How Rough Roads Lead Us to Beautiful Destinations

Sand path with grass in the middle and green palm trees on either side

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Estimated reading time: 31 minutes

Navigating rough roads is challenging, but they often lead us to beautiful destinations.

This timeless wisdom profoundly impacts our lives, and this post will discuss how we can use it to help us find purpose and beauty in life’s darkest moments.

Table of Contents

  1. Value the Journey
  2. Embrace Challenges
  3. Resilience Paves the Road Ahead
  4. Adapt to Change with Grace
  5. Appreciate Every Step of the Way
  6. My Story
    1. Right Time
    2. Inner Peace
    3. Focus
    4. Right Path
    5. Better Plan
    6. My Background
    7. Deciding to Move
      1. Listening to the Signs
    8. Rough Roads Ahead: Departure from Beijing
      1. Trusting Divine Timing
    9. Traveling the Rough Road: Arrival in Hainan
      1. Divine Intervention
      2. Settling in at the Hotel
    10. Rough Roads: Day 1
    11. Rough Roads: Day 2
      1. Revelations at the Window
    12. Rough Roads: Day 3
      1. Moving Forward
    13. Rough Roads: Day 4
    14. Rough Roads: Day 5
    15. Rough Roads: Day 6
    16. Rough Roads: Day 7
    17. Rough Roads: Day 8
  7. Recognize Your Beautiful Destination
    1. Beautiful Destination: Feeling Settled
    2. Beautiful Destination: Reclaiming My Independence
      1. Back Story
      2. Facing My Fears
    3. Beautiful Destination: Newfound Independence
    4. Beautiful Destination: Settling into Myself
  8. Summary
    1. Reflection on How Rough Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations
      1. Learning from Traveling the Rough Roads
      2. Healing from the Journey
      3. Living in Beautiful Places
  9. Related Topics
  10. Further Reading

Value the Journey

Even when our rough roads appear discouraging, we should focus on finding value in the journey.

Every experience along the way offers an opportunity for personal growth, learning new skills, and discovering strengths we didn’t know we had.

This personal growth is especially true when facing hardships.

When we grow to a space of valuing hardships we discover rather than feeling discouraged and downhearted, we learn from every experience.

It’s important to take time to appreciate what you have learned and how you have grown as a result of your perseverance.

Embrace Challenges

Even when facing challenges, recognize them as an opportunity to grow and meet them with courage.

Facing a challenge is often daunting, but it enables you to develop mental and emotional strength, deepen your resilience, and expand your capacity for joy.

In addition, embracing difficult moments encourages greater self-improvement to create positive changes in your life to positively impact others.

Resilience Paves the Road Ahead

Resilience is the ability to overcome difficult situations and adapt to change.

With courage and faith, it’s possible to cultivate a sense of security and hope even while facing struggles.

A resilient mindset helps you tolerate distress, persevere even when things get tough, and understand that adversity can be a stepping stone toward personal growth and opportunity.

In addition, developing resilience creates an outlook where you seek out difficulties to challenge yourself for more extraordinary achievements.

Adapt to Change with Grace

Life’s rough roads teach us to adapt with grace and patience while maintaining optimism amid uncertainty.

The more we understand our vulnerabilities, needs, and sources of strength, the better we realign our course and navigate life’s obstacles.

It takes courage to open your mind and heart to new understandings of yourself and the world around you.

However, embracing change brings moments of growth, enlightenment, and beauty that might not have been achieved by staying within your comfort zone.

Appreciate Every Step of the Way

Remember to take the time to appreciate each step of the journey, no matter how hard it may seem.

The more you look out for moments of joy, satisfaction, and connection with yourself and others, the lighter the weight on your shoulders will become.

What might seem like a hindrance initially leads to a newfound passion, newfound friends, or newfound understanding.

So don’t give up too soon!

My Story

Moving is stressful. Choosing to move between provinces in a foreign country makes the move become a journey and a memorable life experience.

My decision to move provinces and jobs in China 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, this anniversary is the perfect day to share my story about achieving self-love and coming home to myself.

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.

With this move, I felt 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 in divine timing, I overcame challenges and turned them into opportunities.

