Were you one of the lucky people who had a penpal during elementary school? I was. In fact, I still remember the names of my penpals (Lauren and Jamal) and kept their letters and cards, which are now safely housed in my memory box. I eventually lost track of Lauren and Jamal, but I still think of them often and wonder what they're doing now and if they have families of their own.
With the advent of the Internet, it is much easier to connect with new penpals and relive the experience. I prefer snailmail pals. Snailmail refers to an actual letter with stamps that gets mailed through the good old-fashioned post office. Yes, it takes longer to exchange than an email, but nothing beats the experience of holding a letter in your hand that has traveled halfway across the globe to get there. Plus, you can learn a little bit more about your penpal through their handwriting, the stationery and ink they use, or the way they embellish their paper and writing.
I have penpals from many different countries including Ireland, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Wales, and the list goes on and on. The best free website for finding penapls on the Internet is Interpals (www.interpals.net). There are various search options available to narrow down the profiles that may interest you. From there, you can introduce yourself to penpals around the globe. I've met many great people through this site, but you will also receive some strange requests, which are more than likely scams, foreign people looking for visas through marriage, or scum looking for hookups onlin.e So, just be prepared to click the delete button quite often. However, the rewards outweigh the trash.
Another great way to meet penpals is through International Pen Friends (http://usa.ipfpenfriends.com). This is a paid service, which for a fee, will provide you with the names of 14 potential penpals as well as submitting your name to 14 other penpals. The great thing about this site is you can submit your application online and pay securely through Paypal, but all other correspondence takes place through the postal service, which means no annoying scam emails to delete. Plus, because these people have paid a fee for their list of names, you know they are much more likely to be serious about writing more than one letter before falling off the face of the earth.
So, if you would like to connect with people around the world, I would highly recommend either one. I'm expecting my second list from IPF any day, and I'll keep you posted concerning my experiences with both sites. So far, I've met some very interesting people and can't wait to meet more.
I would love to hear from you on this topic as well. Feel free to comment and tell me about your own experiences with penpals whether past or present.