Letter sent to Iceland farm with hand-drawn map instead of address gets there anyway

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/30/letter-sent-to-iceland-farm-wi.html


This just shows the local postal workers are pretty clever. A lot of ours are, too. I’m willing to bet 50/50 this would even work in NYC. Wouldn’t it be fun to test?



I recall my friend’s brother receiving a letter addressed to"The blonde guy who was in Daytona" small town, WI
Granted the population was only around 400 at the time, but there were a lot of blonde guys.


Back in its heyday, letters addressed with just the rabbit-head logo had no problem finding their way to Playboy headquarters in Chicago.


There’s a good chance the map would need to be three-dimensional or at least include a guess as to which unit on which floor the intended recipient resides. I live on the sixth floor of a walk-up and if someone mailed me a letter using my building’s latitude and longitude for the address, I doubt USPS would walk all those stairs and knock on every door to ensure accurate delivery. At best, it would be placed in the vestibule and then get stolen or thrown away, though perhaps I should be more diligent in checking the vestibule for mail addressed to me.


Hmmmm, if I put this picture on an envelope

will the Icelandic P.O. deliver it correctly?


when I was out of town, I mailed a letter to my crew back in Knoxville without a street address. This was in the 90s, pre-internet mapping, so I couldn’t pull it up online. I knew the zipcode since I lived a few blocks from them, and therefore I also knew the lay of the neighborhood. so that minimized most of the problem.

Bobby, Mel, Zach, etc (last names redacted here but were on envelope)
Example Street between X and Y Avenue at the big white house, east side of the street, second from the corner
Knoxville TN 12345

once the envelope got presorted by zipcode, I’m sure the carrier knew it just from the names, but I wanted to be as thorough as I could. They got it no problem.

given the off-kilter nature of her fanbase, I bet the Icelandic PO is used to it by now. They probably have a special bin for her and that exact photo has successfully been delivered in the past. maybe. I wouldn’t be surprised, anyway.


There’s a blog that intentionally does this in Ireland, but my examples …

  • I once got a package delivered with: The correct name. The correct house number. No street. The wrong city (geographically, about as wrong as they could get while remaining in the same country). It arrived 2 days late.

  • A package delivered that was left in my local cornershop because the delivery guy couldn’t find my house. Apparently he went in there looking for directions, and they told him they knew me. I had no idea they knew my name, but it worked.


Don’t you need to include a map?

maybe not?


When we lived in Ireland, my dad received a letter assessed to [his name], County Tipperary (which isn’t a small county).


That’s how all of Bilbo’s letters are addressed.


I visited an pen-pal from Central America as a teen. His postal address was (paraphrasing):

[Family Name]
500 meters from the volcano
Alajuela Province
Costa Rica

I guess there weren’t a lot of other folks nearby


Don’t most of these tradittional farms in Iceland go by their names? So they could have just adressed it to “Holar, in/near Buthardalur”? (and/or the road number S90…)?

Which volcano? Poás, Arenal, or some other lesser-known volcano?

Poás and Arenal are both active volcanos, so probably not a lot of other people nearby

Also Poás is home to a mile long, 1000ft deep lake of acid. Would be cool to visit, assuming one could tolerate the acid fog that occasionally surrounds it.


This was more common in earlier days of the postal system. It would probably still be attempted for delivery if you tried it here.

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You should! It’s an amazing place and the people are super-friendly. Icelandair has package deals all the time. If you go, be sure to check out The Blue Lagoon.

I’ve know a couple of people in different towns in Maryland who get their mail delivered to


In neither case was the farm name the same as the name of the family living there.

Here we pick up our mail at the Post Office, but sometimes they decide to deliver registered items. They called me from the truck asking where I was. I started to give the address, but she said “I have that, but where are you?”. I gave her directions by local landmarks and she found me (after a second call). This happened again a few months later (also 2 calls). She remembered me when she got here.

We have (required) house numbers and there are street signs on every corner.