How YOU Change The World Minute By Minute

Once upon a time I used to think, what is the meaning of all this?

It all felt so meaningless, disconnected. It didn’t matter what I did- the results of the presidential election would be the same, bombs would drop somewhere in the world, and no matter how hard you tried you can’t save everyone.

By contemporary definitions, it’s very hard to make an “impact” on the world.

How many names can you remember of people born before the year 1500?

The best most people could do is just tell of the religious figures, such as Jesus, Abraham, Buddha, etc. You might know of a few kings too.

In a mere 500 years, there is a 99.9% chance that you as an individual will be all but completely forgotten. Assuming we don’t nuke ourselves you’ll likely only exist in some government database.

My great-great [insert many more great] grandfather has a fascinating story. He was kidnapped and forced into the military, which is how he ended up in America.

Despite such an epic story, I can’t remember his name (it’s probably John though) and this story is all I know of him. I don’t remember his wife, children, preferences, or other impact on the world.

But in a way, Mr. Kidnapped-To-America John had a rather profound effect on the world.

Well, at least in my own life. Had he not lived the life that he did, I would not be here today.

While your name & individuality will likely be forgotten, your energy lives on… forever, through the lives of others.

I don’t mean to answer the question of what happens to you past death here. We are not touching that subject today.

What we are focusing on is exactly how you impact the entire world minute by minute, and why this matters.

You may be forgotten, but your impact will change the lives of humanity itself. You could be the tipping point from humanity’s destruction to the “heaven on Earth” described in religious text.

Energetic Impact: Your Signature on Humanity

How you treat your fellow human beings and what you do is what I will call an “energetic impact,” largely because there is no visible impact on humanity.

Most people focus on the physical. They built a company, landmark, kingdom, or got their name in a history book. The energetic is all the more important though, and as will be shown here means that a small peasant farmer has so much impact as to change the entire course of history.

When you treat someone a certain way, you create a ripple. You already know this intuitively.

Let’s say you walk into a coffee shop, and the person in front of you decides to pay for you. Feels great, right? Now you walk away with a smile, and spread the joy in some way.

Alternatively you may have a bad barista who insults you. You walk away angry, and then snap at your boss later because this is stuck in your mind.

Without even intending to do so a happy or angry barista can affect not just you but the people you come into contact with after the interaction with the barista!

An “energetic ripple” is created, much like a ripple in a pond.

At the center is the “trigger event.” When you drop a pebble in a pond, where it impacts the water is the trigger event. One meter away from the ripple is everyone that is affected, and then one meter away from that point is everyone else who is affected from those people that are affected.

Of course in a ripple the further away you get from the center the less powerful the initial trigger event becomes. You drop a pebble but the other side of the pond may not appear any different- but on a subtle level, it was affected.

Now imagine that some ripples are positive and some are negative. Pebbles are being dropped in the pond all the time. Some are larger than others. For example some acts are more kind than others, and other acts more violent than others.

This pond would be the pond of life, and it would be a turbulent pond for sure. Everything would be reacting to everything else- but because everything reacts to everything else, your small pebble impact can actually lead to a huge impact by another.

For example your “trigger event” could be a small act of kindness, which then inspires someone else to not commit an atrocity (such as a shooting) or inspires them to do something kind as well, which creates another positive trigger event, which hopefully continues going on!

Are We Subject To Only Reactions?

Okay, this is all cool. We now can visualize like positive or negative pebbles dropping into a pond how we affect the rest of humanity. But are we just stuck in reactive mode? What happens if someone drops a negative pebble right in your fucking face?

We all have that day where everything was going just perfect… until it wasn’t. You walk into the cafe with a smile on your face, prepared to tip. Then the barista insults you and spits in your drink, metaphorically speaking.

When you pull out of the lot a tired driver slams right into you. You get to work and your co-worker dipped out, doubling your work but not your pay. Your boss is pissed because he didn’t get laid, so he takes it out on you… Triple work time!

Even for a meditation master a situation such as this could be difficult to deal with. We all can relate to a situation similar in principle, in which everything was great until it wasn’t.

As kids I don’t think we realize just how reactive we are to everything else. I had some memories come up today of me saying some mean things to my brother, which hurt me so much to remember some tears came out despite being in a coffee shop.

As a child I endured some pretty terrible bullying, and sometimes my own parents were reactive to other things. For my child mind this set the reality that “this is normal.” It also filled me with a certain energy that I also spread- the pebbles from other people’s lives filled me with the same negative energy, but then I perpetuated this energy by hurting others too.

It was bad. One day during a screaming match I pulled out a knife on my brother. I never intended to hurt him (and never took a stab), I was just infuriated and angry and wanted him to shut up.

It didn’t feel like such a big deal to me because I had recently got trapped & attacked by over 20 kids outside school, and told that I should kill myself. My family didn’t know that I had tested putting things around my neck while alone at home.

My brother was innocent, as was I, and as were my enemies at the time. We were all kids reacting to someone else’s negative energy. Probably the kids that planned my attack were all treated terrible, and in a group mentality took it out on the weird kid- me. After experiencing such violence using a knife to control my brother didn’t seem like a big deal, but now I feel numb writing this. Damn.

The answer to the question is no. But there are two exceptions:

First, kids are reactive, period. Kids will always receive adult’s and other kids energies and then perpetuate it. Kids are not normally inherently violent- they learn it.

I’d say the only reason I didn’t go total psycho and do some bad things to my school was because of YouTube, where I could listen to people telling me that everything would be okay and that I can be whatever I want to be (more on that later).

Second, people need to remember that they can consciously choose what they want to be! Many people describe meditation or spiritual awakening as a “remembering,” and I would agree with that. I’m not enlightened (far from it), but good meditative experiences feel like remembering.

Sometimes all it takes is someone to say “you can choose your own reality.” Entire books have been written on the subject. Sometimes people need visual proof.

Everyone inherently knows that they can direct their own ship (yourself), but that doesn’t make it easy. The energies of others will always affect you, no matter how thick of skin you claim to have.

Choosing Which Pebbles to Toss

If you read this now, you have no more excuses- you can choose which pebbles to toss back into the pond of life: positive or negative.

It’s not easy. But it’s possible. Something I’ve personally learned is that energy can be transmitted positively or negatively- this is the basis of true alchemy.

Violent rage can be converted into a passion for working out. I often jog faster than everyone at the park, channeling out that old hate inside of me. Every month the jogs feel slightly more peaceful, as good energy replaces the old hate.

Sadness & guilt can be converted to compassion & inspiration. Why do you think I’m writing this now? I feel devastated at my actions back then. Maybe leaving a note to the world will make things right.

We can’t always choose what comes our way, but as energetic processing machines we can choose how to process it. Again, it’s not easy. But it’s possible.

Convert your rage into a healthy passion for working out & making money ethically. Convert your guilt into inspiration for change. Convert your depression into compassion.

The beautiful thing about tossing positive pebbles is that the energy always seems to come back to you a bit more than you give, allowing you to give even more!

For a great book on converting energy pick up “Reality Transurfing Steps I-V.” It’s a very hard book to understand but explains more strategies for converting emotions such as annoyance to pleasure, etc. so that you don’t toss negative pebbles into the pond of life.

Not only will your life improve, but all of humanity will improve with you!

Also check out “The Power of Now” book as this is a more meditative practice towards tossing positive pebbles. When you become present to the moment, you allow the past negative pebbles to go so you can stay fresh to the beauty of now.

The Universe Listens

And if you’re really struggling, as I did, turn yourself over to something more powerful. For some reason belief just works.

Every time I call out to the Universe or God, it answers. I don’t know whether it’s the God Jesus spoke of, or Buddha, or something deeper than all of that, but something is there.

I make exactly the amount of money I asked to make. I affirmed & visualized the process over and over, and here I am making exactly that doing exactly what I wanted to do.

I’d like to say it was all me, but if I’m being completely honest there was something else working with me to help me out.

Recently I was feeling lonely because all my best friends left Chiang Mai, and so I asked the Universe to introduce me to some new, deeper connections & friends to laugh a lot with.

The past 3 days have been an endless party, filled with social events & new, deep connections.

The 12-Steps program is highly centered around belief in God (or a higher power) as well. For some reason, it just works. Give up control and figure out what “up there” wants.

I was lucky as kid that I also often resolved to give myself to the higher power because I simply couldn’t handle how fucked up what I was going through was. Now here I am, world traveler, financially great, and having all the girls I could want- it wasn’t me, something helped me…

Compassion for the Bad Pebbles

What often helps with letting go of bad pebbles affecting you is becoming compassionate to those who toss them. They typically are in a reaction mode, and not even aware of what they’re doing.

One level to compassion is to care for those that already care for you, but a true, deep compassion involves understanding & loving your enemies, loving the criminals, loving the lost.

