Regret is a topic too big to cover in one little blog post. It’s too big to cover in two little blog posts. But we do what we can, right? When most people think about regret, I’d bet it’s not to re-hash the stupid things they’ve said, as I discussed in Truth and Regret. It’s not to beat themselves up over the questionable things they’ve done (boy-short haircut of 1999, I’m looking at you). The hardest regret to make amends with is regret for the things we did not try, say, or do—the risks we did not take. Oh, boy. Did I say that I was going to tackle this in one blog post?
This is a topic I think about often, not because I have mountains of non-risking regret, but because a great many things sound like a good idea to me, and I often do them, whether or not they make sense to other people. I’m not risk-averse, more like risk-prone. And sometimes I wonder if I’ve gone too far: maybe one day, the risks will roll themselves into a giant ball of regret, and I’ll think, “Why didn’t you just stay home? Why didn’t you major in accounting and stop moving around and marry a nice American boy? What if it all goes horribly wrong, what if it fails?” And then the next question snaps me back to reality: “What if things fall apart, just like they can for anyone, anywhere, whether or not they ever risk a single thing?” And so back I go to my life in Canada, where I moved to fall further in love with a South African boy I hardly knew, living a life I never foresaw, but jumped into head-first, risk-guns blazing.
Maybe I should back up a bit. About six years ago, when I was twenty-four, I decided to go on a Contiki tour of the Mediterranean, by myself. It was my very first time traveling abroad, something I had dreamed of doing for years. And, if the rush of frolicking in the streets of Italy, France and Spain wasn’t enough, I also met a boy. His name was Grant and he had a funny accent that I couldn’t place. Australian? British?
We met on a warm September evening in Rome. It was pretty darn romantic. During a day trip to the Cinque Terre, we climbed to a cliff-top outcrop overlooking a stone castle. He was wearing a grey t-shirt, and threw his shoes off immediately. I took a picture of him, and he of me. He looks contemplative and handsome in his photo, the castle looming behind him, beautiful and otherworldly. I look young—wearing a short skirt and stupid grin. After staring out at the impossible expanse of blue ocean for a while, we climbed back down, nervous, happy, uncertain, and walked past alcoves filled with dried flowers, religious figures—mementos of devotion. We stopped at a roadside cafe to drink sangria and eat salty green olives, trading stories back and forth like little offerings. The day passed that way—no frantic explorations or map to guide us, no monuments to see. We talked over that bowl of olives until it was time to meet our tour bus. A different sort of sightseeing: it was our first date.
Two weeks later, the tour was over. The rush of new love coursing through us, we concocted a crazy plan. Grant had been hired to work in a small town in northern British Columbia in three months time. The biggest barrier would be lifted: we would be on the same continent (he wasn’t able to work in the U.S. without re-doing his medical residency), so why not give it a shot, see if it could work? The plan was to put my things in storage, ship my car from Chicago to Seattle, and then drive the eleven hours north to Quesnel. We’d give ourselves a two month trial period to see if what we had was more than wine-induced infatuation. My stomach hurts just thinking about that time: the stress, the anticipation, the foolishness. I remember calling my dad to tell him the news, and before I revealed the plan, he said, “But you’d never do something crazy like move to Canada, right?” I swallowed the lump in my throat and said: “Yes. I would.”
I get that not everyone understands the decision to run off to another country for a boy. The feminists scream, “You gave up your life for a guy?!” The realists ask, “What about your job?” Moving somewhere to further your career is sensible; moving for love, not so much. I get a lot of furrowed brows whenever I tell this story: “How long had you known each other? Who did the asking? Why didn’t you just try long-distance?” And I know that most people only get past those questions because it all worked out in the end: we’re married now, I’m happy, my husband is a succesful doctor. There are a lot of things to soften the blow of this risk, to make the risk, in retrospect, seem less risky.
But it almost didn’t work out. About nine months in, during a trip to Europe and South Africa, on our way to meet his family for the first time, Grant told me that he didn’t think we were going to make it. In beautiful Vienna, standing in a magically lit square, men in lederhosen dancing around us. I wanted to throw up; after a tense discussion, I ran into a McDonald’s and almost did. We talked a lot that night. I told him I wanted to go home. We both wondered if the whole thing had been an unfortunate mistake. I remember Vienna as a gorgeous, horrifying place where my brave risk almost tanked, where I prepared to pack my bags and fly back to Chicago, defeated. This wasn’t the only rough patch; there were times when I was just as uncertain as he was in Vienna. In case you haven’t inferred as much, moving to another country and living with a brand new partner is not the perfect recipe for a stress-free relationship. But that night was the closest we came to ending it, in Europe, no less—-the very birthplace of our burgeoning romance.
Why am I telling you this very personal story? Because leaving it at, “I took a risk and it all worked out in the end, how lucky and wonderful for me.” would be easy and misleading. I want to make it clear that risking isn’t about guaranteed happy endings. We can’t take big risks with the assurance that we’re going to receive a big payoff: we don’t always get the boy or the dream career or the huge windfall. Sometimes all we get is a broken heart and an empty bank account. But we have to risk anyway. Otherwise, we only get what’s handed to us. We will never live an unexpected, challenging, beautifully full life without climbing out on a limb (or an Italian cliff) now and then and reaching for a higher branch.
