Four Years in Blogging

It was on this day in 2014 that I published my first post on the Collecting Postcards blog. I started the blog because I wanted to talk about my journey to the Foreign Service; little could I have known that only 22 days later I would receive the invitation to my dream job for which I’d tried so hard and waited so long. Collecting Postcards has been there through it all, and with 25,000 visitors from 165 different countries and 76,000+ unique page views to date, the blog is just getting started.

My first post was a simple post, not particularly profound, but the first all the same. I called it Something Blog-worthy… Maybe, and it was basically just me talking about how blogging and technology had changed since my Peace Corps Volunteer service (2002-2004), and how I wanted to start writing again in the public sphere.

Over the last four years and 138 blog posts, I have chronicled my journey through A-100 (diplomatic orientation), six months of Russian language training, Consular tradecraft, serving my first tour in Uzbekistan as a consular officer, visiting eleven countries, going back to DC for Political and Economic training and enjoying our first home leave, and more recently, the adventure that has been life down under during my second diplomatic tour in Australia as a political officer.

I am excited to announce that in the coming weeks, Collecting Postcards is going to move to its own domain and get a facelift. I need more storage space for pictures and posts, and would like better support for formatting and content management changes, as well as better protection against bots. I hope that the changes I make will make the blog more attractive to read. I’m not going to change my focus, though – I’m still going to write on topics for those interested in public service, in the Foreign Service, and for travelers.

Here are a few links to some of my earlier and most popular posts, curated by topic for ease of reference. Note that this is not at all comprehensive. Depending on your interest, you may also want to search tags like “Packing Out,” “PCS,” “Learning Russian,” and “Down Under.”

Foreign Service Candidacy

My Turn at Last: A-100 Offer
Becoming an FSO Part I: The FSOT
Becoming an FSO Part II: The QEP
Becoming an FSO Part III: The FSOA
Becoming an FSO Part IV: Clearances and the Register
Flag Day Recap
Swearing In Recap

Diplomatic Training & Tradecraft

A-100: Week 1 in Review
A-100: Weeks 2 and 3 in Review
A-100: Weeks 4 and 5 in Review
A-100: Week 6 in Review
Area Studies: Russia/Eurasia (AR 281)
ConGen (PC 530): Weeks 1 and 2 in Review
ConGen (PC 530): Week 3 in Review
ConGen (PC 530): Week 4 in Review
ConGen (PC 530): Week 5 in Review
ConGen (PC 530): Week 6 in Review
Tradecrafting (Pol/Econ)

Memorable World Travels

6,329 Miles Later… (PCS Travel U.S. –> Uzbekistan)
6,498 Miles Later… (PCS Travel Uzbekistan –> U.S.)
7,572 Miles Later… (PCS Travel U.S. –> Australia)
Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Part I, Part II, Part III)
Charvak and Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan (Part I, Part II)
Aral Sea, Uzbekistan (Part I, Part II)
Khiva, Uzbekistan
Prague, Sarajevo & Istanbul (Part I, Part II)
Budapest, Hungary
Moscow, Russia
Hyderabad, India
Bangkok, Thailand
Shymkent, Kazakhstan (Part I, Part II, Part III)
St. Petersburg, Russia
Seoul, South Korea
Almaty, Kazakhstan

Thanks to blog readers new and old, and I hope you continue to enjoy Collecting Postcards. If you want me to write about something in particular or if you just have a question, you’re welcome to contact me at, or on Twitter @pennypostcard.


  5 comments for “Four Years in Blogging

  1. Cera
    April 13, 2018 at 09:31

    Congratulations and good luck!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reader
    April 13, 2018 at 11:10

    I read everything you write about your fascinating life.
    With or without the foreign service you are a person who makes dreams come true.
    Wishing you much success!

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 13, 2018 at 16:57

      That is very nice of you to say! Do you also have a blog?


      • Reader
        April 13, 2018 at 22:56

        My goodness no I wouldn’t have a clue how to write a blog :-).
        What I’m good at doing is reliving my youth vicariously through you!
        So many people dream big but only a few put their dreams in motion.
        Think of all the wonderful memories you will have in your “old age” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. April 13, 2018 at 13:36

    Yay for a new domain! Ours should be fully active within 72 hours to help with Uzbek connectivity issues for my local readers. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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