Wayfare Is Bringing Back the Pen Pal
Wayfare: A pen pal service for the current generation. Wayfare lets you connect and chat with someone from another country of your choosing
You know, the Internet is a wonderful thing. At the tip of our fingers we have an endless world sprawled out in front of us. We can find out about international news as it happens, find authentic recipes from any obscure corner of the globe, and even use something like Google Maps to see monuments and cities from around the world. But alas, we spend most of our time checking up on our friends from down the street or looking at funny dog gifs. Occasionally, however, there is a company that wants to take advantage of the Web’s global reach; Wayfare has a novel idea, what if we actually use this unlimited access to connect with other people worldwide?
Do not think of Wayfare as the Tinder of international hookups. Wayfare at its core is something that many of us have done before, but when we were much younger. It’s a pen pal service for the current generation. Wayfare lets you connect and chat with someone from another country of your choosing. Let’s say you are from the US, and maybe you’ve always been interested in Japanese culture. Well, with Wayfare, you can select Japan as your country of choice, and you will be given options of people looking to chat with users from the United States. This isn’t a dating app. You do not have a choice when it comes to the gender of search results. Wayfare is more about genuine interaction and growth. It’s about learning the culture from someone who experiences it firsthand every day.
Here’s how it works:
Wayfare works is that once you are paired with someone you are able to talk to them. You can only message your pen pal once every 20 minutes, which is supposed to help solidify “more genuine interactions and relationships.” While this is understandable, it can sometimes ruin the enjoyment of casual banter. To help drive conversation, pen pals are prompted to complete challenges. Maybe one morning it will suggest you send a picture of what’s outside your window, the next what you’re eating for breakfast.
Considering there is a good chance your pen pal will not speak English, what does Wayfare do about that? Wayfare uses an in-app translation feature to translate messages from your pen pal. From my experience, it works very well; when you can find a match. Which is somewhat of an issue. At present time, it is still difficult to find a match. It took this writer a day of checking to find a pen pal. The app’s idea is great, and the interaction with people from around the world is almost surreal at times, but it can be a challenge to find someone to explore the world with. As the app grows, however, so will the userbase, and with that hopefully more pen pal options.