What happens when you unexpectedly have to change your entire life?


28 days…My boyfriend and I walked out of the hearing room and looked at each other with half relief, half sadness, and a tiny bit of sparkle in our eyes. After a series of unfortunate events and being deceived by his previous employer we knew that his 457 sponsorship visa to stay in Australia was not going to go through. We applied in April of 2016 so basically half of our relationship we have been waiting for the outcome of this visa. We prepared ourselves for them saying we had to leave but actually knowing you have 28 days to leave the entire little life you built together behind is quite terrifying once you receive the email of doom.

Instead of dwelling on the logistics, like the apartment we need to sublet, the furniture we need to sell, jobs we have to resign from, accounts we have to close, flights we need to book, (OMG, my to do list is endless right now) I’m taking a different approach this time. Usually, I would freak out- cry, let my anxiety get all out of whack and take control, be a moody brat to my boyfriend, feel sorry for myself, but this time, I decided to take control. Here is my video announcement of the news.

After announcing our news and getting an outpouring of love and support I couldn’t help but feel grateful. Many people were impressed with how positive I was being. People even expressed confusion by my positivity. How? How can you stay so positive?

The answer for me is simple and I want to give you some tips for how to stay calm when life throws you curve balls, even if it’s multiple curve balls at the same time. We have all had the feelings of vulnerability, despair, disappointment, and shock. Maybe you lost your job, your partner unexpectedly broke up with you or cheated on you, or both? Maybe you got yourself into financial trouble and you lost a loved one and your physical health is also suffering? Maybe you just can’t understand why everything is changing so fast and you want things to go back to the way they were before? Here’s how to keep your vibes high even if you’ve hit a rough patch (like being deported):

Laugh– Seriously, my boyfriend and I have just bursted into laughter at how shitty this situation is. Multiple times. It’s comical what life can throw at you and when things get really bad it honestly seems funny. Keep your spirit light despite how heavy the situation is. Laughing makes you forget about the grave reality and escape- even it’s just for a few moments.

Control the controllable– You tend to think about everything you wish you did differently or things you wish you could take back, but that doesn’t get you anywhere. What can you do to help the situation? What are the action steps? Make a list, set a plan, and tackle it one thing at a time. If you have a deadline, sure it makes it a bit more stressful, but you are much more productive and calm when you aren’t letting the stress overcome you. Make the list. 

Do something you love with it– You got fired? Go on that yoga retreat you always wanted to go on. He broke up with you? Go enjoy the frisky single life with your girlfriends. You get kicked out of the country you’ve been living in for the past 1.5 years? Book a trip to BALI. Bali can cure all wounds. Maybe Bali isn’t an option, but doing SOMETHING you love always is. When we feel stressed sometimes we think we should dedicate all our time to “fixing it” but seriously, how can you fix something if you don’t take a breather and remind yourself of all the joy left in your world.

Gratitude– Being grateful is one of my key weapons for sticky and shitty situations. Do I still get upset, stressed, overwhelmed anxious? You bet I do. But do I know I can quickly combat that with listing 5 things I am grateful for? Yes mam. I’ll do it right now.

  1. I’m grateful I have had the opportunity to live in Australia for this amount of time and every experience I’ve had here.
  2. I’m grateful moving here led me to the man of my dreams and even if we’re leaving we are going together.
  3. I’m grateful for a support system of family, friends, and the community I’ve built through my social media who have given us so much love.
  4.  I’m grateful for a job I can take anywhere and the extra side income so I don’t have to freak out about not having enough money.
  5. I’m grateful that I have the ability to look at life as adventure and the mental strength and resilience I have grown through my travels and my serious commitment to personal growth through personal development.

Search for the lesson– We don’t need hindsight to see the bigger picture. You can use that mindset right now. What is the Universe telling me? Why does the Universe want us to move on to a different adventure? Maybe you won’t pinpoint the exact lesson or the answers to all the questions but as long as you know the lessons are there and you are open to receiving them, the experience will be a whole lot easier to conquer.  Hey, it might lead you somewhere even better than you think.

