How Rough Roads Lead Us to Beautiful Destinations

rough road leads to beautiful destination in jungle

Good day my beloveds. I hope you are joy-filled, healthy, and surrounded by love and sunshine.

This blog post captures my first two weeks of experiences when I moved between cities in China in 2020. Moving is stressful. Add choosing to move between cities in a foreign country, and a move becomes a journey and a memorable life experience. 


My decision to move came on the days leading to a special day, July 15th. This day is the anniversary of my dad departing this life for the next in 2009. So, today seems like the perfect time to share my story about achieving self-love and coming home.

Right Time

The lessons I learned when settling into my new home changed me. I feel like this move was a transition point in my life where, in the process, at the right place and the right time, I settled into myself. Things started to shift around me and I had an eerie feeling that I became aligned with divine timing.

Good things happened in a magical way. I felt positive energy enveloping me and I had better health than I have had in a long time. New ideas emerged with the right timing and I believe this was a result of the law of attraction.

Inner Peace

Positive thinking, once slated in my journal as a daily task, was now part of my daily practice, and at this point, and with this move, I felt like I was in control of my life. Life had a better plan for me and the inner work to get to this point brought me a sense of inner peace with the challenges I faced moving between provinces in a foreign land.


The best thing was that I felt my guardian angels and spirit guides with me for my highest good as I navigated new territory in China. I knew I was on the right path and with my trust of divine timing, I overcame challenges and turned them into opportunities. The path of least resistance was not an option with this move. Aligning with my deepest desires to live in a tropical location where I could be on the beach every day was my goal. The inconveniences and unexpected events became irrelevant as I focused on my higher self, divine energy, and self love.

Right Path

Once the dust settled after my move, I had time to decompress and set the stage to rebuild my life with new things. In my reflections in my gratitude journal about this experience, I decided manifestation works and no matter how much we panic, rush, and push, the universe’s timing will always prevail.

Better Plan

This move was a profound lesson in self-love. Learning about the art of letting go was reinforced and key takeaways for you are:

  • with hard work, you can learn to face the uncomfortable areas of your life
  • bigger things will be presented to you at the right moment
  • there is a divine plan for you to step into your power and take control of your life
  • divine forces will intervene in your life with perfect timing to help with your manifestation work

How do we know when we have achieved self-love?


To give you context, I was born and raised in a tourist location in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, and raised my family in a small town in southern Alberta, Canada. I moved to Beijing, China, in 2019 and soon discovered living in the big city was not my natural habitat, and I needed to make a change.

The view from my apartment in Beijing, China.

Beijing is known as the ‘city of foreigners’ and a beautiful city. Living there, though, was not the life for me. Nevertheless, I highly recommend anyone to visit this historical city, and I will plan to return to Beijing for short tourist stays over the holidays in the future. 

Enjoying an art walk in Beijing with my boss and friend, Emily.

Deciding to Move

When I moved to Beijing in 2019, I was excited and eager to learn about big city life. However, this excitement soon faded and turned into a feeling like I was in a cage. I had been in Beijing for seven months. Nineteen weeks of those seven months I spent in isolation in my apartment. I would go out once a week for one hour to collect supplies and groceries. 

Leaving Canada for Beijing, China in 2019.

Although isolation time was situational, deep down, I knew I needed a change of environment, and moving from the big city was the first change I needed to make for myself. 

I heard about Hainan in south China. Known to be the ‘Hawaii of Asia,’ I started researching the island, teaching job opportunities, and quality of life. After a few discussions with my Chinese language teacher, colleagues, and friends, I made a short visit from July 15th to July 19th, 2020, to check it out and meet with a prospective employer and landlord.

My holiday in Hainan was a breath of fresh air. Being in a city where I could freely walk around, go to the beach and the swimming pool, and enjoy the outdoors was like a dream come true. I decided I would return to Beijing and immediately plan my move. 

City view of Haikou, Hainan, China

Departure from Beijing

My apartment in Beijing is all packed for my move to Hainan.

This is a journey like none other I have experienced for sure. I arrived in Hainan on August 3rd, 2020. Leaving my apartment at 3 am to head to the airport, I arrived at 4:30 am and discovered my flight was canceled. After navigating through a Chinese app to first cancel my first flight and then rebook another, I managed to find an 8:20 am flight, BUT it was at another airport located two hours away. 

I considered going back to my apartment and leaving later in the week. But, in consideration, my heart screamed, “NO! You have come this far; you are packed and here and ready to go. You need to try your best at least to make this work for this morning.” So, I hailed a taxi, and he told me we would never make it in time as it was already 5:45 am and morning traffic was a deadlock in Beijing.

