Ciara Lisette and her husband have PCSed a handful of times. They are no strangers when it comes to finding themselves in a completely new location and having to figure things out. Despite their handful of previous moves, the couple felt lost when it came time to ship out to Yokosuka Naval Base. The complications they went through proved to be the inspiration for Ciara to write a book in hopes to make the move easier for other service members and their families. The book, “Welcome to Yokosuka – A Practical Guide on How to PCS to Yokosuka, Japan,” was recently published, and Stripes Japan sat down with Ciara to chat about it.
Where are you located now? What does your husband do?
We live in Yokosuka, as my husband is stationed aboard a seventh fleet ship that's based here!
How would you describe your book in 50 words or less?
It's a combination of details about PCSing that commands put out to sailors and their families, and the nitty gritty details a spouse would give you on how to get here and really get settled.
What was the inspiration behind writing the book?
When we were starting the preparations for our PCS to Yokosuka I struggled to find information. Things were scattered and buried deep in Facebook groups. One day, after hours of research, I thought to myself "I've done two CONUS moves and one OCONUS move and I feel lost. How do people who have never moved before, let alone overseas, do this?" So, when my husband, Elliott, got home from work that day I told him I was going to write a book on how to PCS. He's been extremely helpful and supportive throughout the entire process.
Have you written any others? Do you have plans for more in the future?
I have not written any other books. I have however, been considering writing a more generalized guide on how to PCS overseas. Someone bought my book because she was moving to Korea and was having trouble finding resources. It was an eye opener to see the need for information in the community. It brought me back to our first OCONUS move where my husband asked me to get my no fee passport and overseas screening done, and I felt totally at a loss on where to start. I love the idea of empowering spouses to feel confident taking on a complicated PCS.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you could give someone heading to Yokosuka?
Take things a step at a time. The reason I broke the chapters down by the different parts of the PCS timeline (verbals, hard copy orders, 30-60 days out, etc...) is because I feel like as spouses, we get so overwhelmed with the feeling of needing to do EVERYTHING all at once, which really isn't the case. There are some things you should start on as soon as you hear you may be heading to Japan, like pet requirements. However, otherwise don't panic, and plan out when things should be done based on where you're at in the process. Don't let the big picture stress you out.
How can people get a copy of the book?
The book is available on Amazon, searchable under "Welcome to Yokosuka." You can order a physical copy, or download the e-book instantly.