This was placed in the casket with Sarah for her cremation:

Tell me why

I’m begging you to explain it to me

Tell me why you had to go. Why was it your turn?

Tell me why I couldn’t save you

Tell me why you suffered

Tell me why you had a void that could never be filled

Tell me why I can no longer hope for your future

Tell me why I’ll never know what you could have been

Tell me why I’ll never hold you again or caress your hair when you’re hurting

Tell me why I’ll never walk you down the aisle

Tell me why I’ll never see your face light up when you have your own child

Tell me why you were alone when your heart stopped. Was your heart so broken that it just couldn’t beat anymore? Mine is.

Tell me why you gave up

Tell me why you didn’t ask Oma for boots at Christmas, as you’ve done every year

Tell me why you weren’t wearing shoes. Were your feet cold in the snow?

Tell me why we’ll never have another Christmas together

Tell me what to do on your birthday in a few weeks

Tell me how to heal

Tell me how to help your brother’s heart heal

I wish you would have come to Thailand with me. I think it would have calmed you the way it’s calmed me. You’ll be with me now wherever I go.

I love you dearly, my sweet little girl. I love you more than you ever knew.

The Buddha said,

Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.

Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp – a phantom – and a dream. *
*Vairacchedika 32.

Jen Troyer ~ February 2019

Sarah Jordan Troyer, 04.14.92 – 02.10.19

Sarah was a beautiful soul with a compassionate heart, a fierce dedication to family and friends, and an incredible love for animals.

She was a daughter, sister, niece, grandaughter, great grandaughter, cousin and friend.

Sarah’s body passed Sunday, February 10, 2019. On Monday, February 18, 2019, surrounded by her family, Sarah’s body was blessed by 4 Thai Buddhist Monks before cremation.

Sarah’s favorite poem:
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
EE Cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be,”

I love you, Sweetie.


Airport Aorta, January 2019

this is what I wanted


said through smoke rings

the smoking room at the airport

my VIP club

the broken hearts club

the airport my aorta

sending oxygenated blood to the two main chambers of my heart

thailand and seattle my ventricles

pieces of myself scattered around the world

leaving is losing

~ Jen Troyer, January 2019

Post War, September 2018

Post War

Turns out five was not my magical number
Perhaps just evidence of life spent in slumber
Of doubts and fears proven true over the years

Hook, line, and sinker, I fell for the con
Withdrawn, tired of being your ex-wife’s pawn
Didn’t take long, realized it was time to be movin’ on

Red flags, all of ‘em I chose to ignore
We killed it. There’s nothing left to restore
I got tired of being the prisoner in your inept war

Oh, you were tired of swimming upstream?
Thought it was time to step on my life’s dream?
Well get in line, buttercup. Shit only floats downstream

You tried taking what wasn’t yours. Something you never even worked for!
Thought I’d be your money whore? Well I’m broke now and to quote Poe, never fucking more

I’m no lifesaver. Not the creator or your savior
Not putting up with your lazy-ass behavior
Get out of my way. I’ve got my own dreams. My own demons to slay

I went along for the ride, witnessed the dark side
Watched as your entitlement was amplified
This bitch, she does not abide, no longer willing to be somebody’s bride

The intensity of my reality
That thing about me you so crave
Thought you’d ride my epic tidal wave
Step off babe, I’ve only got myself to save

No longer coupled, You and me
Don’t need to be livin’ in treachery
Return to your basement of lies
There’s nothing left to agonize

Welcome to the new me, the Phoenix, watch as I rise
It took a while, but I saw through your disguise
Not bathing in love or baptized. A ship wrecked, marriage capsized

You had it all, so content
Lazing on my couch, satisfied with my lament
Thought you’d watch my descent
Hey, that $80K you stuck me with… money well spent

Welcome to the Post War

~ Jen Troyer, September 2018

Saving Myself

So… I’ve had a recurring dream since I was 12 years old. I have it whenever I’m extremely stressed out. There are 4 versions of the dream, but in each scenario, there’s a big wave that takes me out to sea and 1 specific person who can save me, if only she’ll reach out her hand and try.

20 years ago I consulted a dream interpreter, who explained that waves are emotions and said I felt like I was put into a situation I didn’t deserve (as a teenager) and am resentful that I wasn’t rescued. She suggested that each time I have this dream, I stop trying to be saved. That’s when I really got into dream interpretation.

I’m currently at the apex of my stress level. Selling my big home, building a home in Thailand, moving to a live/work space and floating a rental home in another country, all while having work done on my house, going through a surprisingly nasty divorce, totaling my car, and now re-homing the loves of my life, Humphrey and Bogie. That’s a lot for the average Joe, but it’s even a lot for bad-ass me.