I’m happily married to the boy in that cliff-top photo. But life is complicated and imperfect. I gave up a lot to get what I’ve got: living in the U.S., close, every day contact with good friends and family, the definition of who I was when I lived in familiar circumstances, seeing and doing familiar things. But as many times as I’ve questioned my choices, I know that, given the chance, I would do it all over again. My risk took me places I couldn’t have anticipated: to a life in Vancouver, to new friends and family from around the world, to finding my voice and finally releasing the words I’d been hoarding my entire life into the ether. Most importantly, I learned that I am strong and resilient and adaptable. When things are difficult and uncertain, I am my own best ally. I trust my choices now, because I know that I can live with the consequences, whatever they may be. I got the boy, sure. But more importantly, I got the current version of me.
So, choose love. Choose uncertainty. Choose failure. Hope for the occasional triumph. Go after the version of you that’s out there somewhere, waiting for your bravery and acknowledgment. You’ll never know how spectacular your life can be if you don’t show up, eyes wide open, risk-guns blazing.
What a beautiful, heart-warming tale! I am blown away by the path you’ve taken for true love and I am beyond thrilled that it has worked out for you, Rian. As for myself, I have always avoided risk. I spent three mostly-miserable years with a man because I was afraid of life without him. Once I was finally able to choose myself and cut ties, I realized how much I had been missing. I began to feel like my ol’ happy self once more. Unfortunately, the scars of that relationship run deep and after over five years, I have remained single for fear that I may end up an emotional wreck as I once was. Your story gives me hope in knowing that taking a risk really can be worth it. For that, I thank you.
Hi Jessica, thanks for sharing your difficult story. I’m sorry to hear that you went through something so painful, and hopeful that you find love again. I think it’s very brave that you took the time to work on your relationship with yourself, since it’s the most important (and often neglected) relationship each of us has. I know it must be hard to put yourself out there again, but I hope you do, one day. You might surprise yourself with how different things can be when your perspective has shifted. Five years is a long time, and I bet you’ve figured out a lot of things that you may not even realize until you’re in a new relationship– about love, strength, choosing happiness over security. I wish you lots of love and luck on your journey, whatever direction it takes.
Reading this post was reading my own experience in a way. I am the only person in my family that likes taking risks because it makes life much more excited to take new chances. Concerning love, 2 years ago I did something similar like you – which in my case ended very bad. I fell in love with a guy and we moved together after only 2 months (family and friends screaming “no!”). Another 4 months later we split up because he turned out to be a real monster and it hurt me so much that I knew I would become really ill if I continued staying with him. So I moved away again, which of course was stressful, and had my own flat again. Only 6 months later I met the guy I am still with, who is so different from all the men I used to be with – but he is the love of my life. I would never have met him, if I hadn´t experienced the bad story just before. Because from that I learned what is really important about a relationship…and he is giving it all to me and is still himself. Jobwise I am also very courageous. I am going to be in my 3rd job soon since I left university 5 years ago. I never thought I would be like that but I just haven´t found the job I feel comfortable with yet. But I just believe that you have to follow your intuition and listen to your heart. If you do that – and normally that´s not what your family and friends advise you to do – you will experience much more in your life than others (also many bad things). And if you can live with the consequences it makes you even stronger for the next step. Just listen to yourself and not to the common opinion…P.S. Sorry for my bad english…
Hi Laura, thank you for sharing this here. What a wonderful story about how the bad can lead to good. It all comes down to what we take out of our experiences, and how willing we are to risk again, even if our hearts have been broken. I’m so happy to hear that you’ve met the love of your life, and that you’re following your intuition on your path to career satisfaction. I have also been a bit all over the map job-wise. People project a lot of “should’s” onto one another, don’t they?
“And if you can live with the consequences it makes you even stronger for the next step. Just listen to yourself and not to the common opinion.” Amen. xxx
You are so right, Regrets are rarely about the things we’ve said or the places we’ve been too, more often than not they’re about the choices we never made and the risks we didn’t take. Thank you for this gorgeous post = )
Can I just hug you for this post? Brilliant work once more.
Sure. I love hugs ;)
I love this story! So like my own and how I got from Denver Colorado to Victoria Australia! :) For me it came down to, “Do I want to be an old woman living in a nursing home thinking, What if? or If only”? The answer was NO! I needed to live the life I dreamed of and take the good with the bad. As with you, I am thankful for the tough times because they are part of making me the person and I am…and I kind of like her! :)
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.
Ooh, Australia–lucky girl. Living in Vancouver, I often dream of sunshine and warm temps. But then, I could just move to South Africa, right? ;) I’m so glad that you followed your “old lady intuition” and decided to take a leap of faith. Being thankful for the tough times, now that’s a risky idea. Very inspiring, thanks for sharing!
