Friends on Paper

Looking back at the little girl travelling on a Greyhound or McAffertys long distance bus to visit my Dad in Woolgoolga and I reflect on how different the world really is, or at least how differently we percieve the world now. Travelling that distance without a supervising parent in tow helps me realise how those early childhood experiences have shaped me into the person I am today and in particular how I interact with others. 

old trolleybus riding on night street
Long bus journeys – life was different back then

It was during one of those trips that I met a lady named Val with kind eyes and a gentle voice, who spent the hours of the journey talking to me, in fact she felt like a new grandma that fell into my heart. She got off well before me in Iluka and we exhanged addresses so we could pen pal. Of course many of us would second guess a stranger and a young child sharing personal details these days but back then it let to years of writing back and forth, and was such a rewarding experience for myself and likely her too. Out of touch now I often wonder about her although I suspect she may no longer be alive.

I have always loved the written word and letter writing is something that crosses all borders allowing essentially anyone to communicate in some way. As a teenager I had a pen pal from Japan and I remember the beautiful paper she would write on. It really did show that distance does not mean any less for a friendship if you are committed to putting in the effort. Unfortunatley a terrible event meant I lost her letters and her details and we have been out of contact since.

black text on gray background
Is pen pal writing a lost form communication?

Since moving to England some thousands of miles away from the only life I have ever known, it was almost expected that some friendships would fall away especially as there are different contexts and circumstances that keep those friendships burning which when altered dampens the fire. Although sad, I still hold true to the idea that everything in life is either for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

What I have cherished the most since being here is the loyal few that remain in contact even if it is in snippets with voice messages, messages, emails and in video calls, are the ones I need to continue to invest in and are in my life at the right time. Some of these dear friends have really kept me going with their kind words and encouragements in the form of a handwritten card or letter. Little do they know that on days that life feels a little too hard, it is these letters that hold me up and help me press forward. I keep them by my bedside for such days.

Just a few of my cherished friends who write x


I guess the reason I love letters so much is that it reminds me of the worth I hold in someones life with the time they invest to sit down and think of what to put onto paper, after all I wholeheartedly believe that letter writing is an artform.

To my cherished few that send me your hearts in the form of words on paper, thank you – you know who you are.


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