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One Way Ticket: The Story Behind My First Solo Trip

Here we go, my first blog post. Life is so wild and chaotic; yet, somewhere along the way, it slowed down just enough for me to write down my thoughts. If you’re here reading this, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how unpredictable life is and what little control we truly have in this world. As humans, despite what you may think, it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in your life and how you will feel about it. We often think we have everything figured out only to be wildly surprised as time unfolds.

This year has been a rollercoaster, to say the least. In March, 2022 I was preparing to move out of California to go to grad school. Fast forward to August 2022: I’m unemployed and flying across the world.

As I sit on the airplane to Indonesia, I can’t help but giggle when I think about how silly it was to plan my life in such detail. The reality is, every single thing that happens in your life alters how the future unfolds. From the time you wake up, to the type of breakfast you eat, to the conversations you have. It doesn’t matter how little or big the situation is, our lives are constantly unfolding how they are supposed to. Whether it’s how we want them to, is completely out of our control.

Let’s rewind a little bit.

Prior to today, I was living in San Diego, California. I spent five years of my life there working to become a model citizen of society. I graduated from UCSD with a B.S. in Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience and began working in research, studying mindfulness and wellbeing. I remember being so incredibly stressed out that I was nearly in tears every day. There I was, researching how to be mindful, and completely failing at it.

A few years went by and I quickly realized being a volunteer research assistant was not going to work out. I had bills to pay, and as much as I wanted to pursue my dreams, I couldn’t survive on an internship.

I began working for a life insurance company, and quickly climbed up the corporate ladder. I finally felt like a successful adult. When COVID hit in 2020, everything changed. I began working from home and my depression escalated quickly. I gained 40 pounds, never wanted to go outside anymore and spent most of my days in bed binging Netflix.

In 2021 I made some lifestyle changes hoping to climb out of the darkness that was sucking the life out of me. My quality of life began to improve, but I still felt like there was something missing in my life. I didn’t love my job, and San Diego still didn’t feel like home.

I would sit around fantasizing about quitting my job, selling everything and leaving the country. When I was in my twenties I had traveled abroad for a few months and can confidently say, I was the happiest I had ever been in my life. It felt like travel was the solution to my problems; but I was terrified of commitment and losing my so called stability.

For months I went back and forth between staying in the USA doing a job I hated; or, taking a risk and doing something I know from experience, would fill my cup with abundance and joy.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I completely disregarded what would actually make me happy, pushed my dreams aside, and started to plan a responsible future.

I decided I was going to move to Denver, Colorado, and get my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. For a brief moment I felt like I finally figured my life out. I imagined  myself becoming a rich psychologist with a private practice, living my best life with my cat.

It seems the universe had other plans for me because 1 month later I was laid off from my job and my landlord decided to sell the house I was living in. So, there I was, 31, jobless, about to be homeless, with absolutely no idea on what to do. 

I moved home to Pismo Beach, California, and attempted to put my life back together. Days went by as I spent each hour pouring my heart into researching how to write the perfect resume. I sat around skimming the internet for which mundane job I could possibly tolerate for the rest of my life.

How was this my life? How is this so many people’s lives? Wake up, stress out, work, pay bills, sleep, take one week of work off per year, and die. I’m sorry, but there isn’t one person on this planet that can convince me that’s what we were born to do. I mean, if it was, half of the world probably wouldn’t be plagued with mental health issues, suicides, and addiction.

A couple months back, sometime in April, I reached out to a friend of mine who is an absolute spiritual goddess. Not only is she a friend, but she’s a life coach and meditation guide. She’s basically everything I was not at that time. When I was talking with her I broke down crying and told her how lost and unmotivated I felt.

After getting some things off my chest we got into the good stuff, the spiritual work.

We got to an exercise where she asked me to envision my highest and best self. I closed my eyes and tried envisioning myself in a nice apartment downtown Denver, filled with brand new furniture, working an awesome job and slaying the material girl world. But no matter how hard I tried to think of that as my highest self, I kept having visions of traveling.

I saw myself riding scooters through the mountains with fresh air blowing on my face. I felt the hot humid air wrap around my skin and warm me from the inside out. It was right then in that moment that I realized my highest self was not going to grad school, at least not right now.

Our session ended and she gave me some tools to get out of my funk. She told me to stop thinking about what I should be doing and give myself permission to do what I want to be doing. From that moment forward I quit filling myself with shoulds, maybes, and what ifs and I started to give myself permission to do and feel what I truly wanted to in the moment. The results have been nothing short of profound. 

Turns out, I don’t really like being inside watching Netflix as much as I thought I did. Saying yes to more things led to new friendships, rekindled relationships and the re-birth of forgotten hobbies. I rediscovered my love for cooking, hiking, meditation and writing. My physical health became a priority, which in turn boosted my mental state and spirituality. Most importantly, I gained back the confidence to follow my dreams.

Two months after our session, I pulled the trigger and bought a one way ticket to Bali, Indonesia.

This will be my second time in Southeast Asia, but this is the first time I will be traveling alone. I have no idea what countries I will visit, what my work will be, how long I will be gone, or what my future entails. All I know is that I’m right on time.

This is the first time in over a decade I have been able to let go of attempting to control my life. Today, I choose to worry about my next steps in life when they present themselves; because, let’s face it… life never truly goes as planned.

Here I am, barely scratching the surface of the universe, and it’s already breathtaking. 

If you made it this far, I love you. Until next time. 

XOXO, The Departed Creature

Cydney Nelson

Cydney Nelson

Cydney Nelson is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Departed Creature. With a passion for authentic storytelling, Cydney shares her journey through mental health, pregnancy, travel and more. Her mission is to break stigmas, inspire and create a safe space where everyone can belong.

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Cydney Nelson

Cydney Nelson

Cydney Nelson is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Departed Creature. With a passion for authentic storytelling, Cydney shares her journey through mental health, pregnancy, travel and more. Her mission is to break stigmas, inspire and create a safe space where everyone can belong.

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