I am not particularly identified with being Christian, so do forgive me for quoting this from the Bible if you aren’t also Christian, but there is indeed some ancient wisdom in this Bible quote:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

For context, this happened during Jesus’s Crucifixion. He was essentially saying to God that those who were killing him should be forgiven for they are not even aware of what they are doing.

This has always stuck with me for no other reason than it is true of all “sin” or “evil.” Most people commit crimes only when they feel desperate or like there is no other way, or “in the heat of the moment.” They get so angry they pull out a knife, unconscious to their actions.

Or they get stuck in such a derp state that killing someone feels normal. People lose touch with their human side and commit terrible atrocities.

To most people murder sounds so bad, but we must remember that those who kill typically were treated so bad growing up they are simply perpetuating the bad energy they originally received!

That doesn’t make it right. Let’s make that clear.

All that is being said here is that even though crimes are not right, we must understand their origin. These people received so many “bad pebbles” they only know how to toss them back into life.

They have forgotten they have the power to choose good pebbles, that to their right sits an unlimited pile of good pebbles to share with themselves and the world..

6 Degrees of Separation From Everyone

Let’s introduce some science into this post as talking about energy & old Bible quotes can put some people off.

The 6 degrees of separation idea is that everyone is 6 acquaintances away from each other. It sounds crazy but is scientifically backed up.

The rough idea is that everyone knows an average of 45 people who could get a hold of them if needed. I know for myself this number is significantly greater- in the hundreds- but that balances out the extreme introverts who have maybe only 15-20 people who could get a hold of them.

45 to the 6th power is 8.3 billion- greater than the population of Earth. You can research this more for the scientific backing, but it’s highly likely this is for the most part true barring a few odd exceptions.

If you commit an act of kindness, a great one, and change just a few people’s lives, then they will be all the better off and thus the people they are surrounded by will likely be just a bit better off too.

This is more easily visualized with violence unfortunately, but let’s try stay positive on what good we can do rather than what bad.

Let’s say that you ethically become financially independent, and can help a few friends out here or there. First off by generating wealth ethically, it means you were giving value and participating in transactions that valued the other party- but that gets too complicated.

After that let’s say you help out a few friends in need and commit a few acts of great kindness.

Let’s also say that you invest in your own happiness & self-care, such as by getting massages, practicing yoga, meditating, and developing hobbies.

Not only are you funding people’s businesses and providing them with lifestyles, but you are taking care of your own peace allowing yourself to be kinder to all those you come into contact with.

When someone is angry, you smile at them. When someone is happy, you smile at them. Even if you aren’t rich, you can actively give “good pebbles” to the pond of life in so many other ways, just be being compassionate, kind, and happy (or at least not hurting others)!

Well because you’re able to give good energy or help others out financially, you allow them to be lifted up which allows them to lift up others in their lives.

For example you help out a friend with their rent, and there’s no need to pay you back. Suddenly that friend doesn’t need to take resources or demand help from their friends!

Now they’re also happier, safer, etc. which allows them to get on their feet, and when they’re back on their feet they are able to be happier and give good energy to those around them!

Wealth aside, you can give value in so many ways to people. Don’t get stuck on the money example. It’s just a point I wanted to make because many people have bad money views.

You can smile and ask “how are you doing” to people. You can not let negative pebbles affect you, and instead keeping tossing the positive ones (this allows the negative pebbles to disappear, much like how a ripple in a pond can’t affect a bridge).

You can leave small tips- one dollar is enough to make someone’s day. You can give someone a hug in need. You can listen to a sad friend.

There’s so much you can do- now let’s see how it all comes together.

Your Impact on Humanity

We are all connected, for the most part, by 6 degrees of separation. Your positive actions (and lack of negative actions) have the ability to send good energy through your close group, which will affect their close groups, so on and so forth.

The effect by the end is indeed minimal. Your great act of kindness may do little to change someone’s life on the other side of the world- but I think it still gets around.

I believe that at least a tiny bit of energy will reach everyone based on each action you do. It is of course so minimal, but it’s still there!

Your positive action changes the actions of others, which changes their actions, so on and so forth so much so that you may, without even knowing it, but the catalyst for great change here on planet Earth.

Your name will be forgotten one day. But your impact here lives on through other people!

How Will You Change the World?

You don’t need to do or be anything big. In fact, it is the millions of nobody’s that create the day-to-day energy of the world.

You already are connected to everyone by 6 degrees of separation. The pond of life wasn’t so great as you once thought it to be.

If you live in such a way that shares positive pebbles in this pond, then you will surely inspire others to realize they too can toss in these positive pebbles.

It doesn’t take too much thinking to realize just how significant this is. Your life by the minute shapes the entire world ever so slightly!

You can save lives. You can prevent terrorism. You can bring abundance to this world.

It isn’t done in a great act, but instead your life minute by minute. Your smile, your respect, your compassion, your good energy is what changes everything.

A life once originally believed to be devoid of meaning is now something deeply purposeful just by the act of living & flowing.

Follow your purpose, be happy for yourself, generate wealth because in becoming ethically full yourself you lift up the world.

You need not do anything big; just toss a few positive pebbles in the pond and watch the world repeat this action until one day… We find heaven on Earth.

-Michael

How More Friends Makes You Lonely

Can having more friends make you lonely? As someone who has social circles in continents and countries all around the globe, I think so.

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote a proper self-help article based on life experiences so let’s dive deep into this one.

A Tale of a Lonely Kid

I didn’t always start out so socially adjusted. In fact, I was known as the weirdo in my school.

Somehow I’ve gone from having a few (unreliable) acquaintances in middle school to supportive, amazing friends all around the world originating from countries such as USA, Canada, Belgium, UK, Bulgaria, Thailand, and Indonesia.

I say “originating” because that is where the connections are made. Others have traveled, expanding my “circle” perhaps to all 6 populated continents.

At this point it is near impossible to track without putting my friends into a CRM (customer relationship management software system, typically used by businesses to improve sales).

As a lonely kid growing up in Nebraska, I never could’ve imagined just how my life would’ve unfolded.

I remember watching a video by a guy named “David Brown,” and he was talking about flying to another country to go to a concert alone to make friends there.

“What the fuck? How could he do that? He just went ALONE, and made friends.. there?”

Fast forward 5 years and there I was walking through the immigration line to go into Sofia, Bulgaria to create what would become the happiest time in my life up to that point.

As a kid, I always thought that I needed more friends. More contacts. More people.

That’s not necessarily bad, but it can also make you lonely. Oh was I in for a surprise for that one!

Too Many Dates

A week or two ago I went through a period where I was meeting way too many people- and I’ve gone through phases like this in Bulgaria and Canada as well.

On one day I had 2 dates scheduled, the next 3, and the day after that another 2 (or 3 if I decided not to flake on the last).

After almost a week of this, I got literally sick. I couldn’t handle it anymore.

On one of the days I took home one girl, then she left and I immediately went out with another girl before recovering. I took that one home too, and as we laid in bed I started making a joke about something which happened to the previous girl, having forgotten that this was a different girl.

By the end of the week I was so bored & sick of girls (and people) that I turned my phone off and rejected anyone new who wanted to go out with me.

This was the dream that I imagined myself happening- something every little boy going through puberty would’ve wanted. Yet I didn’t feel fulfilled. I felt lonely.

Self-Connection

The next day I didn’t meet anyone, and it felt fucking amazing. I played video games, walked through the park, ate at restaurants alone, and meandered through the day compared to the previous week of scheduling dates and work by the hour.

One of the YouTube videos I watched was particularly inspiring (about loneliness). It reminded me that introversion/extroversion is a scale.

You can be an extrovert but still need alone time. You aren’t all on or off. Everyone has a certain degree of social interaction and alone time that is healthy.

Recently I’ve tried to take more naps at home, and it’s made me feel like I’m on heaven. So much so I might even do a 30 day massage or nap challenge.

I found that in between social interactions it allowed me to reconnect, gather my thoughts, and recharge. It helped me clarify so much and “reset!”

Recently I’ve been truly appreciating alone time, as meeting new people can surprisingly consume energy.

Meeting New People: More or Less Energy?

I think that meeting new people can be stimulating and exciting. But if you’re meeting way too many people or only new people, then it can consume a lot of energy.

There comes a point where your body & mind, for whatever reason, can’t handle to meet new people at least without alone time and/or time with people you are already close with.

Most people probably aren’t meeting enough people so they will find that meeting new people brings energy.

Alternatively people may feel anxious or restless about what the other person thinks about them.

It really depends how well you can connect. Meeting so many new people gets tiring though, and so you get tired of constantly trying to form connections. You just want to let what “is” flow out.

Having met so many new people recently I experience almost 0 anxiety around new people. In fact a girl I recently went out with apologized that she was so nervous, but because I was so relaxed and “chilled out” I didn’t even realize that she was nervous or register that being nervous when meeting a first date could be a thing!

