30 People Who Turned Their Life Upside Down Share What It Was Really Like

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Whether it’s a home project or an entire career, sometimes we just need to start over. The same goes for our biggest ‘assignment.’

To learn why and how folks embrace change, Reddit user Always_Thinking1 posted a question on the platform, asking: “People who just up and left one day and started a new life, what was your experience like?” And it went viral!

From quitting an addiction to leaving an abusive relationship, everyone immediately started sharing their stories and I have to say, reading them is really inspirational. We, humans, are capable of more than we think.

#1I walked out on my abusive ex while he was in central booking with a single suitcase and a bunch of cats in carriers, took an uber five hours north, and totally started over. New name, new (claimed) birthday, new hair colour…

It was the most liberating experience of my life and, even though I still suffer residual effects from old injuries, being free of that bastard is a million reasons to be happy.

Image credits: AliceMorgon

#2I was 26 years old, divorced, and living in Saudi Arabia (my home country) with extremely religious (cult-like) family. As a woman, you can imagine what an absolute f’king nightmare that was. This was before any of the ‘reformations’ of dear MBS in the country. The guardian system made it near f’king impossible to break free from an abusive household. I didn’t know what to do. I had a good degree. I spoke English like a native. I decided it was time to finally leave this hell hole. So on December 30, 2014, with nothing more than my legal documents, a suitcase, and a carry-on, I crossed the causeway to Bahrain with the help of friends and got on a plane to the United States. It’s been over 6 years.

I was numb until I landed on American soil. Once I could breathe the air of freedom, I broke down. I was taken advantage of my first year in this country. I received death threats, hate mail, temper tantrums from my mom that finally culminated in her telling me that I was dead to her and to never contact her again. I couldn’t work for a whole year. Even after, it took 8 months to find a job and it paid sh*t. I was homeless. I rented a room from a murderer (he did his time though). Lots of weird sh*t.

Then in the last 2 years my life really began. I found my hobbies. I found myself. I found a new family. My dog and I hike and travel a lot. Then I met the love of my life and he has joined our wonderful little pack. I miss family. I miss certain aspects of my culture. I feel bad for not trying to make more of a change. I feel like a coward sometimes, but I just wanted to live. I didn’t want to be a ‘hero’ or a ‘martyr’ or a ‘dissident’. I literally just wanted the freedom to be able to go out of my house whenever I wanted to without someone interrogating me like some kind of criminal. I wanted to be able to accept a job and not have to have my father give his ‘consent’ so I can work. I wanted to adopt a dog, go on hikes, travel the world, fall in love. I didn’t want to stay in my father’s house waiting until a man feels sorry enough for me to add me to his collection of wives. I was 26 and divorced. Women my age in my culture don’t get single eligible bachelors. Those are reserved for the 16-21 year-olds.

Image credits: just_lurking_b99

#3Four years ago I left my abusive ex husband who would beat, sexually abuse, and keep my kids and I malnourished and dirty. It got so out of hand one night he attempted take his own life While he was in surgery after the attempt (we both went into surgery cause we both got harmed but I got out earlier) I packed up my kids, dogs, cats and we all hopped into a Honda Civic coupe and drove as far as we could. Never looked back. Got a divorce, restraining order, went under a protection program for a few years and now the man is gone. Maybe he finally k*lled himself or maybe he ran off to be horrible to someone else. All I know is I’m writing this from my luxury apartment in the city of my dreams, about to take my healthy and happy kids to daycare, and can smell the sausage sizzling. My kids are still asleep.

Image credits: daughterofthemoon420

#4In 2019, at barely 80 lbs and with a full blown prescription drug addiction, I decided to stop showing up to a job I had been working for over a decade.

With no plan B I traveled to New Zealand, got sober, then France, got engaged, Italy, Alaska, got married, and then the Maldives.

I’m living in the US and have a quiet & stress free 9-5, run an Etsy shop as a hobby that has been doing pretty well, and have been sober for 1 year and 1 month.

