Monthly Archives: December 2018

Elevate Your Perspective: Are You Growing?

Hey friends, this is something important you should keep in mind.

First, Happy New Year’s Eve! What are you doing? Have you grown in 2018, are you satisfied with your improvements?

Or do you still have work to do, and wish you had tried a bit harder?

Regardless, I wanted to share a little thought with you all.

2018: Strong Start

I’ll be honest, I am kind of disappointed in myself with how my 2018 ended.

2018 began literally with a new relationship- we became official on January 1st, 2018. We fit together so perfectly, and we transcended over problems very quickly.

I also was living in Sofia, Bulgaria at the time in my most favorite apartment I’ve ever had. I would live a total of 6 months in that apartment, which is the longest I’ve ever stayed in one apartment besides my family home growing up.

It genuinely felt like home. In fact, I’ve been struggling recently with depression, disassociation, etc. because returning to the USA feels like a foreign country!

Who would’ve guessed Sofia, Bulgaria would feel more like home to me than my actual country?

2018 also began with me having the most money I had ever had in my entire life.

My extremely conservative spending habits I had developed while living in Canada faded over to Bulgaria. Even though I could double my lifestyle, I didn’t (at first), so the savings were massive.

Finally, I had a beautiful social life in Bulgaria. It was so amazing that I told a friend, “if I get a girlfriend, I’ll extend my visa.” I didn’t stay just for the girl (although it was for her/us too)- I was also fighting for my happiness, home, and other friends.

Now, 2018 wasn’t perfect of course. My health was still struggling. I had chronic pain. I had a lot of emotional shit to get over. But on the surface, things at least were growing better a lot faster.

Mid-2018: Heaven & Hell

By my 6th & 7th month in Bulgaria, I was quite happy. I had the best birthday party of my entire life, thanks in part to that amazing girlfriend whose family let me use their home.

My health had actually improved a fair amount too. While it wasn’t perfect, I was making huge leaps and expected to fully recover (and I eventually did through the hell section).

No relationship starts perfectly. Both parties are asserting their boundaries, learning things about the other, etc. so it’s bound to have some silly drama.

By mid 2018, we had “leveled off” and found balance. We could love each other without the drama. We were improving rapidly, we were committed, and I have so many wonderful memories of her over at my apartment cooking or watching a movie together.

The heaven in Bulgaria was about to come to a quick halt however.

First, my spending habits had increased greatly. I had gotten accustomed to my “4 hour work week” lifestyle of hardly working but spending tons of money.

I was buying her things, living luxuriously, etc. In the beginning of Bulgaria I didn’t have to track my budget because I would just live how I did in Canada and somehow still manage to save ridiculous amounts of my income (such as 50%+!).

I felt amazing and on top of the world, which unfortunately detached me from reality itself. When problems came I was too idealistic, grandiose, and too self-confident in my ability to fix things.

My ego had inflated a ton, but I hadn’t even realized it. Through the “hell” period I did have the opportunity to close a medium-sized account for my business, but I asked for more money, when really it would’ve been wiser (and fixed 90% of my problems) if I just took the deal and worked harder.

My visa extension for Bulgaria would be expensive. The lawyer & people helping me out would make some power moves, forcing me to give them a lot of money (think hundreds) otherwise I’d have to leave Bulgaria the next day.

My spending habits were dangerously high, and I was also investing a ton of money into my health which further drained my savings & income.

My visa extension for Bulgaria ended up getting rejected; I would be forced to leave in one week. I was devastated & unprepared.

In one week I lost so much money, my home, my social life, lifestyle, and had to be away from my girlfriend. The relationship was just 6 months in and not prepared to handle such large of problems!

I made a bad choice to stay in Cyprus instead of Thailand. Cyprus is quite expensive so I lost even more money. Because I was idealistic and too self-confident in my abilities to get new clients and grow my business I assumed I could so easily “just get new deals.” I got no deals.

My spending stayed high (old habits die hard) which 2-3x the rate at which I was losing money. The relationship suffered. I under-estimated my need for social contact and did not make hardly any friends. I let myself fall into a deep depression & victim mindset which further hurt all facets of my life.

What would ensue in the next 5 months would be that I wander literally around the entire world, the relationship breaks off, and my finances continue to suffer.

My health is the one thing that improved through all of this as I channeled a lot of the negative energy into working out & moving as best as I could.

End of 2018

I am writing this today a bit disappointed in myself. When I first entered Bulgaria November of 2017, I had the mentality that “I could do anything in the entire world.”

I’ve learned that there are rules, such as that you can’t just “extend a visa” to any country so easily. In fact, they might kick you out… no reason provided.

This led to me getting depressed, victim mindset, etc. and further letting my life fall apart. I dragged down the relationship and didn’t do what was legitimately required of me to grow my business.

2018 started so strong, with a BANG! But what I learned is you have to keep the fire going yourself.

Success is more dangerous than failure my friends. Living like a king on the other side of the world detached me from what got me there in the first place: hard work, persistence, learning, determination, and self-belief while maintaining a grounding in reality.

There are things you can’t do. You can’t magically grow a business in one month. You can’t just show up to any country and expect you can live there. You can’t avoid paying your taxes- I didn’t pay mine for 2018, so I shall have a huge bill in a few months that I will have to work hard to pay.

Sometimes a little “I can’t” is healthy. When I used to play piano one of my teachers told me to stop free-styling so much; by forcing myself to commit to a structure and limit what notes I could play, I crafted the most beautiful songs I had ever wrote in my life.

Happiness is the same. You can do anything, but only 3 things… do you get what I mean? 90% of people in the world need more of an “I can” attitude, but some of us need a little “I can’t” to keep us grounded in what’s realistic.

Anyways, I felt disappointed in myself because I started with so much and fucked a lot of it up (finances, relationship, location). In terms of location I am considering immigrating to Bulgaria, but even on that front I feel lost & confused as to where I should live.

But Here’s the Epiphany…

And this might apply to you too if you’re self-attacking or disappointed in yourself. Let me start with my case, and then apply it to you.

I realized that I did improve my health, which was my #1 priority in the beginning of the year. I can now run, workout, etc. like a normal person and I’m developing a slightly athletic physique!

I did grow a ton, learn a lot, and improve myself as a human. Even though the relationship ended I’m a better person. I learned a lot about relationships which I shall carry into my next one.

And I still have all of my friends & lifestyle in Bulgaria, if I immigrate or visit, so reclaiming my social life will be rather easy in this year.

What I’ve learned most in this year is not to focus so much outward. Yes I lost outward a lot, but I also developed skills & grew as a person which will make it easier for me to reclaim these things in 2019.

But the biggest epiphany is this:

I started 2017 with…. NOTHING. 

And this is when I stopped feeling so disappointed in myself but relieved.

I began 2017 suffering from post-concussion, chronic pain, and other damages from a snowboarding accident. I had no money, no social life and no girlfriend and not even a girl interested in me.

I began 2017 with no health, no money, and no love.

I began 2018 with no health, money, and love.

I am beginning 2019 with health, a little money, and no love.

I say “a little money” because I still have the main income stream, and I have the skills I need to grow… it’s just a matter of doing the work. I also owe tax money so technically I am in debt (no money), but I can file for an extension or find another trick to evade the taxes while I make more money.

And in this case of “health wealth love” love also includes social life, friends, etc.

I’m saying I have “no love” because in Phoenix I don’t have an amazing social life like what I had in Montreal or Bulgaria. Part of it is the fact that the family home is so far away from where the events are, so it’s simply impossible.

The biggest epiphany clearly explained is this:

If every 2 years I take 2 steps forward and 1 step back, that’s alright.

In fact, it’s more like 2 steps forward and half a step back!

Even though this is a much slower rate of growth than I’d prefer, it’s completely acceptable. It means that after 4 years (when I’m 24) I’ll have health, wealth, and love, all at once!

I’d encourage you to look at your life in a similar fashion. In 2018 you may have broke even or fallen behind- that’s okay because you grew as a person and you can apply that to 2019 to get ahead.

Look at your life from 2017 – now, or even 2016 – now instead of 2018 – now.

This will give you a better perspective of whether you’re going up or down.

In my case I’m going up, so even though I fucked up bad in the middle/end of this year, that’s alright because I’m getting things right more than half of the time.

You only need to win 51% of battles to win the war.

And if you’re going down, then you should accept that and make proper adjustments. Even though I go up every 2 years, I am preparing changes so that I can go up every 1 year.

Did you find this post helpful. Let me know.

Also let me know what’s been new for your life!

Thanks,

-michael

Adventures in Becoming a Yogi

For long the thought of practicing yoga regularly has been on my mind.

Every time I had tried out yoga, I had experienced some huge benefits which typically revolved around a “purging of emotions” and a lot of mental clarity.

That being said, yoga can be fucking hard. You might think running several miles each week would be hurt, but as someone who does just that, trust me- yoga can be more challenging (or equal).

I went through a short-lived phase of doing a bit of yoga here or there in the end of my 7th month in Bulgaria, but all yoga practice ended as soon as my visa expired and I was forced to unexpectedly leave the country.

Despite my ex-girlfriend’s encouragement to continue, I never did (and I probably was a hell of a lot LESS peaceful as a result- sorry!).

Anyways, here’s my recent adventures in becoming a yogi.

Magical Appearances

I never chose yoga; yoga came to me. One morning in Phoenix (last week) I woke up with the thought:

“you know, I should really try out some yoga to relax a bit.”

My friend then texted me inviting me to a free yoga event. Woohoo! I went, and after the free class saw they had a promotion for $9 unlimited for 2 weeks… and you get a free yoga mat!

The best of this is there is no contract or auto-renew bullshit like some gyms do. This is obviously a marketing trick to get me into their actual monthly plan, and damn is it working well.

So here I am with $9 unlimited yoga for 2 weeks, and I’ve decided not to go once, twice, or even three times… but almost every single day.

All I can say is that the benefits have been immeasurable. Here we go:

Enjoying The Present

Recently I’ve been under a lot of stress & self-pressure to “pick a home base” to live. I was originally thinking Las Vegas, but I’ve also considered going nomadic again in South America (just to hit one last continent), Portland, or even moving completely to Sofia, Bulgaria.

This is obviously too many variables, and in my first few days of Phoenix I never really enjoyed it because I was too messed up from jet lag, reverse culture shock, and then this self-pressure to “pick somewhere to go.”

My mind for the past half year has been so focused on “where to go next” that I’ve lacked enjoying the present moment!

This started again ever since my visa unexpectedly was rejected in Bulgaria and I had one week to pack my things & go.

I can distinctly remember spending the whole month in Cyprus (after Bulgaria) mainly depressed & out of it. On one of the last few days I discovered an ancient theater & underground cave system literally 2 minutes walk away from my apartment hidden from the public and free to visit anytime.

Because I was so trapped in missing the past & planning for the future, I missed the opportunity to explore this beautiful area! Unfortunately I haven’t changed that until recently.

I’ve now decided to “let go” of the desire to be anywhere. While I’m not satisfied with being in Phoenix because 1) I prefer to live alone, and 2) I hate driving, I’ve decided to take it as an experience and let it be just that.

Since then deciding where to go has become much easier. It’s as if by consciously giving up the desire to know, my subconscious mind can handle the details!

In fact, not only have the answers slowly “came to me,” but I’ve also had quite creative solutions come to mind in order to test multiple possibilities without damage.

Finally, I realized that almost every decision is reversible. If I choose to get a visa for Bulgaria or Germany or any other country and it doesn’t work out, I can always make proper adjustments.

I’m letting things “come to me” rather than trying to take all of the future and have it NOW. By letting go, I’ve felt so much more relaxed and genuinely at peace.

Useful Epiphanies

Yoga has given me epiphanies that I didn’t necessarily want, but needed.

In the beginning of one session the instructor asked us to hold in mind an intention we’d like to have realized or something we’d like to release.

I asked myself, “well where would I like to live? Sofia, Portland, Vegas, etc.?”

Before the end of the session a powerful epiphany came to me:

It’s not the decision that matters, but rather the heart that you put into it.

What this means is that it doesn’t necessarily matter what decision I make, so long as I make a decision and then put my all into it.

Again when I was unexpectedly forced to leave Bulgaria, I stopped putting my “all” into everything I did. As a result I suffered horribly in Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Germany, and so many other places.

I also brought down my then girlfriend now ex-girlfriend because I wasn’t “putting my heart into life,” but instead withdrawing and letting life beat the crap out of me (and as she was connected to me, it was letting life hurt her too).

This epiphany also goes back to the whole “every decision can be fixed” epiphany mentioned earlier.

Right now my idea is to drive up to Vegas for a few day trip, then fly to Portland, live in Portland, while applying for a long-term visa for Bulgaria.

I haven’t wrote a lot on that subject though because I too often have said “I’m going to do this or that” but then didn’t. Feelings guided me in the moment, but now I’m “relaxing into the moment” and “letting life come to me.” I’ll commit when I’m certain. Right now, I’m not.

In short, it’s not about what choice you make, but how right you consciously choose to make the choice. With every choice you make, you also have a choice to take responsibility for your choice or not.

With responsibility & action a bad choice can be transformed into a good one, a good one into a great one, but without responsibility & action you may find a bad choice becomes hell (I sure did!) and a good choice falls apart.

Releasing The Past

A couple hours ago I had a huge mental release (and some crying to be honest) at the end of my last yoga session.

I came into the yoga session with no intention at all; I’m just doing yoga for the sake of doing it after all, to see how much I like it (I’m loving it).

During yoga I had a strange sensation bubble up which said:

You need to let go of Bulgaria. Let go of your ex. Let go of those happy times.

I’ve previously written that the 7th month of my first stay in Bulgaria was probably the happiest time in my life. In short I had the girl, the friends, health was good, money was good, apartment was good, everything was great.

And then I unexpectedly had to go, bla bla bla, sadness, etc.

In the past 6 months I never really let go of that. I never really accepted that that moment passed, that all of Bulgaria is gone for the time being.

As the feeling bubbled up, tears came to my eyes, and I caught myself slightly shaking my head “no” in denial.

Everything suddenly made sense. One of the reasons I had not given anywhere else my “all” is because I was still so attached to that memory.

At the end of the yoga session I stayed laying down while others left, to let the tears come out and feel the memory pass me through. It was really painful.

I’d like to say “I released the past, I’m completely happy now, and everything is all good,” but I know I still have some releasing to do. I haven’t fully let go yet. It’s hard to let go! That time was the best and I never took responsibility for the situation; I blamed government bureaucracy and the immigration lawyer who promised my stay but never fulfilled on it.

It is so, unbelievably hard to accept that May/June of 2018 is gone. Me and my ex were so happy; we had improved and transcended so many of our problems. Our relationship was stabilizing into a more mature, healthy relationship, and what ultimately began the end was the massive destabilization neither of us was prepared for.

I also reacted terribly and developed poor spending habits to compensate for my sadness. My deteriorating financial situation hurt my ex, I became inauthentic and unreliable, and emotionally unavailable & stressed.

May/June of 2018 was some of the best times ever, whereas June/July of 2018 were some nasty lows. I struggle now to stop writing of how good that 7th month in Bulgaria was, because it really was everything I could’ve wanted and dreamed for, and so many of my life’s problems came from the unexpected event- the worst of course being losing my ex (through my own negative, reactive behavior to the event).

Yoga today really helped me release a bit of that and look to the future.

It also is helping me better determine where I should go next in life. A part of me had suspected part of my desire to go back to Bulgaria was me chasing the memory of the 7th month, and now I can see clearly that I will never have that moment back, but instead I’ll have to consciously create something better no matter where I go.

Try Yoga!

So for all of you wondering if you should try yoga or not, I say go for it!

I’ll continue with my almost-daily practice of yoga and perhaps write another update.

The short version here is that I’ve experienced much more peace, released the past, stopped stressing so much about the future, and have also felt physically better in my own body.

There’s something to it that’s so amazing- whether or not it’s for you, only you can decide. I shall complete my challenge and decide whether to continue, but for the time being, I feel grateful for the $9 unlimited + free mat as it was much-needed in this time of chaos.

-Michael

How To Build Habits Faster

Your habits dictate your life. 90% of any given day is dictated by your habits, even though you may feel like you’re consciously in control.

This isn’t a bad thing or a good thing- it depends on the quality of your habits.

Fill your routine with healthy habits and you’ll be on the fast-lane to success on autopilot!

On the flip side, you can find yourself in some nasty downward spirals with the wrong habits.

This post is my experience in habit-hacking or building habits as fast as possible.

Traditional Habit-Building

There’s nothing wrong with traditional habit-building, but I prefer to solidify healthy automated neural connections as soon as possible.

Traditional habit-building would be completing a 30 day challenge and only focusing on one habit at a time. With habit-hacking you can multiply habits faster, but I still recommend on any given week you only focus on one habit.

It takes roughly 30 days to form a new habit, so the theory is that by doing something for 30 days in a row it’ll stick. In many cases this is a true, but in other cases it can take longer.

I noticed in myself that certain habits & routines stuck extremely fast, so I naturally became curious as to why that was so. Here’s why I think so:

Rewards, Pleasure, Mmmm

The whole point of everything in life is to increase pleasure and reduce pain. For example you don’t quit sugar to suffer the lack of dopamine-producing foods; instead you quit sugar because you know you’ll feel healthier, more alert, and maintain a healthier weight.

Knowing this it’s important to observe the pleasure of your new habits as soon as possible.

Running & arms workouts always produces a “workout high” that makes me feel epic for the rest of the day after, so when I’m not “feeling it” later, I just remind myself how amazing I’ll feel after working out.

The same could be said for a meditation session or a sleep routine. If you are struggling with doing it, focus on the end result.

I think habit-builders get too obsessed with the habit but not the end result they want to produce.

You are effectively an evolved ape that wants more pleasing feelings, that’s the only reason why you’re developing any habit. Focus on the end result that is pleasing as a result of your habit.

Having a deep enough why will help you when you crave the short-term reward.

Another example would be that if you’re trying to quit porn in favor of pursuing real girls. You do this not to torture yourself by avoiding the pleasure of porn; you do it for the long-term gain from having real-life sex.

When you feel cravings for those wild internet sites, you must remind yourself the benefits of this new habit.

Don’t avoid the negative feelings or cravings- quite the contrary, feel them completely. Just remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.

When you start noticing positive benefits, write them down as soon as possible.

Again I preach to you: focus on the rewards! When you know what you’re aiming for the short-term feelings of not wanting to do something or craving something bad will not seem so powerful.

Even More Rewards…

I created a new routine in which I’d wake up at the same time each day, meditate for 10 minutes, workout, then eat and get to work. I’d also go to sleep at the same time each night, and one hour before turn off all electronics and just chill in the apartment.

This is easily 4 or 5 new habits- but they all stuck very fast with minimal effort for some reason.

Why was this? I don’t think the key is in what I was doing- I think the key is in what I did after I completed the circuit.

After I worked out I would eat. This is a natural reward and my unconscious brain must’ve associated the morning routine with making my way towards food!

The caveman brain was designed to suffer before eating food. You would have to hunt, search, or deal with plants or people in order to get food. Today it is widely available.

By eating after every single workout, I trained my brain to unconsciously realize, “if I workout, then I eat.”

Working out became very easy. I also noticed that near the end of my workout I would get especially hungry, but not in a way that was hindering or exhausting.

It felt like a more primal hunger. My unconscious, reptilian brain knew that food was coming through the intense workout, so I worked out even more intensely to justify the reward!

As mentioned in the previous section, I also quickly noticed the positive benefits of this new routine so it was easier to stick to it.

When I would turn electronics off one hour before bed and get up earlier, I would feel so much more energized. When this energy got channeled into meditation, I felt much more peaceful and in my body. This helped me workout harder which gave me a harder workout high, and then I celebrated the entire routine by eating.

Habit-Chaining

It started with eating after working out, but eventually turned into a night routine, morning routine, meditation, workout, then eating.

I realized it’s a lot easier to trigger habits by “habit-chaining” than it is to do a habit independently.

If I try to workout at random times in the day, it’s significantly harder to workout. Instead if I workout at about the same time every morning, it’s extremely easy.

You may have heard of “Pavlov’s Dogs” experimiments, in which a dog could be conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell. This guy essentially trained dogs to associate a bell with food, so they’d get excited for food at the sound of a bell even if no food was there.

You can do the same with habit-chaining. Once I had the workout then eat routine down, I meditated before working out.

Very quickly finishing meditation became the “trigger” which began the workout. Working out was also natural and already a routine so it was even easier to fit in meditation to the schedule.

The primitive brain within began to associate meditation with the trigger that made me work out, and working out the trigger which initiated food.

Rather than working out & meditating at random times in the day, I “chained” the habits side by side.

