A Year in Letters


I first became officially involved in the snail mail/pen pal community on New Year’s Day in 2015–part of my yearly resolution of making new friends and getting to know other people. It was an exciting, terrifying, delightful idea: writing to strangers around the world and relying on pen and paper to share a conversation appealed to my extremely introverted soul.

And so it began.

Now, as 2016 draws to a close, I’ve been sorting through my year’s worth of correspondence and enjoying the opportunity to reflect on the friendships I’ve made, the new cultures I’ve encountered–and all the stamps I’ve bought. Before I go off on my winter vacation, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on the snail mail of 2015, with its many postcards, enclosed tea bags, instax photos of faraway friends, and unfamiliar zip codes.


I keep letters sorted in folders by person, which I then alphabetize in my letter-box for easy access. This year’s mail goes all the way from Ana to Zoe!


As any dedicated pen pal aficionado knows, sometimes your snail mail buddies will just vanish off the face of the Earth–leaving you with a bunch of old letters and lots of questions. In my experience, people often get too busy to write at some point, and may stop correspondence without warning.

Some letter-writers in the snail mail community eventually throw away envelopes and messages from those who never wrote back, but I enjoy keeping all of my letters (for now!): each of them has a story to tell, and I delight in looking back on them no matter how the penfriendship ended.


Many folks, however, do write back–over and over and over again!


This year, I’ve received letters from:

Europe ♥ France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom

North America ♥ Canada, Utah, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, Arkansas, Wisconsin

Australia ♥ 

One final announcement! As we head into 2016, I might be on the lookout for a few new pen pals–so if you’re a snail mailer who reads my blog, send me an email and say hi! My only preferences are that you:

  •  identify as female
  • are over 20 years old
  • share at least some interests with me (if you’ve seen any of my posts at all, you’ll probably have a good idea of what I’m into!)
  • introduce yourself in a way that involves a little more than just saying be my pen pal?

To all of my fellow letter-writers–best wishes for a new year full of quickly-delivered mail and no increases in Forever Stamp prices!

6 thoughts on “A Year in Letters

  1. Jennifer F. Santucci December 11, 2015 / 4:23 pm

    It’s so nice that you keep old letters from your pen pals. The letters look beautifully crafted.

    • Keely December 13, 2015 / 11:49 am

      They are beautiful–sometimes I wish I could put them all out on display instead of keeping them in a box! 🙂

  2. Idle Emma December 12, 2015 / 12:57 am

    You’ve gotten so many letters from different places – none from Ireland though!
    I love keeping all my old letters, although they’re not all that old really because I only started in on the snail mail world at the beginning of summer when I finished at college. My goal for the start of 2016 though is to properly sort out my storage system for my letters – my box has gotten somewhat messy!

    • Keely December 13, 2015 / 11:51 am

      Oh me too–my box was so chaotic until I sorted things out recently! I always think that there has to be a better way of keeping them all in line…I just haven’t quite worked it out yet!

  3. Genuinelyellie January 2, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    Wow, this is so cool! I just got a pen pal from France, but I would love to get ones from all over the world like you have! I just wrote a blog post about reason to get a pen pal if you would like to look! my blog is https://t0bec0nsidered.wordpress.com/
    i loved your post by the way!

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