I insisted, and he agreed to take me. It was a wild ride! We arrived at the other airport at 6:55 am, and I checked my luggage and made it to my gate with eight minutes to spare. By the time we boarded the plane, I was unraveling and exhausted as I had not slept for twenty-five hours while I finished the last few items on my checklist before leaving Beijing. One of the items on my list included getting the COVID-19 nucleic acid test and the results before I flew. Although this was not a requirement, I felt it was the best thing to do to have all the necessary paperwork in place for traveling between provinces. 

Arrival in Hainan

I arrived in Hainan at noon, and when I got in the taxi to the hotel, I felt like life had beaten my body. I was vulnerable, weepy, and exhausted. I immediately called Molly, my youngest daughter, and on FaceTime, I cried while we talked. After our short call for me to let her know I had arrived safely, I hung up the phone, and the taxi driver asked me where my hometown was. So, I told him, and I wiped my tears, embarrassed that I could not get them to stop.

Suddenly, he started asking me other questions, and I would answer in Chinese. Feeling agitated and like crawling into a hole, I told him in Chinese 我会受寒月瘦不太好 (“I don’t speak Chinese very good”). He started laughing and pumped his fist in the air, and yelled 你会受寒月瘦很好! (“You speak Chinese good!”). He kept yelling that and pumping his fist while he smiled and nodded his head at me in the rear-view mirror. I started laughing through my tears and pumped my fist in the air, and yelled 我会受寒月瘦很好! (“I speak Chinese good!”). We did this a few more times until I laughed instead of crying. We talked and laughed on our trip to the hotel. We both randomly repeated what we had just said while yelling and pumping our fists into the air. 

When getting out of the taxi, I thanked him. I had a profound feeling that my ancestors and the Universe had responded to my heart crying out in fear. He was a gift, and I am grateful for the compassion, kindness, and love he showed me. I am also grateful for my Chinese teacher and her patience and understanding while I learned the language. I left the taxi feeling connected to the world around me, and having a human connection at this moment was the affirmation I was on the right road. 

Settling in at the Hotel

Once in the room, I showered and fell into bed for a deep four-hour sleep before teaching online classes. After classes, I went down to the sea to meditate, pick flowers, and breathe in the fresh air. Then, feeling contentment for the day, I returned to my room and had a long hot bath in the glorious tub, and fell into bed again. 

Day 1

The next day I found my way to meet my new boss at my new apartment to get my keys and other details sorted. After she left, I looked around at the space that was not prepared for me and felt a heavy sense of overwhelming dread. It was appalling. Filthy really. The items meant to be completed by my arrival were not, and after walking around and taking inventory, I gave up and decided cleaning my apartment was for another day. I returned to the hotel, went to sea for a swim, and mediated. Then I ate a satisfying meal and napped before teaching online classes. After classes, I talked to some friends on FaceTime and slept early. 

Happy to have the key to my new home in Hainan, China.

Day 2

In the morning, I packed up my things and made my way to my apartment early so I could start cleaning out the garbage and broken furniture before classes began again in the early evening. My shipment of things from Beijing had not arrived yet, but I had brought one blanket, one pillow, and one towel with me just in case. It was enough. I started to haul out the garbage from the cupboards, closets, and living space, and that was all I was able to do on Day 1. 

My first night concluded with me realizing while I sat in my window box that I had not seen the stars since being in Canada. So, I sat for a few hours, watched the clouds and stars, and listened to the silence. It warmed me, and I felt excitement for the next day to continue cleaning and sorting out my new home. 

Watching the clouds and stars outside my bedroom window.
Revelations at the Window

I had lived in a few places since selling the ranch, our family home, two years prior, but I had not had a home. So, sitting watching the stars, I made a choice. I decided this new place would be my home, our home, a home for my family and friends to visit, and a home where my co-creator and I would begin our journey together. I was sure I would find him in Hainan. 

The view from our east-facing deck at the ranch in southern Alberta, Canada.

Committed to always choosing love, and choosing this place as my home, filled me with an abundance of much-needed love.

Day 3

I woke up to a beautiful tropical rainfall and immediately opened the windows to enjoy my delivered coffee and breakfast.

Fresh and beautiful tropical rainfall in Hainan, China.

I worried about 盼盼, my cat. He was still at the vet in Beijing, and they would ship him out in three days. He needed to have his sterilization surgery and vaccinations before travel, so he stayed behind while I set up our new home. 

Taking PanPan to the vet in Beijing in the morning before I left for Hainan.

The vet assistants sent me morning and evening pictures and videos, and I longed to play mousey and cuddle him. So, to ease the loneliness, I started to clean and continued to prepare our home for his arrival. 

My fur baby was recovering after his surgery.