This appears to be a highly effective method for successful top-performers in the world. Don’t try to complete each habit individually- chain them to each other and each added habit will become easier!

Meta-Habits

Meta-habits are habits that help all other habits. For example working out increases feel-good chemicals in the brain and makes you smarter. With this increase in positive energy you can more easily develop other habits and complete things in life.

Positive meta-habits such as good sleep, good nutrition, exercise, and meditation all help you in all areas of your life- especially when these habits are chained together.

All habits previously described are meta-habits. By getting any one of those down, you’ll find it easy to add another chain habit into the mix and get that positive lifestyle going.

Just be warned not to do too much at once. If you’re new to creating habits, I recommend you start with one habit for 30 days followed by an instant reward such as healthy food.

Make It Easy

One thing which really helped me with this routine was the night routine. By turning off electronics 1 hour before bed and chilling in the dark, I find myself naturally journaling, meditating more, and reflecting on the day.

This improved my sleep quality which helped me get up early when I wanted to, which helped trigger all of the subsequent habits which led to food. I felt energized and excited in the morning instead of groggy, so everything else got easier.

Instead of trying to suffer your way into creating a habit, ask yourself how it can be easy to create the habit. Do you want to get up early? Don’t turn your alarm at 0530 and demand you suffer, why not turn your electronics off 1 hour before bed and create a relaxation schedule?

Upward Spirals- One at a Time

Again you should focus on one thing at a time. I started with exercise then food. I then added on meditation. Finally I fixed my sleep routine.

Just start with one though. Wait until it feels like the habit is solidified before you try to exert willpower on another habit. A man who chases 2 rabbits catches neither- this is old wisdom you should remember. One. At. A. Time. I’m writing that advice for me a couple years ago.

When you get one down, especially a “meta habit,” you create an upward spiral where the next habit if chained properly will become easier to form.

Focus on the medium-term game here. What could your life look like in 3-6 months if you added 4 meta-habits such as healthy diet, sleep routine, working out, and meditation?

Month one start with one habit, and wait until it’s solidified before attackin the next habit, and make sure you chain it. I personally love to eat after a workout as it feels most natural to the caveman brain inside of me.

Start With a Meta

The last piece of advice I’ll give is to start with a meta-habit. My first ever 30 day challenge was for approaching pretty girls at the mall. It helped me but not near as much as a meta-habit.

The 30 day approach challenge was great and I intend to do it again, but seriously focus on the Metas first. Once you have a couple Metas down, forming other habits becomes much easier because you have trained yourself to do it.

Meta habits typically provide the most instanteous rewards, so it’s easier to stick to it.

What Will Please You?

Start with the meta-habit that you think would help you the most in the shortest term possible.

Habit-building is easy when you feel good! If you need to fix your sleep, start that before trying to work out while groggy as hell.

Whichever meta-habit (or habit in general) would be healthy for you short-term & long-term, start with that. Long-term habits are great but can be more difficult to the new habit-builder because the rewards can’t be instantly seen.

I hope you found value from this post. Habit-building can be difficult and hopefully this made it a bit easier. Enjoy!

-Michael

Your Artificial World

Have you ever tried to play a 2018 game on a 2004 computer? Let me guess: it ran like shit.

Now what might happen if you introduced an ape to an alien world? My guess is that your guess is that this ape won’t have a clue what the flying fuck is going on.

Here’s the kicker: you are, right now, an evolved ape in an alien planet.

Our brains are designed for hunter-gatherer tribes tens of thousands of years ago; evolution has not caught up to our modern technology.

You live in an artificial world. While you might be used to modern comforts, the fact of the matter is that your brain is designed to grow up in the wild.

Every “modern convenience” is a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, it provides more comfort, safety, and stability, but it also can prevent you from achieving long-term fulfillment in your life.

Mouse Utopia

There was an experiment done in which mice were given a utopian society to live in.

Instead of having to search for food, survive, and struggle in any way, they were given exactly everything that they needed to for perfect happiness.

Things didn’t turn out so well.

The mice started killing each other. The mice became extremely aggressive and socially broke down. Some mice didn’t kill each other, but they instead hid inside their huts unable to socialize. These mice lost all abilitiy to sexually perform- females and males- and were not anymore fulfilled than the mice running around killing each other.

Human Utopia

Your world is indeed not perfect- but it is objectively much better than what a caveman could’ve ever experienced.

The problem is that your brain is designed for that harsh, caveman existence. Your brain & body is designed to suffer and struggle a bit before achieving rewards.

We live in an artificial, plastic society. You have all the comforts in the world, but do tell: are you truly fulfilled in your life?

When you feel lonely and want sex, rather than going out and struggling to meet partners, Google Chrome can auto-complete your favorite porn website with just one letter! Open chrome, press the letter, press enter, and BAM in 3 clicks you are tricking the caveman part of your brain that you’re enjoying a massive orgy.

Do you need a sense of purpose & achievement? No worries, video games got you covered there as well. No need to struggle! Just sit on your ass, press a few buttons, enjoy the process, and collect your digital rewards.

Need your sugar hit? No need to remember where the last apple tree was or scavenge for bananas. For less than $1 you can purchase almost any cheap candy at an abundance of stores around you.

Bored? YouTube. Validation? Instagram. Connection? Facebook. Conversation? Reddit. Adventure? Movie theater. Love? Tinder. Sex? Porn.

People are becoming increasingly isolated in their Artificial Worlds. Distractions fill the mind in an attempt to escape the paradoxical discomfort that our comfy lives have provided us.

Does it really feel fulfilling that long-term to achieve these artificial rewards?

Did the porn fulfill you, young man? Did Instagram give you the validation of love dear ladies?

Artificial World

The fact is we live in an artificial world. Our caveman brains are not designed for the levels of instant-reward our lives provide us.

Mental illness such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, and more are all on the rise.

Rather than actually going out to interact with people, the trap of the internet & instant-reward is too alluring for most.

The worst thing about these instant-gratification things is that they quickly build habits & addiction.

There are two parts of the brain to keep it simple: the caveman part, and the long-term fulfillment part. In the natural world, these two mechanisms worked together to keep you optimally fulfilled and doing what you had to do.

For example, the only way to have sex was to initiate interaction with the opposite sex. Once you got the reward, the caveman part would explode. It just so happens that real sex is also extremely fulfilling, so you’d get both!

Today you can satisfy the caveman part instantly with 3 clicks to any saved porn website. The problem is that the fulfilled part of the brain knows it is truly lonely; you are not actually bonding with another human! And you know that consciously as well!

The caveman part keeps you addicted and forms the habit of porn, while the fulfilled part of the brain remains unsatisfied. This is true of video games, social media, internet, and pornography.

Age of Addicts

Most people are addicted to some aspect of our Artificial World. Many Americans are overweight for example- they are addicted to fake food!

Just look around; you don’t need proof or statistics just to see how bad it is. How many people eat at McDonald’s every single day? How many people do you see “eating out with friends,” but actually staring at their phones?

This one horrifies me: watching couples go out to eat, then stare at their phone across from each other.

One huge thing I appreciated about my ex-girlfriend was that she did not succumb to such behavior. Simply finding another girl intelligent enough to have real conversation is a huge challenge. She was a rare catch to not need that daily fix over my attention!

Mental Illness

Pills are thrown at issues such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety, yet psychologists & psychiatrists do little to actually determine the cause for these mental illnesses.

Are our scientists really so stupid to think that we are magically losing mental sanity? Why is it these “doctors” lack the ability to research internet addiction, porn addiction, social media addiction, effects of loneliness, the gut micro biome (bad food = bad brain), and more?

If you suffer from such a mental illness, as I have many before, I encourage you to look for the underlying cause rather than assuming a mental illness is “primary.”

We live in an artificial world where we throw pills at internet addiction thinking that someone naturally has ADHD or depression. Maybe it’s just that they’re lonely, but covering it up through excessive social media & porn?

Wake Up

Wake up dear friends! There is no shame in admitting you were not designed for this reality.

I write this now on a plane from Shanghai to Los Angeles. It is so strange to think that I casually write miles above the Ocean floor in a giant box that someone transports me across the world.

Upon reflection, I realize we do live in an alien world. We are evolved apes, nothing else. We created technology beyond what our genetics program us to do.

Once you realize this, understanding long-term fulfillment becomes a much easier pursuit.

Now I’m not saying you abandon modern amenities in favor of a wild lifestyle in nature- no, there is no need for that (but you wouldn’t be the first to go that far).

What I encourage you to do is think of life in terms of the “caveman brain.” Perhaps quitting porn in favor of going through the suffering of acquiring real mates will bring you more fulfillment than the clicks? Of course, it’ll hurt a bit in the meantime.

It is important we create situations similar to what our brains were designed for in order to be optimally happy, while also taking advantages of modern convenience.

For example, I noticed that my motivation to work out increased tenfold when I ate after I worked out. I would wake up, work out first, and then eat.

Something as simple as altering my morning routine helped me feel excited to work out because the caveman part of my brain associated the work out with unlocking the ability to eat. It is as if I was a caveman again, going for the morning hunt.

Purpose

I intend to write more posts on this in the future. For now, I encourage you to wake up from the dream. This is not how we were intended to live. This is a confusing, strange, alien world.

As you wander the city today, do take note of what you see, hear, taste, and feel.

Comfort is wonderful, but perhaps we need to suffer a bit. No, not the kind of suffering where we attack or bully each other, or cut ourselves to sleep.

We need purpose. We need to work towards something greater because it’s the only thing that’ll keep us grounded in this brave new world.

Do with this as you wish. Just know that comfort is the enemy, and now that you know the enemy, you can find true fulfillment.

-Michael

My Entire World Travel Story (2016 June – 2018 Dec.)

Back in Phoenix, where it all began, I’m experiencing so much reverse culture shock. 

Old friends have changed. The USA feels like a foreign country. I feel disassociated & confused. 

So let me tell you how I got here, to this confusing place, to this “stuck between worlds” part. Let me tell you now the entire story, start to finish, of my journey around the world and back. 

Table of Contents

  1. Phoenix
    1.  Introductions
    2. Harsh Reality
    3. Inspiration & Action
    4. The 4 Hour Work Week
    5. Fired!
    6. The Accident
    7. Hell on Earth
    8. Hard Work & Depression
    9. Big Money
    10. One Last Trial
  2. Montreal 
    1. Introduction
    2. Independence
    3. Online Business Adventures
    4. Hospital Visit
    5. The Bridge
    6. Good Times
  3. Guelph
  4. Phoenix 2.0: Another Reality
  5. London
    1. Immigration Attack
    2. Hostels & Jet Laggg
    3. Weird chick
    4. Business
    5. Fun
  6. Belgium 
    1. Arrival
    2. Roadtrip
    3. Brugge
    4. Seaside 
    5. Work Troubles
    6. Brussels
    7. Leuven
    8. Flight Trouble
  7. Budapest
    1. Arrival & Work Trouble
    2. Exploration & Friends
    3. Emptiness & Anxiety
    4. Mold Sickness
  8. Bulgaria
    1. Shock & Apartment Hunting
    2. Lifestyle
    3. Love
    4. Strange Signs
    5. Visa Extensions
    6. Healing
    7. Side Trips
    8. Happiest Moment
    9. Shattered
  9. Bad Decisions
  10. Cyprus
    1. Arrival
    2. Not Prepared
    3. Workaholic 
    4. Excitement
    5. Greece Vacation
    6. Leaving Cyprus
    7. Death Bed
  11. Poland
    1. Great Impressions 
    2. Loss of Polarization 
    3. Still a Workaholic…
    4. Still a Dreamer
    5. Hilarious Fun Together 
    6. Loss of Masculinity 
  12. Germany
    1. AirBNB Problems 
    2. Broken Promises
    3. Epic Fun 
    4. Wake Up
    5. City Beauty
    6. Long-Distance, Again
  13. Iceland
  14. Montreal 2.0 
  15. Phoenix 3.0
  16. London 2.0 
  17. Sofia 2.0 
    1. Love
    2. Still Low Polarity 
    3. New & Old Friends
    4. Come Fast, Go Fast
    5. Surgery
  18. Germany 2.0
    1. Shocking Pains
    2. To Flee
    3. Missed Flight
    4. Fast Goodbyes
  19. Sofia 3.0 
    1. Relief
    2. Going Cold
    3. False Alarms
    4. Thailand Plans
    5. Real Alarms
    6. Recovery & Shrooms 
    7. Goodbyes 
  20. Bangkok
    1. Arrival
    2. Excitement
    3. Crazy Girls & Ringing Ears
    4. Depression
    5. Motorcycle Insanity
  21. Chiang Mai
    1. Arrival
    2. Lies
    3. Surgery
    4. Breaking Point
    5. Fun
    6. Motorbike Fun & Fall
    7. Tough Goodbyes
  22. Phoenix 4.0

Phoenix: Introductions

I was born n’ raised in Omaha, Nebraska. I didn’t travel much outside of Omaha. 

My family traveled a bit through the Midwest: Indianapolis, North Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, and North Dakota to name a few states. However all of these states look & feel the same, at least from how I remember them. 

It’s all Midwestern vibes, and we never really saw the cities. If we did, I have no memories of it. 

The only place we went outside of the Midwest (AKA middle of nowhere) was Orlando, Florida. We would go every year for a vacation. Our favorite places were Wet n’ Wild, Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios. We also of course went to Florida beaches. 

We went on only one other vacation to Phoenix, AZ perhaps when I was 15 or 16. We mainly spent our time exploring mountains, the desert, and then going up North to the Grand Canyon. 

That was the first time in my entire life I saw mountains & the desert. It was extremely exotic. The heat was fascinating considering the cool Nebraskan temperatures. 

Life in Omaha was OK, but not amazing. I don’t think this is Omaha’s fault but instead my life circumstances I was raised in. 

Bullying, low self esteem, and a desire to meet more girls (which I had a lack of) all inspired me to get into self-development. Perhaps had I enjoyed deeper & better friendships I would’ve stayed. 

I also missed a full ride to my desired University by something like .01 points. This really pissed me off. We were also in the middle of a harsh Winter, so all of these factors combined and I decided I was going to move to Phoenix, Arizona. 

Why? I had no fucking clue. I was just going to do it. 

So I told my parents at 17 in December that I figured I’d move to Phoenix when I turned 18. I also wanted to be independent. 

My parents were having $ problems and tired of the Winter. My mom also got into an accident, I believe on Christmas of that year, which without a doubt added to the inspiration of going somewhere there was no more snow. 

Phoenix it was! 3 days after turning 18 we packed everything into our 3 cars and drove all the way across the country to Phoenix, Arizona. 

Actually, there’s one other note-worthy thing here before we begin. 

I purchased an online course on how to meet girls. I really wanted to improve my social & girl skills. In February or March I met a beautiful girl who became my girlfriend. 

She was a great girlfriend. Breaking up with her to move to Phoenix was so unbearably painful. I created some bad excuse about her, which I regret (I said something as if it was a problem with her that we were breaking up). I really hurt her during the break up, she deserved better.

I was even considering staying in Omaha because part of the inspirations for the move was to become more independent. Things ended up happening fast, so I couldn’t properly decide whether I wanted to stay or go. 

We also weren’t close enough for me to justify staying in Omaha for the relationship. We were quite close, but it wasn’t a certain relationship. 

So we broke up, it was super painful, and I made the trip to Phoenix.

And thus the adventure began…

Phoenix: Harsh Reality

Arriving in Phoenix was quite the shock. I lived in my last home in Omaha from age 6 to age 18… 12 years! After the first week of “vacation feeling,” the reality began to settle in: holy shit, I was in another city, not Omaha, not “home.” 

It wasn’t the fantasy I imagined it to be, but I was still determined to make it work. 

First, I was getting some chronic pains in my hands. This was really worrying me and becoming quite frustrating.

Second, I really missed my ex-girlfriend. Like I said she was great, and I wish the best for her. There was no going back to that. 

Third, I missed my job, my friends, etc. all of the familiarity of Omaha. 

My job in Omaha was at a Greek restaurant. They treated me very nice, and I loved working there. By the end of my 2 years working there I’d train the new people, get free food, large tips, and good bonuses. 

I was making great money for a 16 or 17 year old at that job! 

In Phoenix I was determined to get a job, and I got a pizza job. It paid slightly less after tips, and I hated the work environment. 

I didn’t receive praise like I did while working in the Greek restaurant. I worked harder, yet got paid slightly less, and the environment was extremely competitive in a negative way between employees. 

Very quickly I realized that “appearing busy” was much better than legitimately accomplishing things on the job. 

One final thing I’ll mention: I had to take a year off of University because I was moving to a new state. I still had no clue what I was going to study. It was terrifying me to think I’d have to pick something to do for the rest of my life. 

Phoenix: Inspiration & Action

All challenges aside, I was going to make it work

One thing I began was a “30 day challenge” to meet new girls. Every single day I approached a new girl. I grew so much from this. 

I got involved in self-improvement groups, watched online self-help videos, and read self-help books. As you can tell, I was clearly determined to figure shit out. 

I made new friends, and these new friends introduced me to more friends.

I became more confident and sure of myself, and learned new things. 

I said “fuck it” to the pizza job and put on a suit to find a bank job. I went bank to bank until I showed up at a bank, and the manager thought I was someone else for the interview. This other person flaked out. 

He was so impressed he put my application to the top of the list and gave me the job. 

Suddenly I was making more $ than I ever had before in my life, for the least amount of work in my life also. The bank job was incredibly easy!

While living at home wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t good. The family home was in a town called “Gilbert,” which is 30-45 minutes away from where the social events & parties are, in areas called “Tempe” and “Scottsdale.” 

Family tensions rose in the first year here at Phoenix. Either that or I just desperately wanted more independence. 

I began searching for apartments in Tempe & Scottsdale, and was shocked at how affordable they were compared to my budget. I began to actually think about money and realize that I could live on my own! 

The biggest reason I wanted to move out was simply to have better “logistics.” Driving so long to meet people is exhausting & time-consuming. You have to realize that’s a minimum of one hour commuting just to go to social events. With work this reached a daily average of 1.5-2 hours time wasted per day! 

One day I tried to sit down and figure out what I should do with my life, specifically which University degree to pursue. I began looking up how much $ I could make doing various jobs, and the amount of $ I realized I could earn shocked me. 

I started doing the math about things in life and realized I could enjoy a great life. All I had to do was pick a job I’d also enjoy. 

My social life began expanding and I felt happier in my life. It felt like I was finally creating a life I wanted to live, rather than let things happen to me! 

Reading self-help books & social skills books for free at Barnes n’ Noble also became a regular thing. I was devouring knowledge, determined to become a better version of myself. 

One day, I picked up an epic book… 

Phoenix: The 4 Hour Work Week

Fascinated by the title, I read “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss. 

It destroyed my reality, but everything also made sense. I was filled with inspiration. 

For example, my bank job was super easy compared to the pizza job & Greek restaurant job, yet I made the most money from it. 

When Tim Ferriss told me I could get rich doing hardly any work, I believed him because already I was making more doing less. 

Improving with girls & social life is what made me so open to the content of this book as well. 

Inspired, I decided to take a 3-day vacation to San Diego, California. It was the happiest 3 days of my life up to that point! 

I traveled with 2 other friends who spontaneously joined to a hostel on the beach in San Diego. I had never been in a hostel ever before, in fact I didn’t even know what it was just that it was cheap and there was a promise of meeting cool international people. 

It was truly magical at the hostel. I met so many cool international people from around the world. On the 2 nights I was there we enjoyed amazing parties & laughs together. 

For the first time in my life I felt so connected, happy, and alive! In fact, in many of my other Phoenix parties I felt so connected & happy with the other people- something I never had in Omaha.

On the second day at the hostel I rented a surf board and went surfing for the first time in my entire life. It was so much fun. We also hung out with 2 beautiful Norwegian girls, and met several other beautiful girls from around the world such as Brazil & Germany! 

This vacation had me sold: I was going to travel the world via an online business.

I started all kinds of online businesses. I tried to sell swords online, drones online, adventure gear online, all kinds of random shit online. 

And I fucked up on most of it, though I did sell a knife to someone in Israel! 

It didn’t matter; I was learning & growing and determined to make this work. 

Phoenix: Fired! 

One day I got fired from the bank. The situation is complete bullshit. 

Let me begin this by stating that I completed the Teller Training top of the class. Everyone was impressed and the manager had long-term hope for me. Everyone saw I was a damn-good employee that was willing to grow with the company. I fucking enjoyed the job too. 

I made a mistake a couple weeks before getting fired. I left my computer for a moment unlocked, and a coworker reversed bank fees on her bank account through my computer unknowingly. 

It is clear by the camera footage that it was a complete accident. I had nothing to do with it and my coworker was just a piece of shit. 

Nope, the Board decided to fire me, instead of going, “hey you’re doing a great job, you fucked up, don’t do that again.” 