The point of this section is just that meeting new people can give energy or take energy- it depends on how well self-connected you are, and whether you are tempering each new interaction with interactions with people you already know.

If you are constantly meeting only new faces, then it will take energy. And that’s exactly what I was doing.

More Quality, Less Quantity

Having even one quality connection is key to so much happiness in life. In the past 4 days I’ve hung-out with one girl that I really like, and it’s allowed me to feel so much happier.

The first 2 days were so-so, actually. I wasn’t too impressed by her, and we didn’t know each other so well.

Yesterday I was considering not meeting, but then we really finally connected. Today I realized I’m starting to get some deeper feelings, and surprisingly have hopes that this goes somewhere.

On paper it’s more likely that it won’t go anywhere (she is leaving Chiang Mai next week), but still- it’s at least a hope.

It’s a surprise to me to think that I might be cool with being with someone, as I’ve told all the other girls that I wasn’t ready for anything serious. Now I realize it just wasn’t quality, but quantity.

Besides romantic prospects, this is true of friends also.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being recognized all over the place and having those short, surface-level conversations by people who know me barely everywhere. That feels good.

But you need that depth first and foremost. It’s the 80% of your fulfillment, and the “being locally famous” part gives 20% of your fulfillment.

One of my focuses moving forward will be nurturing those 1-3 deeper social connections wherever I stay rather than constantly trying to meet new people.

By doing so it’s making me set stronger boundaries and become clearer about what I want, making me more likely to cut out people that don’t serve that purpose.

For example, yesterday I went out with a new girl and I just wasn’t feeling it at all and she slightly misrepresented herself on Tinder. So I left after knowing her for like 20 minutes.

This sounds harsh but it’s necessary for my mental health, and in the end it’s better for her because I don’t care to get to know her- better to end it sooner than waste 3 hours of her time to then end it.

How More Friends Makes You Lonely

The more friends you make, the more lonely you can get because you miss out on the deeper social connection which happens with alone time or with someone you have a shared history with.

That’s not to say not to make lots of acquaintances. That’s great. And being recognized all over the place is great as well.

Just focus though on 1-3 deep social interactions, and if you can handle it maybe 5. These are the people that will make you fulfilled and happy.

Everyone else does not deserve priority. I will still enjoy meeting new people & acquaintances, but they simply will not receive priority.

If you give yourself to everyone, then you lose yourself. No one wins because you’re giving 1% away to everyone.

I say give 80% to a few people, then 20% to the rest- but when you’re with anyone give them 100% of your attention. You can only give someone 100% of your attention if you are socially fulfilled.

So strangely by focusing on the close friends, you also feel more socially fulfilled and thus capable of meeting new acquaintances who can turn into romantic partners, deep friends, or business partners!

At the very least you can be party buddies and share good times together.

In the end, focus on what matters: meaning. Those close connections are key to fulfillment, and constantly meeting new people in the absence of deep friends is no way to live.

Done. (:

-Michael

Asia: My Experience So Far

This is the beginning of my 4th month in Southeast Asia, and now having visited several cities & countries I have a better idea of what there is to offer here.

Keep in mind that this is highly objective, as others will enjoy other aspects that I may not enjoy.

Note: this is an un-edited draft from a couple weeks ago. Experiences have changed a lot in the past 2 weeks. Click HERE for the most recent write-up regarding life in Chiang Mai. The rest has not been reviewed.

Where I’ve Been

I’ve spent a little over a week in Bangkok, and I’ve moved back to Bangkok to spend at least one more week.

I’ve spent 7 total weeks in Chiang Mai, 4 days in Saigon, Vietnam, as well as 1 month in Canggu, Bali (while also visiting the nearby cities in Bali as well such as Ubud & scuba diving cities in the Northeast).

Here are my opinions and experiences!

Bali

Canggu, Bali is great for digital nomads & tourists alike. Basically everything caters to the foreigner, so much so that in my opinion it’s kind of off-putting.

That being said the culture is fascinating if you can immerse in it, which is rather difficult given that everything does indeed cater to foreigners.

I stayed for 1 month in Canggu, which is a popular tourist/digital nomad hotspot. Ubud is also particularly popular with digital nomads.

There are less touristy areas you could definitely stay in, but the English there will be very poor.

Even in the very touristy areas, the English levels of the locals was not so high. It wasn’t as bad as Vietnam, but not near as good as Thailand. Sometimes you will struggle with things.

Bali has everything you could possibly want, besides stable living. For this reason, I have extremely mixed feelings about it. Let’s dive into what this means.

There is an abundance of exceptional apartments, villas, houses, etc. for you to live in. You an live in pure luxury or have a very cheap room. All accommodations are available for long-term or short-term rent, due to the transient nature of the island.

There aren’t many cafes or coffee shops to work from, especially because a lot of things are outdoors where it can be quite hot.

That being said there are some exceptional co-working spaces for online workers (I worked at Matra) which have very fast WiFi.

One of the most annoying things about Bali is that the government blocks several websites, primarily porn, but even social media sites such as Reddit. Luckily many of the co-working spaces and other WiFi’s allow you to bypass the filter, but keep that on the down-low 😛

Internet is quite slow in Bali, besides the co-working spaces, where it is reliably fast. WiFi is also generally terrible.

There are an endless number of delicious restaurants to try. Local food is quite bad, and that’s something every traveler has agreed on. It’s cheap if you want it, but it’s nothing like Thai food or Vietnamese food with great diversity & flavor.

I really enjoyed the great diversity of food. I found a Balkan restaurant which had Bulgarian food owned by a Romanian, and a Greek restaurant owned by a man with such a Greek accent it was no question where he was from!

Also I enjoyed eating at an Italian restaurant, again- owned by an Italian. All of these foods are relatively affordable, and exceptionally delicious. Having traveled to many of these countries, I can confirm that the food quality is as good as local food.

International dining is beyond amazing in Bali. You name it, you can find it. Well, besides exceptional Thai food, that I couldn’t find for some reason.

There are also endless activities to do. You can surf, hangout at the beach, go hiking, scuba dive, ride a motorcycle, there are just too many things to do! You will not be bored in Bali!

The spas & massages are next-level amazing. I enjoyed a place called “Amo” where for about $20 I would get a 30 minute head & shoulder massage, and then a day pass for the Sauna + cold plunge. I made several friends there.

The culture on Bali is a bit weird. You have super touristy & expat zones such as Canggu, and ten you ride a motorbike 5 kilometers north and you’ll literally have locals taking photos with you because that’s so rare (yes, that actually happened).

Me and a friend drove up to explore the local areas & temples, away from the beaten path, and we noticed that everyone was staring at us. Not in a bad way. Just in the sense that it was clear that they didn’t get any tourists.

So in Canggu or Ubud you see white people everywhere, and then you drive a little bit up North and suddenly you’re the only white person and it becomes very obvious very suddenly.

This is where the annoyance of Bali crept in: there didn’t feel like a proper mix of expat & local culture.

For example when I lived in Chiang Mai I felt like I had to integrate myself partially with the local culture. I didn’t have to learn Thai because everyone speaks good English, but it earned me several points for doing so.

I noticed that a few Indonesian words & phrases didn’t really earn me points in Canggu, probably because they’re so used to tourists they don’t even care whether I learn Balinese or not.

There isn’t really a culture in Canggu or Ubud, besides that of being a complete mix of Europeans, Russians, Americans, and especially Australians. It’s cool that there’s such a diverse range of people, but where the hell are the locals?

This is the weird part: when you walk into a restaurant or cafe and it’s a ton of local Balinese serving you, and there are 0 locals eating or drinking. Just tourists. It feels really weird.

It actually made me a bit uncomfortable to look around and see only Indonesians serving a ton of Europeans n’ what not, not because of some race / identity politics, but simply because it indicated a lack of proper mixing between tourists/expats/locals.

Bali is a place to get served and treated like a king, not necessarily immerse yourself in local culture. Of course, this could change in the future, but most everyone would agree with me on this.

I have two other major complaints with Bali: the first being traffic. No, it’s not that the traffic is too crazy. I can handle that.

The problem I have is so many foreigners & expats are so disrespectful to the culture that they rent motorbikes without any idea how to drive them, and then drive said motorbikes so aggressively and without care.

I wrote in a previous post that I observed every single minute a new rider having left their turn signal on. People are literally so clueless on motorbikes in Bali that they leave their turn signals on, likely not knowing how to turn them off on a motorcycle.

Motorcycles without mufflers aren’t uncommon either, so you can get some white virgin 22 year old who loves to rev the engine and drive aggressively, hurting everyone else’s ears. As if a loud motorbike signals that you have a big dick.

