In my recent pen pal post I asked the question ‘are pen pals a thing of the past’ I was puzzled do they no longer exist? Well Sincerely Kate of USA responded and said “Though with the internet it’s considered old-fashioned and inconvenient now, I still have been writing pen pals for the past decade and it’s been my favorite hobby just as long. There are a bunch of people still interested in writing actual letters, I’m pleased to report!” She wasn’t the only one to comment but I was particularly fascinated as to why she enjoyed this hobby. I caught up with Kate from somewhere in Michigan, USA and here is what she said………
I’m so excited to be featured here—thanks for having me! In addition to writing letters and blog posts about things like letters, I am a married stay-at-home-mom. I live in a small Michigan town with my husband, our 7-year-old son, and a rather high-strung beagle.
How did you get into pen palling? What do you love about it?
Prior to starting my family, I was at a bit of a loss when it came to what I wanted to do with my life. It’s because of this that when I graduated high school in 2005, I had no immediate plans for college. During this crossroads there were two things I missed: hanging out with friends and writing assignments. Yes, writing assignments. I have had an affinity for writing for as long as I can remember, and come high school I quite enjoyed earning the English award. No longer having things I had to write became depressing, but then I had a lightbulb moment one day when I was checking the mail.
It was 2005 so Myspace was still popular. I searched for pen pal groups and from there the search began for potential pen pals. Originally I had this optimistic goal that I would find one pen pal from every state, but I quickly discovered that quality is far more important than quantity. A dozen years later I have about a dozen pen pals. The thing I love the most about writing them, especially since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, is that I feel as if I’m hanging out with a friend from the comfort of my home, yet I can start and stop as it’s convenient for me.
Have you had any long term pen pals? If so, where are they located?
Though I’m currently trying out a few new pen pals, the dozen I mentioned before have all been my pen pals for anywhere between two years and twelve. I’ve written to people from countries like England and Taiwan before, but somehow I managed to, unintentionally, dwindle down to people from the United States like me.
Do you prefer letter writing and receiving to email or messaging or texting?
I’ll admit, I can’t imagine my life without texting and Facebook messenger, but I definitely prefer snail mail over technology. I find that when someone messages me via Facebook, it’s always pretty straight to the point and ultimately ends with something like an “okay.” With letters, however, you have more than just one highlight to talk about, or more than one question you’d like to ask. It’s an actual conversation where you can get to know each other, spending quality time writing them rather than sending sporadic messages that are forgotten shortly after they’re sent. Sure, the latter may be more convenient, but this hobby isn’t about instant gratification; it’s about making genuine connections.
I think Kate has put my mind at rest although it is likely that as a hobby letter writing has dwindled it is still alive and kicking in some parts of the world. There is still that excitement when you hear something plop through the post, maybe you are a letter writer too? If so please comment below…..this also leads me to the question do travellers still send postcards? Well hey that’s another idea for a post, watch this space and watch your letter box.