Let me make an aside here: another reason the 4 Hour Work Week stuck with me so well is because my dad, who got a University degree, was struggling to get a job in a computer programming field. My mom was constantly stressed from her nursing job. 

Now here I was getting fucked over from the “stable path” as well! 

I made a promise: I will never ever get a job again. And I made it happen. I have since been self-employed. Fuck the corporate world, you are clueless if you think it’s the “stable path.”

My bank manager was even upset. He told  me he didn’t want to fire me, and he encouraged me to get another banking job. He would be a good reference. 

But I had already made a promise. No more jobs. Ever. My Greek job in Omaha was great. My pizza job was shitty. And my bank job fired me over bullshit. 

I went home in rage that day. “I will make this work or die,” I thought. 

Phoenix: The Accident

About a week after getting fired I took a snowboarding trip with a friend to Northern Arizona. It would be the first time snowboarding for me. 

While going downhill I “caught my edge” and flipped over. It was super painful. 

The next day I had a concussion. I would let get post concussion syndrome, chronic headaches, eye problems, neck pain, upper & lower back pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, and hand pain. I also had leg problems. 

The night after the accident I had a very strange dreamy thing happen, but I wasn’t asleep. 

I left my body. I floated up and out until this beautiful darkness. There was a light. Some type of energy I was moving towards, and the closer I got, the more peaceful I became. 

It was a door. However I can’t explain this door with English or any language. It didn’t look like a door, but it was the function of the door. 

It felt so peaceful. I just wanted to go through and be done. My body was in so much pain but up in this place, this beautiful darkness, there was no pain at all. 

I had a strange sensation, it is not yet your time to go

And then I woke up back into my reality of hell on Earth. 

Phoenix: Hell on Earth

My mom said she thought I’d be alright, so she didn’t immediately take me to the doctor. I didn’t feel cared for or loved. My body screamed in pain and I was terrified I permanently fucked something up. Every part hurt and my brain wasn’t working like it normally would. I felt dizzy and my vision was off.

My true friend’s colors showed: they weren’t really my friends. No one came out into the town of Gilbert to visit me. No one drove the 30 minutes.

I couldn’t drive to the people either, for obvious reasons. 

I was in massive pain, isolated, depressed, and worried for my health. I had no job and only a thousand in savings. I hadn’t made hardly any money from my entrepreneurial stuff yet, and I was still determined to never work a job again. 

My reality I thought I was creating crashed around me. I was suddenly so alone, in so much pain, and confused. I began to resent my family for not immediately taking me to the doctor. 

I didn’t get a brain MRI until one month after the accident. I later got MRIs for my neck & back because of the chronic pains. 

I tried all kinds of therapies, but nothing was working. I only made small improvements. 

To name a few I did post-concussion therapy, injections, physical therapy, chiropractic work, massages, all kinds of pain medication, more injections, and more. I was becoming desperate. I was becoming suicidal as I was trapped in my body which brought so much suffering. I even did spiritual work! 

In my depression I began playing video games to pass the time, when I wasn’t asleep, resting, or trying to still learn & grow for entrepreneurship. 

I already said no friends came to see me, but I’ll say it again. Some couldn’t because they didn’t have cars, so that’s worth forgiving. 

One good friend was also starting online business stuff & we stayed in contact, texting & calling often. I also regularly called with another friend out of state. These two guys kept me sane through the pain, but I was for the most part alone & depressed. 

Phoenix: Hard Work & Depression

So clearly I was going through a tough time; such a tough time that killing myself felt like a viable option. 

Alas I wasn’t going to settle for that. Motivated by the pain, I put one foot in front of the other. I began going for walks outside, trying to move my body and get things working again. 

I refused to let this bullshit stop me in making money online. Even when I literally couldn’t stand from the dizziness & chronic pains, I watched online videos teaching me how to make more money. 

I took notes. I studied. I created a plan to get unbelievably rich. My logic at the time was, “if all these fucking doctors can’t heal me, then I’ll become a multi-millionaire and heal my fucking self.” 

And by the way, I did heal myself. It just took a long time (more on that later). If you’re dealing with chronic pain please contact me so I can send you resources that saved me. 

I wrote down a goal. “I will make $3,000 USD per month working 10-15 hours per week by March 1st, 2018.” The snowboarding accident was in December, by the way. 

You probably can’t imagine how much pain I was in. The chronic pains were terrible alone, and the isolation was terrible alone. Combine the two together and it was overwhelming. But I wasn’t going to settle. I put one fucking foot in front of the other and took notes even though it hurt so much. 

Phoenix: Big Money

And then one day, I got my first deal. I was terrified, I had no idea what to do, or how I was going to do it, but I was determined to do it. 

Suddenly I made more money in 2 weeks than I had in 1 month of working full time at the bank! 

I recall walking around at night, trying to work my broken body, in a feeling of pure ecstasy. The ecstasy mixed with the pain and gave me hope that I could heal myself. 

With this new deal closed, I could invest in more self-healing experiments.

Almost all of my money in those first 6 months that I made went towards self-healing experiments & doctors.  I lived dirt cheap to make it work. 

After this deal, I got another deal. Then I got another deal. My reality was shattered and I believed in myself more and more. 

I was going to travel the world while making money online! 

First, I just had to make a bit ore money and then heal myself…

The deals got bigger and I got better at my freelancing skill of digital marketing & creating WordPress/Shopify websites. 

Hope filled me and drove me forward. I found the best physiotherapist who specialized in my type of chronic pain. The treatment would be expensive- $4,000 for 2 weeks. That doesn’t include accommodation. But I was going to do it, and I was also going to get out of the home as family tensions were high. 

At first I planned on traveling to Prague. Why? Again, no idea. It just seemed cool. Then I had a debit card issue and ended up deciding to travel to Montreal, also because it would be closer to the physiotherapist. 

I couldn’t go to the physiotherapist immediately; I would have to wait about 2 months before I could go- he was that packed with appointments! 

I was also interested in visiting Thailand because of their cheap medical care. 

Montreal it was, I was going to stay there for 1.5 months and then travel to Guelph, Canada for 2 weeks for the advanced physiotherapy treatment. 

I bought the flights, and despite my horrible chronic pain I was still in, I decided to travel to Montreal, Canada and make it happen. After 6 weeks in Montreal I would travel to Guelph to receive treatment there. 

Phoenix: One Last Trial

On my second to last night in Phoenix, a gay family friend tried to rape me in my sleep. I know, what the fuck? 

I awoke at 3 AM to my private parts being touched sexually, as well as legs. 

It was so terrifying. To this day I struggle with certain parts being touched by girls; I need to be comfortable with them and slowly get used to them.

Aside: Huge shout out to my Bulgarian ex-girlfriend for helping so much with this. You are amazing and I owe you so much still for the healing you gave! 

Another thing terrifying about that situation was that I still felt weak from chronic pain. Even though I had healed a small bit, I was still very vulnerable physically. 

Normally I would’ve jumped up and beat the shit out of someone who did this to me. In fact, I wish I could’ve knocked him out, nearly killed him (or low-key killed him), and put his ass in prison for being a fucking freak; not to mention he cheated on his husband- what a sack of shit. 

Anyways, I ended up rolling over and pretending to wake up. He backed off and pretended like he was grabbing something near my bed and I pretended like I had no clue what was going on. 

Well, that event really fucked with me psychologically. It also fucked with me because I went into my world travel adventures with PTSD, numbness, anger, more depression, and more pain. 

I also struggled even more with being vulnerable with people. My fantasy of meeting & hooking up with amazing Montreal girls vanished as I became kind of asexual for the next few months because of the horrible experience. 

Another thing which really fucked with me was the fact that I never called the police. The next morning was literally my last day in the USA. My parents encouraged me to do what I needed to do to be successful for Montreal instead of calling the police. 

Honestly I think they could’ve been way better at being supportive, and that calling the police would’ve been the right decision. 

I also got PTSD from the event. After all of the bullshit of Phoenix, from isolation to depression to chronic pain to everything, I was ready to heal in Canada. Then this last event happened. Fuck…

All good habits I created in Phoenix despite the chronic pain were lost. I stopped meditating, I stopped sleeping on a good schedule & waking up early, and I completely fell apart. 

The day after I boarded my flight to Montreal. The journey was beginning…

Montreal: Introduction

Arriving in Montreal was such a surreal experience. I had never been to another place where a language besides English was spoken, so hearing French everywhere was quite shocking. 

It all felt like a dream, and I think a lot of this has to do with the PTSD I had from my “Last Trial” in phoenix. 

It wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be. Again, this is because I just went through a horribly traumatic event and now I was randomly in another country in a city unlike anything I ever could’ve imagined. 

My apartment was a small studio, but I loved it. I loved the fact it was quiet at night, no one disturbed me, and it was all mine

I wouldn’t have a ton of spending money in Montreal, but I was determined to make it work. 

My apartment as I discovered was in an area called the “Gay Village.” For obvious reasons, I was going through a period of avoiding gay people because of the gay sexual assault, so this was really hard for me to deal with. 

There were some things I really hated about being in the gay village, but I must admit it is also a great location in Montreal. It is very central and filled with great cafes & restaurants. 

Living alone wasn’t such a shock for me. Having gone through all the chronic pain and other bullshit I went through, it wasn’t tough at all. 

I’ve observed in friends & acquaintances that living alone for the first time is a huge deal for people. It wasn’t for me. I was happy and it felt like whatever- again I can’t tell whether this is just me or if it was because I was numbed up from the sexual assault. 

In Montreal I would meet great friends, 2 of which are super deep connections I stay in touch with. I would become happier in Montreal than in Phoenix, but I definitely preferred the parties I had in Phoenix instead of Montreal. 

One thing about Montreal is that there are some very arrogant French people! It may not be the best experience for an American going to a place that speaks another language. 

When I tried to speak some French, I got made fun of. I gave up on speaking French, and because of the experience was terrified when I eventually traveled Europe, thinking everyone was so arrogant of the language they spoke. 

As it turns out, it’s just a few arrogant French dicks from Montreal that I met coincidentally. Most people from Montreal are kind, but the language divide is very strange- many don’t speak any English! 

Montreal was the first city where I had a central home. Both in Omaha & Phoenix I lived so far away from everything, but in Montreal I was so close. 

It was also walk-able! I loved how I could walk one minute to a grocery store, 5 minutes to a great coffee shop, etc. 

Montreal: Independence

Perhaps the greatest thing Montreal taught me was independence. Hardly anything went to plan in Montreal. 

When I arrived I thought I’d save $ & time by purchasing a used bicycle for transit instead of using the metro. Then my bicycle wheel got stolen. Then I purchased another bicycle, and they stole the seat. I ended up buying a metro pass…

I also recently got a Discover credit card, which is widely accepted in the USA. It is hardly accepted internationally, and almost not at all in Montreal. 

My Charles Schwab debit card- which I highly recommend to every American reading this because it has 0 ATM fees, 0 international fees, 0 bank fees, 0 FEES GUARANTEED (it’s fucking dope!)- didn’t arrive to Phoenix in time, so I had to have a rush order to Montreal. 

Wells Fargo gladly fucked me over when I withdrew cash from an ATM with a foreign currency fee, foreign ATM fee, ATM fee from that ATM, and then a couple other fees because it’s Wells Fargo. Don’t use Wells Fargo. Use Charles Schwab. Please. Fuck Wells Fargo.

Anyways all shit aside, I loved independence. I highly recommend it to everyone reading this. 

Listen, you will eat a lot of shit, just like I did. But you’ll grow so much and be happier as a result. It’s crazy how much living with parents influence you. Even if your parents aren’t trying to influence you, you hold yourself back from being fully authentic for some reason. 

That’s not a bad thing; it’s just the way we are as humans. Living alone for the first time forced me to take care of myself in ways I hadn’t previously. 

Again, I loved being independent in Montreal. It was the first time I was free to do whatever I want, whenever I wanted to! I met some amazing people too. 

Montreal: Online Business Adventures

I started a new online business while in Montreal actually. I was being very careful with money, but still trying to spend a bit on new business stuff in order to keep growing. 

I made a little extra $, and then lost a small amount (maybe $100? $150?) to ads. I would’ve kept experimenting with this online business, but then I lost any and all extra cash from…

Montreal: Emergency Hospital Visit

Oh, another thing that fucked me over? Emergency hospital visit. 

My appendix area was hurting a ton one morning and when I told my mom the symptoms she was concerned it was going to burst. So I had to go to the emergency room. 

I got billed over $1,000 for it. I also had to save $4,000 for that upcoming medical treatment in Guelph, so to put it plainly: I was financially tight as fuck

I had 0 money for anything. I was budgeting down to the penny, sometimes eating only 1 or 2 meals because I was so tight on cash.

Still, best experiences of my life up to that point because I grew so much! 

Being independent forces you to take a lot of responsibility for your life. When you own the highs and lows, you feel so much more fulfilled. 

Montreal: The Bridge

All of my positive talk of Montreal aside, let’s remember that I was in terrible chronic pain. It was difficult to enjoy even the best of moments, though I put on a big smile. 

I was pushing through the pain but some nights were a lot. I was dealing with the PTSD of the sexual assault, the physical pains, and occasional loneliness. 

One night I wandered towards a bridge at 2 AM. I climbed up on the fence and looked at the cool water far below. 

I figured I might survive if I jumped, so if I held my breath and breathed in when I landed then I’d quickly drown and all of the pain could end. 

I visualized myself doing it. It felt peaceful actually, thinking of going back to that doorway I felt before after the snowboarding accident. 

Still it didn’t feel like my time; I screamed in rage. The screaming of “fuck you, fuck this, fuck that,” filled me with a passion to keep going. 

I made a promise: 5 years. If I couldn’t cure my chronic pain and depression in 5 years of hard work, then I would be allowed to end it all. 

Many moments of Montreal were great. This was just a tough night. I enjoyed all moments of Montreal, and sometimes I could forget my chronic pains & PTSD for a few moments here or there. 

Being with the Belgian chick I met at the end of Montreal really helped also. When it came time to go home to sleep though, the fun ended, the smile faded, and the pains crept up on me…

But I wasn’t going to do it. Not yet. 5 years, give it my all, and then if by age 24 I couldn’t do it then I’d know there was no more point to life. 

Montreal: Good Times

Montreal was overall a good time. I made new deeper friends, grew a lot as a person, and really enjoyed the experience of Montreal! 

Unlike in Phoenix, my friends had a little goodbye thing for me which I really appreciated. It was a lot of fun. 

I also made a great Belgian friend. She was the first person I opened up to about my sexual assault. We connected very deeply, and she taught me a lot. 

She is one of my best friends though I haven’t seen her much. We really enjoyed Montreal! 

When it was time to leave Montreal for Guelph, I felt strange. In one way I felt connected to the city, but in the other I felt like there was still something greater waiting for me… 

Guelph

Guelph is a small city near Toronto. I flew from Montreal to Toronto, and then took a bus to the small city of Guelph. 

There is a University there, and other than that not so much going on. Guelph was to be another tough challenge for me to overcome. 

My AirBNB was in a perfect location, just a 5 minute walk away from the top physiotherapist in North America that I was going to see. 

I was nervous, but also excited. After dealing with chronic pain for so long through Phoenix & Montreal, I was excited to finally overcome it! 

Guelph was a tough and lonely experience. I had no friends, and my finances were still extremely tight because of that surprise hospital visit in Montreal. 

There was a blessing in disguise though: when they charged my first payment of $2,000, my bank got debited just $1,700 or something like that. 

Suddenly I realized something epic: I budgeted for $4,000 United States Dollars, not $4,000 Canadian Dollars. Thankfully Canadian Dollars are worth less than U.S. dollars, so it was as if I got $600 for free! 

I was also extremely grateful that this equation didn’t work out the other way. It could’ve been that $4,000 CAD is $4,300 USD, in which case I would’ve been completely annihilated. 

Like I mentioned above, Guelph was lonely. I made no friends there, but I wasn’t trying that hard either. 

I felt depressed & sad. I was doing a YouTube video challenge, but I gave up on it fast. I played video games all day whenever I wasn’t doing my physiotherapy or work.

Occasionally I went out to explore. Guelph is a beautiful city for families, but other than that it doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. It’s great for people looking to settle down, buy a home, and go for some jogs in nature. 

The physiotherapy work I had to do was very difficult. 

My amazing Belgian friend I met was in Toronto after the first week in Guelph (I was to be there for 2 weeks), but I was so crushed from the work of physiotherapy that I had no energy to go see her. 

In hindsight, the social interaction probably would’ve really helped. I was beginning to feel suicidal again because of the loneliness & chronic pains. The physiotherapist would make some improvements, but then my muscles would lock up and spasm all over again. 

At the end of the 2 weeks, it was time to go back home to Phoenix. I felt slightly improved, but not near as much as I’d like to be. 

I was still unable to run, but I did try to once or twice. The result was a lot of pain. 

It felt crushing to think I saw the best physiotherapist in all of North America and still I wasn’t cured. I had heard great things and read many magical stories! 

I was grateful for the tiny improvements though. Guelph was an interesting little town and yet another trial on my way to self-actualizing. 

Phoenix 2.0: Another Reality

Returning to Phoenix after just 2 months abroad felt like a completely different reality. 

Because I was in terrible chronic pain and unable to go out to many parties & social events for the last 6 months, my social circle already shrunk a ton. 

Being gone for 2 months completely really switched things up! 

Some “friends” (not many of my friends in Phoenix were real) were surprised I actually succeeded. They didn’t believe in my ability to make money online. They were shocked I actually left the country- they thought it was all talk until I disappeared from the USA! 

Other friends & connections became a bit deeper, but I wasn’t that much of a priority to their lives. Again the chronic pain prevented me from going out often, then I was completely out for 2 months. 

I expected different. I thought people would be curious to hear about Canada, or that they’d at least be glad to see me- I was glad to see them and hear what’s new! 

I awoke to the reality that many of my friends from before were completely fake. They were friends while I could “give value,” but as soon as I stopped giving value and needed a little support, they disappeared. 

Aside: I love you to all of my friends around the world that have been there for me when I needed support. Many of you reading this fall into the “legit friend” category, or even a kind acquaintance. Ya’ll are the shit! 

For my second time in Phoenix I was hanging around for the most part a new friend group. One new deep friend I had never met before hung out with me quite a bit. 

We had some very fun experiences together, also talking about girls, how to meet ’em, how to get ’em, and the Universe & life itself (and even business!). 

The chronic pain improved a fair amount. In Phoenix I also went to these things called “float pods,” or “sensory deprivation float tanks.” I found this really helped the chronic pain as well. 

I was feeling better than I had in a long time, albeit still not perfect. I couldn’t run yet, but I could walk and get around with a lot more ease. 

One wild experience I had was going to a bonfire in the middle of the desert with him and some other friends. It was a neat little party. 2 crazy guys showed up with off-road vehicles and offered to give us exciting rides. 

I rejected because of the chronic pain & fear of getting hurt. They also had guns though, and I gladly shot the gun at a target. This was actually the first time I ever held & shot a real gun! 

I’m really grateful for this amazing experience. I guess you could say this as American as it gets… Hanging out with a close buddy in the middle of the desert in a cool group, and then meeting some crazy proud Americans and shooting guns and riding off-road vehicles around the fire. 

I was staying with my family, and there were still some family tensions. Because of this I purchased a flight out and only stayed in Phoenix for a month. 

At the end of the month I met with a really cool girl, and we hung out in the weekend together. 

On one of those nights we hung out with another cool group and made a bonfire in the middle of the desert while watching the stars. 

Being in a silent place with a good group watching the stars is truly a magical experience. 

This is why Phoenix was a “different reality.” Before I was being fake trying to party with certain friends, but now I had a bit more depth. I was surrounded by new friends, doing new things. 

My deeper friend connection I made also introduced me to some cool new self-help material. I went to one of the house events for it. 

It revealed to me a lot about my self-talk and the way that I was thinking about things in my life. This is going to sound new-age woo-woo, but hear me out:

I said “I will never snowboard again” because of the accident. However, the only way that you can guarantee you’ll never snowboard again is by having chronic pain! The way I was talking about things revealed I was scared or retreating from my pain rather than embracing it, which could perhaps be some cause in itself of the pain. 

Once I started thinking differently about things, my pain got way less. I began to feel healthier & vibrant because I stopped focusing on “reducing pain” but instead “improving health.” I chased good rather than avoiding bad.

This sounds very woo-woo & unreal, but I believe it because of my direct experience with it. I was communicating retreat & defeat, not power & action. The first step to healing is making that commitment, which meant opening myself up to getting back on the snowboard…

Phoenix ended as quickly as it began. The journey to Europe begins! 

London: Immigration Attack

I flew from Phoenix to Oakland, and then Oakland to London directly. 