It’s freezing cold where I am in Australia at the moment so if you are looking for warm then SA is probably better! :)
What happens if we don’t take risks? Nothing. Life stays the same as it always was. There would be no personal overhauls, changes or lessons learnt. I’ve learned FAR more from my ballsy failures or unexpected risks than my safe successes. That’s why I believe in taking risks and making mistakes…and why I don’t believe in regret.
I like the fact that in your story you mentioned that it wasn’t plain sailing. You took a risk, but were willing to stand behind your decision and try and work things out. Here’s to many more risks. :)
“What happens if we don’t take risks? Nothing. Life stays the same as it always was.” This is so simple and so true. I think I’m going to repeat this little mantra whenever I’m feeling trepidatious. Thanks!
I always said I’d never do what my mum did and follow a man halfway round the world…at 27 I did just that, moving from New Zealand to the UK with the man who became my first husband. Regrets? None! We had a great time and I have two beautiful children. I agree, I’ve learnt more from taking a risk and making big mistakes than I would if I had stuck with the tried and true, and I’ve had a much richer life because of it. Lovely post Rian, and I completely see why you made such a life-changing decision, given that beautiful hair!
Thanks for sharing your very cool story–I’m so glad to hear that you have no regrets, even though things didn’t go quite as planned. And I’ll be sure to tell my husband that at least one other gal likes his hair. It’ll make his day ;)
Hi Rian. I love your story. I totally agree to the last 6 sentences. Great post, as always. Take care.
Hi Guen, thanks for reading and for saying hello! Take care xx
Thank you for your honesty and for your inspiring love story. All love story involve a certain amount of risk. I’m glad you did it. :)
Beautiful. I totally get your story. I really needed this message as a reminder today of why, not just how. Thank you.
Beautiful story. I can imagine the “hard” moments of it. When I look back and see the risks I took (no one but me really knows what they were), I shudder, but, as I have said, “It all works out in the end; if it hasn’t worked out, it isn’t the end.” That always gets me back to a smile. It may get tough; you may even change your mind. But know that it all works out in the end, and you will make it through. Working out, by the way, means for the betterment of all, not, necessarily, the way you would choose. I am happy; I am content; however, this is not at all what I would have chosen to be my life. It’s not over, however, and I am only going up right now.
Thanks for giving me a chance to say that.
PS- check my post – you have been nominated for a new award!
“Working out, by the way, means for the betterment of all, not, necessarily, the way you would choose.” Those are wise words, Scott. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the award! I’m truly flattered.
I remember when you made that decision to move to Canada. I thought you had gone off the deep end and I was crazy worried about you. Very relieved it all worked out for you!
Who would have thought I would go off the deep end myself a few years later and move for a girl I had only dated long distance for a few months. Granted, my move was only from Chicago to Nebraska and not to another country. But, at last, I finally understood (or least had a reasonable glance) into what motivated you to make your move. I enjoyed reading about the experience from the current version of you!
Ain’t love grand?! :)
I find it so fitting that our love stories ended up being parallel, Adam. And I am so, so happy that you found your way to the fantastic life you now lead, with your beautiful wife and children. By the way, your move didn’t surprise me for a second–you’ve always been a risk taker. You just needed the right opportunity ;)
Oh girl. How I love that you posted this story. And I’m so glad you took that risk.
Thanks for standing by my side, never questioning my sanity when I did! xxx
Like you said, risk is a big topic to cover. But I absolutely love the way you tackled it, Rian. No curtains hiding the realities of being risky. I’ve been in a tough place recently trying to make a pretty tricky decision. My options are between playing it safe, doing what is comfortable, and in doing so putting off my true passion for a little while longer OR taking a big risk, diving right in, and just going for my dream. I can’t confidently say that I have made my decision, but this post has definitely inspired me…I’m sure you can guess in which direction. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing words. I know I have said it before, but I will gladly say it over and over again: You have an incredible gift with writing. I could read post after post after post of yours. Perhaps it’s time to take another risk and write a book? :) Have a wonderful day, Rian!
Hi Amber, sorry I missed your comment the first go round! I hope you’re making some progress with the big decision. I don’t know the details, but I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you :) I’m sure you’ll do whatever is right for you, whether it means jumping right in or delaying a bit for the greater good. Thanks for the sweet compliment–you’re far too kind.Take care xxx
Fabulous post! I took a few risks (also for a South African boy) which I’d never regret, despite the fact that it didn’t work out. Other risks have left me broken hearted and an empty bank account but I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. Here’s to taking risks!
I’d love to hear more about those risks, Laura!
Beautiful story and I am glad it worked out! I took a big chance and for me the outcome was not so great, but I don’t regret a single moment and would do it all over again.
Awesome post…just awesome. wonderful story and so well written – thanks for sharing with all of us out here in the ether!
Thanks for reading :)
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and inspiring story!
