What Would It Be Like To Radically Change Who You Are?

What would it be like to radically change who you are? Whether that is physically moving somewhere different, changing jobs, or even changing your personality… What would it be like? I tell the story of the time I did all three when I packed up my car, drove across the country, and moved to Burlington, Vermont without knowing a soul there or what I was going to do once I got there.



Mark Reid
Mark Reidhttps://www.zensammich.com/
Mark Reid is the host of the Zen Sammich podcast. Previously, he was an English professor at Kanagawa University, Tokyo University of Science, and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. He was also an attorney for 10 years, first as an Assistant District Attorney in New York state, and later worked in Securities Law for a large firm in Birmingham, Alabama. He now lives in the countryside of Japan and makes washi (traditional Japanese paper) for a living with his wife, Haruka. A graduate of the University of Alabama in political science and religion, with an MA from Florida State University in philosophy and ethics, and a JD from Syracuse University College of Law, he has a diversified background that through diligence and good fortune has taken him all over the world, including residential stints in Greece, England, and South Korea.


  1. Looking at my own life, I am wondering if we are changing who we are or whether it is more which facets we show to the world? Perhaps what we have shown the world was not us at all but a role we tried to fit into. Is that who we ever were? Would it be who we could become if we stayed playing that role?

    Sure, some things change us fundamentally – like having children – but are we otherwise reinventing ourselves or do we change priorities?

    Is changing possible today when the lives of many are documented on social media and moving somewhere else to start from scratch requires that they change their name (and social media profile)?

    • Thanks for your comments, Charlotte. In my opinion, the crux of real change is that we have a “choice.” Yes, as you put it, we do try to fit in a role, generally from very early on, and yes, priorities evolve with life events and experience. But, change is available to all of us – even in the age of well documented social media – because “you are under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.” (Alan Watts)

      I not only believe that – that true change is possible when we make a choice – but I’ve tested it on more than one occasion and found it to be true. We can discover who we truly are by making the choice to let go of the roles you referred to, and the expectations people have of us. It comes down to making a choice, the determination to see it though, and the guts to make the take the first step.

  2. Mark,
    What an inspiration you are….! I love your story of courage and determination.
    Thank you for reminding us what an alternative life looks like, and the baby steps to get there. Bravo and Bravo!

  3. Mark, this is fantastic! First of all, before I even heard your story or read your bio, I was absolutely entranced by your warm, smooth voice, so I’ll definitely be checking out your podcast. Secondly, as someone who recently moved to Costa Rica and 30 years ago moved to Seattle and started introducing myself as Kimberly instead of Kim (which I never liked but didn’t have the courage to change until I made that move), your story completely resonated with me. Your bio is absolutely fascinating and I love how you’ve embraced the fulness of all your interests. Thank you for modeling bravery! I look forward to hearing more from you!

    • Thanks you so much for your warm and encouraging comments, Kimberly. You are obviously a brave soul as well! I traveled to Costa Rica about 20 years ago and loved it. I applaud your own adventurous spirit. Also, a sincere thanks for checking out the podcast.

  4. Thanks, Byron. YES! Indeed it is that first step. That’s the toughest one. After you take that first leap and realize you can and will get through whatever venture you are undertaking, the rest gradually get easier. And future ventures become a little more comfortable as well.