Although there are so many hobbies to choose from, I always had a hard time finding a hobby that really fascinated me. While my friends took dance classes, joined a sports club or played an instrument, I tried different things from riding lessons to martial arts but I never stuck with them. Then, I discovered a new hobby: snail mailing. I started snail mailing when I was 14, lost contact to my penpals and restarted it in 2013. Ever since, I’ve been an enthusiastic snail mailer and over the years, I received more than 200 letters from my wonderful penpals from around the world.
Snail mailing is something that has become a part of me. Here’s why snail mailing makes you happier and wiser:
Receiving a real, handwritten letter makes you happy.
Nowadays, the mailbox is either empty or filled with bills or advertisement. Opening the mailbox is nothing fun let alone exciting. If you receive a handwritten letter that has traveled hundreds or even thousands of kilometers and that includes postcards, photos or other little surprises, the daily way to the mailbox becomes something you look forward to. Every time, I receive a letter, I automatically get a big smile on my face and I can’t wait to open it.
Letters give you a break from stress and daily routine.
Reading a letter makes me relax. I take the time to sit down to look at everything in detail. For a few minutes, I disappear into the letter and I feel how I calm down. On the other hand, writing a letter yourself makes you take a break from stress as you sit down to write on paper. You get a timeout from displays when you spend time preparing a letter.
Snail mailing is a different way of traveling.
Through snail mailing I’ve learned so much about the lifestyle and mentality in other countries as I would have if I had been there. You get to know a country and its citizens from the perspective of a local and you may learn things you would’ve never known about. Thus, you can understand other beliefs and values and you learn essential skills such as tolerance, open-mindedness and acceptance.
Snail mailing keeps your language skills alive.
Most of us learned or still learn a foreign language at school or elsewhere but we soon forget it if there’s no opportunity for practice. Snail mailing gives you the possibility to practice different languages with other people who either learn the language or who are native speakers. I write letters in German, English, French and partly Swedish, which helps me to revive my knowledge of a language.
Every letter is a souvenir.
Of course, every letter is a souvenir itself. But snail mailing does not always mean the exchange of letters. You can send a whole variety of little souvenirs and surprises with each letter: postcards, presents, candy, stickers, or dried flowers. It’s nice to send such a thing and to receive a little surprise from abroad is even nicer. I received postcards, magnets, jewelry, self-made knittware and chocolates, just to mention a few things.
You make friends with people from around the world!
Snail mailing is not only about learning about other countries. It’s about friendship. By now, I have 20 snail mail penpals each of whom I have a unique friendship with. We share personal stories and I have grown super close to them. It’s nice to know that you have friends all around the world and that you’re always welcome, no matter if you travel somewhere in Asia of Africa. So far, I’ve met three of my penpals and each time was amazing.