Okay, I think it’s fabulous you went on a contiki tour at 24 all by yourself. Just sayin. How could you have known how wonderful Canada and Vancouver was going to be! (says the Canadian…)
I love ‘how we met’ stories, and yours does not disappoint. My path is similar- I moved from Canada when I was 21 for a boy and dreaded all the sniggers my feministy friends might have had behind my back. There is no doubt that my life changed the minute I decided to account for someone else other than me- my career, the person I am, are all thanks to this choice. I sometimes think I was even crazier for doing it so young (so naive!) but maybe that is easier than doing it when you’re a little older. I didn’t have that much to leave behind (except for gorgeous English Bay, of course!).
There are rare moments when I wonder where I might have gone, what I might have done if I had not gone off to follow an odd Belgium man at such a young age- but that is the life that seems so foreign to me now. Home is wherever I find myself with him.
I think you have a huge point there–the younger we are, the easier the jump is. The older we get, the less malleable we are. I guess we just have to keep flexing those risk muscles! I would love to hear more about your story, specifically this: “There is no doubt that my life changed the minute I decided to account for someone else other than me- my career, the person I am, are all thanks to this choice.” The choice to make someone else a part of your life is a big risk, no matter the circumstances, wouldn’t you say? Hmm, you’ve got the old wheels turning… As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing!
huge risk especially if you consider yourself a modern independent woman. I used to argue with my husband (er, boyfriend then) that what I feared would become dependence was in his mind interdependence. Why be so scared of depending on someone if that someone was equally dependent on you. that was the key for me. That in whatever way there is an equal field- that makes the risk somehow more palatable. Like, I think I think it works your husband being south african, you american, living in a third country. I think it would have been less easy if you’d ended up in one of your home towns because then someone has the ‘advantage’.
I can’t tell you how beautiful this post is! I love that you went into what it really meant to take that risk, and that just because it all worked out in the end, didn’t make the journey any less challenging. I also love that you pointed out that it wasn’t just about a boy, but about being a you that you’re proud of. I know how powerful finding your own voice can be, and I’m so happy you’ve gotten to that point. You’re an inspiration!
These pictures are just breathtaking. Could you two be any more gorgeous?!
I’m glad you asked that question, Jules. The answer is, only if we looked like this.
ha ha ha!! And here I thought I got my good side…
beautiful, inspiring and amazing story… thankyou for sharing :)
Beautiful post – thanks for sharing! Life and living is many things and takes us on journeys and adventures too! Have a Great Day:)
Yes! I’m with you woman! I also took a big leap for love, and also from Chicago! I’m near Seattle now, and the same age as you, the similarities there are kooky! It was hard, yes! And I did wonder, what have I done? Yes! But it was right, and my heart knew it all along. We are married, and have our second kid on the way. It wasn’t stress free, it wasn’t easy, but it also wouldn’t have ever happened if he and I were risk-averse. Risk-prone, exactly. Gawd bless the dream weavers!
It’s so much fun to read the stories of all of the parallel riskers out there! We’re not alone at all, are we? I’m glad to hear that your risk is paying off, and that you’re able to take the good with the bad. Good luck!
What an amazing story! I’m so glad that it worked out well for you. And even if it didn’t risks are just that…risks. I’ve taken some in my life and all have been totally worth it. Your post kind of makes me want to scrap it all and hop on a plane to see what happens next! :)
I definitely know that feeling. I love to travel, and my husband and I often have conversations like, “What do you think about living in Paris for a year?” or “How do you feel about Australia?” There are so many wonderful adventures out there. But even the tiny risks can be exciting and life changing. I’m glad to hear that the risks you’ve taken have been worth it!
Thanks, you too! I hope one day we will move away, live there until it feels mundane, and then move on to a new, exciting city! :)
I am on the verge of a decision that if I say yes, will mean a big risk not just for myself but for my husband as well. I feel like reading your post just now might be a sign. Thank you as always for the beautiful stories that you tell and the true meaning behind them all.
Good luck with your big decision, Katelyn. I hope it works out!
What a powerful story about being your own person and following your own heart’s desires. Well done – on every level. I’m very glad you wrote this because I was ready to read this. I’m taking risks right now in my life, and it’s all so worth it. Thanks for the inspirational story about love and finding your place in the world.
Hi Megan, I’m glad you got something out of it. Good luck with your risk-taking!
I’m a romantic at heart and this made me smile. I especially like this insight “When things are difficult and uncertain, I am my own best ally. I trust my choices now, because I know that I can live with the consequences, whatever they may be. I got the boy, sure. But more importantly, I got the current version of me.” This is so true…to be who you are today [for me, who I am today] it took “that” path to get here. A few years ago I took a similar risk, one that is still unfolding. It was for love as well and a story I’m still looking for the right words to tell. Yours is one of inspiration, I’m very glad you took the risk! Here’s to always running the hills, as I like to say, in taking the risks, challenging oneself as the growth that results is priceless; your words, your expression of self results in expansion of happiness. Blessings to the both of you!
I look forward to reading your story once you’ve found the right words, Kristy.