Image credits: inrainbeaus

#5Well….Idk if this counts as “starting a new life” but when I was a young teen my single, disabled mother, me, and my little sister was living in a toxic house with someone while we were down on our luck. I mean the people we stayed with would lock us out constantly then scream at us when we knocked to come in, stalk the bathrooms and try to barge in on us so we had to all go together, and go to sleep at like 7pm and expect it to be silent after that. It was so bad that my mother finally decided she would rather be homeless than have to deal with that toxic place. So, in the middle of the night we slipped the AC out the window and snuck out the window and never looked bad. The 2 years that passed after that weren’t much better. We slept in our car and had to bathe at the beach. It was hard working everyday and hiding we were homeless. But we finally got a place last year that we’re all so thankful for. For anyone that is in an abusive, toxic household thinking of leaving but too afraid to: do it. It wont be easy at first but stay strong and keep faith, and never give up. Good things will eventually come out of it. Its worth the struggle to have peace, mentally and emotionally.

Image credits: audonehere

#6A year ago me and my partner were addicted to drugs living in a little room, depressed with no motivation so we just up and left. Today we are in our own place in the country with steady jobs and i have never been happier.

Image credits: SlugEyePie

#73 years ago I moved from London, UK to Alberta, Canada.

Best decision of my life.

London is a very lonely city, especially when you’re introverted. I never made any real close friends, and it’s so insanely expensive that even with a great job I didnt have much money left to go out and enjoy life. And I lived in a small, awful shared apartment where the only space to myself was a probably 20 sq ft room or smaller. It is an amazing city but it didnt work for me.

Since being in Alberta I’ve made some close friends and met the love of my life. I finally have savings and a realistic prospect of buying a house one day. I live in a huge, 2 bedroom apartment by myself. I live near the rockies so I do a good amount of hiking. I’ve been tubing and ice skating with friends. Pre covid I started going to a new gym and on the first session had people saying hi, probably could’ve been friends if covid hadnt hit. Not to mention it’s so sunny. The cold is extreme but I will never miss the grey and rain of England.

I moved here with a 2 week airbnb reservation, $5000 to survive off and no real plan, no jobs prospects. Just the knowledge I could book a flight home if needed. Somehow it all ended up working out.

Image credits: bo_radley

#8Went on a vacation 4 years ago with supposed friends and s/o. Didn’t know I was bipolar and had DID and went into full blown manic psychosis and had one of my “alters” show up. It wasn’t pretty. I checked myself into a psych ward and got diagnosed with both and I started mental illness program and got on medication. It didn’t matter though and I was still shunned by everyone around me even my husband. so I a separation from my husband, picked myself up, grab 3 suitcases, deleted all my social media and moved to Cali with another (fake) friend without telling anyone other than the people who stood by me through it. Moved out to my own house 3months latter and got me a service dog to help identify potential manic episodes. Been on my meds ever since and I’m proud to say I haven’t had a manic episode in 2 years. The alters are still there but “we’ve” worked it out lol.

Best decision I ever made and would do again if needed.#93 years ago USA to Japan.

Got a visa through a teaching company but they completely changed plans on me as soon as I arrived. I told them that I was assured before leaving that I’d be living in a particular place, and would not be happy in place B. I politely declined. Took all my money, about 3000, and went about searching for something else.

After blowing almost all my money I eventually met someone amazing who helped me get in the right direction. Eventually I was offered a job after many many applications and interviews, but didn’t even have a place to live (was living in a capsule hotel). After securing the job I spent the rest of my money and maxed out my credit card on an apartment. It was a gamble but I never had failure in my mind. I spent the first month sleeping on my clothes until I had enough for a futon, then a bed. That amazing person who helped me and encouraged me to keep searching never stopped either, and is now my beautiful pregnant wife. I don’t think I can win the lottery again.

Image credits: [deleted]

#10I did this a year and a half ago. Best thing I’ve ever done. Moved from Western New York to Arizona! It was tough at first with trying to get on my feet, and when I did…the pandemic started. But it’s easier to do than most people think. I believe most people dont do it because of the “unknown” and scared of change.

