As kids, the gentle thump of letters landing in our hallway meant one thing: excitement. Rushing to the door, we would try and spot the bulging, brightly coloured envelopes in and amongst their dull grey friends. The anticipation of what was inside these packages was sometimes almost better than opening the letters themselves. These mysterious bundles, of course, were the calling card of a now endangered species: the Pen Pal.
My pen pal was Katrina: she was 12 and lived in California. Her letters were always written in a pen that smelt faintly of blueberries and were covered in stickers of Minnie Mouse. Her monthly post was something that lit up my very small world, expanding and stretching it from its regular parameters; encouraging me to dream of new countries, different lives and the possibility of adventure. Through Disney-loving Katrina, I realised life was much bigger than I’d previously thought; certainly much bigger than the town I lived in, or the playground politics I’d regularly get caught up in. I never did meet Katrina, but her impact on my life was – I guess – huge. I can still remember what her handwriting looked like.
In a digital age – one full of emails and touch-typers; instant messages and emojis – it’s easy to understand why the Pen Pal is now at risk. They are the victim of our need for instantaneous communication and connection; of knee-jerk reactions and immediate responses. Why risk hand cramp, when you can fire off a Facebook message in 5 minutes? In the day of computers, mobile phones, tablets and of course – social media – we no longer have any need for our once pen-clutching friends.
Together, we at Twins That Travel – in collaboration with Proper Post – want to revive the Pen Pal and with it, the lost art of letter writing. We want post that isn’t just bills and reminders, but contains personal thoughts, reassurances and secrets; photographs and stickers; memories and hopes for the future. We want to revive the feeling that Katrina – my pen pal – gave me: excitement, curiosity and connection.
The result of these dreams is our lovely Pen Pal Group – Paper Planes.
Already, Paper Planes is flourishing, with over one hundred happy pairs already writing to each other, across countries and oceans. Offering access to bespoke stationary packs, monthly newsletters, competitions and exciting campaigns, we would be thrilled to have you on board.