This was quite the long flight, it felt like it would never end! Because of the nights in Phoenix on that last weekend, I was already tired, but this flight to London would really knock me out. 

The immigration officer gave me a ton of shit when entering London. She attacked me with all kinds of questions which I was struggling to answer from the fatigue. 

She went so far to question me about exactly how large my credit line was, how much $ I had in savings, etc. 

I made a rookie mistake and wasn’t specific enough of my travels, so I probably prompted her to question the shit out of me. 

I believe I said something like I had an online business and was going to “explore London” then live in Budapest. 

The immigration agent was baffled that some 19 year old kid had an online business, he was randomly moving to Budapest yet had no concept of the country of Hungary itself, etc. 

I also had no idea what I even wanted to see in London so when asked my purpose of the trip I said “explore London,” but I was unable to answer what exactly I wanted to explore. 

Of course I made it through, I just wasn’t expecting to get grilled by the immigration agent. Canada was so nice! 

London: Hostels & Jet Laggg

I felt a bit of jet lag from Phoenix to Montreal, but wow was I fucked from Phoenix to London! 

The idea was to stay in a hostel and have a pleasant experience similar to that of San Diego. I ended up struggling to sleep and feeling very tripped out. I got so tired that if you were to tap my arm, I would feel a strange ripple across my entire body. 

It didn’t help that I had some important work to do as well, so balancing that with the exploration of London with jet lag & sleep made it all a mess. 

By the last night I spent a ton of money for an expensive AirBNB private room because I absolutely needed my own place to sleep. The people in my room were too loud at all times of the night. 

London: Weird Chick

The people I met in that hostel weren’t special either. I met a weird girl and her French friend that were very rude. There were also several young school girls from France for some reason populating the hostel. 

I met two cool German guys and we explored London together for a day. I enjoyed their company but again they weren’t anything special. 

That weird girl claimed she was Russian but grew up in Spain. She would so often boast of being Russian, and her Russian dad this, Russia that, Russia Russia Russia! 

With all her talking of Russian, I figured she must speak Russian, right? 

One of the two German guys I met spoke Russian. When we were all together at one point I said, “oh hey, weird girl speaks Russian!” 

When he spoke Russian to her, she got red in the face. Her bullshit was uncovered. She was all-talk no game. She made some excuse for not speaking Russian. 

I commented, “I thought you said you were Russian?” 

She exploded. She ranted about how Americans were so rude & disrespectful, how I should be more respectful, and how she could be Russian and not speak Russian. 

Ah, the irony. This chick was weird and batshit crazy. All talk no game. 

Also, it was at this moment I realized whenever someone regularly insults people it’s because they possess or are insecure about the qualities they insult in others. 

This weird chick hated America & Americans because apparently we are all “rude and disrespectful.” She was in fact the rude & disrespectful one. 

London: Business

One of my previous digital marketing clients lived in London! I messaged him asking if he wanted to meet, but he was unable to. 

He had a friend/business partner who lived in Bangkok for 18 years. He recently moved back to London. 

The former client introduced us, thinking that we might be able to do business together. The idea was that they’d handle the product sourcing, development, and fulfillment and I’d handle the marketing. 

I rejected the business offer because they couldn’t pay me upfront; in hindsight I wish I took the offer so that I could keep developing my skills. 

I had the free time to do the project, but at this point in time I was rejecting almost every business offer so that I could have more free time to enjoy life & focus on my health. 

Actually, who knows, maybe rejecting the offer was good. In Europe though I stopped doing so much business & growing & learning, and as I write this (December 2018) I have struggled to get back into regular growth. 

A little tip to all of you reading this is keep growing and “leaning on your edge” if you can. Once you get used to always being out of your comfort zone, it gets easier & easier to keep growing. Once you get comfortable, it gets even harder to get back in it. 

I also wanted to primarily focus on my health and improving that because I still wasn’t able to run yet. 

London: Fun

The hostel experience wasn’t so delightful, so as mentioned I moved all my stuff to an AirBNB for the last night. I needed some good rest and the people there weren’t cool at all! 

I have a friend living in London in the military. I knew him from Omaha. We grew up together in the same school & same neighborhood! This guy is awesome! 

On the last night we met to get dinner & hit a pub. It was a really fun time. 

The restaurant we ate at was absolutely delicious! The pub we went to was an enormous amount of fun. 

We wasted a ton of money and also got… quite wasted. 🙂 

It started out with a bit of a Vodka-mixed drink, then escalated to shots. We started dancing (I guess the alcohol numbed the pains) and got others to join our silliness. 

I think I may have kissed some girls that night.. on the cheek or? Can’t remember.

My friend certainly kissed one of those girls which was hilarious! Until I realized he had a girlfriend and they ended up breaking up because I took a video of it and posted it on Snapchat… 

Regardless it was an epic night. I spent way too much though. Maybe $80 or $100 or something crazy like that. I had quite a bit of extra money after Canada (remember how I realized I came out with $600 extra?) and wanted to treat myself. 

We also weren’t planning on staying out late, but next thing we knew we were trying to find our way home drunk at 2 in the morning. 

The first thing we did is go into a tube station, thinking we could do that. We waited for the metro to come but it never did. Someone ended up telling us we were standing waiting at the wrong spot, and in that moment I realized no metro was coming for our route! Oops! 

We proceeded to try walk the mile home. It was hilarious. I was super worried I lost my passport for some reason, even though I left it at home. 

I began cussing and freaking out as I was leaving to Belgium the next morning, and my friend derped around knocked out from all the alcohol. 

Eventually we found our way home (my AirBNB was right next to the hostel, he stayed the night at the hostel I was staying at) and despite all of the alcohol and sleeping at 2 AM I slept better than I had the whole week in London because no one in the hostel was there to wake me up! 

I woke up with more energy than I thought I would, a mild hangover, and excitement for Belgium. I met with my friend again and we parted ways, and I head to the train station. 

It was time for Belgium! 

Belgium: Arrival

I took a train that goes under the water in a tunnel between the UK & Belgium. This was my first time ever on a train too! 

The train was passing through France, so I would have to go through French immigration. Unlike the UK immigration, the French immigration gave 0 fucks. 

I said “hello,” like a French man he said “bonjour,” and he stamped my passport without a single question. 

Traveling into Belgium was fascinating. I had never seen European homes & villages before, and finally I was! 

It was exactly like the movies and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing was real. 

I arrived in Brussels and had to switch to a train to Leuven. Who was I meeting in Leuven? The answer is that amazing Belgian chick from Montreal! 

Our plan was to road trip Belgium together. Huge shout-out to her amazing family for letting me stay with them, their seaside home, and letting me use their car! This was such an epic adventure and I’m so grateful for them. 

I hopped on the wrong train from Brussels to Leuven, but got off just in time. I was extremely confused how the whole train & public transport thing worked- typical American I was, used to driving everywhere! 

My Belgian friend told me where to go. I took the right train and headed to Leuven…

When we met, it was awesome. I gave her a huge hug and we were happy to be together again. This person is such a good friend, and like I mentioned before she helped me a lot in life. 

Her dad drove us to their home in Leuven. Her family was kind & loving. I felt very welcomed and “at home” despite being on the other side of the world. 

We ate some delicious food they cooked, and I was also gifted with some absolutely A M A Z I N G Belgian chocolate- the real deal here, this is seriously the best chocolate I had in my life! 

The first night I slept in Leuven was the best night since leaving for London. My last night in London was good, but this night in Leuven was the first that I actually didn’t feel jet lagged as fuck. 

The next morning we woke up. We were going to spend about a week road-tripping Belgium and seeing some cool things, woohoo! 

Belgium: Roadtrip

After getting adjusted to “stick shift” as we call it in the USA, I was prepared to drive across Belgium in a very stereotypical European car. 

I had learned stick from a friend in Omaha, but it had been of course a while since driving it. Thankfully I adjusted fast. 

I was quite nervous to drive through Brussels & on the Belgian highways, but it proved to be quite easy actually. 

European traffic appears crazy but they have a method to the madness. For example, you drive in the right and pass on the left. 

I wish we drove in the USA how people drive in Europe. They are very organized in their driving patterns, whereas in the USA everyone goes forward in their own lanes. 

Whenever you noticed someone coming up behind you in Belgium you go as far right as you can so you can let them pass. 

If there was no one in the far right lanes you would move to the right lanes and then only switch to the left to pass. 

This type of organization everywhere in Belgium made it feel very easy to drive through. Even in highly congested cities like Brussels, it didn’t feel as scary as I thought it would be. We drive like maniacs in downtown cities in the USA with hardly any organization. 

Belgium: Brugge

The first city we visited was a magical city called Brugge. It’s called the “Venice of Belgium” because of water canals all throughout the city. 

Exploring this city was like being in a fairy tale. It was like all of the stereotypical European films but… in reality! 

Every turn was beautiful. My Belgian friend toured me the city- she used to study in this wonderful place! 

I can’t write much else other than that it felt like a fairy tale. Belgian waffles are also great. Very beautiful city! 

Belgium: Seaside

That night we arrived at the seaside where we would be staying. Despite being such a small city, it was still dense like a stereotypical European city. 

It was also beautiful. I was interested in “cold plunge” as a healing method for my chronic pain, so despite it being October & very cold, I decided to go for a swim in the Ocean. 

Despite the crazy looks and shock from my Belgian friend, it did indeed help with the jet lag at least! 

Again I am very grateful to my Belgian friend’s family for letting us use their seaside home & car to get around. It was truly a fun experience! 

There were so many little things that all added up on the seaside to make it so fun. I can’t describe all of the little things; it’s just the experience itself. 

Belgium: Work Troubles

I clearly did not plan my workflow properly when traveling to Europe. On one of the days at the seaside I had to completely some important work. 

The WiFi at the seaside apartment was not working at all for some reason. 

We had to go to a library to complete the work. Unfortunately I only had something like 1 or 2 hours at the library to complete work that would’ve taken me at least 4 hours. 

I thought I did a good job on the work, and in theory I did, but the reality is that the output was terrible & I lost a client. I made several English mistakes for some reason as well- perhaps lingering jet lag, or the fact that I was typing 2x faster than normal in order to get it done before the library would be closed and we would be forced to leave. 

Something I wish I did before traveling to Europe is better plan my workflow, otherwise now I could be at a much better financial state. Instead I was focusing on my health & fun, and lost some clients in the process. 

I can’t regret it though; it was all a fun experience and a learning one at that too. 

Belgium: Brussels

We also explored the city of Brussels. Brussels was like Brugge a fairy-tale, except in its own way.

It’s a large, beautiful city filled with wonderful restaurants, beautiful squares, and so much to see and do! 

Together we saw many of the Belgian sites & tourist attractions. She had a lot of fun as well “being a tourist in her own country” as she liked to put it. 

Belgium: Leuven

Leuven is her hometown, about 30 minutes away from Brussels. It is yet another beautiful Belgian city- Belgium is simply a beautiful place, every city is magic! 

I wouldn’t expect such a small, random town to be so beautiful, but it was. 

We went for a bike ride through the city and she showed me some things about it. I was very impressed by the castles, churches, and other old artifacts still standing. 

I wish we had the flair for design in the USA that these European cities have- magical cities built for pedestrians & the eye are so much nicer to be in than giant mega-cities built for cars. 

The last night in Leuven was night, again her family was so accommodating and compassionate. 

Belgium: Flight Trouble

I believe I was flying with Wizz Air from Brussels to Budapest. 

As I discovered, flying budget is not always such a good idea. 

I naturally assumed that because I typed “brussels > budapest” in the search engine that the airport would be Brussels airport, but that’s not how it works with budget airlines! 

Her dad ended up driving me over an hour away from Leuven in order to make the airport, which again I’m super grateful for. The airport was at some random small city. 

Budget airlines are great but you have to make sure you do your research on from where you’re actually flying from and where you’re going… as well as the other “fine print.” 

I had to pay a ridiculous fee (70 euros, 40 euros, something huge like that) for Wizz Air to print the fucking flight ticket. Yes, the fine print says that you have to print your own ticket or pay a huge fine. 

I’ve flown budget airlines (Wizz Air, RyanAir) in Europe quite a bit and they are a steal but seriously read the fine print otherwise they’ll fuck you over. 

I got fucked over with more fees. Learning experiences…

Anyways, I arrived soon in Budapest, Hungary where I decided I’d live for the next couple of months to build a home base. 

Budapest: Arrival & Work Trouble

My AirBNB apartment looked amazing. I was super excited to move in! 

The taxi driver that took me there from the airport was very nice. We made good conversation and he had good tips. 

I paid with credit card, and then I left. I somehow forgot the credit card in the taxi, but I didn’t have to say anything- he quickly turned around to give it back to me. Thank goodness! 

My AirBNB was much more magical than I could’ve imagined it to be. 

It was… beyond huge. It felt like luxury or royalty! I was so pumped to be living there! It was also in a very central location, which ya’ll should know by now is the most important thing to me (in addition to also being quiet at night). 

That night I had to finish some work- again from the kinda fucked up work that I did while in Belgium. I really, really messed things up by rushing it in Belgium. 

Actually, I’m embarrassed as fuck with my work output that I did. It was terrible. 

Anyways I fixed it up, then got some good rest. 

Budapest: Exploration & Friends

I immediately began exploring, and it was like being in another completely different world. With each destination I visited things got even more and more unfamiliar from what I knew back in the USA. 

I was excited to learn a bit of Hungarian. My goal was to use Duolingo to learn Hungarian fast and create a home base here. 

Budapest is a very beautiful city. I enjoyed exploring it. 

I also got plugged into some online Facebook groups to start making new friends. I met with various people, and connected deeply with 2 people. 

One of the guys was from I believe Slovenia, or Slovakia. Please forgive me for not remembering which. 

We had a ton of fun dancing like crazy at the clubs and being silly while also trying to meet girls. We also did Kratom once, which produces a mild high. Walking around the city on Kratom was crazy (but not recommended). Kratom is legal in Hungary by the way. 

We talked deeply about life, and also tried to pick up girls (which we weren’t so good at yet). Still we had fun! 

Another friend I met was Hungarian- this dude was awesome. He was really sad to find out I was leaving when I left. 

My plan was to stay in Hungary for at least 2 months, but it ended up being less than 2 weeks… I’ll elaborate on that later in this chapter. 

That friend was really cool. I now realize he was actually sad I was leaving, but in the moment I guess I was more socially clueless and didn’t believe anyone would actually care enough about me to want me to stay- this is perhaps an unconscious belief I had in Omaha from bullying & the loneliness I experienced in Phoenix. 

With this friend we made epic jokes, laughed a ton, and met girls in some hilarious ways. With whoever we were with we would light them up with jokes & fun. 

He happily introduced me to beautiful girls as well. This guy was awesome!

Budapest: Emptiness & Anxiety

Despite all of this, for some reason I felt empty. Why was this? 

Today I’m not exactly sure what it was that was causing me to feel empty & sad despite meeting girls, and connecting deeply with these 2 guys. 

Perhaps I wasn’t yet able to value these new friendships I made. Perhaps I didn’t believe they’d actually care for me (which I now realize they did). 

Or perhaps I was worried that I made the wrong decision by choosing to stay in Budapest for a little while. 

I used to feel so anxious about “where to travel,” as if there is a perfect destination. In fact I spent weeks in Phoenix 2.0 obsessing over whether I should visit Sofia, Budapest, Berlin, Bucharest, or another city! 

It could’ve also been that I was getting sick (see: next section) which led to me feeling more depressed and empty. 

One final thing I think it could be is culture shock. I never properly experienced “culture shock” the first time because of the sexual assault giving me numbness & PTSD. 

Now I realize that random negativity, anxiety, and emptiness can all be signs of “culture shock.” 

Whatever it was, I felt empty and anxious. I didn’t know what to do, and I was feeling a bit directionless in life. I also had no idea how I was to continue healing! 

Budapest: Mold Sickness

After about a week in Budapest, I began questioning whether the apartment I was in was really so amazing. 

I noticed some places on the ceiling were discolored and disgusting. There was a strange odor coming from these places. 

My eyes were beginning to get itchy, I was getting sick, and it was hard to breathe. I soon realized this was mold, and I may have been getting sick from mold sickness! 

Whether this mold actually made me sick or I was just fatigued from the travel & newness, I got sick. In fact, I got quite sick. The emptiness didn’t help either. 

I requested a refund from the AirBNB and got it. I stayed the night at another AirBNB in a private room. 

I felt lost and uncertain. I couldn’t find any other good AirBNBs, so I began to look at other places that I could visit. 

Sofia & Athens had cheap flights for later that day. I picked Sofia because I had always wanted to go to Bulgaria to see some ancient ruins that are in Plovdiv- I thought the ruins were in Sofia. 

I purchased a flight for 3 hours from then because it was very cheap for some reason, then went to the airport to fly to Bulgaria. 

Bulgaria also had an abundance of cheap AirBNBs  in the center, and I wasn’t feeling comfortable with any of the options in Budapest. 

I told my friends I was going to Bulgaria. They were sad but wished me the best. They were surprised that I was so suddenly leaving! 

And then I left. 

Bulgaria: Shock & Apartment Hunting

When I arrived in Sofia, I was in complete shock. The language sounded harsh like Russian; Slavic languages use sounds that are typically only used aggressively in English, so they can say something very nice but it comes off scary to an English person. 

Bulgaria also uses the Cyrillic alphabet, so this was the most exotic place I had ever visited. Seeing signs in Cyrillic was frightening! 

The city of Sofia is unlike any other city as well; my first AirBNB for that first night was in a rundown ex-communist area. It felt like the Call of Duty video games in which you get deployed into Russia. I couldn’t believe it…

My next AirBNB was with a very nice lady. She was so welcoming, and the apartment was great. 

I explored the city from her apartment. There is a long road with several restaurants in the center like in Montreal, and this was for some reason comforting to me because it felt in a way like Montreal! 

There are ancient ruins scattered throughout Sofia. You can discover communist buildings, new buildings, and pre-communist buildings as well. 

Sofia is filled with nature parks, perhaps the most of any European city. A giant mountain called Vitosha mountain stands close to the city. 

After the experience in Budapest, I refused to settle for a bad apartment. 

Because this was November of 2017, there was an abundance of cheap apartments. Nobody was coming to Bulgaria in Winter but me! 

 I was able to quickly tour 4 AirBNB apartments to stay for a couple months. Half of them had smell problems which scared me off in case it’s the mold that made me sick. 

The other two were both great. One was more affordable, larger, with the nice accommodating lady, but it was slightly further from the center. 

The other was also great, but a lot more expensive. It was a tough choice. 

One of the ladies told me to “follow my heart.” I meditated on it and my heart told me to pick the more expensive one, so I did. 

Bulgaria: Lifestyle

I was determined to create a great social circle in Bulgaria, as terrified I was of the new city & culture. 

My new rule was to hangout with one friend per day, ideally one person I already know and one new person. 

I became immediately involved in all possible communities that I could think of. I made the decision to always say “yes” to anytime I was invited to anything. No did not exist to me! 

I was very anxious of meeting new people, especially in this city. However soon I made new friends, and people showed me the ropes of the city. 

I began adjusting and getting into a routine. I made some friends whom I really connected with. 

My business wasn’t growing, but it was stable where it was at. Because Bulgaria was so cheap I was able to live an incredible lifestyle while still saving a ton every single month. 

This made me very happy. I was for the first time in my life feeling financially secure. 

I was also beginning to build a huge social circle. After a month and a half, I was beginning to feel the most confident & connected I had in my entire life. 

My social circle became so huge that people would sometimes recognize me on the streets. The city of Sofia is also very dense & compact, so that is to be expected when you have an active social life in the center! 

A friend from the USA came and we had a ton of fun together as well. I had several fun weekends of getting high or drunk with new friends. 

I began taking dating a lot more seriously and pushing myself to ask girls out and meet new girls. I got several dates and was starting to feel like I was on top of the world! 

I also felt like I was healing a bit more from the pains. My life was going up, finally! 

My lifestyle in Sofia, Bulgaria was one of the best it had ever been. I ate delicious cheap food, I hung out with amazing friends, and I was healing up slowly. 

The walking around helped me heal a ton. Some nights I would get depressed about my health problems, but in a rage I would walk out in the cold with shorts and a T-shirt which numbed the pain, and sometimes I would just run through the night despite the pain. 

I would always return exhausted and in pain, yet in some way feeling just a bit better. I was now pushing through the pain, challenging it, demanding I heal and grow. 

There were so many amazing memories I had here it is too much to write; I explored epic places, hung out with great friends, had the best parties of my entire life, and actually felt like I was getting good with girls. 

By the 6th or 7th week I told a deep friend that “if I got a girlfriend then I would consider extending my visa to stay longer than the 3 months I was allowed.” 

Then I fell in love. 