For me, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I have a really good paying job. The best paying job I’ve ever had actually. And the first job I’ve ever had that I enjoy going to. I’m 34 so that’s saying something! And to live where I live, views of mountains, beautiful weather….it’s just a dream come true.

Image credits: ibjimig

#11My ex and I packed everything we could in our jeep, plus our dogs, and left Florida for Maine.

It went…. hey, I hate it here, don’t you? Let’s move far far away. One side trip to visit my parents, and about 35 hours of drive time later, we arrived to coastal Maine.

Shortly after, the ex and I broke up…. and life got really difficult and lonely. I was in the middle of a crisis and culture shock, having moved from Miami to small town Maine. I didn’t have a single soul here. I bounced around a few jobs, and some days I would go home and cry on my dogs because I was just so alone. I asked myself daily if this was the right decision.

One day, I decided I didn’t want to be sad anymore. I’d gotten over the ex, and got a new job. The job sucked, but there I met my now closest and best girl friends. I started to save a little. I found a nice house with a big yard to rent. I got new furniture.

April will be 6 years I am here, and though I struggled for about a year and doubted my decision….. sometimes hourly…. moving was by far the absolute best thing I could have ever done for myself. I left some toxic family, some less than ideal friends, and a state that I hate.

Now my winters are spent playing in the snow with my dogs, and my summers (pre covid of course) are spent working hard and having fun with my friends. I have a job I love.

I’m glad I stuck to my decision, despite the struggles I had.

Image credits: DisGirlCanCookBro

#12The shutdown pushed me to have a new life. I lost my job and my savings were only going to last less than 1 month. So I left and took my boyfriend with me. We volunteered on farms in exchange for a room and food.

We worked in Vermont first on this gorgeous 40 acre farm that had sheep, cows, chickens, and bees. Then we decided to drive across the country to Oregon to work on another farm. Then another farm in Arizona. Then my boyfriend proposed and we got married in Las Vegas. Then we both found amazing jobs in Oregon again.

A year ago I was a bartender and working two side jobs to make ends meet. I was barely surviving and I literally worked every day. I worked 50 plus hours and still didn’t have a savings or medical insurance. It was exhausting.

Now, I’m working in a field I always wanted to get into. I married an incredible man. I have health insurance, and a freaking savings account. Also, since we didn’t have many expenses, we used our stimulus checks to invest and we turned those checks into $20,000 and counting in profits.

We were scared to leave; we didn’t know if we could make it. We were scared to invest our money; we didn’t think we could turn a profit. We kept being afraid of change, but if we had given in to our fears we would be back home, miserable, broke, and jobless. I’m glad we left.

Image credits: advthjudarv

#134 years ago, I abruptly quit a job I had worked for 7.5 years that I finally had to admit was a dead end. I got a job at a lodge in a national park flipping burgers for minimum wage. I didn’t know a single person there when I moved. But it quickly led to travelling to amazing places like Alaska and making lots of friends from all over the world. The experience gave me the confidence to really pursue my career goals, and last year I finally got my dream job! Nothing good happens in your comfort zone!

Image credits: tikimoose

#14I did this 3 months back, shifted from Delhi my hometown where I lived with my parents and brother to Bangalore.

I had been depressed for the last 3 years. Worked in a very unsatisfactory job and did almost no work. Then in March this year had a manic episode of bipolar I where I spent all my savings on useless stuff, almost got married to a woman I barely knew and quit my job. I was jobless with no money and having panic attacks everyday remembering the sh*t I did and said when I was manic. Also thanks to covid every problem became 10x. I was suicidal most of the time. Months later I did get a job but the pay was meagre.

One fine day, 8 months later, I fought with my brother and I had had enough. So later that night packed some of my stuff and booked my flight to Bangalore and quit my job.

After two months of struggle I got a new job with almost thrice the income. Rented my own 2BHK flat all for myself. Threw all my old clothes and got new onces. Started 3 other things. Started learning boxing and lots more. All my friends live nearby and best of all I live in the best area probably in all of India.

Everything is so much better that sometimes I think it is all in my head and I am actually in coma from taking my own life attempt.

Tell me this is real. Idk how it will work for others but I think it is worth a shot.

