John Bonner has traveled all over the world from Russia to Brazil in the past two months and he hasn't left Portales.
Eastern New Mexico University student John Bonner displays favorite postcards he's received from around the world through his new hobby, postcrossing.
Actually, Bonner is not much of a physical traveler. He likes to experience the world through postcards.
The 24-year-old Eastern New Mexico University music student and San Antonio native has found a new hobby in postcrossing.
Postcrossing is a project that allows anyone to receive postcards from random places in the world.
Bonner created a profile on the website, postcrossing.com, about two months ago. He received his own Postcard ID which allows him to send and receive postcards.
There are about 200 countries signed up with the website and the service is free. Bonner only pays for his postage.
The only stipulation is that postcrossers must speak and understand English.
His interest in postcrossing stems from watching his older sister collect postcards from around the world.
"I'm really fascinated with religions especially religions around the world so a lot of people send me pictures of churches," Bonner said.
Along with his interest in religion, Bonner's profile features characteristics about himself that he shares with others like his passion for music. He also likes hippopotamus, fish and the color red, which are some of the quirky things he puts on his profile.
Bonner says he sends postcards to all kinds of people, from children to grandparents.
When Bonner sends postcards, he likes to read the person's profile and send a card that appeals to what they like. If a person is interested in science fiction, Bonner will send them a card from Roswell.
He said others just like to know about where he lives.
"I try to do my best to be able to send them a card that they would enjoy because they take into consideration what I like," Bonner said.
Bonner has set his account up so that he never sends to the same person or country twice.
As far as the messages he writes people, Bonner prefers to keep it short, sweet and positive.
"Some people write about the weather…or they just send their best wishes and a, 'Hope you have a nice day'," Bonner said. "Some people will tell you their life story."
One of Bonner's favorite postcards he sent out was to a woman in the Netherlands. She liked to collect recipes so he sent her postcard with a New Mexico-inspired salsa recipe.
He also recalls his favorite postcard that he's received from a postcrosser in Turkey.
"They sent the Queen's Guards marching band marching in front of the palace in London just because they knew I'd like music," Bonner said. " I want to be a composer and conductor one day."
The website tracks the distance his postcards have traveled, now about 20,000 miles.
For now, Bonner said postcrossing is just a hobby.
"It's nice to go to my mailbox and see a card from somebody around the world," Bonner said. "It's always a pleasant surprise."
Bonner does have a web blog where he scans and posts his postcards and in the long-run, as those miles grow, Bonner plans on publishing his blog into a book.