Bulgaria: Love

I met her at the mall. I was with a friend and we were going to meet girls. 

He approached a group of girls and asked one of them, “what’s your thoughts on dating foreigners?” 

We stayed and talked with them. We were kind of jerks to be honest- that friend was rubbing off on me in that way. 

One of the 4 girls really stood out to me. There was just something about her… so I got her Facebook. 

I had met several girls, but there was something about this girl I really liked. I looked at her Facebook profile picture and didn’t understand what was so special about her! 

That night or the night after I sent her a text (while also tipsy or drunk at 4 AM), apologizing about our rather douche-like behavior. This warmed her up, and then we started texting. 

We connected fast. She was intelligent, beautiful, and a very interesting person. She challenged me to grow. The attraction was intense. 

On our first time going out, I tried to kiss her. She completely rejected me- kissing on a first hangout is normal in the USA but I guess strange in Bulgaria (at least it was for her). 

When we decided to meet again, I stopped seeing other girls. It happened naturally; they weren’t as interesting as her. 

We fit together perfectly, something I still don’t understand to this day. 

We could talk on and on, laugh, make jokes, it just worked like it had never worked between me and someone else before! 

It also seemed like we could “read each others minds” or tell what the other person was thinking. There was something special there neither of us could understand. 

She invited me to a New Year’s Party, which I readily accepted. It was a fun night, but her friends gave me a ton of shit. They all later warmed up. 

We became official boyfriend/girlfriend that night- I always said “it wasn’t a question, it was an answer.” And she agreed. 

Actually, that’s the literal truth. Her friend asked us if we were officially together yet, and I just answered with “yes” in Bulgarian. 

Within a week we were saying the big “I love you.” And we both meant it. 

One night she told me she couldn’t wait to tell me it in person the next day, so she texted it to me. It blew me away because I felt the same and I couldn’t believe it! 

I hopped on a late night tram, then late night taxi when I got off at the wrong stop, all the way to hers so that I could tell her “I love you” in person. 

We had a wonderfully passionate relationship, though we weren’t without our problems. 

That being said, we crushed problems. It seemed we were perfectly meant to be and we both rapidly grew to be better people for the relationship. 

We are both undoubtedly better people because of our relationship. 

She inspired me to be a better problem and overcome all problems that I had. It felt like nothing could breaks us! 

Bulgaria: Strange Signs

There were also “strange signs” that seemed to put us perfectly together. It seemed that we were indeed.. soulmates

She made a wish upon a shooting star to meet her soulmate. It was on that exact date I booked a flight to Europe, or something like that. 

When I couldn’t decide between 2 apartments, I was told to “follow my heart.” I did, and I ended up in the apartment literally a 55 second walk away from her school. 

Every day we would see each other because after all I lived right next to her school! 

I loved taking her out to eat, surprising her with lunch, and she loved surprising me when I was working or out and about. 

We loved each other and nothing seemed like it could stop us. We didn’t let problems stop us; we improved to tackle the problem! 

Bulgaria: Visa Extensions

Earlier I mentioned I told a friend, “if I get a girlfriend I will extend my visa to Bulgaria.” I meant it. 

Inspired by the love of my life, I was determined to find a way to extend my visa. And I did. 

Very quickly we made life plans together- we were determined to make it work out between us no matter what; to preserve what we shared and become life partners. 

Things seemed to fit perfectly together. I was living in an amazing apartment right next to my soulmate, with the most money I had ever had in my life. 

Bulgaria: Healing

 My pain started to get better… but then it got worse. It got a lot worse. 

I got very sick from some flu spreading around Bulgaria, and so did she. 

We made it fun though, and cuddled while sick while watching Stranger Things together! We ended up not completing it though, and finishing it 5 months later.

She filled me with so much joy I was determined to heal and improve myself, both as a man for her but for myself as well. 

I began to learn about dieting, sleep, more about meditation, and so much more, and I actually began to heal myself! 

This girl deserves a huge shout-out for how much she helped me in life. 

She helped me overcome PTSD from my sexual assault, she helped me heal physically & took care of me when I needed it, she saw me through a lot of trouble and pain. I still feel like I owe her a ton. 

This girl also taught me how to cry; this is something most men don’t do but should do. She was the first person I cried in front of in a long time. As it turns out, when you “trap your emotions in,” it creates a lot of problems. Release, let it out, it’s safe! In fact, it’s very healthy to do so. Thank you, for teaching me this great lesson…

Over the course of the next 3-4 months, I began to heal quite a bit. I began to understand what my health problems were, and with that knowledge able to take proper action. 

I began to go for more runs. Longer. Harder. I began to push through the pain because I knew it would help me heal. 

Some moments I began to feel pain-free. Our cuddling & love seem to heal me. 

Sexually she healed me as well; I struggled so much at first, but she brought the beast within out. 

Bulgaria: Side Trips

I didn’t only stay in Sofia for the 7 months I was first in Bulgaria! In addition to all of the fun & the great lifestyle, I visited other places as well. 

One night a drunk friend hit me up asking to hangout. I accepted. We ended up driving his car (don’t worry, I was 100% sober) around the country-side exploring cool places. 

We ended up in a place called Pernik, and saw some beautiful things there. 

I also took magic mushrooms & LSD a few times, which are honorable mentions for great “side trips” (or literal trips, if you will xD). 

One time me and her went to Pernik to see a traditional Bulgarian festival. It was awesome observing it. 

It was exhilarating living in Sofia. I was seeing things I never could’ve imagined, experiencing a culture & place I never could’ve believed would be so amazing! 

I also saw “Plovdiv,” as well as some small Bulgarian villages. All of them were great as well. 

To be honest though, the best was just the sober day-to-day lifestyle in Sofia. There are so many restaurants, coffee shops, and other activities I love doing in that city, not to mention the social life is amazing. 

Bulgaria: Happiest Moment

And there it was, the best month of my entire life! 

That 7th month in Bulgaria was magical. I had to switch apartments which was unfortunate because the owner was coming home- I became very attached to where I was living for 6 months straight. 

In fact, I wish I could’ve bought that apartment. Me and her have so many amazing memories in that apartment. It was like the “apartment of love” if you will. 

The 6th & 7th months in Bulgaria were the happiest months of my entire life. 

I had this amazing girl, an amazing social circle, a great lifestyle, money, and what finally felt like a real home. I was on top of the world! 

Bulgaria: Shattered

And then, it all came crashing down around me. One phone call changed it all.

“Your visa extension got rejected. You have 1 week to leave the country.”

This wasn’t supposed to happen like that. It was expected that I would get the visa extension no problem. 

But suddenly I had one week to leave. I had everything- you name it. Now, I was about to have nothing. 

This one phone call created a series of event which caused my life to fall apart since then. I can’t elaborate on every point (for personal reasons), but this phone call fucked a lot of things up. 

Just like that, I went from having signs of the Universe to be with this girl & be happy in Bulgaria to being kicked in the ass. 

I went from thrilled by the travel, to wanting to stay in Bulgaria- but now I was forced to travel. 

I’ll be honest, this was the hardest I cried in my entire life. 

Bad Decisions

I didn’t believe it, on that final day in Bulgaria. No, I couldn’t believe it. 

I walked down Vitosha- the long street akin to that in Montreal. By this time, Sofia was not so foreign. 

I could read Cyrillic, I could speak a bit of Bulgarian, and I felt so connected and “at home.” I loved my girlfriend more than anything in the world. 

Everything was just so perfect & amazing. I was.. happy, either for the first time in my life, or the happiest I had ever been- but by a long shot. 

Suddenly I had to leave. In one week. But to where??? 

I chose to go to Pafos, Cyprus. Cyrus was a bad decision. No, it was a terrible decision. Ah, let’s be real: a fucking terrible decision.

I wanted to go to Thailand, but I was too scared. I also picked Cyprus because it was closer to my girlfriend, in case she’d be able to visit. She ended up not being able to visit…

Our plan was to be apart for one month, together for one month, and then apart for one final month before reuniting permanently again. Even though it was just a month, it felt like an eternity. 

Cyprus was a terrible decision. For some reason at the end of Bulgaria I got too ‘comfortable’ or ‘complacent’ in life. 

I became a victim. I let life happen to me. The story of my travels gets a lot darker following this event because I didn’t take proper action. 

The right decision was to go to Thailand; I can’t elaborate on this too much, just that Cyprus created a horrible chain of events which is inherently not mine and not her fault.. but it led to me and that perfect girl.. breaking up.

I’m sorry I can’t elaborate further publicly; I’ll do my best to leave hints in the next chapters so you can try your best to piece some of the facts together. 

The short version is just that Cyprus wasn’t where I authentically wanted to go, so I let myself become depressed, sad, indecisive, and less of a man that who I was when the girl met me.

She made her mistakes, I made mine, but ultimately it is this shocking, unexpected event that the relationship was not prepared for that tore us apart. We overcame every other problem- but a problem of this magnitude is something most people never experience. 

As if a cruel joke from the Universe, we were perfectly put together; then perfectly torn apart. 

Do you see the sadness as I write this? 

This is what I’ll say for now. I became a “victim” to life rather than a “player” of life, and part of the reason I write this story now is to process the travels of my life because I am struggling with massive reverse culture shock here in Phoenix. 

I’m struggling to figure out what to do next; so I write this story now, and I say now that this was the beginning of the end. I went from the top of the world to the bottom of the world, and I didn’t take responsibility for that when I should’ve. 

So I hope you didn’t mind this chapter as an aside, let us continue with the story. 

Cyprus: Arrival

So I arrived in Pafos, in massive shock still. I couldn’t believe that I was actually leaving Sofia! 

Because I had spent so long in Bulgaria (7 months) without leaving, it actually felt like a kind of vacation at first. 

The real pain didn’t settle after the first few days, which felt like as though I were just going on a “weekend trip” away from Bulgaria to refresh before going back. Alas, there was no going back…

Well, there might’ve been. As if a cruel joke from the Universe, I met an American who found a way to stay in Bulgaria past the time limit. 

I don’t know if this situation would’ve worked for me in that moment, but now I realize if I were to go to another country then “lose my passport” her trick would’ve worked for me. 

I didn’t have to leave Bulgaria for longer than a week, but I, in reaction to the events, fell prey to the paradigm of the problem. As Einstein says, your consciousness must transcend the problem in order for it to be solved- I instead became trapped within the paradigm of the problem, so I played the game by its rules. 

Arrival was interesting. I told the taxi guys at the airport the address, and they were confused. Then they suddenly said, “wait are you staying with [name]?” 

The name was the owner of my AirBNB apartment. Shocked, I said, “yes…” 

“No problem, we’ll take you right there,” they said. So I guess my AirBNB guy is well-known or something like that. I don’t know, he was a cool guy! 

The apartment was without a doubt a downgrade from my living in Bulgaria. It was also almost 2x the normal price! 

This is yet another reason why Cyprus was a bad decision; I was idealistic about growing my business, thinking that I would use the alone time in Cyprus to “grow the business” when in reality I added up not growing for 2 months after Cyprus. 

Cyprus is 2-3x the cost of Bulgaria. Thailand is 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of Bulgaria. Again, Thailand was a much better decision in terms of happiness, but also finances. 

That night I wandered around Pafos, still in shock. It was beautiful, that I must admit, but it was also a super small city- in fact, this is the smallest city I’ve ever traveled to alone! 

It would be tough to make friends, so I’d have to be extra social. It was also kind of a “tourist town,” especially for people from the UK. 

I also saw a video of “surfing in Cyprus,” but it turned out there was no surfing. 

The first thing I did was eat dinner. I ate at a restaurant and the owner was extremely nice- she had a huge smile! 

I also met two other business owners, one from Cyprus, and the other (his wife) from the UK at this restaurant. They were all kind people and gave me a pleasant first impression. 

Cyprus: Not Prepared

As I keep mentioning, the relationship was not prepared for this dramatic, sudden long-distance predicament we found ourselves in! 

At first I thought it would be a good idea to produce little videos of my life in Cyprus so she could see what it was like and feel a part of it. 

This ended up being a terrible idea; among other reasons, it gave off the impression I was having more fun than I was actually having. It also prevented direct communication. 

We quickly discovered that video calling would keep us sane. Even that wasn’t enough! Both of our love languages (or at least mine) is “touching” and “quality time.” We could kind of get the quality time through video calling, but of course not the touching. 

Even if I’m wrong on that (she loved gifts & compliments as well), being in person is so much easier for a relationship to work. 

The girl did something wonderful for me though: she knew that I had never received letters where you “open if” a circumstance happens. She gave me several letters, such as “open if you need a kiss,” or “open if you miss your friends” (and she actually messaged several of my close friends and had them give inspiring messages!!). 

I gave her a daily note to open & read, and a couple of other small things. 

Man, this was just so tough and unfair on us. It’s hard not to fall too deeply into that “victim talk” that I’m forcing myself out of it by writing this entire story. 

We got forced apart, and then I made a terrible life decision of Cyprus instead of Thailand. 

You may not understand unless you’ve made a similar mistake; the decision made me depressed, so I couldn’t give as much while being long distance in the relationship. Her mistakes became amplified. I felt crushed & isolated. 

I quickly became depressed, isolated, and lost in life. This decision really “shook up my world” and stressed me out! I also was left wondering “what if I traveled around Europe or went to Thailand like I wanted to.” 

Cyprus: Workaholic & Video Games

As a coping mechanism, I quickly became a workaholic. I was doing “work for work’s sake” rather than legitimately accomplishing anything. 

Some days I would drink a large coffee, work for 8 hours, then drink another coffee and work for another 4 or 6! 

Rather than going out and exploring the beauty of Cyprus, I also “retreated” by playing way too many video games. I purchased Mortal Kombat and began fantasizing about being a bad-ass martial arts expert, and I also purchased Call of Duty: Black Ops III as well as all of the DLC (all of this totaled over $100 USD… ouch). 

I acted as though the video games weren’t affecting my attention span, but the fact is: they were. They were a coping mechanism, and I began to notice I wasn’t feeling so motivated during work. 

I wasn’t able to focus so well; I became distracted easily, and didn’t enjoy the work I was doing! It was all talk, no play. 

I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should’ve, in a healthy way at least. This no doubt affected the relationship. 

In fact, as I write this now, I get more and more epiphanies as to why the relationship ended up not working out. You’ll see as I write it lasted another 3-4 months, but it was these events in Cyprus that triggered the chain of events. 

Man, I quite honestly became a little bitch. I retreated from the challenge, rather than owning my decisions. I retreated into fake work & video games rather than accepting the growth and pain. 

All that being said, I do enjoy some credits: I started eating very healthy, sleeping on a great routine, and also meditating more regularly. 

I also began healing myself by working out more and more! The pains were finally disappearing; I was becoming truly healthy!!! 

My business decisions were very bad in Cyprus; I almost closed a new deal for I believe $1,500 per month, but I arrogantly acted as if I’d only take a minimum of $3,000 per month. 

I think my girlfriend lost a little respect for me there- here I was, financially struggling, letting my life fall apart, and then finally I had the opportunity for a new deal but I rejected it. That close wouldn’t without a doubt changed the course of.. everything. 

The reason I rejected the deal was because I was listening to an audio book by Dan Lok. I was pretending to be more rich than I actually was, as if I could walk away from that deal (when I actually really needed it). 

Okay, the more and more I write about my behavior in Cyprus, the more… ugh, I get. Holy fuck I was so disconnected from reality. 

I think I deserve a bit of a break considering the situation of losing all my friends, lifestyle, and girlfriend, so I won’t self-attack, but man I could’ve handled that way better…

Cyprus: Excitement 

There were some exciting memories in Cyprus, but some of them were unfair treats I gave to myself as well (see: earlier mention of pretending to be richer than I was). 

For example, I treated myself to 2 or 3 “jet-ski rides.” This was a ton of fun! But I also couldn’t afford it (unless I took that deal among other deals that was offered to me). 

I ate out way too often, when I should’ve been cooking out at home. 

I did have some exciting nights with 2 friends I made there- both of them were focused on growing their business and self-development. I’ve got a lot of respect for them because they’re putting in real hustle! 

With one we drove around Pafos & away from the city into the mountains to take professional photos. This was a lot of fun. 

They both also let me drive their cars- which is opposite to that of the USA (they drive like the UK, on the left side of the road). One of the cars was stick, so I was driving on the other side of the road with stick on the other hand! That was fun!!! 

Again I’ll say that I didn’t hang out enough; I was acting as though I’d be okay enough by playing my video games & fantasizing about being rich so I didn’t need to meet other people “who I would never be seeing again anyways.” 

Yeah, I’m cringing a lot from my behavior in Cyprus. Oh God, it gets better though. 

Cyprus: Greece Vacation

I took a 3 or 4 day vacation to Greece, to Thessaloniki! Now I must admit, this was exhilarating, but can I say it again? I DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY FOR GREECE

I was up with my head in the skies thinking I was extremely rich. My girlfriend probably thought I was too because she was a bit jealous! 

No wonder she lost respect for me when she found out when we met I was financially struggling. My behavior wasn’t congruent at all; here I was taking a vacation to Greece when I could hardly do anything. 

Okay I won’t lie though, I had a ton of fun, and maybe it was a bit refreshing. 

I ran around Thessaloniki seeing beautiful sites. 

And, I said I won’t self-attack, but I do deserve this punch: I also kept buying bottled water in Greece thinking that I was “saving time” from refilling or some stupid shit like that (I guess in my fantasy it was more convenient to buy a new bottle than refill my used one?).  

It’s like 1 Euro per water. 3 or 4 Euros per day (do I dare admit publicly it was probably 5+?), wasted, just because I wouldn’t refill one fucking bottle of water. 

Man only now as I write this story do I go, “I was a fucking idiot in Cyprus & Greece.” My ego was so up in my ass it shames me, and me thinking I was right about more things than I was is one of the reasons me & her broke up eventually.  

Perhaps I was trying to live the lifestyle I had in Bulgaria in Cyprus; I wasn’t accepting that life was shit, and I had to accept the growth challenge.

I apologize Dear Reader, I know you were expecting me to talk about the beauties of Thessaloniki and magical sites, which there are, but for myself I must confess my absolute stupidity and faulty logic. 

I really, really fucked up. My blatant wasting of money created so many problems when me & her reunited (see: next chapters). It led to so many bullshit excuses and fears on my part. 

Before I blamed her for her criticism of me; now I realize that while some of the criticism was unfair, I definitely reacted a bit too much to it. Sure she could’ve worded it better, but man I had to look in the mirror and grow up…

My Greece vacation was just another fantasy of me being rich. In fact, I believe I rejected the $1,500 per month aforementioned deal while I was in Greece. Fuck. 

Edit: I actually didn’t outright reject the deal, I pushed for more money when I knew I shouldn’t have, and they went with someone else. I may have even pushed for like $2k per month. Whatever, I really could’ve used the extra income stream…

Cyprus: Leaving Cyprus

Oh God, do I have to write about this too? OK, here we go. I have really woken up in writing this so far just how “in my head” I was about life.

I was not enjoying Cyprus, for obvious reasons. I was being a victim, letting shit happen to me, and living in this fantasy world. 

The original plan was for my girlfriend to come and visit me for 2 weeks in Cyprus, then we leave to Germany for 2 weeks- our end plan was to move to Germany together. 

I proposed a new plan: we meet up in Poland for 2 weeks, then go to Germany for 2 weeks. She already purchased a flight to Cyprus, but “I was rich, right,” so I’d pay for her flight to Poland, then pay for her flight to Germany,. 

Actually, this might’ve been the best decision. It’s hard to say. 

She would’ve preferred I stuck to my Cyprus decision. It also looked really bad to her mom. As someone who as traveled so much, switching the destination is no biggie- but I suppose to them that’s like “holy shit.” 

I also was taking a shower earlier today and realized it could’ve also made red flags in my girlfriend’s mind of “what if Michael is cheating on me and he doesn’t want me to meet her in Cyprus?” 

She never said that, but she did give me a lot of criticism for the change. It was objectively a better decision, however maybe it would’ve been better just to stick through to Cyprus. Clearly me acting like a victim and not trying to socialize or enjoy Cyprus is why I didn’t enjoy it…

Anyways, I now ponder: what if she did think something like that? I got so upset at her for criticizing me for the change in decision, but now that I write this out, I realize how far up my ass my head was and go.. “oh fuck.” 

You could say that it would be a “silly insecurity” on her part, but we couldn’t blame her. I don’t know, this is a random shower thought I had today. 

At the same time, it was a good decision to switch to Poland. We probably had a lot more fun there than we could’ve in Cyprus. Or… is that even true?

I don’t know. I guess we can’t know. Up until this point, I was certain it was a better decision, but now that I reflect, I don’t know if it would’ve mattered. 

We were amazing together. We could’ve had fun anywhere in the world together. 