Image credits: ishan28mkip

#15A 3 day bus ride from illinois to New York. I was so tired when I got there. I didnt see my future wife for almost an hour and felt that she got cold feet seeing as we had never met. We met, went to one of her friends house and got to know each other, and wound up making out on her couch. 20+ years and 3 kids later, I havent regretted a single day.

Image credits: sundevilz1980

#16I did this last year. Granted I stayed in the same state, it was terrifying and exciting all rolled into one. I quit my job without having another one. Sold my house without having a home. Packed everything my son and I owned and moved 3 hours away. Best. Decision. Ever. It made me feel like I could do it again if I ever wanted too. The world is so big, so it was empowering.

Image credits: Hopeful_1130

#17I was 18. The family was out. I put a note on my bed saying “I’m leaving. I’ll be ok” and left. That was 50 years ago. I’m super glad I did it.#18Back in 2014 I visited Bali. My friends were getting married there, so I decided I’d make it into an extended holiday. I had no job, enough money for plane tickets and hostel accommodation.

Somehow I ended up being a freelancer living and working wherever. Get on a plane with a bag, find a place, stay for a month and if I liked it, stay on for as long as the visa allowed.

In total I spent just shy of five years across nine countries, just working on the internet and seeing the what there was to see.

This was in the before times, of course. Harder to do now.#19I was badly addicted to alcohol and some other drugs. After a few tries I became sober, went from 100 to 0, quit everything, alcohol and all the drugs. Left most of my “friends” behind and soon after moved to a new city. Got a new job there and found lots of nice people who are today good friends of mine. Still sober since 6 years and this city became my new home. Best decisions I ever made.#20Geez after reading some of these comments this is exactly what I did! I was 24, wasted college getting a degree I’ve never used, working a dead-end grocery store job and living with my parents. Started dating this 30-year-old woman with a 9-year-old kid, which was nuts to me even now. After dating for maybe only 6 months or so, she told me she was moving to AZ for a job and she’d like me to go with her. Taking a look at my life currently, I decided to say yes and here I am 15 years later, we are married with two of our own kids, careers and home-ownership. Some rough parts at times, sure, but I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe trying to meet her a little sooner in life!

Image credits: denn2842

#21When my husband and I separated 2 years ago.

I lost my marriage, friends, community, hobbies, job, home, pets all within 6 months.

So i decided to say f*ck it and I lived in Vietnam for 3 months. When i returned home i moved to the other side of the city.

Ive have an awesome apartment, have a great job, new partner and a new community of friends.

Something about moving away was a great reset.#22I suppose I did too. My best friend and I boarded a plane to Australia from the UK the day of our final exams at university. I live in aus still 7 years later, with the love of my life, 2 dogs and a thriving career.

Image credits: Practical_magik

#23In the year 2000, I was starting to become severely depressed, and heading toward attempting to take my own life. I was living in sh*tty surroundings in a town outside of Philadelphia. I kept needing an answer out of things, instead of the permanent way. The worse things got there, the more I wanted to flee. I had no ties there, anyway.

I moved to San Francisco. I drove there, alone, cross country. My mother and grandparents, were totally understanding. We were all a family of nomads anyway, living different places my entire life. So, it was not super scary for me to start over again somewhere else.

I went from the abrasive, dour, unfriendly, east coast to a city where people told me I was beautiful on a near daily basis. This is coming from an overweight chick, who was always made fun of for it. It took me about 6 months to believe it. San Francisco was amazing for the self esteem and confidence that I didn’t have much of.

People started conversation with me, and treated me well, and you could truly be who you were without judgement. I had been thinking about moving back lately. However, I understand it’s a completely different city now, unfortunately.

I stayed for about a year and then moved to New Mexico, and have been here since… Save for a 5 year stint from 11/ 2007-12/2012 in North Carolina, where I had planned on going to college, which didn’t work out. That was a terrible decision all around.

I love it here, in my quiet small town. But I wouldn’t trade that year in SF for anything, because I learned so about myself, and again, it was a wonderful place for my self esteem.

