It may have been a while since you last got a personal letter in the mail, but you probably remember the way it made you feel. There’s something amazing about being able to share your life with someone else, and learn a bit more about them without too much commitment, expense, or surrender of personal space. No, I’m not talking about online dating. I’m talking about the new yet old phenomenon of letter writing. There’s nothing quite as ancient and exciting as sending and receiving letters the good, old-fashioned, slow way.
Here are 9 reasons to get (back) into penpalling:
- Nostalgia Remember those days, in third grade, when you hunched over that lined sheet of paper, pencil in hand? You told your penpal in some far-flung part of the world about the most mundane things. You told them what you had for breakfast, why you didn’t like your little brother, and how nice your grandma was to you. You whipped out your 6 crayons and drew rainbows and butterflies on the back, and wondered how long it would take for your penpal to write back. Those were the days, weren’t they?
- Mental travel Everyone wants to travel. Anyone who says they don’t want to hop all over the world is definitely lying. Travelling is probably in the top ten on the list of things people would do if they won $1 million, and for good reason. Your penpalling adventures could be almost as good as the real deal, and for less than $2 in most cases. Learn about other countries and their music, food, culture, and everyday living. Try new recipes from your penpal, and get newspaper clippings and photos of tourist attractions along with letter about someone else’s life.
- Places to stay If you ever do win that $1 million, you may not want to spend much of it on hotels. Your penpals can provide you with a places to stay as you explore other parts of the world. If you’re a little too fancy for that, they can certainly point you in the right direction for the most amazing hotels. There’s nothing like the knowledge of the locals.
- Confidant You’ll finally have someone to share your deepest darkest secrets with, and tell all about your best friend’s filthy car. There’s almost no chance that anything you tell your penpal will get to anyone who can do anything scary with it.
- Educational This could be a great way to learn a new language. Of course you can learn lots of others things including styles of cooking, different systems of government, popular music in other regions, and things that are taboo there, but not in your part of the world.
- Cheap hobby You like talking about yourself, don’t you? Start writing about yourself, and get interested in someone else’s life for a change. This is a hobby that doesn’t require a ton of expensive equipment. Just paper, a pen, and envelopes will do, but you can always get creative with stamps, stickers, and washi tape.
- Build collections Are you obsessed with stamps? Ask your penpal to send some your way. Exchange stationery, coins, bookmarks, pens, socks, CDs, and anything else you can imagine.
- Friendship Sometimes there are things that are hard to talk about, but you need to share them with someone. Sometimes it’s too late to pick up the phone and tell someone else what you’re thinking. Sometimes you want to dive into someone else’s life. Penpalling is the answer.
- Happy mailbox Balance all those bills and notices with envelopes stuffed with long letters and goodies from your friends across the sea. It’s nice to open mail that doesn’t require a check be sent within days. Those colorful envelopes full of stories of a life lived somewhere else are the perfect end to long days.