Also, remember how I said I was being a victim and not exploring Cyprus? On one of my last few days in Cyprus I decided to explore something 5 minutes from my apartment. 

It was a giant underground cave complex completely open for anyone to go in, and an ancient theater from hundreds or thousands of years ago. 

I sat around for a whole month going “boohoo” and pretending to be rich but I failed to see the free beauty that stood there just waiting to be discovered! Grrrrr.

Anyways, we ended up meeting in Poland. 

Cyprus: Death Bed

I will add one more thing to this chapter before moving out. My mom almost died near the middle-end of Cyprus. 

This was a very painful experience, especially considering I had been out of the USA for almost a year (and thus had not seem family..).

My mom, unconscious and me unable to contact her, no doubt added to my frustrations and “victim mentality.” I suddenly decided I should go visit family. 

She ended up being alright, but I decided I would of course visit after Germany. I didn’t exactly have money for this, but I was going to make it work. 

This felt like a “necessary evil” that I had to do, and no one is to blame here. 

It was a huge wake up call to take care of my finances in case of medical emergency or needing to see family, but unfortunately as previously mentioned I retreated into fantasizing about having money rather than legitimately putting in the work to grow. 

Poland: Great Impressions

When I arrived in Krakow, Poland, I was surprised by the city’s magical beauty. 

Krakow is perhaps my 2nd most favorite city in the world, right under Sofia, maybe equal with Montreal. 

The city felt like I was in a fairy tale, much like Belgium! The prices were about 1/2 the cost of that in Cyprus, slightly more expensive than that of Bulgaria. 

I was to be in Poland a few days before meeting with my girlfriend. 

On the first night I met with someone from a Facebook group, and we met several cool people hanging out that night. Polish people are awesome! 

The Main Square & Castles in Krakow are absolutely stunning. I would love to live in a city like Krakow. 

I loved the food there, the people there, everything about Krakow! 

It was objectively a better decision than Cyprus. The place is beautiful. 

Poland: Loss of Polarization

My girlfriend came to visit me after a few days. She would stay for about 2 weeks until we left for Germany. 

There was something “different” when we were back together. Was it the fights? Did we grow apart? Was it because she hurt me? 

She without a doubt “hurt me” from a boundary she broke a few days before Krakow. Also, my mom almost died in Cyprus and she wasn’t so supportive, but in hindsight I should’ve forgiven a lot easier. 

This is where my bad decision of Cyprus really plays out: I wasn’t the man she met- I had improved in Bulgaria for the relationship, but then I stepped back. She may have stepped back as well because she certainly made mistakes, but I don’t blame her; she was stressed out for her own reasons (I won’t mention for privacy). 

I think this created a loss of polarization. We both fell back a bit, me especially- probably a lot more than her. 

Had I chosen Thailand, I would’ve been much happier because it’d be an authentic decision; I would’ve lived how I’d want to, rather than retreating into depression & video games in a place I didn’t really want. Finances wouldn’t have been a problem as well. 

We still had a lot of fun in Poland and improved, but we just lost a lot of our polarization. Now that I am studying relationship improvement content, I see how this all could’ve been avoided. It makes me go “DERP” when writing about the entire situation now! 

Poland: Still a Workaholic…

And I must admit, my bad habits from Cyprus persisted: I was still a workaholic. 

This was no doubt no benefit to the relationship either. While she wanted to explore Poland, I just wanted to keep working! I wasn’t hardly getting anything done and the work could’ve easily been condensed.

I should’ve relaxed, chilled out, and stopped working so hard and enjoyed the city with that amazing girl. 

It pains me to admit how much of a workaholic I was, and I apologize now to her for robbing her of the experience we could’ve had together in that magical city. Too many hours were wasted in a coffee shop in front of the laptop screen, working just for the sake of working…

Poland: Still a Dreamer

I was still a dreamer in Poland as well, acting as if I was rich. 

In Bulgaria, I had enough money to treat her out to eat sometimes. I loved doing it not for the sake of “buying her love,” but I just wanted her to experience it- so of course she enjoyed it too! 

In Poland I was realistic enough to realize I couldn’t buy her food that often, but also still stupid enough to think pretending to be rich myself would help me. 

So I went out to eat, sometimes in front of her while she ate nothing. 

Aside: OK I’m cringing a ton writing this, WHO THE FUCK WAS I in Poland??? I was still growing and becoming a better person in some ways, but in other ways I look at myself with such cringe…

Poland: Hilarious Fun Together

We still had some hilarious fun together. We had a great time while we were exploring the city and enjoying what it had to offer. 

We also found silly things to do, such as waving at random people. The Polish people are very friendly, so we found that if we randomly waved at people they’d wave back, sometimes doing a funny thing as well! 

We had little jokes, laughs, and all kinds of other fun. It was a great time, while I wasn’t being a workaholic or selfish dreamer. 

We also traveled to Auschwitz together, which was crazy! It was a terrifying experience- that place has some very dark vibes. 

All in all I highly recommend Krakow as a destination. The city is magical, the food is great, the people are awesome, I had a ton of fun and I would love to re-visit sometime. 

Poland: Loss of Masculinity 

I now realize as I reflect, that I let myself lost my “drive,” my “inner fire,” that core self with an attitude of “I’m gonna make this work no matter what.” 

We lost a lot of sexual polarization in Poland. Some of this was the fact that I was hurt, but she was hurt too, and a lot of it was that I let myself be hurt

What I mean is that her mistakes she made would’ve had much less of an effect had I chosen Thailand and taken proper care of myself. Even with the mistake of Cyprus, properly making friends, growing the business properly, and not living in fantasy land would’ve made her mistakes seem like much less of a problem. 

It’s hard to say how bad it was- I’m trying to write it out as clearly as possible, leaning towards self-attack because I need to start taking responsibility for my own life. 

Here’s what I see now: I lost my masculinity. I wasn’t producing or leading effectively like I did in Bulgaria. No wonder it all fell apart… I let it! 

Germany: AirBNB Problems

Everything that could’ve went wrong with Germany seemed to go wrong. 

Our flight was delayed. Our train was delayed. And damn we had so many AirBNB problems! 

The first AirBNB I booked was in the center of Heidelberg- where we were supposed to be. 

When I finally received the address from the guy, I realized the AirBNB was far from the center. The ass-hat lied about the address! 

I had to refund & buy a new AirBNB for us to stay out ASAP and because the individual took so long to tell us the real address we didn’t have many options. 

We ended up having to stay 2 nights in Heidelberg (our intended destination), 2 nights in Mannheim, a week and a half in Heidelberg back in the 2 night AirBNB, and then one final day in another AirBNB in Heidelberg. 

On the first 2 nights our apartment had a huge wasp problem. We got attacked by over 30 wasps! It was… fucking terrible. 

We then had to leave for Mannheim, which was alright, but… see section “Broken Promises” for what goes down there. 

Back in Heidelberg we stayed a week and a half back in the wasp apartment, but thankfully the host fixed the solution. 

The AirBNB had no AC though, and it was a particularly hot summer. Sleeping was very difficult. We weren’t even sleeping together because of the massive heat- we were already sweating alone each in our own beds (the AirBNB also had 2 single beds, so we’d have to be very close in the heat). 

On the final day in Heidelberg we’d have to go to another AirBNB to stay the night. Such frustrations…

Germany: Broken Promises

I was exhausted from my painful experience in Cyprus, and also working myself to the grave getting frustrated with the business stuff. 

I was upset at myself for not going to Thailand, and I really wanted to go. It seemed as though I wouldn’t be traveling to Thailand anytime soon, even though I really wanted to go! 

With my head up in fantasy land, I thought that going to Thailand would help me magically grow the business because I’d be surrounded by other people making money online in Bangkok & Chiang Mai. 

Now that I’ve done that, yeah, haha, doesn’t work like that… ;/

Anyways, like I said earlier, our plan was to move to Germany together. 

And then I told her I didn’t want to move in together yet. I felt my trust was broken from that boundary that was broken, and I also wanted to go to Thailand to grow the business. 

My money by this point was just so fucked it’s embarrassing. Germany isn’t a cheap country, so a part of this idea made logical sense. 

This girl meant so much to me, there was no way I could possibly do this- I would get too lonely away. Anyways with the inspiration she provided me when it came to healing myself she sped up the entire process- the same would certainly be true for business also! 

This broke her heart. I cringe at the memory. For some reason I was in such a rush to travel, and now here I am alone looking for a home base to take a break from traveling- because that’s not what life is about, it’s about the people, not traveling. 

I guess I had a lot of growing up to do… Dear ex, if you read this, I’m fucking sorry. You deserve better than my silly self. 

Self-attack aside, she did make some mistakes, but it goes back to the whole Cyprus/Thailand thing; had I been in a better state, it would’ve been easier to forgive, but instead like a victim I let my life fall apart so every mistake anyone made seemed to be so disastrous. Fuck…

Also, the whole “living in Germany thing” really scared me because of visa/immigration stuff. The whole process was complicated & frustrating in Bulgaria and I didn’t want to repeat it. 

Germany: Epic Fun

And despite all of this, we had some epic fun. We were in a terrible apartment, one of the worst I had stayed in up to this point. 

Despite the fact I had no money, our apartment was terrible, and it was too hot to cuddle, we were finding ways to make jokes, laugh, and be silly! We were having a lot of fun. 

Germany: Wake Up!

At the end of Germany was her birthday. I told her I wanted to get a present from the USA, and that I could only get from the USA. 

With some other people we met, I made a mini surprise party for her. It wasn’t anything special. 

She was expecting a better gift, I don’t know if what I tried to do was good enough, but she was upset because of the way I was eating out in Poland/Germany (pretending to be rich) but then by the end of Germany I was unable to purchase a decent gift for her. 

It’s embarrassing and true. Again I was so “up in my head” that I fucked things up, and thought I was right. 

In some ways the criticism I received wasn’t fair and it was too much, but in other ways it was indeed just. 

Man, I wish I could shake myself before leaving Bulgaria and go WAKE UP because I made a lot of mistakes that came with becoming a victim…

Germany: City Beauty

I must confess the German cities are beautiful, however I was also blind to this as I was still a workaholic & living up in my mental fantasy of the world. 

In hindsight, it would be pretty cool to live in Germany. It’s beautiful! 

Would highly recommend Mannheim & Heidelberg as places to visit- there’s a castle which watches over the city of Heidelberg that you have to see. 

Germany: Long-Distance, Again

And suddenly, we had to be long-distance, again. 

Despite all of my mistakes and her few mistakes, we had actually improved things between us quite a bit by being together! 

The problem was that I was still in “victim” mentality. I was about to spend a lot of money flying through Canada and then the USA, and make a few more financial mistakes…

We had to be long distance again. Our flights were in the same terminal at the same airport. 

It was so painful letting her ago, just like that first time we had to be apart. 

Her wonderful touch, beautiful eyes, and pure angelic skin were gifts I missed so much while apart again. Long-distance is fair to no relationship. 

Iceland

Reykjavik was a city I had always wanted to visit but never swung by. Luckily for me, I was to have a 24-hour layover in Reykjavik! 

It was quite expensive, but necessary to get the cheap flight to Montreal. 

I think that it cancelled out the other flight options which were more expensive, so it ended up balancing out alright. 

I traveled to Reykjavik in August of 2018. Despite it being so warm in Europe, it was freezing in Iceland. 

With only a light jacket, I walked around Reykjavik. I made several YouTube videos and felt so happy to finally be there. 

It had been a dream for so long, and for those moments I shouted “Dreams Do Come True!” 

I also got free Icelandic food at a place because I was super cold and went into the restaurant in order to warm up. 

While eating at the same restaurant the next morning, I watched all of the couples inside and began to tear up. 

Everyone was doing things together, and here I was all alone

It was the beginning of me maturing and realizing that travel isn’t all that, but rather it’s the people you’re with. 

All in all it was a great, quick adventure. Reykjavik is a magical city and the landscape of Iceland is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before! I’ll have to return for a longer visit. 

Montreal 2.0

Returning to Montreal was.. quite the trip. Everything was the exact same! 

Two friends grew & improved, but literally everything was the exact same. It really messed with my head. 

I saw the exact same homeless man on the street wearing the exact same clothes and the exact same backpack. 

I went to work at a coffee shop, and saw the exact same man working there, with the exact same laptop workers working in the exact same spots. 

It was the beginning of my mind “breaking” from too much travel between places (too fast travel, plus missing my girlfriend) and feeling like everything is a matrix reality or something like that. 

That’s where I’m at now, back in Phoenix area, tripping out feeling disassociated as fuck and writing this to get it together. 

I reconnected with some friends in Montreal and it was great. With one friend we shared very deep conversations. 

He tried to gift me the book “The Way of the Superior Man,” but I didn’t read it before I had to go. I realize now I should’ve; I am reading it currently and it probably could’ve saved the relationship and helped me understood what was happening in Cyprus, Poland, and Germany in the relationship. 

It was without a doubt the Universe working through him. He also gifted me the book “Think and Grow Rich,” and encouraged me to revisit my grounding- AKA the stuff that got me to where I was at (which was Think & Grow Rich). 

I later applied those principles and… closed a new client in Phoenix (right after I left Montreal)!

Besides this friend and one other deep friend, everyone else was the same so it really tripped me out. 

One Korean guy I know always was desperately wanting a girlfriend, but was too scared to talk to them. He was the exact same. 

A vegan friend was.. still vegan AF, still making the same paintings, etc. 

There’s nothing wrong with that, it just messes with your head when you see so much new stuff then, as if you’re watching a movie, things are the same. It felt like I was “changing the channel to Montreal TV” in a way. 

Still in victim mindset, I didn’t take much action in Montreal. 

In Sofia, at the end of my first time in Montreal, I was so integrated with my social circles that people invited me out. I had so many acquaintances I felt famous, as well as a few deep connections in each city! 

The problem was that I kept my victim entitlement mentality & workaholic/fantasy tendencies so I didn’t enjoy Montreal 2.0 as much as I should’ve. 

I didn’t see everything I wanted to see again, despite having more than enough time in the 2 weeks that I was there. 

It was still pleasant being back in a familiar place though. One good thing I did to take action was go to a bar that hosted “Mundo Lingo,” which was an international event. 

This socializing allowed me to feel more connected & happy, rather than remaining complacent. 

One other problem in Montreal I had was… VIDEO GAMES! I was back to coping with video games because I missed my girlfriend, rather than meeting other people or going out to properly grow the business. 

Again I really wish I read “The Way of the Superior Man” in the moment. As I read it now, I think a lot of what he says is bullshit, but there is some great practical advice that could save a lot of people’s relationships. 

As quickly as it started, it ended. I left Montreal silently, having retreated, rather than actively made more friends. 

Phoenix 3.0

Being back in Phoenix after a year was a lot more trippy than being in Montreal! 

My family was in a new home, which was weird. I actually thought that they wouldn’t have a bedroom for me in it, but they ended up turning the office room into my bedroom. 

Even though I really wanted to see my family, I decided to go to Montreal for 2 weeks before Phoenix because I thought I’d have to pay for an expensive AirBNB in Phoeix. 

As it turns out I was able to stay for free, and if I would’ve known that before hand (this was my mistake mentioned before) it would’ve changed my decisions. I wish I would’ve asked… gr…

I reconnected with some friends, but not so many. A couple friends & acquaintances I was much deeper with- but I wasn’t out socializing that much (still victim mentality). 

Up in fantasy land, I also treated myself to a few nice steaks when I should’ve been saving the $ for immigrating to Germany with my girlfriend.

One old friend I met in Phoenix was… so off. Something ‘changed’ about him. He wasn’t who he used to be- he was different, in a strange, manipulative way. He put on a few pounds as well. 

It was sad to see that. This was someone I really connected with before I left Phoenix (albeit he still revealed he wasn’t a true friend). 

Phoenix was depressing, and I just missed my girlfriend. I spent a lot of time playing video games. One Sunday I played Fortnite for over 12 hours straight…

I did close one new deal though which is good. Also, near the end of Phoenix, I hiked a mountain and got lost and had to do some dangerous stunts to save myself. 

My mom bought a lot of things for my girlfriend, for her birthday, and I bought some things as well. My girlfriend did not feel the gifts were so authentic when she got them. 

The gift that I truly wanted to give her, I wasn’t able to get. I never mentioned that to her, but it shames me because had I stopped being a victim and taken more action, I could’ve got it to her. 

It required me to do a few extra things that I was too complacent to do. It shames me truly how lazy and victim-mentality I became after getting booted from Bulgaria…

Soon it was time to leave Phoenix, and I was glad. Finally, I would be returning to the place I was happy! I could reconnect with my girlfriend, we wouldn’t have to be apart again, I’d meet my other friends, and it’d all work out…

London 2.0

I flew from Phoenix to Baltimore, Baltimore to Pittsburgh, and then Pittsburgh to London. Yes, it was exhausting as fuck. 

I only had a 4 hour layover in London- and technically I didn’t even go to London, but instead a small village from the outskirts. 

Unlike the first time this time I was smart going through immigration- but I also was only staying for 4 hours so it was easy for the immigration agent to let me go through. 

My childhood friend from Omaha picked me up from the airport. He was with a good female friend of his, and there seemed to be some attraction between them. 

They were both amazing. We went out to eat, shared some laughs and good stories, and then they drove me back for my flight to Sofia. 

That’s it! It was nice seeing him again though. 

Sofia 2.0: Love

I was scared when I was arriving that I wouldn’t get let in because I had a stamp in my passport that said “this individual agrees to voluntarily leave the republic of Bulgaria.”

I was supposed to get a Bulgarian ID which I didn’t have, and that stamp means that my visa extension was rejected.

They let me through. 

I was so excited when I saw her. I was filled with love. She glowed. I cried. We held each other. 

Her magical touch filled me with inspiration again, her eyes were deeper than the Ocean, we were One again. 

After having been through so much together, it felt like we were finally “clear” of all the bullshit. It was so tough; but we made it! 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t over yet- the chain of events (loss of polarization, desire for Thailand, lingering loneliness pains, etc.) would fuck us up. 

Sofia 2.0: Still Low Polarity

The polarity wasn’t there. We were better, but that polarity… fuck it just wasn’t there. 

I wasn’t fully “in my masculine,” or the best version of myself. I wasn’t being me to the core. Remember, I said that I just wasted the weekend before 12 hours on Fortnite on a Sunday! 

We got better as the weeks progressed through Sofia. 

There is one event which made me feel numb though, but I won’t mention it for privacy purposes. It made me feel worried to move in together. 

We got into some fights, but things evened out. It seemed like once we got to Germany, we would be able to make things better. 

We also did have some great times together. Some moments were good and some were bad- I now realize, because of “The Way of the Superior Man,” why that is so. It is because on some moments I was acting more like my core, and others not so much. 

She may have had her own things going on too- I can’t take all of the blame here, but I will take responsibility for my life and actions. 

Sofia 2.0: New & Old Friends

I reconnected with my old friends quickly, and it was just as amazing as before- in fact even better! 

These were deep, loving friends. I knew they had my back and I had their back. These friends,  in addition to my 2 Montreal friends, were the best friends of my entire life. 

I also made a new amazing great friend who is dual American/Bulgarian. I may move fully to Bulgaria, and he will help me out. 

I was still slightly in “victim mode,” but I took sufficient action to start to reclaim a bit of myself back. 

New, great memories were created. Besides the first week of being jet lagged beyond belief, I was happy again. I was in Bulgaria. I was home. 

Sofia 2.0: Come Fast, Go Fast 

I was only in Sofia for 3 weeks, so it came and went fast. It didn’t feel like I had enough time to properly get adjusted with my new friends before saying goodbye to them all.

As you can see, I moved between places very often in the past few months by this point, and I was getting very exhausted of that. I needed “one stable place” to hangout and have trips from if I were to travel. 

Sofia 2.0: Surgery

Sometime in Germany my bottom teeth adjusted. My retainer fell out of place! 

I needed to get a new upper retainer, fix my bottom retainer, and then remove my 4 wisdom teeth as they were coming in. 

One of the ideas was to do this in Sofia before Germany, but with the jet lag and complacency on my part it came and went so fast. 

Suddenly I would be leaving to Germany, and I would have to go back to Bulgaria in order to sort that out as Germany would be too expensive. 

There’s no excuse for this either; I could’ve easily handled the lower retainer, upper retainer, and X-ray, but the surgery definitely would have to be during a break in Germany! 

Germany 2.0: Shocking Pains

I didn’t go into Germany the second time with the best mindset. I tried on the surface to appear a bit more positive, but the truth is that I had doubts and negative thoughts about Germany. 

I was terrified that somehow I would “lose my life” during Germany; that I would lose lots of money & time and then my girlfriend would leave me at the end of it, or she would pick a job and expect that I follow her no matter what.