Cut to early this morning just before I woke up. I’m having another wave dream, but this time, it’s a little girl I see swept out to sea and drowning. I run into the water, swim way out to the blue to get her, pull her up to the beach, do CPR and I save her. I saved her! That’s when I realized I was looking down at myself. The little girl was me. I FINALLY SAVED MYSELF. 30 years of therapy and I’ve finally saved myself.

This is for all the warrior women. May we become our own heroes.

~ Jen Troyer, July 2018

Digression, May 2018


Only hurt people hurt people
That’s what I keep saying… in this bed where I keep laying
Waiting for the pain to stop or the other shoe to drop
Waiting for the tears to decrease or maybe for my heart’s beating to cease

“Love”… We carelessly throw it around or vainly wear it like a goddamn crown
We so desperately put up with its bullshit, being thankful we even have it
Our heart’s very betrayal is purchasing the fairytale portrayal

True love is unconditional? Bullshit, it’s predictable and fictional.
Romeo and Juliet can kiss my ass. The thing about dying is not living with the past.
Except I believe in Karma so maybe losing love or quitting it is my Dharma.

I’ll move away, you can’t/won’t ask me to stay
Just old history, fading into the periphery, free of love’s misery
Gone is the allegiance now we can be strangers with secrets

Instead of hate, let this heart once again palpitate
I’m a cat with nine lives, my heart resurrected too many times
I absolve you. You are free. This time love, The Phoenix, she is me.

Anymore I’m not even sure who I’m writing this for
Maybe it’s for me, maybe for you, all my loves swirling around in a mystery stew
The loves of Jen: of mice, women and men

I digress. Love suppressed.

~ Jen Troyer, May 2018

Little Girl Lost, December 2017

Little Girl Lost

I knew as your mother at twenty-three
My job was always to choose you over me
I sacrificed so you could be free
Little girl, heroin is NOT your destiny

Remember wanting to be a fire fighter
Your life was supposed to be easy and lighter
Tables have turned, you’re unconcerned
The fire you fight is with yourself at night

Denial so vile, the heart can’t reconcile
Selling your self-esteem
For tar in your bloodstream
This is NOT the American Dream

The addict’s con requires participation
Hope springs eternal
The desperation of trepidation

Didn’t sharing my pain and struggles
Absolve my children of future troubles

The sermons I gave urging you to be brave
Not heroin’s slave
Little girl it’s time
Stop digging your grave

You’re twenty-five now, should be grown
These choices you’ve made all on your own
It’s not too late to atone.
Little girl, just pick up the phone.

The present and the past, the feelings so vast
My baby girl lost

Treason for no reason
The lying, crying, trying…
Watching my little girl slowly dying

“Where did I go wrong?” “Didn’t I teach you to be strong?”
My heart’s questions an interrogation
My love not enough to resist temptation

The confusion of my illusion
The frustration of the situation
My pain. Your agony. Be free of this tragedy

My love a flotation device; not enough to suffice
Help yourself, choose to be free
This time, baby girl, YOU choose you over me.

~ Jen Troyer, December 2017

Do you ever work? April 2017

Do you ever work? Are you ever home? It must be nice to take off to another country and leave all your worries behind. Wow, you must have no stress!

These are all questions and comments I hear quite regularly. This morning, I woke up to four such comments on social media. I’m sure folks mean well and are just trying to be funny. The fact is, it’s a little off-putting. Yes, I come to Thailand a few times a year for six or seven weeks each time. Yes, it’s fantastic! Yes, it’s beautiful! Yes, it’s totally worth it! No, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

I work six days a week in Thailand. Due to the 14-hour time difference, I start work at 4:00am, which is 2:00pm in Seattle where my business is located. Waking up so early gives me time to respond to my customers on the same day as their requests, take care of any employee concerns, work on scheduling, etc. So while my friends in Thailand are up partying until 2:00am, I’m the one who makes sure I’m in bed by 10:30 each night so I can get at least 5 hours of sleep before work. It’s a common joke when meeting friends for coffee each morning that I’ve already worked six hours before they’re even awake. I reserve Sundays and Mondays (Saturdays and Sundays in the U.S.) for fun days like diving or other excursions before I start working again Monday night. It’s just how I make do and it works for me. This small sacrifice allows me the opportunity to work while watching the sunrise each morning, keep my customers happy, and go on adventures in the afternoon. This is how I live as a digital nomad.

I still fully run my company while I’m gone. I still have all the stresses of being a business owner and employer… but from nearly 8000 miles away. When an employee gives notice, leaving you high and dry, you make do with what you have, trying to conduct interviews online at 4:00am so everything doesn’t fall apart. When someone takes your company car without permission and wrecks it… you do what you can from 8000 miles away. It’s just like working from home, but with flip flops and a lot more hurdles.