Some areas in Canggu are just so underdeveloped to the point it’s dangerous. If you research the “famous Canggu short-cut,” you’ll find a 2-way road that only has enough room to fit one car and one motorbike.

It is raised above the ground with no guard rail so you can also fall a few feet off, or your car will tip over if you fall over. There are so many photos online of such happening. I didn’t witness it, but I did witness a fall close to it.

For whatever reason some genius decided to make a 2-way road that could only fit one car and one motorbike. When 2 cars come at the same time, the whole street locks up. The street is long enough to where this regularly happened, and I would get trapped in between cars and other motorbikes for so long as people had to hop out of their cars and figure this shit out.

Another issue I have with Bali is no clear residence/visa strategy for long-term living. Everyone I asked who had lived there was “visa running” every 60 days, or doing some type of “social visa.”

So in order to live in Bali short-term or long-term every 30 days you have to go to an immigration office to extend your visa, and then when the visa can’t be extended anymore you have to leave the country and fly back.

Contrast this with Thailand which offers Muay Thai visas, language visas, elite visas, and a clear path to residency.

In terms of visas & living I still am uneasy about Southeast Asia for long-term due to the fact there’s no clear path to long-term citizenship. For example, move to USA or Canada or almost any European country and there’s a clear path to citizenship.

That being said countries like Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, etc. still have a clear path to residency, which allows you at least to remain in the country.

Bali on the other hand is too vague with their visa policies, which means you don’t get the right to stay there. Imagine being told by an immigration officer you can’t enter the country- with all your stuff stuck at “home!”

So Bali is definitely a good place to visit as a tourist, or even as a month or so as a digital nomad, but I don’t want to get too attached to there as living legally is not easy.

I really enjoyed Bali and will certainly return, but I don’t like the transient nature, and the fact that everything is about the foreigners. It’s great being catered to, but it’s just so weird when everywhere you go it’s ONLY locals or ONLY foreigners being served by locals. There is just no mixing.

Bangkok

I’ll write more on Bangkok later. I stayed for 1 week last year, and I just moved here for another week or two. I can’t write much on it because I don’t have so much experience. So far I prefer Chiang Mai.

Bangkok traffic is crazy and long, but public transit is available. There’s probably nowhere better for parties & dating, especially considering that the female-male ratio is higher, meaning that there are more women than men. This begins glaringly obvious on Tinder, where hundreds of girls will match you.

Parties are amazing and fun as well!

Note: I started writing this post a few days ago, and now I am finishing it up. So now I’m adding more to the Bangkok section here:

My sleep has been a complete disaster, and I still have very mixed feelings about Bangkok. With my sleep schedule being a disaster, it’s only natural that I’ll feel like shit and not be able to clearly identify whether Bangkok is for me or not.

After doing some writing & talking with friends, I think I’ve came to this conclusion:

Bangkok is much more expensive than I thought it would be.

If you want to come here as a tourist and party, it won’t be that expensive, but in terms of actually living it actually is a lot more expensive than I thought it would be.

The reason for this is in Chiang Mai there are a ton of fun, free things to do. That’s not really the case here.

You either must rent a motorbike, which I’m very hesitant to due to the increase in danger of riding, OR take taxis/public transit.

Public transit + taxi costs add up. I haven’t been keeping track but so far I’d say it’s equal to or even more expensive than the cost of owning my own motorbike in Chiang Mai!

If I were to rent a motorbike it would be a tiny bit more expensive than in Chiang Mai, but the problem is parking. Chiang Mai is so relaxed you can literally park anywhere.

Here you aren’t allowed to be so relaxed. You must find a legitimate parking place. The parking fees will no doubt add up and eat up more of the budget.

If you’ve got cash to drop, this seems to be the place. The malls are legendary. Bars & clubs are next-level. You can enjoy rooftop bars and sip fancy wine, or get down n’ dirty on a wild party road called KhaoSan road.

Dining is next-level amazing as well, but local (cheap) Thai markets are more difficult to find than in Chiang Mai.

With everything being more spread out, commute times increase. This is also what has me iffy.

In Chiang Mai I ride 5-10 minutes everywhere, max 15, and then maybe like 20 minutes to go up the mountain to a beautiful waterfall. Here it’s minimum 20 minutes which includes a lot of walking, motorbike taxis, and the public transit system.

To meet one girl, I spent almost an entire hour in public transport!

This could just be the area that I’m staying in however. Bangkok is such a big city I would need to experiment with living in different places.

I’ll also probably have to rent a motorbike. I’m considering doing that later today or tomorrow for a few days to get a feel for riding around here.

One annoying thing is that I’m finding it difficult to find suitable cafes to work from. The last coffee shop I was at printed me a fucking 1 hour WiFi ticket, and the WiFi was so bad that I couldn’t work.

So I went to a place I thought had good WiFi, and same same: the WiFi is so bad I’m back to uploading a YouTube video via my phone’s SIM card.

If you want to live & work here remotely, you must find what’s called a “co-working” space to get your work done, or have a home office. Both of these things are expensive and will add an extra $100-$200 onto the monthly budget.

After posting on Reddit for feedback, I realized that I probably need to double my monthly budget in order to fully enjoy live here. Right now I can’t do that.

On one hand I love the excitement of Bangkok. It’s a big city with everything you could imagine- even if it’s quite spread out.

Bangkok has western amenities, amazing apartments, quiet accommodation, and most importantly for me an endless list of literally hundreds of tinder girls waiting to match me and meet me.

With cash, this is the city to live in. I’ve dated an average of 2 new girls per day since moving here, but I’m also finding that exhausting. It would not be unrealistic to say that if you had the drive you could bang a new person every day here (is it like this in other big cities??).

Today I’ve kept my phone away from me for the most part, and stopped responding to all of the messages. I need some me-time, some time to relax in cafes, wander aimlessly, and not schedule dates & work in by the hour.

With cash you can enjoy a life so incredible here, I think that once I do have the cash this might end up being my favorite place to be! I’d be able to have an epic apartment, nice motorbike, date tons of girls, and actually do exciting things such as bowling, rooftop bars, crazy parties, fine dining, and more.

Until then, Bangkok not might be the city for me to be. And even all that being said, I miss the “Sabai sabai” (relax relax) vibes of Chiang Mai or the peace of Sofia.

Part of it could be that I’ve traveled a bit too much recently. I do recognize in myself that I’m sick of searching for a new place to work from, especially because I am prioritizing my work more recently.

I noticed recently that I was feeling very bad, and I felt much better when I got some work done.

I was happy when a girl was late to our meeting because it meant that I could spend 30 more minutes making some progress.

This is completely my fault to be enjoying too much the women of Bangkok instead of work, but damn is it distracting! And a bit much!

It’s a man’s dream to date 2 new girls every day, but now that I’m living the dream, WOW I need to slow down…

So in short, I’ve got extremely mixed feelings about Bangkok. A part of me loves it. The controlled chaos, dating, parties, and western amenities.

The other part of me cringes at the prices I’m paying (which often exceeds the prices in Bulgaria and even Western Europe) for various things, and simply desires some comfort & familiarity.

The human can only travel so much… We need to relax and enjoy comfort too. I’m learning that about myself.

I’m finding it very, very hard to purchase a flight out though. The dating & excitement here is keeping me trapped. I want to go but can’t yet.

Perhaps Bangkok will serve as my motivation for earning more money with online business.

When I get another client or two and can justify doubling my monthly budget, Bangkok will be a totally different experience.

I may write another report as well because as I said my sleep schedule has been totally fucked up (day 2: too much wine on a rooftop bar and staying up late with a hot girl) which definitely adds a negative hue to the experience.

Also, I’m not so much in “abundant” feeling. What I mean is that I may need to share more good energy from friends in Chiang Mai / Sofia before I have the capability to properly integrate into a new city.

As mentioned, you can only have so much newness until you start to crave a familiar face.

Chiang Mai

Last year I spent 3 weeks in Chiang Mai but dipped out fast. I was heart-broken, isolated, didn’t have healthy habits, had a surgery, and a motorbike crash in the nearby mountains.

I was not in a good mental space or ready to enjoy it. I was also experiencing massive culture shock.

Now I went back to live there for 1 month, and all I can say is “WOW!” I never could’ve expected I’d enjoy it so much!

After 30 days my visa expired, and instead of extending I took a weekend in Vietnam (and now I’m in Bangkok). I must say, Vietnam was too much (more on that later) and I kept thinking of how I wanted to go back to Chiang Mai.

After just 30 more days, Chiang Mai… already feels like home. I could totally see myself living there, maybe equally to Sofia, Bulgaria.

In fact, it feels a lot like Sofia. It’s generally quiet & relaxed, but there are great parties available as well. There are amazing coffee shops, food, and a great local culture to immerse yourself into! There’s also many foreigners permanently living there.

In a way it is still slightly transient from all the digital nomads coming & leaving, but most people seem to return… like myself, so take that for what it’s worth.

