September 1st is World Letter Writing Day and this year Viking Direct are celebrating with an International Pen Pals blogger challenge, aptly labelled #VikingInternationalPenPals. As bloggers, the world of digital communication is the mechanism by which we live and breathe. And so, too, for most of the general population. Emails have long overtaken the traditional letter writing and this is why Viking Direct have set us bloggers this challenge.
This challenge has been set to see how well we can communicate over traditional methods rather than digitally. Bloggers from the UK are paired with a fellow blogger based in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands or Italy. The aim is to get to know one another via traditional letters rather than through the digital world of social media.
To say I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to take part in this challenge would be an understatement. You see, in my early teens I had two pen pals. If I remember correctly, it was set up through school and I wrote to them both for years. There was Laetitia from France, who I got to practise some of my French with.
And then there was Renata from the then Czechoslovakia. Renata is the girl I exchanged letters with the most. I remember clearly that she was a fan of Duran Duran and I saved some pocket money to buy her a cassette of theirs (who knows what a cassette is!) and sent it to her. The letter of thanks I got back was worth the weeks of saving. Although I didn’t know much about the country, I did know her family weren’t well off and a cassette would have cost them a lot of money. My babysitting money was put to good use.
As exams loomed and studying took over, our letters became less frequent and we lost touch with each other. And do you know, I never thought of trying to find her via social media until now. I’ve sent a few messages to ladies with the same name as her in the Czech Republic and we’ll see if any of them are the right one. You never know, we might make contact again.
But in the meantime, I’m so looking forward to exchanging messages with my new pen pal.
To help us along with our letter writing, Viking Direct sent all of us bloggers a box full of goodies to get us started with our letter writing. Included in the #VikingInternationalPenPals blogger kit was
- Personalised letterheaded paper
- A feather calligraphy pen
- Fineliner handwriting pen
- Coloured pencils
- Stamp kit and ink pad
- Washi tape
- Wax stamp kit
- International stamps
Shortly after receiving my letter writing kit, I quickly sent an introduction letter to my pen pal. It was just a few short words to introduce myself to my new pen pal to get the ball rolling, so-to-speak. I told her about my family, and how the blog has transitioned from a parenting one to a family travel blog.
And where is my new pen pal from? Well, Greta is from Italy and is a fellow travel blogger at The Greta Escape. Greta lives in a town not too far from Turin and Milan. I am awaiting her reply letter at the time of writing this post. I know she has received mine as she has written her blog post about it. It’s quite exciting. I can’t wait to find out all about her and her adventures as a travel blogger.
It felt great writing that first letter and I will continue to write letters to Greta with the amazing kit we were kindly sent by Viking. The calligraphy pen has to be my favourite part of the kit. I used to write with calligraphy-type pens in school, so this challenge not only reminds me of my previous pen pals, it has also transported me back to my youth and writing my essays in school. It’s just a beautiful thing, something I’d love to get as a present. And it’s also something I am loath to take out of its box, it’s just too beautiful. But I will. Same goes for the wax sealing kit, which has caught the attention of some of my fellow bloggers on my Instagram Stories.
I cannot thank Viking Direct enough for allowing me to opportunity to take part in this amazing task to celebrate World Letter Writing Day. The #VikingInternationalPenPals challenge has reignited my love for traditional letter writing and transported me back to my youth and times of writing to Laetitia and Renata. I hope Greta and I can become long-term pan pals. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
Did you have a pen pal? Are you still in contact?
*I was kindly sent a letter writing kit from Viking Direct in order to take part in the #VikingInternationalPanPals challenge to celebrate #WorldLetterWritingDay.