After breakfast, the landlord came to remove the furniture I didn’t want. I immediately got online and ordered a sectional couch, a dining room set, and other furniture pieces that are must-haves for my home. I then decided I needed help with the daunting task of cleaning, so I went out to find an 阿姨 (Ayi- House Mama). I came home satisfied with two helpers booked for Sunday. Now, I could do what I had planned and prepare for what the three of us would do in four days. 

Day 4

It was Friday night, and I needed supplies. I went to the Wal-Mart-like supermarket to get everything I would need to bleach this place from floor to ceiling. I came home and unpacked, and when I was putting cleaning items in the kitchen, I saw something move from the corner of my eye. It was an enormous cockroach. At this moment, I started to think about my life choices seriously. I shut the kitchen door and locked it. Don’t judge. The cockroaches here have tattoos, drink whiskey, and smoke cigarettes. 

Day 5

Throughout the night, I slept with one eye open, and in the morning, when the landlord came to get the last broken furniture, I asked him about the cockroaches. He said they were all over the island. Skeptical about his dismissive response, I reached out to a few more people who live here and have visited here, and they confirmed that all buildings on the island have cockroaches. They say it comes with the territory of living in South China. I decided it could be worse. My friend is in Thailand, and he told me at one point, he slept with the toilet seat down and his luggage on top of the toilet seat because the snakes like the plumbing system. 

I will say, though, that I soon discovered that the cockroaches here are confident, territorial, and assertive. They are the size of African rats and could care less if you are in a standoff with them holding the spray can of insecticide. Their confidence may be because of my shaky hand, and they do not believe I will pull the trigger. 

I had to come to terms with co-habituating and creating a space that was not desirable for them to frequent my home. Ayis told me what to buy for poison and spray, and the kitchen was a minefield.

Day 6

盼盼 arrived safe and sound and on schedule at noon. He is quite the Beijing Street Kitty, you know. He has his passport and even his plane ticket and carry-on. A little shook up, he was happy to reunite with me, and once we were home from the airport, he had a very long bath. He then enjoyed his favourite foods and treats, followed by loads of cuddles, dancing, and love. We are both happier together. 

My fur baby arrived in Hainan safe and sound after a short 2-hour plane ride from Beijing.

Day 7

My friend, who owns the only authentic Japanese restaurant in Hainan, invited me for dinner. To my surprise, he had his chefs prepare me an extraordinary meal, and it was his opening night for live music and karaoke. 

Traditional Japanese dish in Hainan, China.

He is the president of the chamber of commerce here, and he invited all his friends and colleagues to celebrate. I met many new friends, and we all had a wonderful time eating, singing, talking, and sharing. 

Again, I am so grateful for Chinese lessons. I am also grateful for my move here from Beijing. I met more people here socially in two weeks than I had met in Beijing in seven months. Likely due to the COVID-19 situation, however, the people here are open, friendly, and curious as there are not many foreigners who live here. Each day many people will pull over their e-bikes or vehicles and stop to ask me where I am from and visit for a few minutes. They take it as a great compliment when I tell them 海口人很高兴 (“Haikou people are happy).” 

Day 8

Two of my new friends invited me out to the yacht club. The driver picked me up and took me to the most scenic place in our city. We enjoyed more great food, drinks, laughing, and sharing. My heart is whole.

Haikou, Hainan Yacht Club

Feeling Settled

The first week was all cleaning. After a full day with two Ayis as planned, we cleaned out most of the nastiness, and it started to resemble the home I pictured in my heart. My new furniture and other items I had ordered started to arrive. I put my bedroom together first. Then the spare room and office, the bathroom, the sunroom, and part of the living room and dining room slowly started to take shape.

My apartment slowly starting to take shape and feel like home.

Each day, bit by bit, between teaching online classes, it began to feel like home. 盼盼 and I created a routine, and he was delighted to have such a large space to roam around in and cat.

PanPan and his woobie (blankie). He dragged it around everywhere.

Reclaiming My Independence

After my home was all settled, I decided it was time for me to start venturing into the community. But first, I needed to make one last major purchase to reclaim my independence. I purchased an e-bike! I never realized how much this would mean for me and my self-confidence while living abroad. 

During my last five months in Canada, I sold or re-homed everything that wouldn’t fit into two suitcases and a carry-on. I lived in Airbnb and my soul-sister Cayleigh’s rental for five months before I left Canada. I also sold my F-150 and have relied on public transportation in Canada and China. 

With so many changes in my life up until my move to China, I realized I had not had a vehicle of my own to drive since I was 16 years old. Truth be told, when I was going by taxi to pick up my e-bike, I felt nauseous with vulnerability. It felt like I had been living in a sanitized bubble of little responsibility other than responsibility for myself for the past year and a half. Finally, I was venturing outside of my comfort zone into unknown territory. 

My first e-bike.

