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Collect Hotel Stationery from Around the World
Yes, I collect hotel stationery
While most guests collapse on their beds as soon as they arrive in their hotel rooms, I'm rummaging through the desk to find the hotel stationery. Hotel envelopes, papers, or pads--my stay is not complete until I get my prize.
See, hotels provide their guests stationery. It's easily found in the room's desk as a kind of advertisement. The idea is that while a guest stays at the hotel, he writes home about what a great time he's having. If the guest used the hotel stationery, the folks who get the letters automatically see where he stayed and will hopefully remember it when they visit the area.
Back in the day, a person sat down and wrote a letter to express feelings, ideas and experiences. A couple days later, the recipient received the letter, sat down and read it. These days a person is more likely to get a letter from a collection agency than a friend staying at a hotel.
Today's travelers call and email folks back home but hotels all over the world still make sure their rooms have enough paper and envelopes to write with. Call it tradition. Lucky for me!
But why hotel stationery?
I always had a hobby when traveling: postcards. Postcards and pictures are great when seeing the sights but how do I remember the places I stay? Very few hotels have their own postcards so I wanted something else.
I don't spend much time in hotels. Like everyone else, I see them as a place to dump my gear during the day and sleep at night. Still I wanted something to remember them by other than a receipt--especially if they were very nice. Hotel stationery made perfect sense. Since then, I haven't stopped.
So where do you get it?
It might seem obvious where I get my hotel stationery. At a hotel! I stay as a guest, I pick up a little then take it with me when I check out. That's it, right? As long as I keep staying at different hotels when I travel, my collection will keep growing.
Take a closer look at the picture on the right. I haven't stayed at all those places. For example, I've never been to the US Army's Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, South Korea. I've never stayed at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California.
So how can these and others possibly be in my collection? There are two ways to do this: the boring way and the easy way. The boring way: ask a friend or family member to pick up some hotel stationery for you if you know they're traveling. If they remember you'll get it. The advantage here is that they might go to places you never will.
Now the easy way. As far as I know it's still legal. It works especially well if you're in a city with a lot of tourists such as New York City, San Francisco or Kyoto. Walk into a hotel and approach its front desk. Ask for something to write on. Sometimes they'll give you some paper from their printer. If that happens, ask for their stationery. The way I do it is, "Oh! Can I have some stationery instead?" They'll give it to you.
If they don't include an envelope I say, "I'm writing a letter, can I have an envelope, too?" They'll give it to you. Of all the places I asked, I was only turned down once. I then went to the concierge and got it.
They'll most likely give you two or three sheets and two envelopes. That's enough for me. I get what I want for free and it only took me two minutes.
I don't go for the easy way at every hotel I see--only at pricey and fancy places such as the Four Seasons in Seattle.
Now what do you do with it?
Unlike other collections, hotel stationery can actually be used. I didn't think about this until I read the book, "How to be Invisible" by JJ Luna. The book (I read its second addition) changed my life. It made me rethink themes such as privacy and identity theft.
So what can you do with hotel stationary? Simply put, when it comes to privacy, hotel stationery can be used at any time if a person wants to mail a letter while concealing his identity until the addressee opens it. See, the return address will be the hotel the sender stayed at, not his own address.
I can't think of any situation when this would be worth the trouble of chipping away at my beloved collection but the idea is amusing.
"How to be Invisible" is full of practical information about staying safe in the Information Age. How do we avoid con artists and shake off stalkers? How do we protect ourselves from identity theft? It also gets fun when he discusses such topics as disappearing without a trace--being invisible.