Thank you, it may be clothed in fiction for it to be more relatable but that wouldn’t be “risk-guns blazing” ;) You know, I don’t know how I missed the end of this blog post, but perhaps I was meant to see it today “So, choose love. Choose uncertainty. Choose failure. Hope for the occasional triumph. Go after the version of you that’s out there somewhere, waiting for your bravery and acknowledgment. You’ll never know how spectacular your life can be if you don’t show up, eyes wide open, risk-guns blazing.” I have a story about the Art of Uncertainty (and Conscious Love-part of the words of my love story). I’m going to have to let your insights settle and see where it leads…risk taking and all. I think this is an amazing piece of written word from you, I feel I know you better after reading it and, honestly, a bit more about myself too. Thank you Rian, I’m glad you found this version of yourself, and who knows where this risk of blogging and sharing will take you, the possibilities are limitless. ~Kristy
I found some of the words, Rian :)
What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it. I married my husband after only 7 months of dating, and we had a baby the following year. People thought we were insane, and I got my share of grief for “giving up my life” for a man and a baby, but we’re happy and our daughter is beautiful. I don’t feel that I gave my life up at all. I gained a partner and we’ve created a beautiful family. Even when it’s difficult, it has absolutely been worth it. I so enjoy reading your blog, and I’m so glad you’ve decided to share your gift for words with the world.
“I don’t feel that I gave my life up at all. I gained a partner and we’ve created a beautiful family.” How fantastic for you. It’s unfortunaate that people can be quick to see the downside of risk and lose sight of all that is gained by risking. Thanks for sharing. Take care!
Aren’t all love stories beautiful and inspiring? Thanks for sharing yours. I’ve wanted to write something about my own for a long time but never got around to it.
Strangely, I find it easier to write about sad love stories, the impossible or heartbreaking ones. But we need to read more real life happy endings to remember that love is worth taking risks, always.
Hi Cécile, I know the feeling of needing something to percolate for a while before it forms words. I hope one day it comes together. When it does, let me know–I would love to read about your love story.
“Why didn’t you major in accounting and stop moving around and marry a nice American boy? ” LOL, isn’t that the dream…. too funny!
I loved this story; thank you for sharing! My husband and I are both from the same smallish Midwestern city, but we are taking our own risks and currently live across the country in Texas. The risks are worth it! :)
I think the U.S. is really like a collection of small countries–Texas and New York are far too different to lump together. Moving away from a small town is a huge risk! Best of luck on your adventure :)
Wonderful post. I’m going through something similar to this right now. I’m not the one who has moved to the other end of the world, he has, but it’s non-the-less scary. Every so often I wonder if we’re doing the right thing (he is much older than me), but I push away the fear and think “At this moment, it’s the most amazing things ever!”
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring – joy or heartache? I will worry about it if/when it happens.
Thank you for your lovely post!!
I loved reading the details about your sense of adventure and romance, and even the bumps in the road to getting married to “the boy.”
I am going to remember especially what you wrote at the end…that you are your own best ally. Powerful.
So nice to meet you through BYW 2.0.
All the best,
Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by and saying hi! Your blog is full of so many beautiful things. I look forward to getting to know you and everyone else better in class. Take care!
Your posts exude a sense of cool confidence and knowing. You inspire me to sail into the unknown. You inspire me to explore, dream and discover.
It is easier to let go when you are not holding on. I am happy for you both and glad that you made the decision to risk it all.
I met my wife when we were 16. We were married at 19 and just celebrated our 44th anniversary. Life is too short to wonder ‘what if?”, as you well know.
Thanks for this post,
Hi Allan, happy anniversary! Getting married young is a big risk–I’m so glad you followed your heart instead of wondering “what if.” 44 years–that’s an inspiration! Take care.
This is great. I love love love your second-to-last paragraph.
And your husband should be honoured that you took that leap. Moving to Canada to be with someone is one thing. Moving to Quesnel is quite another.
My husband and I have a similar story. He’s Australian and I’m Canadian. In our early twenties, we both lived in Dublin, Ireland and worked at a restaurant together. After knowing each other as friends for a few months, it was time for me to move on and I had chosen Mexico. Right before I left, he said he was interested. I knew there was a connection there and invited him to move to Mexico with me, which he did a few mnths later and where we stayed for three years.
We live in Vancouver now and have been together for ten years.
My favorite part was the almost break up in Europe. That is what we all have to face on one level, or time, or another. I love the vulnerability of this blog.
This is a terrific post and one I’ve not read elsewhere….I made that same leap at the same age as you…at 30. I left behind: Canada (for the US), friends, family, identity and a thriving career. No pressure!
It did not produce such a happy result…the American MD I fell in love with in Montreal bailed barely 2 yrs after our wedding in NY. I had a rough six years solo with financial stress galore and some scary stuff in there as well. But (yay!) I met my 2nd husband in 2000 and we married in 2011. We would never have met had I turned tail and run “home” to Canada which never seemed much of an option.
People have no idea (unless they have taken this specific risk) how challenging it is. But I am glad I did it and have a life, now, that makes me very happy…I still have all my dear Canadian friends and a whole new American life and professional success as well.
