Embarking into the Unknown: Chapter 1 — The Restart

There’s always a beginning to an ending, life is not always fair, and pain is part of life. Three of the five things we can’t change in life have lingered in my mind this past month.

Vidia Anindhita
7 min readFeb 17, 2024

February 5, 2024 — I took the Hayabusa Shinkansen from Tokyo to Sapporo. This trip was meant for a break: Physically, mentally, and spiritually. Liberating from things that have been lingering, hurting, and burdening. Wearing my headphones when I walked around, I had been listening to some audiobooks about spirituality and self-growth. Being in the new environment and letting go of my previous “place,” I slowly processed what happened in the past years, months, and weeks.

I could finally take a deep breath. It had been some intense years. I was grateful I went through it all and made it to where I was before. During the 6.5 years of living ups and downs in New York City, I barely felt anything until I recalled those memories. I felt how exhausting it was to fight everything on my own. Strangely, the feelings were more vivid today when I reminisced.

Otaru canal, a small town near Sapporo
Otaru canal, a small town near Sapporo

I closed 2023 with a big decision: Closing my chapter in New York City. January 2024 went like riding Space Mountain in Disneyland: a thrilling high-speed roller coaster in the dark because we won’t know where the ride takes us. I was scared as I kept asking myself, “Did I pull the trigger too soon? Am I ready?” I was afraid to end the chapter since I had built my life there. I was doubting if there were opportunities for me out there.

Surprisingly, once a door was closed, many more were opened. Even when I wasn’t trying to open those doors. On January 2nd, 2024, I formally resigned from my last corporate job. A few days later, I found myself meeting new people, catching up with old friends and acquaintances, learning more about other industries, and getting gigs I had always wanted to try. I felt like a bird who just got free from the cage.

My last month in NYC was thrilling and bittersweet. In my transition of moving out of the country, I met strangers when I was selling my furniture. Many had the same idea of moving to different countries for various reasons. Some were working on it, but for some, that was just an idea due to dependency and risks. Then, I felt so privileged to close this chapter and start a new one in a different country.

Late January 2024, I flew from New York City to Tokyo with a one-way flight ticket and a loose plan. I had a tourist visa with me, which was applicable for three months (yeah, my passport was super weak. I had to apply for a visa when traveling here and there). I was hoping to move to Japan for the foreseeable future, and I was still working on how to move here legally for a more extended term. I knew that things could happen, that there were things that we couldn’t control. So, I put my wishes aside and let the universe guide me to where I was going. I kept telling myself to be open and more accepting of wherever life takes me.

I used this Hokkaido trip to reminisce, reflect, and put together myself bit by bit. I purposely visited the places that I had been to, Sapporo and Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan. For a strange reason, I felt warm visiting those places. Hokkaido, Hakodate specifically, felt like a healing place for me. It was my third time there. I mainly came during a transition period. Seven years ago, I came there before I transitioned to moving to NYC. This time, before I leaped on a new journey.

I found peace while walking around the small town of Hakodate. I could think more clearly and felt my feelings vividly. I could sense the turmoil inside me, the fear and excitement of what’s ahead of me. Was this according to my plan? I didn’t know. Yes, I had goals in mind and was walking toward them. But I should also enjoy what life took me: the ups and the downs. It was probably the most significant move I made and the scariest I had ever felt.

A slope in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan
Hachiman-Zaka Slope in Hakodate

My therapist once told me I didn’t have to find everything simultaneously. She told me that I should trust myself more. I was capable of my doings. I was open to learning new things, adaptable, and ambitious to find whatever I would like to see in life at a time. I was able to make it to New York City, and then I could make it anywhere else even better.

Although I kept telling myself I believed in myself and would be fine, there were still doubts. I had a fear of having to fight everything on my own, of having to start everything from zero, and of failing and not being able to achieve my current dream.

It was exhausting to fight everything on my own.

There were times when I thought I was strong. I was able to make it, but looking back, I was very exhausted, mentally and physically. It was a lonely battle. I thought there might not be someone who would unconditionally love me and be able to fall and thrive with me. I was also scared that I had to burden my friends and family.

However, during this transition, I realized that I was never alone. I had my support system, who were very supportive of my plans. I couldn’t have imagined the love and support I got before I embarked on this new journey. They might not always be there with me, but I just had to ask them for help, and they would be there.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2024
Sapporo Snow Festival 2024

It was unfair to have to start from zero.

I had established my life in NYC. It was unfair if I had to start everything from scratch when I moved to a new place. I had to adapt to a new culture, learn the language and norms, and build my network again. I had feared that I wouldn’t make it.

However, I realized that life was not always fair. Yes, I had to radically accept that sometimes I had to start from zero. But with the skills I gained in the last few years, I could adapt and learn how to establish my life in a new environment faster. It might seem like I started a new life, but I was actually expanding my life.

It was a failure if I couldn’t achieve my dream.

My biggest fear was that I couldn’t make my dream a reality. I didn’t give a damn about what people thought anymore. I wouldn’t compare myself to others. But I could be ambitious when it came to my own goals. I tend to push myself through until I reach those goals. I was afraid I couldn’t make those happen since my current dream was outside my comfort zone, things I didn’t have any expertise in yet.

However, I was learning about self-parenting, knowing when to push myself and when to be kind to myself. I had to believe that I needed to invest in myself, which was time- and energy-consuming but would give me a better return. I also learned that it was okay to take a lot of detours or even pivot from the original plan. Who would have known the detours would bring me to a better place?

Hakodate bay area, Hokkaido, Japan
Red Brick Warehouses in Hakodate

On this trip, I learned much about what kind of person I wanted to be, even if nobody wanted me to be. I felt courageous to be that kind of person. I also believed life was about balance. I had learned from the Westerns to have ambitions, hustle, and understand and express myself. I wanted to know things from the Easterns, especially the Japanese — mastery, respect, and living gently.

It was heartbreaking to end something, but a new beginning was exciting. I would miss the people in NYC, but I knew it was my other home where I could always visit. I knew that life wasn’t always fair, but I just had to accept the things I couldn’t control and focus my energy on the things I could control. Lastly, I knew I would go through pain and struggle, but it was part of life. I just had to embrace and engage with it. It would give a greater return.

Stay tuned for the next chapter, and if you enjoy my blog, you can buy me some ko-fi, too ✌️



Vidia Anindhita

Living on the edge. Designer, random traveler, low-key foodie, coffee enthusiast.