There were also some other personal reasons. Most of them were of course not just, and I should’ve stayed longer to give it the proper shot. 

In the beginning, it was beautiful. We were in a new area, our AirBNB seemed promising. 

While nothing special, it was indeed a good apartment to start in. However it wasn’t that clean…

Also, a big reason I became so negative about Germany the second time around is because the fucking owner lied about the address

Just like the first time I went to Germany, the AirBNB was in the wrong location. 

This one wasn’t so far out- in fact it was in a beautiful location, but it wasn’t convenient for us at all! 

When I found out the AirBNB host fucking lied about the address, all positivity about giving Germany another go went away. I was pissed at the host would lie about the address. 

I also had a string of other negative events happen, many of which I don’t remember, but one involved little kids making fun of me for only having 17 YouTube subscribers. 

As positive as I was trying to be, it just wasn’t working out. I also only had 1.5 months in the schengen zone to figure out my long-term visa situation for Germany. I was scared of losing more money over visa stuff (I lost a ton of money in Bulgaria and having to go to Cyprus, in addition to my fantasy-land losing money activities). 

In hindsight, there were definite positives. First, Heidelberg is a compact, dense city- making it great for social life. It’s beautiful. It’s quiet at night, and now that I’ve lived in hella loud cities (see: Bangkok, Chiang Mai Nimman area) I can really appreciate a city that has good social events in the day and a quiet night. 

In the midst of my victim, complacent mentality, I only saw the negative things that were happening “to me.” I still had cravings to visit Thailand. 

The surgery loomed on me as well- I became obsessively focused on my tooth which was becoming more and more misplaced. The years I had braces on my lower bottom teeth went to waste because I didn’t get my dental treatment done in time… but I also didn’t have money to have the treatment

I felt overwhelmed; in hindsight I should’ve just sat down and meditated and tackled one problem at a time. 

In hindsight, the problem is a lack of action- it was too much complacency. 

I began to feel energetically depleted- my girlfriend was going through a very tough time as well. She was not the best to me during this period, as she didn’t have the best coping mechanisms either. 

If I could go back, I would tell her the behaviors that hurt me and the ones that heal me- and I’d hope she could do the same so we could just focus on the good things rather than letting the situation get to us. 

As I have wrote extensively about in previous chapters, I had my mind in fantasy land for “go to Thailand and get rich.” I was still not yet mature enough. 

Going to Thailand isn’t the problem- it’s the fact that I thought I could live there long-term, actually create a home there, etc. It wasn’t a realistic observation! 

In the moment, it felt viable. It felt like an escape. The thing with fantasies is that they are okay until you have the power to act on some of them… and only then do you realize you never really wanted them. 

Germany 2.0: To Flee

I spoke with someone, and I think in hindsight this individual had ulterior motives for encouraging me to go to a cheap country and grow the business. 

Only now do I see clearly… only now..

I was feeling so energetically crushed from Germany- literally getting sick from the stress I was putting on myself, and my girlfriend wasn’t able to be supportive. 

I don’t blame her- I wasn’t being a good boyfriend, I wasn’t “in my masculine” and doing the things for me, and she had her own problems (some of which she was unfairly taking out on me). 

With the encouragement of that person with ulterior motives, I decided I should leave Germany to Bulgaria to figure things out. At the very least, I needed my space. 

This of course broke her heart… It made her so upset at me she did things to hurt me even more. 

Germany 2.0: Missed Flight

I missed the flight by a crazy string of coincidences. 

The bus route changed and no bus was coming. Then there was a car accident and we got locked inside the tram. After that the train to the airport I was in got delayed. 

If this was a sign encouraging me to stay in Germany a bit longer, I missed it. As I look back I realize it could’ve been…

Germany 2.0: Fast Goodbyes

The last 2 days in Germany were so much better. The relationship was better. We were happier. Things went better. I don’t know what it was, but things were better. 

In my frustration at the airport, I had purchased a flight for two days later. I was in such a rush to leave I never decided to consider if this was a sign to stay! 

Perhaps I did just need to give it a bit more time, for now I realize the benefits of the city in Germany. I was too worried of the downsides, too focused on the pain, that I missed the great things about it. 

The two days went by fast, and once again I was saying goodbye and departing to Bulgaria. 

This was the last time I saw my ex-girlfriend…

Sofia 3.0: Relief

I felt relieved when I arrived back in Sofia, probably because I had put myself under so much stress, pressure, and negative thought energy in Germany. 

It felt safe in Sofia- I had friends there, I knew what life was like there, I loved it there. 

That night there was fun. I made new friends, visited my favorite places, and hung out with old good friends. 

I still missed my girlfriend (we hadn’t broken up yet), but I definitely needed time & space to myself from the bad dynamic we had created. 

Part of that bad dynamic was my fault, and part of it was her fault. Regardless of who’s “fault” it was, I wish I could go back and tell her what I know now so we could’ve prevented us from falling apart. 

I enjoyed my time back in Sofia alone. It was refreshing to have that space again. 

As much as I’ve self-criticized, I can’t take all of the blame. There were a few things she did wrong too. However, I am willing to bet if I knew what I know now I could’ve better guided the relationship to success. 

Sofia 3.0: Going Cold

Because I was in a better apartment, easing back into my friends & lifestyle in Sofia, and taking time to myself, I became very cold to my girlfriend. 

I didn’t text her that much. I didn’t really want to call. She didn’t feel supported or loved. 

I should’ve clearly communicated that to her. The best thing probably would’ve been to stick it out in Germany though. It happened as it happened though. 

I began to focus on business again, leaning towards workaholic-ism. 

As a result, that made me even more cold because I just wanted to focus on my own success. 

Sofia 3.0: False Alarms

We talked about breaking up. It was on both of our minds, but neither of us really wanted to do it. 

I spoke with my friends, lost sleep, dreamed like crazy, and couldn’t figure out what to do. 

One day while we were calling she said it: “I think we should break up.” 

I didn’t believe it. I didn’t have much of a reaction. I just took a screenshot of a moment when she was smiling because I wanted to see one last smile. 

I was feeling so numb and cold still, so I wasn’t immediately sad. 

She changed her mind a minute after she said it. She decided that we should try make things work. 

Before her, I had believed that once you breakup with someone, it’s done forever. I believed that you could never get back with an ex. 

Now as I write this, I believe differently. 

But in that moment I still believed that. I tried a bit harder, and it had a noticeable positive impact. I still had my doubts though- I wanted to go back and visit her, but at the same time felt afraid. 

I feared she would break up with me while I was there, or that she wouldn’t treat me right and make some of the mistakes she made while I was there. 

My financial situation was still not good, so I was worried about going. 

We began to feel more love for each other, and feel more connection. We began to reconnect, but my head was still up in the clouds about that one bad decision I made going back to Cyprus…

Sofia 3.0: Thailand Plans

I decided, while in my head fantasy land, I should travel to Thailand. I purchased the flight. She was actually supportive of it too because I had talked about it so much; she understood me and wanted to make it work.

The problem was, I didn’t know if I’d be able to go back to visit her. I might have to do my wisdom surgery in Sofia 3.0 before Thailand, or I’d have to do it in Thailand. 

I of course “could” in theory, but I felt hesitant. I was worried things would go wrong and I’d lose money. I was worried she’d break up and I’d have to purchase an expensive AirBNB instead of staying with her. 

Suddenly I was in a position where I wanted things to work with this girl, but due to finances, problems created in the relationship by both our own faults, and the upcoming Thailand flight…

And because of my belief in that once you break up with someone it’s done forever, I felt like in a way she had already broken up with me…

Sofia 3.0: Real Alarms

I broke up with her. It was so unbelievably painful. I still can’t believe I did it to this day, and that it’s actually real. 

I asked my intuition whether I should do it- and my intuition actually leaned towards staying with her I think, but in my logical fantasy land it wouldn’t work out; I would go to Thailand, love it, then decide to live there and she’d be in Germany 

She wanted me to be in Bulgaria for new years, and so that we wouldn’t be apart for too long- I would’ve wanted that as well, but traveling between Bulgaria & Thailand would’ve defeated the point of saving $ by traveling to Thailand in the first place (actually if I would’ve got a local Thai apartment then it would’ve been possible to save money like this). 

When I tried to “feel into” the decision, I would just feel my love for her. There was no obvious “no” that came with a certain decision- so I figured it wouldn’t matter which pass I took, but next time I’ll follow the love a bit. 

If I would’ve kept her, perhaps she would’ve broken up with me. Or Thailand would’ve happened as it did, and then I’d be going back to Germany very soon anyways! 

It’s hard to say what would’ve happened; this is how it happened. 

As I keep saying, I would totally go back and tell her everything that I have learned about myself, and everything that I’ve learned about making a relationship thrive even in tough circumstances. 

That would’ve changed the flow of things and we no doubt could’ve grown past the challenges. 

Perhaps now you can more clearly see how my decision to go to Cyprus instead of Thailand created a negative chain of events? Or how me becoming a complacent “victim” led to this as well? 

There is no doubt she made her mistakes too; this is me owning all of my mistakes. 

Sofia 3.0: Recovery & Shrooms

It was so unbelievably painful. I wrote down in my journal “I HATE TRAVEL” the next day after we broke up. 

She wanted to pay for half of my flight to go back to Germany to try make things right, and I was highly considering it- but I wasn’t willing to make a commitment to her yet. 

I still felt uncertain she’d treat me better (from her previous mistakes), and I especially now felt like she’d break up with me while I was there- this was a silly worry, but given my financial situation still wasn’t so good, I wasn’t feeling so confident to going. 

I ended up deciding to wait; however had I decided to just go and make that commitment, she very well could’ve made things better on her end- I guess I still had some maturing & growing to do. 

After the break up, because I still slightly believed that “once its over its over,” I wrote down all of the things I didn’t like up her/us to remind myself. 

This led to me over the next month or two being too negative & critical of her and the relationship than I should’ve been. 

It was an ego defense; rather than just feeling & processing my emotions, or even opening my heart to giving things another go (this time with both of us improving), I locked myself up and made myself “right” and her “wrong.” 

A few weeks after the break up, I took a huge dose of magic mushrooms. It caused me to have a complete ego death. 

I cried for the entire trip- I saw our love, I saw many ways in which we could’ve done things better! Perhaps in Germany had we even taken a magic mushroom trip we would’ve “woken up” to our love rather than letting petty problems like immigration to Germany or her University problems get in between our relationship! 

I still wanted to try go my own way, rather than re-open my heart back up. It wasn’t fair to her to treat her this way, and I wish I could’ve acted differently after the break up. Being very negative & critical of her as a defense mechanism didn’t help as well.

Now as I write this, I fear that if there was any chance of us getting back together, it may be gone. I could be wrong, I’m going to feel things out in the meantime and be very careful not to hurt her anymore (for now giving her the time & space).

Anyways, the shrooms prevented me from really getting over her, IF there was any chance. I felt worse, but perhaps feeling worse is what I needed? 

I felt better in my head, in my ego, proclaiming that I was right and focusing on her faults, but that is no way to live… as I write this story I am humbled by my own faults; judging her does not improve her, or me. 

The shrooms shattered my mind. I was out of it for the week after, and since that trip in random moments sometimes I will question “who the reality of I am, or who is the me that does this, or why do I want XYZ?” 

I guess you could say I broke my mind? 

Or perhaps it gave me what I needed; it opened my heart up to the growth that it needed. It shattered my mind, so that now I could learn about all of the ways the relationship could’ve worked out. 

Sofia 3.0: Goodbyes

Saying goodbye to my friends was tough. Little did I realize just how much they were helping me after the break-up. 

Some of my friends were certain that I’d be “perfectly fine” once I got to Thailand. Others suggested I hooked up with girls to get over my ex. 

Alas; this was too idealistic! We men clearly need the feminine energy because we are so idealistic and not so realistic in our thoughts.

My friends were helping me a ton. I was struggling with the break up but still slightly happy in Sofia because of the friends & lifestyle I was surrounded with. 

My friends in Sofia are amazing- I have some super deep connections. Despite all of the pain I had some good parties & fun before I left. 

Saying goodbye was hard, but I was going to go to Thailand…

Bangkok: Arrival

Arriving in Bangkok was exhilarating. I didn’t experience much jet lag for some reason- I guess you could say by this point in my life I was getting quite used to long-haul trans-continental flights! 

When I arrived in Bangkok, I was complete shocked by the traffic. It was just as insane as you could imagine it, but even more. 

There are motorbikes everywhere. Sitting down to observe Bangkok traffic is entertainment itself. 

I had to kill an hour or two until I could drop my stuff in my AirBNB, so I wandered around and purchased some Thai street food. 

It was super cheap and super delicious. I sat on the ground and watched people pass me by. 

One thing I observed very quickly was that Thai people are very friendly! 

People kept walking by and smiling at me. A few people bowed. They were so kind. 

At first I thought that they were smiling at me because I had food on my face or looked like a mess or something like that- then I realized Bangkok is called the “land of smiles” for a reason! 

It was exhilarating: I was finally fulfilling my dream of going to Thailand! And the people were amazing! 

When I walked to my AirBNB, I random Thai man made conversation with me. I was expecting him to try sell me something or ask for $, but it was a genuine, heart to heart conversation with good recommendations for Bangkok.

Bangkok: Excitement

I had a German friend in Bangkok that I was good friends with in Sofia. We met the next day and explored together (he had lived there before and knew the area).

Aside: The funny thing about this German friend is that he later came to similar conclusions about me for dating, life, home base, etc. in that it’s the people that matter most rather than traveling- we realized love & friendship are the most important things. He hadn’t realized this until we both left Bangkok at around the same time. 

He saw me looking at a Thai girl, so he introduced me to her. We ended up going out but there was nothing special between us- Thai girls aren’t really my type. 

He showed me to some delicious restaurants. We also went to a rooftop bar which was amazing as well! 

The next day I also rode on the back of a “motorcycle taxi.” This is exactly how it sounds: a motorbike driver takes you to wherever you want. 

It’s scary & dangerous, so don’t do it regularly, but for short distances it’s great. 

We had fun and the first few days of Bangkok were exhilarating because of the newness.

I saw wonderful temples, got amazing massages, ate delicious food, and enjoyed the culture of Bangkok. All while doing this though, I couldn’t help but feel a ping of loneliness. 

Now broken up with my ex-girlfriend, I was feeling lonely. The shrooms trip also had instilled some type of “ego death” inside of me, so I didn’t feel like “I” existed- I felt like I only existed in relation to other people, or that my ex-girlfriend was a literal part of me that I lost. 

Things didn’t mean as much as they would with her- even though I was a workaholic dreamer in Poland & Germany, they were no doubt more fulfilling because I was sharing the experience with someone that meant a lot to me rather than being alone. 

Culture shock no doubt played a huge role in this as well. I was seriously struggling to adjust to the loudness & insanity of Bangkok. 

After a few days in Bangkok, I ended up meeting with a girl from Tinder. She was meeting with people from Couchsurfing, so we were all going to party on Khao San road (the crazy party area) together. 

It was an amazing night. I got the group laughing a ton, we all enjoyed it, and I drank a bit too! 

The people I met were great- everyone was kind but also fun. 

Bangkok: Crazy Girls & Ringing Ears

At the end of the night, the girl ended up coming home with me. She had nowhere else to go. 

She wanted to have sex, but it didn’t feel right at all. I missed my ex so much. It felt like cheating on my ex just to be around this girl who liked me so much. 

I ended up pushing her aside and telling her no. She was so tired she fell asleep instantly, and thankfully left very early. 

That night my ears were ringing so much. My right ear felt slightly muffled. It was terrible. 

They didn’t get better for like a week after that. I spent the rest of Bangkok wearing ear plugs while out and about because my ears felt so sensitive and fucked up. 

I felt super sad after that night, like I said, as if I had cheated on my ex- even though I was single. I had listened to my friends who told me that meeting other girls would help me get over her, but it wasn’t! 

In fact, the more girls that I met, the more I missed my ex. This is strange- in fact, for all of my past ex-girlfriends meeting more girls has always helped; in the case of this ex, meeting more girls makes me want her more. 

For white guys with online businesses, Thai girls go crazy. I don’t like it. It feels too plastic; they clearly only want me because I’m rich in their country! There’s no authenticity to it at all. 

A couple nights later I tried going out with another Thai girl. I didn’t do anything special, in fact I was actually bored around her. 

She somehow ended up giving me a head massage, and as I mentioned earlier in this story “physical touch” is one of my love languages. 

My ears were ringing, I was tense, I missed my ex, but somehow she gave a really good head massage that was super relaxing. Somehow she ended up coming to my place…

We hooked up. It was the first time I ever hooked up with a girl in my life. 

I was very nervous but she kept doing the head massage & other tricks in order to relax me. She clearly knew what she was doing…

It felt good in the moment. After I wanted nothing to do with her. I made one million excuses as fast as I could to get rid of her. It didn’t feel right. I missed my fucking ex! 

I decided at this point that I’d stop trying to cover the wound of my ex with other girls like so many people online & offline recommended. At least with this girl, it wasn’t working. 

Who knows, maybe soulmates actually do exist and it is just showing that I need to be with her? Either that or I need to work on myself; you can clearly see by me writing this that I’ve matured a lot, and I’ve grown a ton- I’ve realized just how many mistakes I made without even realizing it in those moments! 

Since then I haven’t really gone out with other girls. I’ve decided to give myself time, and maybe even try rekindle things with my ex (but waiting to see how I feel about it, and also give her more time to process so it doesn’t hurt her). 

Bangkok: Depression

The experience with both those girls, the culture shock, and the loneliness and heartbreak were are settling on after those first 4-5 days. 

I felt kind of depressed for the rest of Bangkok. My ears were fucking hurting too from the loud ass music on Khao San! 

I felt so lost & confused. A part of me considered going back to Bulgaria, but I received a lot of shit from the immigration officer when leaving for entering/leaving Bulgaria so many times- I decided when I return I get full residency or “lose” my passport. 

The rest of Bangkok went by quickly and I didn’t do anything special. I kind of retreated back into the whole “victim” thing. I was also simply exhausted. 

I spent most of my time quietly exploring, relaxing at home, or getting massages. I hung out again with my German friend, and he was starting to get more mature perceptions on life like I was. 

We played video games together at a VR bar which was a ton of fun. Other than that, there was nothing too special of Bangkok. 

Bangkok: Motorcycle Insanity

I tried to call a taxi in order to get to the airport- the BTS station didn’t go to the airport I needed to take to Chiang Mai. 

In Chiang Mai I scheduled my wisdom teeth surgery, and I’d also have my other dental work done there as well. 

The plan was to stay a few weeks in Chiang Mai, then either extend or travel to other places in Thailand or Bali such as the islands I really wanted to see. 

The taxi didn’t come. Someone accepted the order on “Grab,” Thailand’s taxi app, but then they rejected it! No one accepted my new offers. No taxis were pulling over when I hailed them. 

Suddenly a motorcycle taxi came up to me. He smiled, “I can take you! Which airport?” 

I laughed and showed him my giant backpack & suitcase- there was no way that was going to work! 

I tried to hail another taxi, but it didn’t stop. I checked Google Maps, and saw that there was some construction & car accidents. There would be no way of making the flight by car taxi… 

I took a deep breath and felt into my body, into my intuition: “should I do this,” I asked myself. 

Yes.

Next thing I know I’m on the back of a motorbike taxi with my fucking giant 80L world travel backpack and balancing a suitcase in between me and the driver. 

My giant backpack hung off the edge of the motorbike. I held on for dear life. 

It was a strain on all my muscles in order to balance everything without risk of falling off. 

We sped between cars, we went fast on the highway, oh man this was terrifying

It doesn’t get more “Bangkok” than balancing a suitcase & giant world travel backpack and two people on a motorbike racing through traffic! 

I lived though. I fucking lived..

Chiang Mai: Arrival

Chiang Mai was much more beautiful & laid-back than Bangkok… thank goodness! 

It is also a bit cooler being up in the mountains, which was nice. The temperature is actually perfect in Winter- it is a bit warmer during the day, but in the evenings, mornings, and nights the temperature is perfect. 

I was feeling a bit lonely & lost in Chiang Mai. I was missing my ex so much, an because of the ego death magic mushroom trip trying so hard to put back together my ego by thinking of all her negative aspects rather than opening myself up to self-improvement.

I was slumping back into “victim” rather than “warrior” mode. I didn’t make a huge effort to go out and meet people. Culture shock made it hard to deal with the new aspects of Chiang Mai. 

My experiences were nonetheless pleasant. The people I did meet were kind & good. 

Chiang Mai: Lies

All of the digital nomads hype up one particular area called “Nimman.” I don’t fucking understand why. I wrote something mean about digital nomads that hype up Nimman, but I left it out…

There are so many better, more authentic areas to Chiang Mai than Nimman. 

