Embarking On The Journey of My Lifetime
Today I rejoice as I have officially cut myself free from the ropes that once bound me to a conventional lifestyle. I am setting out on a 2-year voyage around the world. I am determined to spend the last of my twenties chasing my dreams, so that I can live my third decade here on Earth in a world that I've created for myself.
It hit me exactly a year ago: my soul was being called elsewhere. Everything I had been so content doing for the past 4 years was now mundane, routine, and not serving me anymore. I was living in an absolutely breathtaking place, surrounded by incredible people, working for myself doing multiple freelance and independently contracted jobs, but I was somehow unsatisfied. I had accomplished everything I had set out to do in California. I graduated college with honors, worked in the apparel industry & gained loads of experience in my craft, became an editor of a magazine, aired on national television as a designer, launched my own clothing brand, and started making a living working for myself. That's where my California chapter ended. I was hungry for more.
What's next? What did I want? Where is my soul being pulled? I had to figure it out. I searched high & low for an answer, doing research on living in foreign places, traveling around to find some kind of answer. It took me a whole year to figure out a plan, but I never stopped searching, not for a minute.
The answer came to me one morning when I woke up & was browsing Facebook. My friend Sharon had posted an article from a blog entitled "How To Travel The World When You've Got Absolutely No Money". I read it from start to finish; the tears began rolling down my face. This was it. It wasn't a certain place that was calling to me --- it was the whole world. I've traveled before, yes. But not like this. This is going to be the journey of my lifetime.
I immediately began selling my things. Day by day, my apartment started becoming more empty. I started disconnecting from these material things that I had felt some strong connection to for years. Why had I felt the need to hold on so tightly to things? Why was I working my ass off to make a living to afford a place so that I could store all my THINGS? It was finally so clear. I made a list of the things that are actually important to me: my guitar, my cat, my writing, my laptop and apparel/jewelry materials (my livelihood). That was it? Ha! And I had been packing my entire house around with me from place to place for years. Now, I must admit that I am a very sentimental & nostalgic person, so letting go was once very hard for me. I've since learned that things are just anchors; they are mere symbols of memories, but memories themselves are free and are forever.
Saying goodbye to the people I'd met & come to care deeply for was the hardest part. But I soon came to terms with the fact that I can be anywhere in the world, and if those people are alive, we will never have to actually say goodbye. Just because I will no longer be standing next to them does not mean that I will be without them, or that they will be without me. The people who are meant to stay in my life will alway be there, no matter the distance. Though, I'm not saying it wasn't painful. It was incredibly so.
Then there was the outside doubt & ridicule that surfaced: "You're doing what?" You see, in my line of work, I require an office. Making clothing from my very own concepts is not a traveling trade. I also have a sweet little cat that is the apple of my eye. What was I going to do with him? With my office? I called in my support system: my parents. They agreed to let me move my animal and office into their house back in Wyoming to create a home base for myself. Somewhere that I wouldn't have to pay rent while I'm out traveling, so that I could be paying rent in my temporary homes abroad & buying plane tickets. "You're moving back into your parents' house?" Haha, it became such a distraction for people to hear this part of my plan that they lost complete sight of what my real objective is. I feel there is no shame in the minutia of what it takes to get me where I want to be. If temporarily moving some things back into my parents' house is something that conducts criticism, so be it. I don't care what other people think anyway. And now I get to travel the entire world months at a time & see my family in-between trips. I also must add that I adore my fam, and any time spent with them is an absolute blessing. I have been living in a different state than them for the last decade; I moved out of the house a day before my 18th birthday. Not because I hated living with them, but because I was so excited to begin my journey as an adult. This, unfortunately, means I've been seeing them on average about 1 time a year. I am thrilled to now have this opportunity to gain back the lost time spent without them, AND be traveling the world, all the while still pursuing and building my career as a designer. I guess I really can have it all...
Which brings me to my next topic: my career plan. For each of the places I visit, I will be collecting treasures and textiles to bring back to home base to create a collection that represents the culture of each individual country. First, a Mexico collection. I will be spending 2 months in Mexico starting in January 2016. I am thrilled that this will be my first collection, being that I've been traveling there for the past 18 years of my life. Part of mi corazon is in Mexico, so this collection will come from a special place in my heart. Additionally, I will be finding random jobs within the communities of the places I go. I want to spend a good amount of time in each place, so that I can become immersed in the culture, really learn their ways, make friendships, and hopefully learn more languages! I am going to be thoroughly exploring this big spinning rock we call Earth, and sprinkling my special brand of Chelsea love & light in all the places I've always dreamed of.
I feel that I was put on this Earth to make a change. So if I can make a positive impact on just one person, I will have done my job. And that, my friends, is the Chelsea Heil style.