Staying Connected Long Distance

Staying Connected Long-Distance.

I've been pondering a bit lately about this generation I live in. As part of this nostalgic, wanderlusting group of millennials, I find that I am always seeking adventure and the thrill of achieving a goal. Can I get an amen?

I feel so grateful to be a tiny cog in this vast system, to be part of a network of people who have SMARTPHONES, the ability to travel the world and the belief in themselves to chase unlikely dreams. Especially as a woman. We have the whole wonderful world at our fingertips! But you know what comes with that incredible privilege? The cost of living far away from your tribe of loved ones. I don't know about you, but I have a pretty fiercely awesome tribe back home in Atlanta. And along my journey I've had the incredible opportunity to meet new friends, to admire their unusual path and listen to their tales of overcoming the odds. And I love that. But as much as I fancy following the beat of my own drum, I find that I'm saying goodbye far more often than I like. Stepping onto an airplane, hanging up the phone, ending the Skype session, leaving the lovely coziness of those safe, beautiful people whom I cherish. I can't be the only one who experiences this. So many of you are in the same situation. Sigh.

Here are a few ways I’ve learned to intentionally stay in touch, while living far away from my loved ones:

1. Powering Up the Smartphone.

Yes, texting is convenient, and obviously Facetime is an awesome tool to actually SEE your treasured ones when you chat, but I have a confession to make. I, along with every other American middle schooler, use Snapchat just about every day. But only with my sisters! It's a really fun, private way for us to share silly moments with each other, like a delicious breakfast, early morning bed-head and lately, my growing baby belly. Having this fun, confidential forum with my sisters has been a great way to keep tabs on each other's little moments in life, not just the weekly milestones. Download Snapchat for the iPhone here or Android here. Yes, you might feel a little childish, but I promise you will get addicted to feeling so connected.

2. Sending REAL Mail.

Remember when people used to write letters? One of my favorite old-timey movies is The Shop Around the Corner (the brilliant precursor to You've Got Mail), which is a sweet Jimmy Stewart classic that is centered on the semi-lost art of letter writing. The film is about two employees who loathe each other, and yet are secretly falling in love, because they are anonymous pen pals. It’s a must-see! And the depiction of the letter-writing is so sweet, the way the envelopes were sealed with wax and the penmanship was so loopy and dainty. I can imagine living in those days, just waiting desperately at the mailbox for the postman to deliver a heart-felt message from a faraway love. Ah, the days of yore. Nowadays I love to write notes via snail mail, because it feels so personal to actually pen a message in my own words and handwriting. I love this customized stationary from Treat. And if you’re feeling extra creative, you can even personalize your greeting by adding a memorable photo. Suuuuuper cute.

3. Blogging.

This is a no-brainer, since you are currently reading this post and you KNOW that I blog. I developed Oy! when I moved from Atlanta to Boston in 2011. It was partly a post-college way to keep myself immersed in my love for writing, partly a way to document the many adventures I was experiencing, and partly a way to keep my friends and family up to date on my life. And it has served all of those purposes. I am overwhelmed by the positive feedback that I've received from sharing my stories in this forum. It's been such a blast developing the content and I can’t believe how much I’ve fallen in love with blogging. Who would have known?? Many thanks to the ladies over at Maiedae, who designed this blog, and encouraged the development of its theme. If you’re interested in sharing your stories, you should definitely check out A Beautiful Mess for their e-courses on blogging. And get to it! Because I know there are people out there who want to hear your stories.

For those of you who live far away from your kinfolk, what creative ideas do you have for keeping in touch?

*I’m excited to announce that this post is brought to you in collaboration with Treat, a Shutterfly brand. While I could have happily discussed creative ideas with their adorable team for hours, all the content, words and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting this sponsor and allowing me to create fresh and unique content like this for Oy!