The traffic in Chiang Mai is relaxed, people are respectful & kind, the local food is incredible and cheap, and there’s an abundance of great places to stay short, medium, and long-term at an affordable price.

I am intending on spending 1 week in Bangkok and then after I might go back to Sofia, Bulgaria, stay longer in Bangkok, or even do 1 more month in Chaing Mai- it’s that amazing!

In fact, after 3 months in Sofia, Bulgaria (which is what I’m leaning on doing in about 2-3 weeks) I will then probably go back to Chiang Mai for about 3 months to properly immerse myself in Thai culture & language.

I don’t even know what to write about- it’s just so amazing. You can meet locals, expats, foreigners, travelers, hangout in the mountain, explore waterfalls, relax by the lake, and go to local markets.

Parties are also a lot of fun, but the main clubs close at midnight. I actually prefer this so that my sleep schedule doesn’t get totally ruined by a party starting at 11pm and ending at 5am.

I love Thai food, and there is an abundance of great Thai restaurants in Chiang mai! There are also other places, such as burger restaurant & Italian restaurant, and even an American restaurant with great Mac n’ Cheese.

What I love about Chiang Mai is the relaxed vibe. It’s a healthy mix of working, social life, and everything.

For example in Bangkok dating is off the charts amazing, but you have to deal with annoying traffic and a bit more of a hectic life.

I think the most ideal situation for Chiang Mai would be to get a girlfriend, so I’ll probably try not to get a girlfriend when I return to Bulgaria just so that I can get a Thai girlfriend.

The Thai girls are so amazing, kind, etc. that I truly believe they might be the best to date.

I met a really cool, special girl in Chiang Mai also. I told her I wasn’t ready for anything serious because of my last relationship’s ending, which she understood.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a bit of love for her… But I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want her to get her expectations up just for me to leave to Bulgaria.

Chiang Mai has me really re-considering whether I want to immigrate fully to Bulgaria or not, simply because of how amazing it is!

There’s just so much to do, but it’s at a more relaxed, happy place. It’s got the fastest internet I’ve experienced. Service is off the charts amazing.

I feel genuinely excited at learning Thai and immersing myself more into Thai culture and Chiang Mai life. I’m actually torn between spending 3 months now in Chiang Mai or going back to Bulgaria, but I’ll probably go back to Bulgaria.

The only problem with Chiang Mai is that there’s something called “Burning Season” from February to April, where it becomes the most polluted city in the whole world! The farmers are burning something as the name implies, and a ton of smoke comes.

So if I were to live there permanently, I couldn’t live there during that time- in fact, no one wants to live there during that time!

Other than that Chiang Mai is perfect and I couldn’t imagine a better place to be besides Sofia, Bulgaria. I’ll be returning soon as Chiang Mai is holding a special place in my heart.

Saigon, Vietnam

Saigon, now referred to as Ho Chi Minh City, is crazy. I spent 4 days there, and have mixed feelings.

The party on Friday night was too crazy to the point of absurdity and danger. The craziest girl I’ve ever dated was on Sunday. Another girl I met opened up and started looking through Tinder at the party there.

The culture is not so kind as Thailand, so maybe it’s the contrast from the kind service of the Thai to the more frowning style of the Vietnamese. There are still very nice people though.

Some of the Vietnamese I met were very funny, kind, etc. even though they hardly spoke any English. Most people have very low English speaking, you can get around with English but it’ll be quite hard!

Others were angry, downright rude, and there are a lot of hagglers that annoy you. People are aggressive drivers, and it is not safe.

For example traffic does not stop for you if you want to cross the street. I think technically you get the right of way, but nobody cares. HONK HONK, move out of the way!

If you aren’t moving fast enough? HONK, move! The buses & cars would honk at bikers, demanding they move or get hit.

When crossing the street you literally have to play “frogger” with your life, dodging motorbikbes and cars. It’s quite the adventure. Sometimes exciting, but in hindsight not a place I’d like to live.

The party in Saigon was the craziest I’ve had in my whole life- not in terms of enjoyment, but just in terms of random shit going on. Hardly anyone dances, which is weird.

So the “walking street” also allows motorbikes and cars to pass through and mix with the people, making it super dangerous.

All kinds of people line the streets haggling you to buy their shit, which is useless stuff.

Drug dealers are everywhere and offer you weed, meth, cocaine, whatever you want. They also have balloons filled with laughing gas. I saw no police, and locals confirmed that you can do or buy whatever you want- the police don’t care.

Fire breathers and performers would randomly go on the street and spit fire. Hookers would literally grab onto you. Massage therapists (probably with happy endings) would grab onto you also.

Little kids also lined the streets trying to perform and show you things. There were also street food vendors.

It is… to say the least, a shit show, packed person to person and bike to bike in all this craziness along with absurdly loud music.

A bit too crazy, but definitely a place to have a wild night.

Honestly I was excited to leave Vietnam. It gets to be too much too fast. It’s a cool place to visit, but it can’t compare to Bangkok.

Bangkok is cleaner, kinder, and more respectful. Vietnam is so crazy to the point that nobody cares about your life. It’s brutally dangerous.

I was happy to leave Vietnam and arrived at the airport extra early. Then my flight got delayed, so I spent like 2-3x longer in the airport than I did the length of my flight.

When I landed back in Thailand, a wave of relaxation washed over me. I was back home.

Asia: In the Future

Right now I’m currently in Bangkok (see: Bangkok section). I’ve got mixed feelings, primarily because I am against craving some familiarity/stability from either Bulgaria or Chiang Mai.

Furthermore this city appears to be above my budget. Definitely I could live nice in my budget, but to properly enjoy “the life” in this city you need to be wealthy, even by American standards.

I’d like to return to Chiang Mai & Bali, and when I have more wealth Bangok. My AirBNB expires Tuesday and I don’t know what I’ll do from there.

I’m considering staying in Bangkok one more week (I feel attached already to many of the girls I’ve seen, and not gonna lie, enjoying all this female attention/crazy life) and getting a motorbike to better experience it. We’ll see if my wallet can afford it first though.

My heart originally called me to Bulgaria, but now strangely… I feel drawn to Chiang Mai. The dating may not be as legendary, but it’s ultra-cheap for an incredible lifestyle and now that I’ve seen more girls than I can even keep track of I’m discovering other personal priorities such as me-time, male friends, business, and fitness.

I’ve never had a crazy dating lifestyle, and now that the “pendulum” has swung far towards that way I’m discovering that the fantasy- when realized- isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I do wish to return; I struggle to leave any destination as often I find myself attached to at least one person and place.

So far there’s not much else in Asia I’d like to see. I’ve traveled so much that sights are kind of meh, and I’m valuing more having a home base and stability + great social circle.

Japan & Korea would be cool to visit, and Koh Phangan, Thailand is on the list as well.

I’m also putting a small amount of effort into learning Thai, which is also why I’m enjoying Thailand so much more. The locals love it that a white “farang” is speaking some Thai.

In some instances at cafes I can speak enough Thai to complete the entire order, ask some questions, and say thank you! It feels so amazing to speak Thai, even more so than speaking German or Bulgarian!

It just feels right. I keep saying, “I’m gonna travel to Bulgaria,” but then I say 1 more month in Thailand.

Should I really stay 3 months in Bulgaria, or is that too long? The longer I stay here, the longer I wish to stay. The more I wish to learn more Thai, and integrate myself more into the culture.

A beautiful girl I was seeing in Chiang Mai (and connected deeply with) gave me a child’s book for learning the Thai letters, which is even crazier than Thai. Every Thai girl I meet is excited to teach me more Thai, and so in every date or hangout I go on I learn more and more Thai.

Thai people are also some of the nicest, kindest, most amazing people I’ve ever met. In Chiang Mai you see people casually leaving wallets full of cash, laptops, and phones out and about in cafes because of how safe it is.

It’s a culture based on respect, and for that reason I’m finding more and more reason to stay..

I do really want to go back to Bulgaria… But I also observe how many “Asian” habits I’m developing, such as bowing and smiling very widely at everyone. Both of these would be soo weird in Bulgaria.

I’ve already resolved subconsciously that after Bulgaria I want to go back to Thailand and live for at least 3-4 months. If I have the budget I’ll try a month in Bangkok, otherwise Chiang Mai.

I’ll also have a vacation in Koh Phangan.

Like I said, I don’t intend to do a lot more traveling to new places anymore. It’s exhausting and my brain needs stability. So I’m planning on having a home base in Bulgaria, and then another in Thailand.

From there if I feel compelled to explore I will, but I don’t now. I’m.. happy, here. Genuinely happy.

Sure I don’t “have it all” and things could be better, but there’s just something here in the way of living that makes me content. “Sabai sabai,” as the Thai say. Relax, one moment at a time..

