I was supposed to fly to Sydney, Australia today. In fact, I am supposed to be on the flight right now as we speak. But instead, I am writing this from a less-than-mediocre hotel across the street from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get on the plane.

Let me rewind a little and please excuse any spelling or grammar errors. I’m still a little nerve-wracked.

I was so excited to go to Sydney, I even got to the airport 5 hours early to relax and enjoy dinner before my 8 hour long haul flight. I was ready to rock and roll!

As I was laying on the floor (as per usual) at gate P8 minutes before the first boarding call, I had my phone out scrolling through Facebook, killing time, and slowly I started getting “bad vibes.” Dismissed, I continued swiping through various apps and chalked it up to pre-flight nerves. But as boarding approached, my negative feeling crescendoed until I had to call my Mom because, well, Mom’s are designed to make you feel better about everything, amirite?

She listened to me as my face began to swell holding back inevitable tears, but after a few minutes on the phone, she knew I didn’t want to board and so she gave me “permission” to stay seated and not get on the flight. But I couldn’t just not board, ya know? I had already went through customs, immigration, sat there for 5 hours. Who does that?

“Last call for Sydney! Last call for Sydney!”

I heard overhead while I was on the phone with her. “Gotta go, bye!” I panicked and hung up. I made the normal procedural steps and handed the Gate Attendant my boarding pass and passport while the kind Malaysian security guards kept reassuring me. “Relax” … “Breathe” they said. Those calming moments gave me enough reassurance to basically force myself through the cooridor to the plane.

I hurriedly made one last call to my Mom. “I can’t do it, I really don’t think I can.” I was paralyzed. Full-blown panic attack. I don’t remember exactly what she said in return because I was in all sorts of emotion, but she laid down the law and told me to trust my intuition and so I made a 180 turn and walked my butt back to where I came from:

To the gate…

To immigration…

To customs…

To the main terminal

To the arrivals hall…

But I didn’t care.

Maybe something bad was going to happen on the plane, maybe something bad was going to happen in Sydney, or maybe nothing bad was going to happen at all. Either way, all I know is that I feel much better sitting in this less-than-mediocre hotel room across the street and I am glad I listened to my gut. And I’m sure whoever is sitting next to seat 49K is glad they’ve got the whole row to themselves now 😉

I mean, anyone who knows me knows I am the most frugal person you will ever meet and hate wasting money with a passion. But even with the hundreds of dollars already spent on round trip airfare and hostel costs plus not knowing where I was going to sleep tonight, as soon as I made my resolve, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief flood over me.

This whole trip and my life motto in general is to simply do what you want and not getting on that plane was exactly what I wanted to do.

Although I won’t land in Sydney in 6 hours, I’m sure I’ll check the city off my list soon enough.


Hi, I'm Chelse! I am a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When I turned 25 I decided that I was going to stop making excuses and do what I've always dreamed. I went from having 0 stamps in my passport to 15+ countries in one year. I encourage anyone who wants to live a Digital Nomad lifestyle to buy the ticket first, and figure out the rest later!


  1. Wow what a shocking story!
    Do you know now, two days later, what made you panic?
    And what are you gonna do now instead of Sydney?

    • I have no idea! But I felt so much peace as soon as I turned around. Even though I lost $500! I was supposed to go to Bali after Sydney but ended up flying to Bali instead and am here now 🙂 Turning lemons into lemonade haha

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