mass., planning to drop it off during an upcoming trip there. The Swedish family grabbed a Stockholm-or-bust postcard and gave me a patient grin when I asked whether a holiday in Copenhagen was in their future.

In my cluster, I found cards addressed to California, Toronto, France and Germany. One for Vancouver said, “We are stranded on Postcard Island. Send help. Quick. Stop.” A sheet of thin, fraying paper covered in tiny print needed a lift to Romania. I was tempted to deliver it myself, worried that it might disintegrate before a Romanian-bound traveler could save it. After flipping through countless images of sea lions and blue-footed boobies, I finally scored: East Capitol Street, Washington, D.C.”

Article found at


3 thoughts on “Postcard from Galapagos

    • Yes I love the way they deliver one another’s mail to every nook and cranny of the world! This mail system is an honor code and a true representation of how we are all inter-connected and desire for people to be reunited, whether in person or in spirit. Thanks for coming by! 🙂

  1. Hi Alicia,fascinating post.l liked the rhythm .l appreciate your time for following my blog.Regards.jalal

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s