How to Start Over: A Story in Three Parts

How to Start Over: A Story in Three Parts

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” – Rumi

My life has been a series of events of beginnings and endings. It’s funny that whenever I experienced a major life change, it coincided with a physical move. I didn’t mean it to happen that way, it just did.

So here’s my story:

Part One: South Korea

I sat in my bedroom crying my eyes out on the phone. My dear friend finally told me, “Sarah, I think you are suffering from a broken heart.”

I was in a serious relationship with someone I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. All of a sudden, this person told me they needed a break. I guess I should have known. I would constantly try to show affection and tell him I loved him, but he would pull away. I’d be upset over a family problem and there was no attempt to comfort me.

You want to hear the worst part? He was halfway across the world when he broke the news to me. No phone call. Rather, he sent me a message on MSN Messenger while I was away from my computer.

I felt so angry and disgusted that all I wanted to do was to run away. I moved back to Canada for this person and quit a great job in Australia to do so! I knew I didn’t want to be back in Canada. I still wanted to go out and explore the world.

I took this as a sign that I should go overseas again. I contacted a friend who was living in South Korea at the time and had her help me get a teaching job. A month later, with only two suitcases to my name, I boarded the plane to South Korea. A month later, I called the person who broke my heart that I officially wanted to end things.

Part Two: China

A year later, I was ready to move on from South Korea. I wanted a change because I was ready to grow up so to speak. I took the time in South Korea to do things I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do them. One day I look up at the sky and said out loud “Whoever is up there, I am ready. I am ready for a serious relationship. I am ready to get married and spend the rest of my life with someone who deserves all I have to offer.”

The next day, I received a job offer from an international school in China. A month later, I started dating the man of my dreams, whom I would marry two years later.

Part Three: USA/Asia

Four years later, my contract ended at the school I was at. My husband and I decided that it was time to take the next step and look at moving to the US (where he’s from) to settle down. We planned where we wanted to move to, what kind of house we wanted, to when we were going to have kids.

Events didn’t turn out as planned after we moved back. Both of us had difficulties looking for jobs. When we were both finally employed, we ended up leaving our respective companies because both places were involved in shady practices. We didn’t even want to consider children until we both had stable incomes and a home to call our own.

Months went by and we were both fed up. We both wondered if this kind of life was for us, and whether or not we were meant for something more. My frustration levels went over the top when two months and three interviews later with the same company, my husband got turned down for a job. I questioned if this was the life for us. Both being world travelers for so long, it didn’t make us happy that we felt we needed to stay in one place for the rest of our lives. I realized that we were trying to define our happiness and our lives based on what others thought were best for us.

Now we’re in the process of moving again, back to Asia. Our plan is to start a business and go from there.

Looking for Change?

In retrospect, I think that by literally being in a new environment, I was able to clear my head and embrace the changes that I went through more easily. Of course I’m not advocating everybody do that, it’s just not possible. If you want to embrace change in your own life without moving across the world, here is what I recommend to you:

  • Find a space you can go to – I moved across the world, but you can easily find your own space such as a yoga studio, a coffee shop across town, or even consider redecorating your room for a change. Changing your scenery can help you cope with life’s changes.
  • Voice your changes out loud – You don’t have to speak to the universe like I did. There are numerous ways to voice the changes you are going through such as through your blog, emailing your friends, or tweeting it.
  • Go on a short trip – If you can afford it, try to get away for a few days. You’d be surprised at how that can help you cope with change. It’s ok to want a break every once in a while.

My hope is for you to be able to create change within yourself even if you don’t physically change your environment. Do whatever it takes for you to embark on your journey.

Photo by lemuelinchrist

Sarah Li Cain

Sarah Li Cain is an international educator and freelance writer. She blogs to document on how she is reclaiming her fearlessness in life and wants to help others do the same. You can also follow her on twitter @slicain.

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25 Comments

    • yes! Even a day trip can really help change your perspective!

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  1. Bravo!