Caitlin, you’ve just done it all–lived in Paris, met the Queen, had (and have) a fantastic journalism career. I love that you talk about the good and the bad–that journalism isn’t the most lucrative career, etc. But based on the posts I’ve read, I’d say the quality of life payout has been extremely high. I’m glad to hear that the dips in your “risking it all for love” story have led you to a richer, happier place. Congrats on your recent marriage. And thanks for coming over and sharing.
“I trust my choices now, because I know that I can live with the consequences, whatever they may be. I got the boy, sure. But more importantly, I got the current version of me.”
This is a great post & I love the above line. Good for you!! I am sure many of us wish we would have taken chances such as you did!
your words inspire me, i’m learning to make decisions on my own and the last couple of sentences are something i’m going to right on a piece of paper and keep with me. =)
I have been wanting to tell you how much I enjoy your blog and your writing. You have such a talent! Your insight and wisdom is far greater than your years. Bravo and thanks for sharing your gift with us.
Hi Michelle! It’s so nice to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope you and all of the girls are doing great. Maybe when Jess is back, we can do another girl’s trip–the last one was so much fun :)
I got here from your Selective Truth and Social Marketing blogpost (which by the way, resonates SO strongly with issues I’ve been dealing with, with regards to my own blog and social media) and was SO excited to read this post! I moved to New Zealand a couple of months ago to be with my Kiwi boyfriend, who I met blogging. We were long distance for just over two years, with a few visits in between. As I was reading this post, I just kept nodding. Congratulations on your big leap and may you and your husband share many, many more years of love and joy together.
Ack! I totally want to grab a cup of tea, ignore my job, and just read you for the rest of the day!
Amazing story, wow. Truly a case of Great Love requires Great Risk. I live in South Africa and just love our country and our people!
Wow. Thanks so much for this amazing post! I’m a Californian about to move to Vancouver with my Canadian husband (right now in Calgary where he is working). I’m nervous + scared! Everyone said the same things to me, “How long had you known each other? Why doesn’t he just move to the US? Why did you have to get married so quickly, you could’ve just tested it out”. I’m leaving all of my family + friends in Los Angeles – but reading your post is giving me faith + confidence because I love my crazy husband very much! Thank you!
awwww.. thats sweet
Mmm, this post certainly took me back to some familiar places… I too took the risk of leaving a country, friends, my job, and uprooting my son to be with a man… Who left me 18 months later, with two children.
We didn’t make it through the same hurdles you struggled with, plus the added bonus of a new addition to our instant family…
A year and a half on, I no longer have regrets, but I am still deeply sad that we did not hold out for the better days.
It’s lovely to hear that you two did, though :)
I like this story. :)
My sister and I considered Contiki before finally deciding to backpack Europe by ourselves. I’m glad we did it that way, but maybe we would have picked up husbands if we had gone with Contiki. :D
Wasn’t the Cinque Terre awesome?!! I miss it often.
Going through the comments I see that the “moving for love” situation is more common than what we think. Here is my story made short: I am a Spanish girl who met her Brazilian boyfriend in New York. After some long distance, a lot of waiting and doubts, here I am blogging from Brazil. Happily in love, inevitably missing what I left behind but fully enjoying what I gained.
Just found your blog and love your writing.
Your story is so enlightening to me…I’m about to make the biggest decision in my life but I’m so so unsure…I guess you passed the relocation test and I’m failing….If I marry a foreign boy then it means forever away from my country….What will you do when your parents are old and need you? What will you do when you have very few friends and very lonely? So much uncertainty that’s dragging me to giving up the relationship…..
Absolutely loved this. Every minute of it. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your truth and insight. It was exactly what I needed to read today.
Hey Rian – what a beautiful piece! I’m so happy you sent me your blog link. I just got my heart broken by a guy I took a chance on, but as you say, I do feel a lot better knowing that I took the risk instead of wondering what could have been the rest of my life. Now instead of wondering, I know (total douchebag, by the way).
Anyway, I hope you are doing well and keep writing!
Hey Sharyl! It’s so nice to hear from you. I’m sorry to hear about the d-bag. But glad you won’t be left wondering ;) I hope life is treating you well in all other respects and would love to catch up more, anytime. Drop me a line! xx
I found your blog by way of Emily January’s blog, and I love this post especially. I think a lot about risk taking but you wrote about it so perfectly. Like you too I just packed up and left for another country, except I had no particular reason except to see what else there was beyond the safe confines of my very secure life. I moved from the US to Asia when I was 30 (leaving behind a promising career) and there found my new career and love. It was the craziest thing I had ever done but I can’t imagine where I’d be now if I hadn’t decided to just pack it up and go. After nearly a decade abroad I moved my husband and son back to the US and like you too we’ve struggled with all that immigration and an international/intercultural relationship entail. At times I had asked myself why I always seem to choose the “hard” path in life but then again, I am so happy. You get out of life what you put in, eh? Looking forward to reading more of your words.