Don’t get me wrong- Nimman is quite cool, but it doesn’t make sense why people would hype up the area. 

First, apartments are the most expensive here, and there’s no particular benefit to it. Food is also most expensive. You can live in a nearby neighborhood for 1/2 the cost- that’s enough money for you to rent a monthly scooter and still be saving money.

Second, it’s on the departure flight path of Chiang Mai airport. The airport is literally a mile and a half away from Nimman. I can’t believe I didn’t check this before booking my apartment and getting bombarded with Earth-shaking rumbles every 5 minutes as planes flew just overhead me. 

Do you enjoy getting awoken at 1AM because a giant ass plane is departing from Chiang Mai airport? If so, live at Nimman! 

I just can’t believe no one actually talks about this. This is the important living shit, but for some reason all the digital nomads there got their heads in their asses. No wonder I ended up there, considering my victim & complacent behavior in life! 

I feel like Chiang Mai & Bangkok is where a lot of loser white men go to get laid with desperate Thai chicks, and to live a luxurious lifestyle because they’re unable to make real money online. 

There’s nothing so much wrong with the geographic arbitrage part, but it’s just something in the vibe man… You see a lot of old white men with young Thai chicks. It’s disgusting. 

Do you get what I mean? I did geographic arbitrage in Sofia, Bulgaria- I made money in USD and spent in Lev. But in Chiang Mai or Bangkok old white men do it so they can “buy” young Thai chicks. At least, that’s what it looks like. 

Chiang Mai isn’t that bad. Just for God’s sake don’t stay in Nimman. Stay in Old City, or North of the Old City. 

As you can tell, I’m a bit salty (this means pissed off) that I got fooled into staying in the Nimman area. It blows my mind so many digital nomads hype up this area. 

Also, the vibe in that area is that of a ton of white people who have never left the area. I get the feeling all the digital nomads hyping up nimman have never actually stepped foot outside of Nimman except to go to the airport. 

Don’t get me wrong, Chiang Mai is a beautiful, great city. There are wonderful temples, great bars, lots of fun, and the surrounding activities are incredible! 

I will definitely return to Thailand to travel again- but this time I’ll be smart. The only reason I had bad experiences this time is because I followed the footsteps of brainless “digital nomads” who think Nimman is everything there is to life. It’s lies. It’s bullshit. Get out of Nimman! 

Chiang Mai: Surgery

So, I fucked up on arrival. I didn’t make enough friends before my wisdom teeth surgery. 

The reason I needed to make enough friends is so that I could hangout with them after, but because they would have met me before the surgery, they would be okay with meeting me even though I couldn’t talk. 

The surgery was terrifying & painful. I did it as cheap as possible- no general anesthesia, only local, and no laughing gas either. I was fully conscious! 

They removed all 4 teeth in one sitting. It felt like the first tooth would never come out. They drilled & destroyed the shit out of my mouth to tear it out piece by piece. 

I tasted blood in the back of my throat and occasionally saw some blood splatter up out of my face. 

The most disgusting thing is when they shred with some saw-like device my upper teeth because the blood splattered onto the back of my throat and I almost choked on all the blood. 

After the surgery I was given pain meds and had to find my way home.  

I wasn’t allowed to take the pain meds until the bleeding stopped or a certain time period. 

Chiang Mai: Breaking Point

Very quickly the numbness wore off, and I had the delight of feeling my face without any pain meds after such a horrible surgery. 

My mouth wouldn’t stop bleeding either. Blood gushed out of my mouth and made me choke. I had to occasionally swallow, which felt like a stab in my mouth because of the surgery. 

I began to cry, and walk aimlessly in circles in my apartment. I was losing my shit. The pain was unbearable. 

I went to the microwave, and started opening and slamming the door over and over. I cried out, but not too loud because that would hurt also. 

The pain increased. Each time I thought it couldn’t get worse, it got worse. 

The world began to spin. Things morphed like a drug trip, but this wasn’t a high I was feeling. 

Where did I put the pain meds? Which ones do I take? This is hurts. Chokes on blood, swallows. 1 more hour until I can take the pain meds. What is time? Who am I? Who is the me that wanted to be here? Where am I? Where is [ex-girlfriend]? I need her. Oh God, where’s mom? What’s going on? I’m alive, it can’t get worse than this. Gets worse. Ooooh.

I grabbed toilet paper and placed it outside my mouth to collect the bleeding. Blood already splattered all over my jacket, pants, and shirt. 

I felt extremely cold, freezing cold. I put on more layers, and began to sweat from heat, yet I felt so fucking cold. Blood painted every layer I put on.

Roll after roll of toilet paper was used, and I was too fatigued to figure out where the trash was in this AirBNB. I threw the papers on the ground. The ground turned into a bloody war zone and collected blood- thankfully it was not carpet, so it could easily be sprayed off. 

Epiphanies began popping in my head about how I needed to get on my life purpose. I began understanding exactly why the relationship fell apart and how it could’ve been fixed. 

It was like learning from a magic mushroom trip, except I was learning from the reverse side of pleasure: insane pain. 

Whatever happened, new neural connections were being made and I was learning a lot as I suffered and made mental notes of some of the life epiphanies going on in my head. 

Thankfully one of the friends I had made before the surgery was a compassionate Thai/German girl who decided she was going to visit me that night and bring me fruit shakes, more meds, and other stuff like soup that I’d need. 

She’s fucking amazing. Huge shout out to that chick for coming over! 

 She gave me hugs, and I cried and told her about sad memories in my life and how much I missed my ex. She compassionately listened- she had gone through a similar experience when she had her wisdom teeth surgery. 

Eventually I was able to take my pain med, and boy was it fucking amazing or what? It relaxed me, took away so much of the pain, and calmed me. 

She made me promise that I would stay in Chiang Mai one more month after I healed up. I ended up breaking that promise because for some reason I felt certain I needed to go back to Phoenix- more on that later. 

Honestly, she was right. I probably should’ve stayed another month. I needed to relax and get clarity about my life, and develop my social circle there before doing anything. 

I can’t blame myself for what I did though- I hit a breaking point and started making stupid decisions. I guess you could say ever since I got booted from Bulgaria I’ve played life too much in “victim mode,” and trying to fly to a “better place” when times got too tough. 

Anyways, she ended up leaving, and I slept. The next day I felt compelled to buy a digital marketing course. So I did. I felt inspired to learn and grow. 

I couldn’t talk, but I could listen. The Thai/German girl arranged for a mutual Spanish acquaintance to hangout with me every day. Again, massive props to this chick, and special thanks to the Spanish guy as well! 

Recovering was a bitch. It was so hard to eat, I couldn’t hardly swallow, move my mouth, etc. I just after all had 4 large teeth under the gum completely shredded & ripped out. 

Even now as I write this my mouth still has some light pains if I move it in a certain way! 

Every day me and the Spanish guy would get lunch together, and eat something extremely soft. It kept me going. 

We had some interesting conversations, but because I couldn’t talk, it wasn’t so fulfilling. I wasn’t able to make jokes,  laugh, or meet new people. 

I was extremely fatigued and my sleep schedule became fucked.. as fuck. Some nights I was sleeping at 10pm, others I was falling asleep at 4 in the morning and sleeping until long past afternoon. 

The loneliness, break up, isolation, and pains from the surgery got to me. It all began to be too much. Christmas music made me even more sad & depression about my ex, and also being away from family hurt too. 

Taking care of myself was so hard, and I was already kind of in victim mode struggling to meet new people and have my internal fire back.

After about a week from the wisdom teeth surgery, I bought a ticket back to Phoenix for a week after that. 

Again, I can’t say whether or not it was a good decision. In that moment and for the next 5 days it felt like a good decision. The last 3-4 days of Chiang Mai were a ton of fun though, and made me question whether it was a legitimately good decision to fly back. 

I thought that some familiarity might help me, but oh I was so so wrong. I became used to being a foreigner, to living on my own, and going back to Phoenix just made things weirder. 

Anyways, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I hit a breaking point, or at least I thought I was going to snap. 

Eventually the Spanish guy had to leave to go back to his home, and the Thai/German girl was still gone in Vietnam for several more days, so I became extremely lonely. 

That is when I hit my breaking point; I didn’t know anyone there, I still couldn’t drink shakes from a straw, I was in pain, I missed my ex, I hated hearing the Christmas music, and my apartment in Nimman prevented me from getting good sleep because of all the planes- and YES I was using earplugs also! 

Maybe I should’ve stayed another month… I don’t know. The experience of Chiang Mai would’ve been much different staying in Old City or North of Old City away from the planes. It would’ve been dirt cheap also! 

Chiang Mai: Fun

As I healed up, I began to try be more social. I got involved on Couchsurfing again to try & meet new people. 

I realized that because of all the craziness in my life, I had stopped actually enjoying the places that I was going to. I was a workaholic in Cyprus & Poland- they are amazing places, but I didn’t allow myself to enjoy them! 

It was all clicking, but I had already purchased my flight out…

I met some cool new people. One of them was a beautiful German chick that I felt very genuinely attracted to. 

Going out and exploring with the new group of friends made the rest of Chiang Mai so much more fun. I started out this chapter negative because that’s how I felt, but the truth is that it ended so much better. 

Deep conversations and actually going out to enjoy the city rather than working all day or pressuring myself to be something I couldn’t helped me relax and just enjoy

I stopped trying to understand everything IN THAT MOMENT, or have everything NOW. By letting go, I found myself actually having fun. 

I discovered new & beautiful places in Chiang Mai. Rather than seeing the old white men dating the young Thai chicks, I hung out in the areas where I could see the local culture, nature, and beauty. 

The Thai/German chick had a really cool bar that I took everyone to almost every single night. This bar was exactly my style: it had fusball, darts, pool, and other games for you to play. The music wasn’t loud so you didn’t have to raise your voice to be heard. I loved this bar and the workers were friendly. 

The Thai/German chick was very upset to hear that I was going. I felt so certain in my decision to go, and yet here I am, reverse culture shocked here in Phoenix. 

It seems like there’s no winning with any decision I make! That’s probably because I’ve been making decisions in reaction to previous events. 

Like I said, I shall return to Chiang Mai. I had some super fun experiences in the end when I finally loosened up and healed from the surgery. 

I expected too much of myself to think I could break up with my amazing ex-girlfriend, go to Thailand all alone, have an intense & painful surgery, and handle the isolation and pain all alone. Of course I snapped and ran away! 

Staying would’ve probably been better (at least to figure out the next step in life, rather than switching it up). 

At the same time, I wanted to celebrate Christmas with my family rather than be away again this year. So it’s hard to say what was the “best decision.” 

I suppose in life there are only… decisions & consequences, but none so good or bad because good fades into bad and bad fades into good. 

Chiang Mai: Motorbike Fun & Fall

In the end what also contributed to my Chiang Mai happiness was renting a scooter to ride around. 

Exploring the mountain & other areas which I couldn’t previously access by foot or taxi was exhilarating! 

As scary as it can seem to “filter” and “lane split” (go between cars & do other fancy scooter stuff), I got the hang of it very quickly. I had previously rode a motorcycle and got good at it fast for some reason. 

It all felt so natural. I loved it. This was the dream. I didn’t want to go to Thailand to work my ass off; I was there to ride a scooter and explore beautiful places! 

Another reason why I thought staying may have actually been a good decision is because I could’ve explored the islands. 

Alas, my Spanish friend reminded me something: “You’re only 20, you can always go back.” Sometimes I get into the mindset of having to explore everything right now rather than taking my time and enjoying it. I also then somehow get into workaholic or dreamer mode. 

While riding the scooter up the mountain near Chiang Mai, I got into a bit of a friendly race with another guy. We ended up riding together and exploring together. 

Later in the day we were going safely down. We turned a corner and BAM! There were a ton of cars PARKED. There was no possible way to predict this as the road was clear for several kilometers before! 

I hit the front break too hard, but I didn’t pull the back break in time. I was turning and going downhill, so that combined with a front break caused the rear tire to slide out. 

I got tossed over the side of the scooter and landed on my belly. The street shredded my arms and legs… ouch. 

The scooter somehow magically flipped over and landed standing up- it ran with no problem, and the fines I had to pay only amounted to $90! That’s nothing compared to what it could’ve been. 

In the nearby mountain village old Thai ladies took care of me. They wouldn’t take my money when I offered, so I followed them and bought food & souvenirs from their shops. 

I also had a good luck charm from my ex-girlfriend on my backpack. I decided to give it to them for their good luck. 

My knees & arms were clearly shredded, but they’d be alright. They hurt for several weeks- even now as I type this a bit, but for the most part they’re all healed up. 

I spent most of my Chiang Mai trip in physical pain recovering from a surgery or scooter accident… 

Still, the ending was great being with that great social group! 

Chiang Mai: Tough Goodbyes

I had purchased my flight out when I was feeling crushed & broken by physical pain, loneliness, and desperation. 

Then I healed my mouth, hopped on a scooter and lived authentically, fixed my sleep a bit, and stopped being a complete complacent victim and started going out to meet people. 

Saying goodbye was tough. Should I have stayed another month? I can’t tell, but as I write this out, I see that my pattern of behavior is that I need to stay in an area a bit longer to deal with the culture shock & adjustment behavior. 

Chiang Mai was a lot of fun in that last week. I hope to return to Chiang Mai and do it a bit more properly, either with a future girlfriend or when I’m feeling better solo. 

Phoenix 4.0

In order to return to Phoenix from Chiang Mai, I’d have to spend first a night in Bangkok, then a layover in China, then fly all the way to LA, then fly to Phoenix. 

It actually wasn’t that bad. I’ve gotten very adjusted to these long haul flights. My mind goes into a kind of derp state as soon as my feet hit the airport, and I kind of teleport into the future. 

Arriving back in the USA was very trippy. It was even worse than the last time in terms of reverse culture shock. 

That previous friend that had changed a bit for worse was even worse. 

On my second night back I was invited to “Phoenix Fashion Week.” I showed up with the friend. 

As soon as we got there he ditched me to go run off and take pictures with all kinds of different girls so he can appear like some cool guy on Instagram. 

I spoke with one girl, but didn’t feel any desire for her. We connected on a deeper level about sexual assault (she had one also and was starting some mission in order to help kids who have gone through it). 

Everyone seemed to be so obsessed with taking photos and “living through their phones.” My friend was a dick.

I texted him asking where he went. After a while he said “outside.” I found him, and he rudely told me to grab the girls I was with for a photo. 

I went back to look for the girls, a bit frustrated, and couldn’t find them. I returned to where he was- he wasn’t there. He fucking disappeared, again! 

I gave up and decided to leave. Because he was so rushed to get to the event when I picked up, I didn’t know where I parked. We literally parked and he was like “go go go I’ll tell you where you parked later.” 

I sent him another text saying “where are you now? Went outside, couldn’t find you.” This was really pissing me off because had I actually found the girls for the photo and brought them outside in the cold, they would’ve not been impressed had I been interested in them and it would be a waste of everyone’s time. 

It took me 20 minutes to find my car. I was tired so I walked all around the area, 5 minutes in every direction, until I finally found the parking lot. He didn’t respond until over 45 minutes later! 

This experience of not being valued was so painful. It made me miss my amazing friends abroad who value me so much- and who I value- people who I wouldn’t do this to and they wouldn’t do to me. 

The next day I met with him to hangout, and I called him out in a kind way. He dodged it off. He was so focused on Instagram, “look at this photo, that photo,” it was disgusting. Like dude, taking photos with tons of Top Phoenix Models doesn’t mean you get laid- and no one cares who you’re fucking. 

The plan was to do something fun together, but he veered the conversation the next day into his business and improving their social media & digital marketing, which is my specialty. 

I gave some good advice. I switched a caption on his Instagram and it gave instant results. Then I suggested we do something fun now. 

He exclaimed, “let’s make it a working meeting!” By this point I was getting pissed and feeling used. It felt as though he was just TAKING, rather than SHARING fun. 

I told him no. I said I could help a very tiny bit but I had my own work to do as well. We ended up doing a bit of work side by side, but it ended up with me helping him a bit more. He bought me coffee which I guess is cool, but in this case I wish I bought food too if I would’ve known he was paying and going into this taking bullshit transactional meeting.

I felt used and a bit disgusted. Haven’t texted him since. Other friends have moved on; they’re in their own lives. 

I wasn’t close with many people in Phoenix- my best friends are actually out of the city. 

I’m feeling pretty disconnected & out of it. I don’t belong in this city, perhaps I don’t even belong in this country! 

Earlier I had wrote on my blog about being so excited to move to Las Vegas- that was until my friend started giving me red flags for Vegas, and I’ve had my doubts about Vegas in general. 

What I know I need to do is get a “home base” to have stability. I need to have a “routine” in order to grow my business and live the dream life I’ve always wanted to have! 

It’s hard to say how much of my travel burnout is the ex-girlfriend thing, craziness, or that victim mentality thing I was doing. 

Here’s what I know. I was extremely happy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and I have been happy every time I’ve visited. 

It’s hard to tell whether it’s because of Bulgaria being a good fit for me, or if it’s because I fell in love, or because it’s the first place I put in the most amount of effort into building an amazing life into. 

With the whole world at my finger tips, I don’t know where to go or what to do. There are countless places I could move to! 

I do know a bit of what I like in a city; that narrows it down a bit. Even then I’m not certain yet. 

I wrote this out because I needed to clarify the story. I may add more to this section right here. 

In writing this all out I’ve learned so much about myself, my relationship, and my travels. I’ve noticed patterns of behavior and what I should do to improve things. 

I’m not entirely sure where the next place will be- perhaps I’ll take a stab at Germany again, or perhaps somewhere in the USA. 

I’m also looking at fully immigrating to Bulgaria! I also haven’t been to South America, so that’s always an option as well. 

No matter what I choose, I need to make a commitment. I need to sit my ass down in a place, build a routine, and meet people that matter a lot to me. 

Back in Phoenix, I’ve cried a ton. I’ve struggled with re-adjusting back to things and that’s probably because I haven’t connected with the deep friends yet; instead I’ve met people who have only changed for worse. 

I can feel I’ve matured & grown a lot. I’m more relaxed now, I’m more “icy” if you will. 

I am accepting that it’s okay to be in this “transitional” stage and I don’t need to know everything now

Still I’d like to build a life in a place- build a life where I can have friends, a girlfriend, a business, routine, and of course the occasional travels to spice things up. 

I don’t know if I can travel all the time anymore though- it’s hard to say. 

Writing this out made me very excited to re-visit Thailand and Southeast Asia because I didn’t properly get to see it. It also inspires me to visit South America! 

All that being said, I know the most important thing is building a positive life routine. Creating social connections, love, and all that jazz is priority.

Actually, the most important thing is quite frankly not being a little bitch. 

let my life fall apart after Bulgaria. I was growing fast for myself & my girl up to the point that I had to leave, and then I let myself start to slide back! 

No more of that. No. I’m done with that bullshit. No more victim mentality, no more not taking action, no more excuses. 

I will hustle to grow the fucking business, make amazing friends, and experience this beautiful world! 

It’s back to that determination & drive which made me who I am today. 

Now I am more mature; I am more like a real man. I have that icy gaze of a man who has experienced some shit. I have grown up. But that youthful drive, I need that too. 

A combination of the two makes you unstoppable. Of course, you can only get the maturity through experience so don’t try to fake it. 

I am who I am! I know what I need to do- it starts first with relaxing here where I am, rather than rushing to make a decision. 

I shall let things play out with the ex, and see what opportunity might be available there. If that is a possibility, then I may do a trial run & go “all in” with Germany. 

If not, then I am also currently temping the possibilities of Bulgaria, Vegas, Portland, or South America. Who knows! 

I want to figure out as soon as I can though. Writing this story taught me a lot, and it took 12 hours minus eating & driving between coffee shops. 

This is it. This is the story of my world travels. I’m a bit lost now, a bit confused, a bit “in between worlds” and dealing with tough reverse culture shock, but I’m figuring it out. 

Thank you for reading, if you are. And thank you God, Universe, or whatever for all of these amazing experiences. 

I feel a bit broken now, and as though life is some matrix game. I know that I need to pick a home, or maybe healing from the break up and getting back into traveling with the determination mindset without victim mindset is key. 

There is infinite possibility. I can’t say I’ll always make the right choices, but I’ll do my best. 

At any rate, my best moments have always been when I tried my best. 

When I was determined to be healthy, I became healthy. 

When I was determined to make money online, I did. 

When I was determined to create a social life & fall in love in Bulgaria, I did.

What will I be determined to do next? 

May the subconscious mind reveal it to me, when the time is right preferably sooner than later, and preferably as clear as possible. 🙂 

And then. Full on attack. Make it happen. No excuses. Boom. 

Until then,

-Michael