Leave the past and the future where they belong– No matter what situation we are in, good or bad, we can only determine our actions right now. The amount of energy and anxiety you expend thinking about what will happen next could be channeled directly into making your situation or problem better right now. This is life. It’s happening every second. Good and bad things are bound to happen and it’s easy to be positive when things are going right but the real test is to use that mindset when you’re given the shit end of the stick.

When you take big risks and live permanently outside of your comfort zone, you run the risk of life altering things happening. You can’t sign up for one part of the adventure and not the other. I can’t deny that things hurt, they are stressful and right now I feel disappointed. But I have the mindset and the strength to alter those feelings into feelings of hope, excitement and gratitude. You do too. Nice try Universe, if this is your attempt to test me, I’m ready. We currently have 26 day left in Australia and then the world will be our playground. So if you want to know how I stay so positive- try pulling those tricks out of your bag the next time you face an unexpected bump in the road. Throw those hands up and enjoy the ride.  


32 thoughts on “What happens when you unexpectedly have to change your entire life?

  1. Migrating Miss says:

    I’m so sorry that staying in Australia didn’t work out for you! I know what it feels like to have to leave a country you love because of a visa. I’m currently waiting on the result of a visa application to see if I can go back. It’s SO stressful and has definitely brought out the worst in me, so these tips are fantastic thank you! Good luck!!!

  2. tandtisdynamite says:

    Oh my God, the exact same thing is happening to us right now !! We have to leave Australia before March and we have been living here for about a year… It was awesome reading your article and seeing we aren’t the only ones in that situation 🙂 We decided to give Mexico a go for our next adventure, instead of Bali 😉

  3. Danique | The Wandering Mind says:

    That’s pretty shitty news but I love it that you have such a positive mindset! Yeah, stepping out of your comfort zone is definitely a risk, but I am sure other amazing things and opportunities will pop up. Especially if you stay as positive as you are now!

  4. Sarah says:

    Oh my goodness I’m so sorry this happened to you (I’m an American on a visa in the UK and deportation is a daily nightmare especially considering the current politics!!) – but WOW you seem to have handled it so well. If ever “when life gives you lemons” applies, this is it! How wonderful to have someone to stick by your side as well. Best of luck with everything!

    (Also, lol, I saw your post through female travel bloggers but now I’ve lost the link back to fb so can’t comment, oooooops!!)

    • sussabell says:

      Aw, thanks babe!!! I may join you in the U.K. some day haha we don’t really know where we will end up now but staying positive is key!! We should follow each others journeys! 🙂

  5. Cali says:

    This article is a great reminder! I love how you DECIDED to take a different approach this time, because at the end of the day, we can only control how we react to situations thrown at us. I will definitely remember your tips the next time life throws me a curveball! Great post

  6. MeanderWithMeg says:

    This breaks my heart to read! But good for you for staying so positive and remaining grateful for the time you have spent in Aus. I wish you all the best for a fun trip to Bali and who knows what future adventures lie ahead!

  7. Aneesha says:

    Girl, I feel you. My boyfriend is Spanish and I’m Indian so I’m actually considering getting married to him (not by force, he’s a pretty great guy which helps too) just so it will make my travels easier as a Spanish resident. Bali is one of the most nationality-friendly destinations and its definitely one of my fav places in the world. Enjoy this new chapter you’re embarking on! 🙂

  8. dainaheadedanywhere says:

    Wow, this is so inspiring and such a great reminder. Focus on what you can control in the moment and not what could have been or what might have been. Positive thinking is also great for brain growth and generating/reinforcing new synapses (nerd alert).

  9. Jenni says:

    So sorry this happened to you, but well done for trying to see the positive and remaining optimistic through a tough situation! I love your motto at the end 🙂 Sometimes it’s the only way to get through this thing called life! xx

  10. Lucy says:

    I’m in a similar(it) situation and really admire your positivity and bravery. And I just realised you know my great friend Ally. Here’s my blog if you fancy having a read of it and all the best for your new adventure xx

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