Hi Cecilia, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I love hearing from people who are on interesting journeys–and it sure sounds like you’ve been (and are still) on one. I totally agree that you get out of life what you put into it. I think we’re similar in that we both want a level of adventure and richness that isn’t easily found on our own front doorstep. My husband and I are currently itching for (and discussing) a new adventure. I’m not sure where we’ll end up, but I sure am glad to have a partner in crime :) Feel free to join the conversation here anytime–there are lots of insightful, creative people hanging out and I’d love to hear more of your thoughts! Take care.
1. That hair is amazing, and 2. Yay! Canada is the best! So glad you came to the cooler half of the continent… lol pun intended
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Thank you for acknowledging the imperfect and amazing journey that landed you in lovely Canada. I am struggling to overcome the mad voices of perfectionism in my head; they eroded our marriage and we are on shaky ground building it back up. It’s like a hug today to read your honest experience instead of a fairytale facade. Thank you :)
So eloquent and poignant and true and telling. Thank you for sharing!
Wow!! what a sweet and inspiring post!! I don’t know how sweetness and inspiration can come together but you made them go well together :)It’s really heart warming to see you two together! Lovely! Wishing you happy times ahead <3 I've felt it many a time-feeling uncertain over my choices but when we look back it all makes sense and the picture is perfect :)
This is such an inspiration! Thank you for giving me the reassurance that risk-takers can win big too! I just took a similiar life-changing kind of risk and need this kind of encouragement. Met my boy while working the job of a lifetime as a trip leader in Europe, decided to ‘give it a go’ by moving to Vienna despite only knowing him 3 months, of which we’d only spent a week straight together. As a consequence of Austrian Visa rules (I’m an Aussie) we got married just 9 months after meeting each other. Huge risk, huge stress and so far, pretty damn fine payoff. The family and friends distance has been my biggest worry and adjusting to a desk job was a big sacrifice. BUT like you say, the tough stuff is balanced by the holy-shit-I-live-here feeling of absolute joy I have being in Europe and with him. Its great to know someone else sees that ‘moving for a boy’ is so much more than a romantic choice, and actually about discovering your true self. I hope that in a few yers time I’m still as happy with my risk as you are. And If you ever get back to Vienna I hope its a much better experience! Thanks heaps for this stunning post!
I LOVED this storytelling! I also loved the storytelling in some of the replies you’ve gotten (haven’t read them all). I must say that I am one of few risk-takers in my family, although not to the extreme as you, Rian! Unfortunately, by moving away, not FOR love but WITH love (my wonderful hubby), I have managed to alienate much of my family including one sister, who was my very best friend, and my adult daughter, who was also a good friend. I think they take my decision to move personally. Instead of thinking “props to them for chasing their dreams”, they seem to be thinking “how could she have left me?”. So, I am now torn between to places. Heck, we have the ability to video chat anytime we like, but that isn’t good enough so it doesn’t get done. So sad. So very sad.
I chose love too! I wasn’t wrong about it but I ultimately failed. It’s recent enough that it still hurts a lot but the regret of never having taken the plunge (and returning to Japan from England after 2 years of estrangement from the American love of my life) would have tormented me more. Despite the sadness, there’s peace in knowing I did literally EVERYTHING I could. I’m happy things worked out for you and I enjoyed your story.
Hi I love your story! I can’t wait to follow and read more, time allowing!
Good and brave story. I have a framed card in my home on which the quote is: ‘if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours’ (Henry David Thoreau), and I think you are talking about the same phenomenon.
Wow… this is amazing. I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I just want you to know it really touched me.
I’m also an American who moved to Vancouver, Canada for love. I met my now husband in Vegas of all places in 2009. After our 4.5 year long distance journey while he was in Vancouver and I was in NYC, we got married and I moved here to Vancouver. I started blogging because I felt it was a turning point in my life,I had a lot on my mind, and I found it therapeutic. I reached out to a mutual friend katespanish.com to get tips/advice on blogging and she sent me two of your posts (So, You want to Start a Blog…). And I think I stumbled on this particular post for a reason… to remember that when things get tough living in a new place, in a new country, when you followed someone for love… that sometimes these risks are SO worthwhile.
I can’t wait to continue following your blog.
Nice article! there is so many reasons to move to another country… check out this article for more reasons:
Dear Rian, tonight I stumbled upon this blog post when I Google searched “I moved abroad for love.” I was so pleased to read what you wrote about your risky move to Canada for love, including the very difficult parts where your partner shared with you how it might not work; I enjoyed reading that it worked out, of course, and I also enjoyed reading that you followed your heart.
Here is why I Googled that phrase about moving for love in the first place: A year ago I moved to Mexico City, having just one friend there, to live and study there. I was already pretty comfortable with the Mexican culture and language, and made this move, and then I met someone there and we fell in love. Two months ago I returned to the U.S., my home country, to pursue the dream of graduate school (big change, big shock in many ways).