Woe is me? Not even close!

Luckily, I have a partner at home who takes care of all the household stuff and is even coordinating our master bathroom remodel, which is almost finished! We stay connected by talking every day, sending photos and staying close. He’s a terrific partner who has listened through my tears and reminds me of my accomplishments while encouraging me to “kick some ass”. I truly am blessed. And let’s face it, missing each other is really good for our marriage.

I miss my adult children. I miss my family. I miss my closest friends. I miss getting my hair done and having a good pedicure. I miss knowing what each scent in the air is at home, and big hint, it’s not raw sewage or burning plastic. I miss not having to check my bed for creepy crawlies before climbing in. Hell, I miss putting toilet paper in the actual toilet. But I don’t miss mass consumerism. I don’t miss politics. I don’t miss living in a country where everyone assumes your religious or political beliefs are identical to their’s. I don’t miss racism. I certainly don’t miss the rain. Mainly, I miss my people and my dogs.

This little ex-pat community I live in, Kantiang Bay, is filled with people doing the same thing. Most aren’t working at 4am, but each of us has found what it takes to make this nomadic life work best. Interestingly, what we all have in common, is that we’re all doing THE THING. You know The Thing? It’s the thing everyone dreams of doing some day, but most never do. In this ex-pat community, we’ve all chosen a life of travel, adventure, beauty, and often chaos.

Many of my ex-patriot friends are here six months at a time. Some are here indefinitely. Some have no idea how long they’ll stay. All make it work. Some are Dive Instructors, Dive Masters, Dive Photographers or manage dive shops. Some follow the dive seasons around the globe. Some are retirees. Some own bars or restaurants. Some work their asses off for six months in their home country and then come here to chill for six months. Like me, some are digital nomads who rent a house in Thailand year-round and come back as their schedule allows. But what we ALL have in common is that we were all brave enough to do THE THING.

Sure, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes. Even as I type this, the power has gone off about 10 times in 30 minutes. No power = No WiFi. The phrase, “Oh, Thailand” is one I use at least a few times a day. But when I’ve pulled an 8-hour work day before noon and then have the rest of the day to do whatever I want in this tropical paradise, it’s all worth it.

If you’ve ever considered a part-time move, I highly encourage it. You don’t have to chuck it all to live in paradise or to do The Thing. You just have to pull up your big-girl panties and go for it! Give it a try. Plan a trip. Read up on the Visa situation for whichever country you’re interested in. Try not staying in a posh hotel where they make your bed and clean for you. Get a place with a kitchen. Fully immerse yourself in a new, maybe temporary life, to see if it can work for you. And make sure you have a great WiFi connection.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” ~ Mark Twain

The Hole, August 2014

The Hole

Crying in the shower 

till the hot water runs out

The tears could fill the tub again

The heart an unrelenting spout


Don’t feed the monster –

Afraid to eat

Vomit the only way for the hurt to excrete


Heartache, emptiness, anger –

The endless pain

That never seems to wean


The hole can’t be filled.


You can’t cry it away!


You can’t drink away!


You can’t fuck it away!


Trust me, I’ve tried

The heart keeps pumping

An endless tide


All you can do is stare at the hole

Wish it away

Try to fill it with another glass of Cabernet


Like a twisted episode of the Twilight Zone

The hour of my discontent

Time for healing unknown


You realize the black hole was always there

Plugged for a while

Waiting to tear


Filled with 9 years of lies

While the love rotted

Covered in flies


Filled with remodels and websites

With exotic trips

But never insights.


Filled with psychotic episodes

Masking the trust

As it corrodes


Filled with hope and empty promises

The love was sick

A kidney on dialysis


No chance of recovery

The reasons are a mystery


It’s alright. I digress

No solution or resolution

Our love was a mess.


It’s okay, baby.

At the end of the day

I’ll recover – but you, my darling

You’ll always be this way


~ Jen Troyer, August 2014

Day 16

There’s a stench in the air, it’s just hanging there
It’s the smell of a heart that’s dead
Buzzards flying overhead

The ache, the pain. Ah man, the burning sting
that first time you see him
without his wedding ring

“Soul mates” he said, “Spend eternity with me” he said
Those lies rest in a bubble over his head
The vows not kept, the hurt widespread

You tell yourself this isn’t real, this can’t be true
The pain sinks in as his words push through
“I’m just not in love with you”

He talks of family like he’s so noble
but where I come from
families aren’t disposable

Thank you for the epiphany, the realization I didn’t have before
The absolute understanding that I deserve more
The truth… I am no longer yours to ignore.

~ Jen Troyer, July 2014