After all, isn’t the present moment all we really have?

-Michael

A Newfound Peace & Joy

It’s been a while since I’ve published a proper post- and this is all with good reason.

I’ve been focused on other things recently, or just enjoying life. You see, I’ve realized there’s a huge difference between “talking” and “walking.”

Recently in my life it’s been more about actually doing things rather than talking about them.

Granted I know that my writing can help inspire & uplift others as well as provide practical tips, but my preference as of recent has been to just enjoy my own flow and not focus so much on the blog.

I’ve actually attempted to write some articles, but not had the drive to sustain finishing them.

It’s not that I lack motivation- it’s that priorities have shifted. In some instances I’ve wrote an entire blog post, only not to send it at all.

As of now I have maybe 3-5 articles that I need to send out which I’ll schedule for the next few days in just a minute after writing this.

So, what’s been up? Besides my feedback request on my new website, I’ve been for the most part dark for the past 2-4 weeks.

Chiang Mai: A New Home?

A couple weeks ago I left Chiang Mai after a month here. I went to Vietnam for 4 days, and was so exhausted and ready to go back to Thailand after that experience.

I was then in Bangkok for a week. I wanted to try it out for a week and then decide whether to stay longer or leave.

It was fun, but very over-stimulating. I am discovering my own personal preferences for where I would enjoy living.

Bangkok is great if you just want to hook-up & party, but man the commutes are really annoying and it doesn’t seem to have any peace.

Chiang Mai, Thailand and Sofia, Bulgaria- despite being completely different- share some commonalities which I now understand as my preference for a city to live, at least for this period of my life.

Both are medium-sized cities that have fast commutes, lots of nature, yet at the same time good parties & social life. It’s more of a balanced life, compared to Bangkok which would be a crazy party life or a small city which would be too boring for me.

Sometimes it feels like something is missing. I’m still finding my deeper connections here.

I miss my friends in Bulgaria and in Phoenix (and everywhere else like Montreal, etc.) but recently have begun making deeper connections.

One problem with Chiang Mai is that many people come and go. In my first month my two best guy friends left. I’ve now made more of an effort to cut out transients, and only focus on people that live here, will often return here, or whom I could otherwise meet elsewhere.

A few deeper connections is much more fulfilling than many small connections!

Chiang Mai has been surprisingly fulfilling overall though, and what I really love is the great work-life balance.

It’s got the kind of vibe where you want to hustle & get work done in the morning & afternoon, but in the evening it’s almost demanded that you do something to relax and be happy, such as get a massage, hangout at a waterfall, or jog around the park.

Chiang Mai is also quite affordable. Every dollar I save is a dollar I can re-invest into my development or business!

That’s actually one of the many reasons I’m hesitant to go back to Bulgaria- Bulgaria isn’t that much more expensive but the cost of flying there and living will increase expenses by at least $500 per month.

And that’s $500 per month I can put into ads if I stay here.

Of course life isn’t all about money. I learned that the hard way last year when I did my wisdom teeth surgery without painkillers, anesthesia, or even laughing gas to save money… Sometimes the spend is worth it.

That being said I find myself really integrating into Thai culture and developing habits that I know will not serve me in Bulgaria.

For example, I am super smiley here- people said I smiled a lot in Bulgaria, but now I’m very smiley. It’s just Thai culture! Bulgarians would see this behavior and think that I am a fraud, high, or crazy.

It’s not good or bad. It’s just different. But I know that there will be a re-adaptation period to Bulgaria which I am not so excited for.

I can’t remember if I published that post or not, but I recently decided that for the rest of the year I will not travel anywhere new unless it’s with friends and explicitly a vacation.

Traveling to new places costs a lot of energy- energy which could be used to workout, relax, or service a client.

Also, there’s just no point. In the past 2 years I’ve been to 14 or 15 countries or something like that.. It’s crazy. But I’ve had enough, for now.

Yes, there’s still so much I wish to do. But why? After so much instability, I am ready for some stability.

Long-Term Goals

Finally I have some longer-term goals for my life, which feels great. I’ve got a rough idea of how I want my fitness, dating life, social life, and life as a whole to look like in the next 2 years.

The main goal I have now is by June 1st, 2020 to have a primary home base where I spend at least 6 months per year.

For the next year I will probably only be in Phoenix, Montreal, Sofia, and Chiang Mai. There are of course the exceptions mentioned, such as visiting friends in Bali or having a layover in London or something like that.

Trust me it sounds like a dream to travel like crazy & indefinitely, but it only feels that way within the context of what you already have. Eventually all sights look the same, all parties are the same, etc.. Depth is key. Priorities change.

Right now the likely candidates for a home base are Phoenix, Sofia, or Chiang Mai.

If I live in Chiang Mai I will have to leave every year around February for a couple months because of a season called “smokey season.” The farmers burn their fields and the air quality becomes the worst of all cities in the entire world!

If I live in Phoenix, I will have to likely sign a 1-year lease for an apartment or house. This will greatly reduce my desire to travel especially as America is the most expensive place.

I don’t yet see myself living in Phoenix, but I do confess it’s a possibility. I had a ton of fun in my last month in Phoenix because my friends were so much better.

If I live in Bulgaria, I will have to do a complex, complicated, and expensive immigration process to get residency there.

So overall I’ve no idea exactly what the plan is. Right now I’m taking things one step at a time and going with the flow.

At the very least I have my “main 4 bases” which I can circulate between.

Healing, Habits, & Progress

Because I’ve been in Chiang Mai for long now I’ve been able to develop healthy habits, healing, and routines that promote progress in my life.

For example last month I re-started my arms & abs routine to grow my arms & abs. It fucking sucks but I love it. I’ve always wanted bigger arms.

I actually hooked up with a girl yesterday that randomly gave me a lot of dating advice. She basically said I was in the clear for everything but I’d be “perfect” with bigger arms.

That I can’t deny, it’s something I’ve known for some time and I am excited to see those results.

Already with what little growth my arms have made I’ve noticed a huge difference in dating & social life. Yesterday I partied and 2 different guys came up to me asking if I was someone famous (I can’t remember this dude’s Instagram).

Even I had to admit he looked a lot like me, except the fit, muscular version. It’s funny: first I re-start my arms routine, a month later I hook up with a super sexy girl who motivates me to get bigger arms, and then later that day 2 guys come up to me asking if I’m someone famous, who just so happens to look almost exactly like me except with big arm muscles.

Such synchronicity seems to be the Universe’s way of saying “this is what you will look like in 1 year if you stay committed.”

Around 4 months ago I was in a dark space. I was back in Phoenix, reverse-culture shocked from too long outside America, and not doing success habits or progressing in life in anyway.

Perhaps it was a necessary darkness. Who knows. One way or another I am finally progressing in business, fitness, and dating in the way which I’ve always wanted to.

Fulfillment in the Flow

And that’s why I feel peace & fulfillment here. I’m not everywhere where I want to be- but I’m authentically living life how I’ve always wanted to, and that’s what feels amazing.

I am saving money all while making moves in every direction in my life. I’m doing everything I always wanted to do.

Recently it just hit me that I, in a way, “made it” and it was a deeply emotional moment. I’m not successful and rich or ultra-good with girls, but I’m at the next level I always wanted to be at.

Less is More

I’m probably writing another post on this. With progress comes excess that needs to be cut out.

Example: I recently put forth a huge initiative to improve my dating life. Within weeks I was seeing an average of 2 new girls per day. I was even mixing up who was who!

I had charmed so many girls some even wanted to fly out from other places in Thailand to see me. Just yesterday I remembered that one girl was flying out to see me this weekend, but I am paying off her tickets because I’m so exhausted with so many girls.

First world problems, I know. I never could’ve imagined a reality in which I am actively cutting out girls who are quality because I don’t want to deal with all of them.

But it happens. It seems there are “layers to life” (more on this later). Most people idealize success, but with success comes a new set of problems. Granted they are much better problems, but still situations to deal with nonetheless.

Anyways, my point here is that I’ve re-evaluated my priorities and realized I was spending too much time dating around when I could’ve been using that time to work on fitness, business, or hell even some alone time.

Tomorrow I plan to have an “alone day,” which again I never could’ve imagined desperately needing. I always wanted more people, more girls, more friends, yet now I am so done with all that and need a day to just “be.”

I guess what I’ve learned most in this is that priorities change. When you haven’t had a wild dating & hook-up lifestyle, you crave it more than anything else.

Then you finally get it, and priorities shift yet again. Now I rather go deep with one girl, and hook up only here or there with others.

As if the call had been answered, I met a really cool, deeper girl with whom I really enjoy spending time with.. I’ve since cut out most other girls that I’ve seen so that I can prioritize time with her.

I’ve realized that with many things in life less is more. It’s not about doing more- it’s about doing less so that you can do more. You only have 24 hours a day, after all.