Image credits: [deleted]

#24I lived in AZ through high school, college and after so I had grown roots there. Nice condo, decent paying job which I enjoyed, had solid friends, family lived up the street, and I was part of a co-ed soccer league. My days consisted of getting my morning cup of coffee, workout, go to work, come home then play soccer, draw on my iPad or play video games with my roommates.

One day, as me and my roommate were working out I had a sudden urge to join the military(never wanted to before this moment). Next day I went straight to the recruiters office, said I want to join the Navy and 2 weeks later I was sworn in and was leaving for bootcamp the week thereafter. I sold my condo to my roommate, broke the lease of my car, tied all loose ends, kissed my family goodbye and said “see ya later” to my friends. I am now in the Navy and got my orders for San Diego for my schooling then Japan shortly after that. I am f*cking happy and there’s a new challenge every day.

Funny part, the only ones who’s reached out to me is my family. Friends didn’t say congrats or nothing, good riddance. I’m gonna live my life and have fun doing what I wanna do on MY terms.#25As someone who was shooting up 200 to 500 dollars a day before I quit around ten years ago you really have to do 2 things if you really are at the stage that you want to quit. The first is very hard but unlike the first person staying around the same people you’re around usually just does not work. So much of your kinship with those people revolving around drugs will make you want to drugs even if you stop for awhile. You have to just go no contact with them. Its the only way I found any success.

The second one which is also just as hard for some people is you have to get help. Real help like replacement treatment, suboxone or methadone and therapy. You have to realize going in that the replacements are just as bad but they do one thing thats essential. They let you normalize your life and take away the seeking drugs all the time mentality. Without that its very hard for therapy to work through all this stuff simply cause your mind isn’t in a state that it can be worked on. Its constantly starving for something it sees as food now and will not stop wanting more to approach where the addiction is coming from.#264 years ago I got up and randomly decided to go to college.

This is from a 19 year old burger flipper from rural Utah with a middle school education. In fact I would have dropped out of middle school if I could have.

Moved from utah to texas, took enterence exams, got scholarships and all the sudden I’ve been in college for 3.5 years with a 4.0 gpa and very good prospects of getting in to medical school. (Attending college in utah because in-state tuition is cheaper)

Your future doctor didn’t graduate highschool.#27Left my small town for the big city when I was about 23. I lived in a van with my wife and three dogs for about three weeks. It sucked but it was also great. We had a great little set up right by the Mississippi River. We both got jobs and found an apartment eventually but those first couple weeks of real freedom changed my life.#28Scandinavia to Australia about three years ago. I never realised how much sunshine and beaches improve your life! Nature is beautiful back home and beautiful here, and so are people. Moved for love and haven’t regretted it for a second.

Image credits: hephephey

#29If you are in a rut and have the chance to start fresh somewhere with a better job and lifestyle then just do it. Modern transport and telecommunications mean that keeping in touch with friends and family is easier than ever.

I took a chance and moved from a cr*ppy place in the UK to central Europe 12 years ago and it completely transformed my life in almost every meaningful way. I went from really strongly disliking the place I live in and the kind of people I had contact with, to now living in what is for me a paradise, working in stimulating and increasingly well paid jobs and surrounded mostly by positive and intellectual people. Also my quality of life is just awesome and my health and fitness is now really good. I still haven’t met my soul mate or life partner, but I’ve no idea if that person even exists and at least I have had some good along the way with some great and memorable people.

Lord knows what I would have been doing with my life if I hadn’t of taken that chance. Probably in some uninspiring job in an uninspiring place dreaming about how my life could have been different if only I’d had more balls.

Life is short, so take what opportunities you can to make it better,

Image credits: TotalWarspammer

#30Quit my job and gave up my penthouse apartment in Vancouver ( oh, man, the view of Stanley Park and the mountains was amazing ) and moved to Japan for one year, maybe two. Twenty-four years later, I’m still here, happily married, and living in an even bigger penthouse apartment (oh, man, the view of the hospital and the railroad tracks is sh*t). Life? Am I right?

Image credits: Dropofsweetbeer

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  • February 20, 2022
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