Long distance love letters

How an American couple found each other thousands of miles from home.

Being a nomad can be a lonely lifestyle.

As a traveling street performer, Luther was used to plying his trade around the world, never staying anywhere long enough to set down roots.

But when he met Lexie on the banks of the Ganges in India, that began to change. The two Americans were drawn to each other, and before Luther left town to continue his travels, he asked for her email.

They were pen pals for two full years, getting to know each other from the emails, letters and packages they sent one another, but hardly ever being in the same place.

Eventually, when life brought Lexie back to the U.S., Luther came to join her. They’ve been together ever since.

Here’s their story.

How did you two meet? 

Luther: I was traveling in India and had ended up going to Rishikesh in the Himalayas. I was there for a couple of weeks. One day I went to a chai stand on the banks of the Ganges river, and sitting there was a really beautiful woman.

She just stood out to me. I really felt like there was something about her, something was shining around her. I started talking to her and we struck up a conversation.

Lexie: I was living in India studying at a university in rural West Bengal. And I’d taken a little holiday to Rishikesh. I thought I had put on my people repellant for the day, but Luther started talking to me and he was really interesting. When we were talking I was really surprised that he was from the U.S. When you looking at him you’d think he was French or Italian. 

When he told me he was a juggler I realized I had actually seen him juggling a couple of days before from a faraway distance. It stopped me in my tracks. I was really involved in the yoga world, and I felt like watching him juggle was so much more powerful than watching someone do their yoga practice. He just had such a presence about what he was doing. 

What happened next? 

Lexie: Luther asked for my Facebook. I was a very anti-social-media person, so I remember very vividly giving him my email address. I didn’t ask for his.

We met up again a couple of times by happenstance in the next couple of days before I left to go farther into the mountains. It was a few weeks later when Luther emailed me. I remember getting the email and thinking Oh, it’s the interesting juggler. And that’s how our pen pal-ship started. 

Luther: She really just struck me when we met. Before I left Rishikesh, I went back to Delhi to pick up a friend who was coming to travel with me. And I remember telling him immediately that I had met this woman on the street and it had felt meaningful to me. I knew I was going to send an email and keep in touch. 

Lexie: We were both traveling a lot. We were used to meeting somebody and having a special connection and it being fleeting. 

What was the pen pal relationship like? 

Lexie: It was really beautiful. Luther was a professional street performer traveling around the world, and I was mostly living in India, but I moved around a lot between the U.S. and India. It was a steady stream of long emails back and forth every few weeks. And then if Luther was in a stable place with an address there would be a letter or a small package. 

I got a job in Mysore and I remember writing to him about it because he had studied abroad there. And he was like “I’m in Singapore, what if I come?” And then we met up there. 

When did you realize you had romantic feelings? 

Lexie: To be honest, for me, it didn’t feel romantic right away. I think it felt like a really deep, spiritual relationship. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I was embarking on a celibate kind of nun path or not, so I wasn’t thinking about things romantically. But it was such a special relationship in my life. I felt romantic feelings after we met up the second time in Sri Lanka more than even in Mysore. 

Luther: For me it felt like there was a potential for it to be romantic from the beginning, but I was aware from talking to Lexie that I didn’t want to detour her from the path that she was on. I didn’t want it to become romantic if it didn’t feel like that’s what it was meant to be. 

When did you get together? 

Lexie: It was a process, it wasn’t like one moment. But I definitely started to feel like I was falling in love with him when we met up in Sri Lanka, and that was about two years exactly after we met. I had to go for my Visa, and Luther came and joined me there. We had a motorcycle and we just rode around the whole country together. It wasn’t like a romantic outing, but in my heart I felt like this was something very different.

Ironically, when we were in Sri Lanka and I was feeling all of these things, Luther got invited to do a project with Clowns Without Borders in my hometown in Texas. And it was exactly when I was going to be back because I was moving back to the U.S. So it felt really strange, I felt like the world was putting us together in a lot of different ways. 

We had a lot of conversations about it, and in the end I got accepted to Columbia in New York. And Luther was like “I’m going to come to New York and see how it goes.” And that’s when we became an official couple. 

What’s your takeaway from your Meet Cute? 

Luther: I think ours was definitely meant to be. I felt if we’d rushed into it it wouldn’t have been any of the things it needed to be. Having this long pen-palship was a really beautiful, special part of the blossoming of our relationship. 

Lexie: Both of us were prepared to not have it be a romantic relationship and still have it feel just as special. Luther was respectful of where I was in life the whole time and we moved so slowly that it was such a gradual becoming and blossoming into a relationship. It was really gentle and getting to know each other in this really intimate way that was so non-physical because we weren’t physically together very much, and that’s really beautiful.

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Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.