letters overseas

Friday, August 3, 2018

When people ask me why I write, or why I started writing, or when I decided I wanted to be an author, it's always a hard question for me to answer. I never really chose writing, it always just came as something of a sixth sense; the medium through which I could understand myself and the world around me.

The written word so surpasses fleeting conversation. My fingers hit the keys and fly, and everything I didn't know how exactly to put into words finds a voice.

I write a lot of fiction. In fact, I've published two books and I'm working on publishing a third. But I also enjoy writing about places - travel. When I'm on the road, I so often feel like my eyes are just conduits through which the landscapes flow, filling my head until I could burst. I remember every little thing and write them down; and for me, writing about them is almost like being there again. I write about surfing and I taste salt on my lips. I write about the mountains and I can almost hear the swish of sweet grass in the breeze. I write about the desert and I feel the radiant heat of the sun on my skin.

Things feel realer than if they stood before me when I write. Maybe this is why I spent so much time doing it while my husband (then fiance) was deployed. I wrote a book, I filled myself with the fiction that swelled in my head, but I also wrote letters, and poetry, and blog posts, because every word seemed to bring him a little closer. Every time I wrote him a long letter about what my week was like, what I'd been working on, and how things were at home, it made the distance seem incrementally less vast.

Even as I write, I haven't seen my husband in almost a month, and though this is what he and I always call "nothing" in comparison to the many months we have spent apart, it's still difficult each and every time. Being apart is never easy.

The days and weeks are still long.
The nights often feel endless and void of sleep.

But even through those, writing has gotten me through; it's been a lifeline. It's one of the reasons I started this blog actually; to share our adventures and also to give myself more space to write, and dream, and create, (and just maybe encourage someone else traveling a similar road along the way).

When Tyler was deployed, I included a small envelope in one of his care packages, filled with photos I'd printed of various locations the two of us had dreamed of visiting together. At the front of the stack was a picture of a map, overlaid with text that read: places I want to explore with you. Now that we're married and we've visited some of those places together, it feels surreal looking back; a beautiful memory and something that helped get us through.

The words, the letters,
the dreams.

It was little things like this that helped Tyler and I connect over those long months, and I know the written word will continue to be my favorite love language, no matter how many oceans and miles divide us.

When you're away from someone you love, time can seem to drag. It can be tough. But as a creative, I can attest to the fact that throwing yourself into your craft, and using your talents (even to write to and about the person you miss so much) can become a lifesaver; something that helps you get through the distance and the months ahead, one day at a time.

What's your favorite way to stay in touch with someone you love (long distance or otherwise)??? Is letter writing your thing, or do you prefer long phone calls, or skype, or something else entirely? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

stay stoked,


  1. While I love the immediacy of phone calls and text, I just adore letters. There's something about having that tangible aspect, of holding something they held and seeing their handwriting on the paper that is so special.

    1. YEAASSS YES YES YES YES! Exactly! There is something so so special about that, I agree, Grace Anne <3

  2. Letters definitely feel more personal and caring than a phone call. If someone takes the time to write me a letter, I feel really special.

    What a beautiful post. Distance isn't easy, but you've turned it into art. <3

    1. there is definitely something so thoughtful about it.<3 Thank you so much, Evangeline! Your sweet words mean a lot to me

  3. Hands down, letters are my favorite. There's just something special about saving them in a box you can go back to again and again. I like Skype too because it offers something letters don't - the visual connection a.k.a. you can "see" the person.

    I'm in a few long distance friendships and yes, it's hard because you miss them. But it's also rewarding and special because there are things like letters and the distance makes you closer.