Instead of writing down “I want to do more XYZ,” I am writing down .that I want less of dating around now so that I can do more business and have more alone time.

I know some of what I am writing can sound silly. I sure feel that way. As a kid I never could’ve imagined having this dating & hook-up life. It is amazing and I truly feel grateful for it.

But then you realize you are dating too much and would rather be alone. Or have some guy friends you can just chill with. Or even one deeper, special girl.

The Flow of Life

It’s the flow of life. There is no endpoint in life- isn’t that what is so beautiful? At any given moment you don’t have to be successful by other’s standards.

As long as you are working towards your goal and winning each day, you win. That’s what is so beautiful!

We don’t have to be successful now. We just have to make progress. THAT is success.

Priorities change and as long as you stay authentic to your new desires you win.

Southeast Asia has taught me that great lesson. There is no arriving anywhere. Are you living authentically now? If so, you win.

Layers of Life

Life is like an onion- there are many layers to peel back. Sometimes you have to achieve a goal to realize it’s not what fulfills you most.

Then you can re-adjust and find balance. I always wanted to hook up with many girls and have that crazy fun lifestyle. It’s still a ton of fun, but now I am easing up on that goal and focusing more instead on business.

I am finding that in discovering this “flow of life” and achieving goals I am also finding more deep, meaningful goals.

Instead of me saying “how can I get laid” or saying “how can I make money” it’s more about “how can I give mutual value to the world?”

It’s a lot more fulfilling to set a goal of helping others and then making money as a result of it than to make money just for money.

I find that focusing on this brings a passion to my life. The best part of my day is when I get to my favorite coffee shop to work.

Me writing this now, and then soon to study a book after, this is the best part of my day because I am living most authentically and on my purpose.

Misc Thoughts

I also love Chiang Mai because the service quality is exceptional.

For example, I am writing this in my favorite coffee shop. I’m always greeted with a warm smile and a big thank you when I leave. The baristas all remember my order exactly- so I just hand them money and sit down.

As soon as I walk in, they bring me the largest glass of ice water possible. In fact they begin preparing the water as soon as they see me before I enter the coffee shop so that I can sit & drink immediately. When I work and focus, I often drink a lot of water. They sneak by and refill my ice-water without me even realizing so that I don’t have to get up and refill it myself.

This doesn’t happen in Bulgaria or even America!!! People are all about giving here so I feel genuinely happy to leave tips and learn Thai, which just seems to continue this cycle of giving and good energy.

People at the park I jog at often wave or smile at me. They compliment my Thai or running speed. Other runners exchange “thumbs up” with me.

Fun games are also often played at the park, and people are quick to invite you if they see you are observing them. I have always been too exhausted or too tight on time to join, but perhaps one day I will randomly join.

I feel greatly welcomed into the culture here, more so than anywhere else. Everyone actively invites you into their groups and fun, it’s amazing.

I feel so grateful to be here. Every month I decide to stay just a bit longer. Who knows what will happen in the future, but for now, I am here, so I live here.

4 months ago I was in darkness, but now I am in light, for no other reason than I’ve rediscovered my own authentic drive and am actively making moves. It’s the progress that brings fulfillment more than anything else.

What are you progressing on? Let me know by hitting “reply,” I love hearing (:

Thanks,

-Michael

An End To Adventure?

After 1 month in Chiang Mai, I realized just how deeply happy I was with it.

Edit: this draft was not reviewed & published to my Email list a bit late.

Chaing Mai is beautiful, has mountains, nature, waterfalls, extremely cheap (yet luxurious) accommodation, delicious food, and so much more.

It’s not all perfect- Bangkok for example is much better for dating, and Sofia, Bulgaria cools down quite a bit.

Leaving a destination is always the true test to how much I liked it or didn’t. Do I wish to return, or am I happy to leave?

In Vietnam I was so excited to leave that I got to the airport extra early- I missed Thailand, and Vietnam was a bit too chaotic for my tastes (as in they literally don’t stop for you at cross-walks and have to endanger your life to cross the road).

I spent 4 days in Vietnam, and now almost a week in Bangkok. I feel torn as what to do next, as often I do while traveling.

With the whole world at my fingertips, it’s hard to make a decision! But recently I’ve observed that my choices are becoming more and more narrow.

For example 2 years ago when I just started I researched the endless destinations and even created a post on my blog about all the places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do.

It included dozens of countries and wild adventures that would no doubt create memories for life.

However, I’ve noticed that there’s a “yin and yang” to life. You can adventure and be crazy, but you also need familiarity, comfort, etc.

One psychologist (I forgot whom) said there were 6 basic psychological needs of humans. One was familiarity, and then the one right after was spontaneity.

On one hand you need routine, comfort, and familiarity. But on the other hand you need some stimulation and newness. A dash of uncertainty makes for some excitement!

That’s where this post begins. It’s a bit wrong to say “an end to adventure” because of course adventure will not end.

I’d probably really enjoy staying in one city for 1 year, but no doubt by the end of it I might again be writing up a list of endless destinations that I would now know I can’t possibly complete within even a reasonable time period.

A better way of saying this would be “a temporary end to adventure.” Let’s dive into this.

2 Years of Adventure

I can’t believe I am writing this. It’s still fresh in my mind marveling at those individuals who claimed to have traveled to a dozen countries, speak 3 languages, and make money online.

There was just something about it that drew me in. Now I’m in, and have been, and what I’m discovering is that this is not the one-way trip that I thought it would be.

Every nomad ends their journey. I’ve wrote about this before, when I was mentally snapping in Thailand last year (but that was more-so due to heart-break, surgery, and isolation).

In the past 2 years I’ve actually visited 14 or 15 countries- which means I’m excluding unintentional layovers.

I’ve learned to speak some French, a few phrases in Dutch, Finnish, and Hungarian, some basic Bulgarian, and some Thai. My German has been slightly improved. There’s probably some others in there.

This fact is even more shocking- I’ve “lived” (which in my book means spending 1 month minimum in the country) in Phoenix; Montreal, Canada; Heidelberg (debatable as it was broken up), Germany; Sofia, Bulgaria; Pafos, Cyprus; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Canggu, Bali. This is 6 or 7 countries, depending on how you count it!

I don’t know what I expected would happen after I did all of this to be honest. I looked up to those who had accomplished such feats, as if something would change.

Alas, everywhere you go, there you are. I am still just me, at the end of the day. I’ve “done” so much but nothing really changed. At the same time, I’ve changed completely & grown so much.

Does that make sense? If you’ve aggressively pursued any goal you can probably understand me.

Travel Fatigue

Now let’s be completely, brutally honest. I was hardly happy during all of this traveling.

There have been some exceptional moments, such as falling madly in love, hooking up in Thailand, riding a motorbike, surfing, and those unforgettable nights with friends.

The growth itself is beautiful and amazing also. Simply looking back onto my days in Montreal for example, I see that technically I wasn’t in the best state (financially, physically, emotionally), but I was growing so much and so I look back on those days fondly.

But there comes a point that every new country is.. well, as they say in Thailand: same same.

By the time I entered my most recent “new” country- Vietnam- I was hardly impressed. I walked down the famous party street excited, but I had context for it- it was like KhaoSan, in Bangkok.

The temples, bridges, rivers, nature, etc. all fade into the same thing. Yeah, it’s beautiful, and profound, but you can have too much of it and become numb to it all.

You still experience culture shock, but in a different way. It’s almost annoying and you’re getting severely diminishing returns from your efforts.

Think of it like this: the difference between $1 and $10 is a lot, but the difference between 10 million and 25 million not so much in terms of lifestyle change.

With an extra $9- from starting at $1- you can suddenly afford significantly better food and even restaurant food.

When you’ve already got 10 million to enjoy on life, an extra 15 million, while substantially greater than the $9 improvement in the other, will not drastically improve the individual’s life.

The same is true about travel. It becomes fatiguing. You start having other needs, and prioritizing other things that the destinations.

For example, I wrote that I wanted to visit a water-park, Chiang Rai, get a tattoo, or visit Pai while staying in Chiang Mai. I did none of that and give 0 fucks about doing it. Another fucking temple or experience hardly turns me on.

In hindsight, this created a lot of troubles for me and my ex when we were visiting some European countries together. All I wanted to do was work in a cafe, while she wanted to go to museums.

My brain could literally not handle any new stimulation, so I desperately wished to return to the same restaurants & cafes over and over. Only now can I see why we had clashes.

The same thing that brought you pleasure can bring you pain. There is a balance to everything.

The problem comes when you associate the activity with pleasure it’s easy to lose perspective which is that it may not be pleasing you anymore… but because it brought you pleasure then, it’s easy to keep up the activity (see: every addiction).

Constantly packing bags, saying goodbye, adopting to new languages & culture customs, searching for drinkable water, restaurants, etc. seriously begins to consume a ton of energy.

