Leisha Barnard, of Medway Road, Sheerness, and cousin Emma Lambkin read a magazine article about pen pals and thought it would be a good idea to try to find one.
They each released a letter about themselves off the coast of Sheerness in 1998.
Leisha Barnard had 15 years to wait for a response from her message in a bottle
Although they were a little bit upset when they did not get a reply, they soon forgot about it.
Little did Leisha know that about 200 miles away on the island of Texel off the coast of the Netherlands, an 11-year-old boy named Joriam Jubbega found her message while beachcombing with friends.
He tried writing back but water had faded some of her address, so it never got delivered.
The bottle travelled all the way to The Netherlands... and stayed there for 15 years
It was only last month when Mr Jubbega, now 26 and living in Harderwijk in the centre of Holland, saw the original letter again and wondered if he could finally reply using modern technology.
He sent her a Facebook message, in English, saying: “You don’t know me, and I don’t know if you are the right Leisha Barnard but several years ago I found a message in a bottle that was written by a girl that has your name.”
The message Leisha left in the bottle all those years ago
He went on to say: “It’s not like this is my life quest. I just always wondered if this letter could have travelled that far.”
In a later message he joked: “When I read you liked the Spice Girls I was like blurgh. But I don’t think I wrote that in the letter I sent to you.”
After initially not seeing the message because it was sent to her “others” folder, Leisha discovered it recently.
“I was actually jumping around when I got this message. I got really excited and then a bit emotional because things like this never happen. It’s crazy” - Leisha Barnard
She said: “I was actually jumping around when I got this message. I got really excited and then a bit emotional because things like this never happen. It’s crazy.”
The 23-year-old, who works at Lamborn and Hill Estate Agents in Sittingbourne, added: “I don’t think there would have been another way to find me. I know I’m the only Leisha Barnard on Facebook – not that I ever search for myself.”
She joked she studied drama and would love to make a movie out of these events one day.
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