I love writing letters. There is something about getting a letter in your mailbox that is exciting. A handwritten letter is always so much longer and involved than an email or tweet. If you take the time to write a letter, you care. You take the time to choose what to say. I love to pick out stationery, stickers, pens, and little inclusions for my letters. I like to make the special. I even will do some mail art.
I have been writing letters to pen pals since I was 11 years old. My oldest pen pal has been writing to me since 1988.
When I got my first pen pal in Tasmania, Australia at age 11 it was from a kids TV show called “Big Blue Marble.” I liked writing letters so much that I got several more from them. I can still remember the jingle used to advertise pen pals. I even memorized the address and know it all these years later! Once the TV show ended I searched for more pen pals.
I got some out of various magazines. Pen pals were very popular in the 80’s. Pre-Internet you know. There were various pen pal services back then. I used several of them to varying effects. A magazine called ‘Teen” magazine did lots of pen pal matches. In fact, my longest pen pal I mentioned above was matched to me in one of their pen pal programs. If I remember correctly, we were matched based on our astrological sign. We are both Libras! I even honeymooned in Hawaii where she lives. So we were finally able to meet up. My husband and I took her out for lunch. I also had the fortune of meeting four other pen pals when I lived in Europe. Maybe someday you can meet yours!
One of the main sources of pen pals for me has been IPF or International Pen Friends. The world’s oldest pen pal service started in 1967. Here is their web address: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~penpals/
Writing to pen pals can be tricky. Things happen. Life happens. Some people you write to never respond. Some people write for a little bit then stop. No one knows why. Having a pen pal is a serious commitment. You want a pen pal to write you long letters then you have to write long letters yourself. Pen pals can be wonderful. It takes time and effort. I personally feel that it is a fantastic hobby. A hobby that can last a lifetime.
There are many groups on Facebook for pen pals. There are also several other organizations that offer pen pals. Use your best judgement. Be careful about putting yourself out there. Do your research. When in doubt, don’t do it. When you find a pen pal it can be a great experience. There is so much to learn and its great to have another person to listen to you.
Take a chance and go out and get a pen pal. It’s an experience to remember!
Enjoy writing those letters.