With other commitments such as work, relationships, and personal enjoyment time, it becomes near impossible to fulfill everything while on the road.

It simply gets to be “too much.” I am writing this now in Bangkok, and I really want to love this city.

In fact, tonight was absolutely fun. I enjoyed going out. It was great, but I am realizing that I can’t handle it… now.

A Narrowing of Travel Destinations

About 6 months ago I snapped from heart-break, isolation, and travel fatigue. I was unintentionally traveling at an absurd pace, I think an average of one new country every 2 weeks.

I didn’t even want to do that, but things were just getting fucked up and I wasn’t taking responsibility for my life.

I thought I wanted to move to Portland or Vegas, but I quickly realized upon returning to Phoenix that this was a form of escapism. I began to catch my grounding in Phoenix, and then I was planning on going back to Bulgaria.

But in my heart I really wanted to experience things in Bali & Thailand. I figured I’d knock out some goals there, then go.

Even in Phoenix then, my destination list was looking more like “Montreal, Sofia, Bali, and Thailand” compared to that ridiculous list of dozens of countries to visit.

Compare that to when I was down to go anywhere, intended on doing this and that and everything, etc. 2 years ago before I had set off!!

As I’ve traveled, the destinations list has shrunk so much. Other things have became priorities, and I’ve observed my own energetic limits with travel.

Right now in Bangkok I literally have 2 options: Chiang Mai or Sofia. I’ll probably do Chiang Mai 1 more month, then Sofia for 3 months. Then I’ve already decided I’ll return to Thailand to live for about 4 months.

Of course, that’s a rough, un-set plan. Things change. They probably will. But compare this to back when I was using “Google Flights Explore” to view every bloody country I could visit.

I was recently invited to Holland with free accommodation and cheap food, but turned it down.

I just can’t, anymore. Well, at least for the time being. I need to slow down.

A Plan For The Future

My plan for at least until the end of the year is to only visit destinations that I’ve previously visited and have a social circle, or ONLY visit a new place if it’s with friends and in the context of a vacation.

Work is such a priority now. So is fitness, social circle, and dating. After taking several girls home in Bangkok (not necessarily hooking up with them all), I’m really desiring something a bit more stable.

It’s really fascinating to see how I’ve changed like this. I thought I’d never settle like this, yet here I am, kind of nearing the end of the line.

I can intuitively see the future. Starting now I will only visit familiar destinations- specifically Chiang Mai, Sofia, Bali (maybe), Montreal, and Phoenix.

My travel is slowing down. I’ll begin to spend more and more time in each place. 1 month in Chiang Mai, and who knows maybe I’ll be tempted into another month.

Then Bulgaria, for 3 months. Then back to Thailand (Chiang Mai).

The only exception to this is Bangkok- I’ve got 2 week’s experience in Bangkok, and I told myself I’d give here a try for a month or two once I’m making more money and re-grounded.

There’s also one other exception, but it can be wrote about if it comes about.

Probably what will happen is I’ll spend considerably more time in Bulgaria & Chiang Mai, and I’ll split my time between the two or end up wishing to immigrate to Bulgaria or Chiang Mai.

Then that’ll happen, and I’ll start to really slow down my traveling.

Who knows, maybe it won’t happen like this. I still want to check out South America for example, but that could be years down the line rather than months.

Adaptation Cost

Why is this happening? The biggest reason digital nomads and perpetual travelers start to slow down then “quit” traveling is the adaptation cost of every new destination.

The only ones who have successfully managed long-term travel is with consistent returning to favorite destinations with stable social bases, OR having a partner or community to travel with.

At best the adaptation period is about a week to a new city, if you’re planning on staying & working remotely.

While often pleasurable, significant energy is lost learning customs, finding restaurants, places to work, etc.

The simple act of discovering new roads is taxing on the brain. It becomes near-impossible, sometimes impossible to do other tasks when you have to adapt to a new place.

For example I haven’t done yoga since leaving Phoenix, despite being in yoga hot-spot Bali!

I was too busy with adventure, adaptation, and work and socializing that I while I did have the time I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to wish to invest in a yoga practice or find a teacher.

When you go back to places that are familiar, there is no adaptation cost, except to a small extent.

Every time I’ve gone back to Montreal for example has been a breeze- I know the city, metro, have friends, know restaurants, and cafes.

Same for Sofia, Bulgaria. I’d argue that I enjoyed Chiang Mai so much for the simple fact I was here last year, even if I didn’t enjoy it so much then. It is familiar now, I know where to go, and for that I required almost 0 energy with adapting myself to here.

There is a small cultural adaptation cost even if destinations are familiar. This can be painful and leave you crying in a car, feeling so misunderstood and out of a place (true story from me one time when I returned to America after years abroad and realized I had changed so much).

One reason I’m hesitant to go to Bulgaria now is that I realize I’ve culturally adapted to Southeast Asia and Thailand specifically. Certain habits, such as a slight bow, big smile, etc. would make me appear high and insane to Bulgarians.

Going from Thailand to USA to Bulgaria is better because USA isn’t as respectful as Thailand, and Bulgaria isn’t as respectful as USA (in terms of service & social customs). Going directly from Bulgaria to Thailand or vice versa is a more sudden, drastic, difficult change.

Things Always Change

Maybe I’ll get bored of staying in Chiang Mai or Sofia. In fact, it’s likely that’ll happen.

So that’s why I clarified earlier that this is a temporary “ending of adventure.”

That being said I do prefer the title “an end to adventure” because the past 2 years have been chaos, but now things will likely never be as chaotic again for the simple fact that I don’t want it to be chaotic.

2 Beautiful Years of Adventure (slowing down)

Looking back I can’t believe all of the experiences I’ve had. What the fuck?

It wasn’t long ago that I was a nobody from Nebraska, not respected by anybody. Now here I am, a “world traveler,” finally what I wanted to be, and living dreams I never could’ve imagined.

Look, I’m not trying to hype it up. It’s not like I’m high all the time. It becomes normal.

The point is just that looking back there’s a certain satisfaction for that it was done.

From what I know there are a couple different types of happiness, and one is growth-based. If you have grown a lot or achieved something difficult, you will always derive fulfillment from that.

I feel that way about this. Today is where I am consciously realizing my own needs and evening out from what was a chaotic, beautiful journey.

I wasn’t necessarily happy all the time. The whole 9 months fiasco that began in Cyprus and ended in Phoenix (with like 10 countries in between) was not a light period.

But I came out of the darkness. That’s what’s fulfilling. I learned, grew, and reset my own priorities.

I’m very grateful for that all of this was experienced! Like I said earlier, it’s not necessarily the end to adventure. Perhaps after re-grounding I’ll wish to do 3 months in Costa Rica, then Colombia, etc.

Just right now my priorities are about familiarity and comfort. Enjoy deep friendships and deeper relationships with women.

I really can’t believe it’s been 2 fucking years. Wow.

A New Beginning

It’s not an end- a new beginning. The chaotic, uncontrolled travel is coming to a close.

Now it’s more about focusing on business, enjoying a great social life, and developing other hobbies.

Travel is still without a doubt on the table- but not every power is meant to be used to its fullest capability. I can be anywhere anytime, but should I be? I think not.

Now it’s about cultivating relationships in those places that I love- Phoenix, Montreal, Sofia, and Chiang Mai. And when I’m ready, I’ll check out Bangkok more.

It seems everyone who also has traveled long-term has felt these things and gone through a similar path.

At first it’s crazy, exciting etc. and you love it. But then you find a home, or a group of people you really resonate with. Or you straight up fall in love.

Then you start to slow down, enjoy those places that are familiar, and focus more on fulfillment and social life.

After this the individual has one or two main bases, or settles down completely.

What Other Paths of Mastery Await?

A closing thought before this post is over. I do wonder, what other growth challenges does life offer?

In life you can become an expert athlete, develop a hobby or passion, contribute massive value, grow a business, and so much more.

Most people don’t commit to mastery and truly grow. So they stagnate and live life in a derp state.

One of the beautiful things about this travel experience is that it prevented me from derping.

I had to be massively awake and focused to do this. I’ve grown so much and learned about who I am and what I want so much so that being fulfilled is much easier.

So now I wonder: what other paths of mastery await? If I commit to business mastery, will I receive similar epiphanies and shocking growth?

At any rate, doing something bold or challenging seems to be one of the keys to fulfillment in life.

This is something no one can take credit for but me. I planed piano for over a decade, but my parents forced me to do that (and then I later did it out of habit). Piano is not a true accomplishment in my books. This is.

In the end everything changes- you start out in yin, then shift to yang, and then balance..

First, to desperately wish to travel like crazy, then, to do. Then, to find a happy medium, a true fulfillment.

Maybe the same with every path of mastery..

Done (:

-Michael