Currently in Athens, and I won’t be writing up about our trip until we leave, so in the meantime here is a post about something different.

Do you remember the excitement of receiving a letter in the post with foreign stamps attached to it and that thrill of hearing once again from a friend that lived far away?

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It was for me.  Up there as one of the highlights of my teenage years.

How it all began.

I always looked forward to Nana, [my first penpal in N.Z.] coming across from Gisborne sometimes on the bus, or with other family members who would drive her over.  She would always bring with her a bundle of magazines and papers which would be carefully placed in a square wicker basket [which I still have safely in storage].

Then there was the search for a particular magazine, not while Nana was visiting, as I was too interested in what she and Mum were chatting about.  Though within minutes of the door closing behind her a particular magazine would hold the key to more connections outside of the small town we lived in.  Nothing much happened here during the early seventies, unless it was summer, then we had the beach, the sun and with less emphasis on Jelly Tip ice-creams with more on how the body looked in the new bikini.

The magazine that had been in Nana’s basket was finally in my hands.Cover photo of the NZ Womens Weekly

The magazine in question was called The New Zealand Women’s Weekly, which is not the exciting part of my search, it was on an individual page titled; “Penpals from Abroad”.  This page had my imagination on full throttle into an orbit that seemed so far away.  At this point, I am referring to Australia, that country which we now refer to as just a hop and skip away and a smallish ditch to cross.

My first foreign pen-pal lived in the out skirts of Melbourne with her family and many huskies as pets.  We wrote letters, sometimes with fancy paper and envelope or on an aerogramme angsting about our lives and our dreams for many years until I turned 17 years of age.

Things changed as I had the opportunity to head over that ditch.  No passport required, just a return air ticket and travels checks [no credit card!].  Having shifted into too many flatting positions and countries in my twenties, things were discarded or lost with many photo albums not surviving the changes.  Which was a pity for the older me, though back then it was too much living in the now with not much thought of the future.

Now for most of us, we have a different way of communicating.  That is of course through the internet, email, facebook, facetime, skype to name just a few.  One that is new to me which I am enjoying participating in is blogging, and the bloggers that I am interacting with remind me of my years of having a penpal.

Penpals and bloggers to me are very similar, we are connecting and sharing our thoughts on a personal level, though with blogging, of course, it has an instant gratification, using a less personal way and of course a much larger audience, than just one person.

Back to the present, it would seem that some things have remained the same as I still have a passion for both writing and travelling.  I wonder how many of you bloggers were once pen-pals to others who lived overseas or even in the same country?

Wouldn’t you love for a young child you know, to experience that same excitement of using a pen, paper and their imagination to write letters, as we did?  I do hope that the art of letter writing does not die completely away.

A big shout out to Daphne from VintageTreasureNZ for sending me the photos of the NZ Women’s Weekly magazine covers:

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