The salesman asked me if I had ridden a motorbike before. I told him I did when I was a kid, but I know how to ride a horse, so it cannot be that different! Mind you, my horse Nicholas only walked when he wanted to, and it took beer and apple fritter Timbits from Tim Horton’s to motivate him to move. Finally, after a quick lesson and a few test runs, I was ready for the open road. 

My horse Nicholas was my ginger love in Canada.

Newfound Independence

Equipped with my helmet and rain suit, I was ready to make my journey home. Unfortunately, we had a downpour that day, and the roads flooded. Not the best maiden voyage, but I managed okay. 

After the first five minutes, I started to feel my independence return as it relates to having my own transportation and the freedom that comes with it. I began to laugh. The few giggles turned into uninhibited and uncontrollable belly laughter. Thinking back to the conversation I had with the taxi driver when I first arrived in Hainan, I pumped my fist up in the air and yelled, “Suzanne! You are driving your very own e-bike!” I laughed out loud while I rode home *beep *beeping along the way as I learned the rules of the road for e-bike drivers. 

Believe me. I give the local citizens many reasons to think foreigners are crazy on any given day. Laughing out loud in public was nothing new for me. What was new was the refreshing experience of being in control of where I go, my route for getting there, how long it would be before I got there, and how much I enjoy the ride along the way.

Settling into Myself

After my first week, I took myself out to the mall down the street and enjoyed an Americano in the sunshine. While enjoying a hot cup of coffee on a hot day, I reflected upon my journey to Hainan. In particular, I reflected on my journey over the previous two years and, most notably, the recent nine months since I had arrived in China. I journaled, and it all poured out of me. Things became clearer as I saw them on paper. I felt like creating a new home physically brought me back home to myself. 

This sign is posted on a building one the way to the mall where I would sit and journal.


I revisit my journals often. Reflecting on my notes following the first two weeks of my move to Hainan, my learning is reinforced as I am reminded of the experiences with heartfelt words about my reflection, learning, healing, and living. 


Cleaning out the broken furniture and rubbage from my new apartment was cathartic. Washing the walls, floor, and everything else in between was cleansing. Revisiting the stars was revealing. Reuniting with my fur baby was heartwarming. Eradicating the unwanted in my space that brought no value to my life was symbolic, and keeping only what I wanted and needed was refreshing. 


Aside from our most significant assets of health and love, within and without, I have a comprehensive cockroach management plan in place that works, my own transportation, beautiful scenic views all around me, and a wide-open sky above me. My family has grown, and I am now sharing space with my co-creator, a foreigner, and another fur baby, Cathy, our golden retriever. With a heart overflowing with joy, and an attitude of gratitude, I am grateful for all of it. 

Life is good in our little family.


By engaging personal power through healing and doing, we manifest our hearts’ greatest desires by doing the work to brighten the light within. 

In my darkest moments, it became clear to me that to receive the abundance in our lives we desire, we must be willing to live abundantly facing outward. Living from the inside out starts with filling ourselves up with the things we can only provide for ourselves to make our light brighter. Then, we share our light and abundance with others. 


I have come to terms with the sacrifices we must make to live the life we are destined for. I have learned that courage is a matter of the heart, and to live courageously, we must open our hearts and take risks of having our hearts broken at any given moment. 

In my time of isolation and my moving experience, I have learned: 

  • freedom is a state of mind
  • loneliness is a choice
  • the sky is not the limit

I have also learned: 

  • aligning to our personal truth ascends us to unimaginable heights
  • self-love through meditation and speaking my truth frees us from our negative self-talk
  • creating light within shines brighter without 
  • we manifest anything we want in this life

Today, I am grateful for everything I have experienced and learned over the past three years, from heartache to heart bliss, including the experience of moving between cities in China. 

Choosing love has helped me embrace this journey of life and see the challenges I face as opportunities. But, most of all, I have learned that the roughest roads lead us to the most beautiful destinations. 

Until next time,


Further Reading

7 Signs of Divine Timing Working in Your Life – OutofStress

The Five Universal Rules of Divine Timing (Discover the Truth)

Divine Timing Means You’ll Never Be too Late for Your Destiny


How to Set Boundaries as an Act of Self Love


If you are an educator, parent, or grandparent and looking for practical strategies to use with children, concepts to understand, and ideas that can be easily implemented about how to create space for self and others, you have landed in the right spot.

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Children learn how to solve problems the same way they learn how to read, write, and add. Like reading, writing, and adding, there are three specific components to solving problems. These are teachable skills children can learn at any age.

Published by suzannemarie

Educator and published author of conflict management and children's books. Living life to its fullest. I believe in courageously honouring my truth and living my legacy. Lover of meaningful conversations, coffee, food, art, and building connections. I love writing about my fascination with culture, food, adventure, self-love, and living a healthy and fulfilled life!

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