The path of least resistance was not an option with this move. My goal was to align with my deepest desires to live in a tropical location where I could be on the beach every day.

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 the 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

My Background

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.

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, I knew I needed a change of environment, and moving from the big city was the first change I needed to make for myself. 

Listening to the Signs

I heard about Hainan in south China. Known as 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

Rough Roads Ahead: Departure from Beijing

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 cancelled.

After navigating through a Chinese app to cancel my first flight and re-book another, I found 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 must try your best 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!

Trusting Divine Timing

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 unravelling 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 for traveling between provinces. 

Traveling the Rough Road: 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 cried while we talked on FaceTime.

Divine Intervention

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 and pumping his fist while he smiled and nodded at me in the rearview 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. Talking and laughing 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 and had a profound feeling 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.

Leaving the taxi, I felt 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 to the sea to meditate, pick flowers, and breathe fresh air.

Then, feeling contentment for the day, I returned to my room, had a long hot bath in the glorious tub, and fell into bed again. 

Rough Roads: 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.

In the evening, I talked to some friends on FaceTime and slept early. 

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

Rough Roads: 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, pillow, and towel just in case. It was enough.

I started to haul out the garbage from the cupboards, closets, and living space; that was all I could 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. 

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 for my family and friends to visit, and where my co-creator and I would begin our journey together. I was sure I would find him in Hainan. 

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

Rough Roads: Day 3

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

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 his sterilization surgery and vaccinations before travel, so he stayed behind while I set up our new home. 

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 cleaned and continued preparing our home for his arrival. 

Moving Forward

After breakfast, the landlord removed 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 cleaning task, 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. 

Rough Roads: 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. 

Rough Roads: 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 that 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 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.

Rough Roads: 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 shaken 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 favorite foods and treats, followed by cuddling, dancing, and love.

We are both happier together. 

Rough Roads: 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; 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 the 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 few foreigners live here. Each day, many people will pull over their e-bikes or vehicles, 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).” 

Rough Roads: 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.

Recognize Your Beautiful Destination

Coming home to yourself and feeling a state of appreciation in your own skin is your beautiful destination. You will recognize it when you see it!

Here are some signs of a beautiful destination:

  • Feeling settled with where you are at in life.
  • Claiming your independence.
  • Settling into your personal self.
  • Continuing to learn about your assets.
  • Doing the necessary work to heal.
  • Living life to its fullest.

Beautiful Destination: 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.

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 and cat.

Beautiful Destination: Reclaiming My Independence

After my home was all settled, I decided it was time 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. 

Back Story

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.

Facing My Fears

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.

My first e-bike

Finally, I was venturing outside of my comfort zone into unknown territory. 

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!

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.

My horse Nicholas was my ginger love in Canada.

Finally, I was ready for the open road after a quick lesson and a few test runs. 

Beautiful Destination: 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 my conversation 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 road rules 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.

Beautiful Destination: Settling into Myself

After my first week, I took myself 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 arrived in China.

Journalling, I poured it all out of me. Things became clearer as I saw them on paper. Creating a new home physically brought me back home to me spiritually. 

This sign is posted on a building on 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. 

Reflection on How Rough Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations

Rough roads are necessary in life to return home to ourselves.

Here are key takeaways from my experience:

  • 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.
  • Keeping only what I wanted and needed was refreshing. 

Learning from Traveling the Rough Roads

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 traveling the rough road to arrive at this beautiful destination. 

Life is good in our little family.

Healing from the Journey

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 traveling the rough roads, 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. 

Living in Beautiful Places

Coming to terms with the sacrifices we must make to live the life we are destined for is essential to living a fulfilled life.

Activating 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

Creating a daily practice to make conscious decisions helps us on the rough roads by:

  • 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 four 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. 

Thanks for reading my story about personal growth through my moving experience in China.

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

We all have unlimited potential.

Hi! I’m Suzanne and welcome to my blog. For more than two decades of teaching, writing, and public speaking, I’ve been inspiring children, teens, and adults to cultivate their potential.

With proven experience and being a published author of conflict management and children’s books, you’ll find practical strategies for personal development.

Most importantly, you’ll discover life lessons for living a fulfilled life.

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