Me haven taken risks also comes with my challenge of comparing myself to others in thinking that not taking risks is better because it is safer, more predictable, more easy, more “normal.” I tell myself that there is a normal way to live life, which is the way many of my friends and family live their life, and maybe it is better. Do I think that they are happier for living a more simple life, one free of risk-taking, or substantial risk taking? I think I need to value more how these risk taking experiences have really made me stronger, and stop seeing myself as weird.
Taking the risk of moving to Mexico allowed me to discover that ‘this is how I am; this is me.’ One of the most valuable things I have learned by doing the not normal thing and living in Mexico over the years is this: doing what you really want to do is the best feeling ever; doing the things that you think sound super exciting while no one else would ever do that is perfect, and you need to accept that about yourself if you make that decision, simply because you are allowing yourself to discover who you are. Giving yourself the freedom and openness to discover yourself as you really are is a beautiful journey to be on. There will always be people who think you are weird, and maybe getting yourself into some sort of trouble, some sort of risk, ha. ALWAYS. They cannot understand why you do what you do, so you need to be strong for yourself.
In considering moving abroad for love, I have been stressing. I could move abroad alone to start a life in Mexico City, but to move for love? It is scaring me. I feel on the brink of taking risks right now in life: a long distance relationship, applying for graduate school (a dream of mine) and the idea of if things work out between my boyfriend and I, ending up in Mexico. These are all new things.
My hope is that with every great change I pass through in my life, particularly this one now as I really miss my boyfriend who lives in Mexico, is that I will not become afraid to keep taking risks, that I will be bold.
I do not want to loose that boldness of risk-taking, because it has given me so much so far; I do not want to envy other people in the normality of their lives, thinking that not taking risks landed them somewhere, made them happy, that not risking is better, and a strong template for a happy life.
I guess I am afraid of becoming scared, since this recent move back to my home country for graduate school has made me consider the idea of returning to Mexico for love, and that scares me. I do not want to be scared. Like everyone I suppose, we want to not fear these big decisions, and we do not want to fail. Failure is what scares us and ultimately keeps us from a risky decision.
Should we believe more in our own strength to be patient and stick-it-out after making a risky decision, like a big life change?
So I appreciate your post, because you followed your heart and took a big risk. I do not know how else we can put it rather than ‘following our hearts.’ This is what I have done in the last three years of my life living abroad and forming a life I really love, and a me I am proud of, and now as I am choosing to apply to graduate programs that get me excited.
I just hope I do not lose that capacity to take risks, and I want to practice trying to accept my fears for the future and dismissing them should they get in the way of my happiness, in regard to making big moves, especially one for love.
I guess we just loose our heads when we are in love, no?
This is lovely. Thank you for being vulnerable!
I am very good at avoiding risk and change… but I am trying to change that. My goal for this year is to go on one new adventure every week to try to become more daring and willing to live a life in which I will have regrets, but those regrets will not include letting life pass me by.
I’m documenting my journey at https://embark52.wordpress.com/.
My own story unfortunately didn’t work out. The man I fell for unfortunately thought the whole experience would be sunshine and rainbows, and I’ve been left working out the pieces of my life.
Your story was honest. I really enjoyed reading it. It put a different perspective on my situation.
I am so glad you got you happy ending. I moved across the world for my love but then life got in the way…in a huge way. I am shattered. I took a risk but it didn’t work out so well. Now I am trying to figure things out.
Please Please Please Check out my blog : https://hoplesslyromanticcinderella.wordpress.com/
The last line was perfect! It’s how carpe diem really works, after all life is a gamble right :)
I am so happy that I discovered your blog, Rian. What a great post this was! As a born Canadian, I was thinking to myself, “Canada is not that risky, is it?” Hehe. But you’re right. We have to be comfortable with stepping out into the unknown if we want to live authentic, meaningful lives. Life can’t and won’t be perfect, but we can live it in a way that brings us joy… and sometimes that means facing your fears and letting of of this need to have satisfying answers to the people who ask “But why?” It may not work out in the end, but it may be even better than you could have imagined. But if you don’t take that step, you’ll never know.
I also moved to new york partially for love! lol thought i was the only one,i was embarassed to tell people.
After perusing many blogs, searching for one that spoke to me I came across yours, what a gem. I am responding as part of Blogging101, it is our assignment, but more than that am delighted to have found your writings. I read your blog with the perspective of a few more years on this planet….and finding myself in a place where the risk taking( that my soul and spirit loves!) has to be balanced with the knowledge that my actions now impact more hearts than just mine. And the consequences matter more. Taking a huge risk on love in our twenties is courageous, but even more so now since the years matter more. There are fewer years to recover from a mistake, and fewer yeas to savor the sweetness of love. The stakes are much higher when each grain in the hour glass shimmers with the reminder that time is passing at he constant speed of love, both lost and found.
Thank you for sharing! “The current version of you” that right there is the best reward and your recognised it so well – it’s not always about the goal we took risks for. It’s also about us and how the risk-taking changes us as individuals – nothing ventured, nothing gained. I love your post ❤️