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  2. Great demonstration on how change relies so heavily on action. And beautifully written. Thank you, Sarah!

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    • Thanks CJ! And yes, it is not enough to want change, you must act on it.

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  3. Sarah – Good to learn this. A few lines gave me goose bumps and drove me back to my past.

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    • I’ll take that as a compliment! I’m glad you learned something from this post!

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  4. Very nice Sarah, I admire your ability to travel from country to country. I imagine there being a lot of emotions involved with taking those first steps, but after that, it would be well worth the journey. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Bardia, there are definitely a lot of emotions involved. The key is to not let the negative ones get in the way of the excitement that comes with a big change. Of course it is not as easy as I made it seem lol.

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  5. wow!! great…..i am also an aspiring(or budding, can i say :) )world traveller……it feels great to read such true accounts……i am sure u will have a wonderful and equally beautiful life ahead tooo…and lots of interesting stories to tell your grandkids!!!! that’s what I would say..a life worth living…… !!!!!!!!! :D

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    • Thank you for the compliment. I wish you well on your world travels :)

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  6. Beautifully written Sarah.. My life is just in the first part of your life..Worst case is that though we broke up, he kept on contacting me for almost a year and told would come in front of me if I get married to someone. Suddenly he disappeared again and the last time I heard about him was about his marriage. NO MSG or NO PHONE CALL or no nothing!! After all this was 10 year relationship!!! It was terrible but now I am trying to cope up and climb up my ladder. Though I need someone to share my happiness and sorrows, still I am not ready to say to the one above, “I am ready” but I wish I could say that soon and find myself falling in love with person whomsoever it might be or how long ever it might be :)) Time is the best and worst medicine sometimes..Wish u good luck for the rest of your journey :)

    Reply
    • Wow Cathy, I am sorry to hear that this is happening to you. But know that in time it will all make sense. When I moved to Korea I was feeling a lot of the same emotions you were. Just keep thinking about what lessons this is trying to teach you and hopefully it will help you cope. Good luck :)

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  7. One step at a time, listen to the universe and follow your heart. Many of the obstacles that are put in our way are there to help us move in the right direction, the direction meant for us to take. You showed bravery in listening to what was right for you and I am sure your life will be more fulfilling as a result. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    • Yes, definitely follow your heart, And listening is a skill that I am still trying to get better at. I think everyone needs to cultivate that skill.

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  8. You took the right steps by changing your environment which yielded a positive result.this really worked for you because you are tired of the situation you find yourself.that means for any change to be effective you must be tired of your present situation.Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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  9. Stress is caused due to culmination of unpleasant situations we are unable to cope with -physically and mentally. The suggestion given in the blog is apt i.e. to change the scene by either moving away to a new place or taking to some other occupation of interest like writing, painting, music or just a walk into nature’s lap. Living the same situation in mind repeatedly only complicates it further without any solution. Change of place or scenario gives a new perspective and energy to deal with the problem.

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  10. That’s some courage you have there, lady !

    For me, I always start with why I think I need a change. Sometimes it is simply because I haven’t taken a break, or because I’ve been doing too much of the same thing. The why provides the answer to what I must do ….

    - Razwana

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    • I love that, thinking about the why. I read somewhere that you ask that 5 times with each answer you get helps you really get to the core of the problem or solution you need for effective change. I’m not sure I would say I have courage, I just think I was able to do what I needed to do without getting my negative thoughts get in the way.

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  11. The most interesting part of your story for me is your refusal to quit and not looking outwardly for approval from others. Instead doing your own thing. That takes courage.

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    • Thanks Styl. I never thought it as a refusal to quit until now.

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  12. I have found the same to be true in my life as well… Very eloquently written.

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  13. I relate a lot to your story here.

    A nomad by heart, i moved to another country few years back and it has changed me (for better i hope).

    I have been planning to move to another place soon so i can tick of my ‘second-part’ of moving and changing.

    Thanks for posting, i truly enjoy reading it.

    Reply

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