Is it true that we really repeat our childhood traumas over and over throughout our adult lives?
For the past year, I have recently become to believe this is true, both in my observations of my parents but more importantly myself.
This post will be focused mainly on myself but you can easily apply the reflections to your own life.
Healing it is something I’m not entirely sure how to do, but I am certain that it is possible. It’s just a matter of navigating said path and transforming yourself into a person that is free of the trauma.
The childhood trauma could be anything. In extreme cases people that have extremely abusive parents tend to have extremely abusive partners that also treat them the same.
The theory is that patterns we have learned and experienced in childhood become patterns that we unconsciously get drawn to in our adult lives because we are attracted to what is familiar.
The Destined To Be Lost: The Cause
Growing up I suffered from a sense of “not belonging” quite often. I felt like an outsider.
I’m not exactly where this came from. Perhaps being the first born makes you feel like this especially when my parents had to be busy with something. Maybe it was unconscious energy passed down from generation to generation.
Or it could even just be “bad luck.” I remember one girl saying I was “weird” when I was about 4 years old, and that stuck with me for quite some time. I always felt a bit “weird.”
In reflection I don’t think I was that different (if at all) but more so the problem was the bad luck in who I was initially surrounded with. We are all dealt cards early on in life, and never are these cards fair!
Growing up in my childhood became more difficult with a series of moves that were made.
In the 6 years of schooling before middle school, I went to four different high schools. One switch was due to a move of homes, but the other two were simply due to the ridiculousness of Omaha’s changing development.
Each time I made friends in one school, I was destined to lose them and say goodbye. Sure I had some stable neighborhood friends (thank goodness), but never did I have a group (as a child) for long in school.
I went to Katherine, Rower, Reeder, and Reagan Elementary schools. The first two I spent one year, and then two years in Reeder and two in Reagan. I believe it was even worse it happened like this because I was younger for Katherine/Rower schools, so the transition was more difficult to deal with.
By the time I was in middle school I felt like an outsider and associated myself with those. I spent too much time alone. I was angry and in grief often. I felt frustrated. I felt disconnected and alone.
Worse yet I had unconsciously embraced the identity of being “different” and “weird.” The bullies like vultures smelled this and used me as their punching bag.
On one occasion at least 20 kids created an elaborate plan to trap me and attack me. I tried to leave school on one hallway where 5 kids blocked. Then I tried another where another 5 blocked it. So there was only one exit to go down- where 10 kids waited outside and they all got me.
No wonder that in America we have a shooting problem with such cruelty. Little kid me was angry and it weren’t for video games and athletics, I would’ve lost my mind (let’s be real, I was already losing my mind and filled with violent, deadly RAGE).
If it weren’t for inspiring YouTubers I started to watch that promised me a better future, I likely would have crossed over to the dark side because I would’ve believed that all there is to reality is that.
In High School I improved but only by a short margin. I felt like an outsider and felt broken by this point.
When I finally got a girlfriend, we had to break up because I was moving to Phoenix.
Did this set the stage for my adult life?
Reflecting on the Past 3 Years
It’s scary to see the similarities between my childhood and the past few years. Don’t get me wrong it’s 100x better (no, tens of thousands of times better) but there’s one recurring theme:
The Outsider. The Traveler.
I’ve often felt like an outsider in many countries, and disconnected from my own country. I’ve struggled to find a place that felt like home, except when in love with my ex.
Perhaps it’s not the place anyways, but the people you are with?
Regardless, I’ve been addicted to travel and it felt like I lost a bit of control over it in 2018. Even now it feels hard to get a grip sometimes.
I know logically that I need a “home base,” but now I’m at a point where I’ve traveled so much that it’s super difficult to imagine staying in one place for even 6 months straight nonetheless a year or years!
Only recently have I considered that to solve this problem I must go inward- instead of going outward. The problem isn’t outside me. It’s inside me. I unconsciously choose all of this.
Every time I start to adjust to a place, it seems I have to go because my visa expires. Or something happens. Or I already have bought a flight.
When I finally felt some peace in Bulgaria in mid 2018, my visa “expired” and I had to get going. That was the longest I ever spent in one place (about 6-7 months) in the past 2.5-ish years.
That moment felt cruel because I had a girlfriend… But we were both young and each other’s firsts, we had no maturity or capability to handle the problems that were tossed our way.
Was it a surprise that we broke up? I could hate her for her faults and myself for my faults, but as I reflect on it more and more I feel compassion for both her and me and us as it were.
Every relationship has problems but fighting visas and money and immigration all at the same time dulls every strong flame. At least in a dramatic argument there is passion and fire and make up sex. But there is no such passion with paperwork and long distance suffering.
Alas, it is so. I am in many ways held bondage by this past identity so unconscious that it took me years to realize it.
I am unconsciously sabotaging my own happiness by traveling, but now I’ve dug myself in so deep that settling and building a home and building a real life seem so far out of reach!
Should it be in Sofia, where I have the most friends and life is walkable and good? Or should it be somewhere where people speak English, and that’s better for my hobbies and business?
In any case, I must break the “outsider” and “traveler” identity. Already in Thailand I let go of the former, and told people I LIVE in Thailand and that I’m MOVING to Sofia. I LIVE in Sofia now, and NOT TRAVEL through it.
The outsider is harder to break, for it has deeper roots, and is the core issue which led me to aimlessly wander in the first place.
Breaking the Circle of Suffering
Through reflection and awareness, already I can feel the patterns of the past dissolving. You can only get more of what you have by doing what you’ve always done, so I intend to take different action to get better results.
At first, my goal was to have a home base by March or so of 2020- but as I feel a detached neuroticism taking over me again, as it did in December of 2018, it becomes ever more apparent that I locate this place to call home “ASAP.”
Unconscious Pain, Re-Manifested Repeatedly
The way that I realized this is I spoke with another long-term traveler digital nomad friend- we met in Bulgaria, traveled to different continents, then met again in Southeast Asia.
What I realized was this: we both likely suffered CPTSD as children, and were repeating it in our travels!
PTSD as you know is a singular traumatic event (ie. getting robbed and beaten) that causes significant emotional distress.
CPTSD (or complex PTSD) is repeated, subtle to mid level trauma (or high) over a period of years.
For example, getting bullied in middle school severely and constantly switching schools and losing friends was not as traumatic as war to me, but a state of little periods of stress that kept re-manifesting over and over.
Every day going to school felt like war. I identified as a soldier in a way, never certain whether I’d enjoy a day of peace or this way the day I got pushed around.
This type of stress creates a state of depersonalization, derealization, and feeling of detachment as the consistent stress begins to wear on you. You get accustomed to the constant pain, it becomes the norm but in it becoming the norm you lose yourself to detachment.
Me and my friend both realized that we were entering states of detachment again- when you know you’re gonna be leaving a place, what’s the point in connecting with people?
In the beginning I had no such problem. I connected easily in Montreal, Budapest, Belgium, London, and Sofia. But after I left Sofia that first time (likely because of a strong relationship attachment) it all began to feel meaningless.
I was leaving Cyprus, so what was the point of connecting with anyone there? Instead of engaging with life, I detached from life. Of course if you’re somewhere and you’ll leave there is still a point to engaging with the people there, but the problem is the sense of detachment prevents you from doing exactly what you need to do to be happy.
Travel has likely re-induced a subtle state of CPTSD to me and my friend over and over.
Where will you work? How will you meet girls? How will you make friends? When will you say goodbye? Where to eat? Where to workout? How to get around the city? Jet lag? Client calls? Visas? Immigration?
Me and my good friend are highly adjusted to states of constant stress. In some ways this makes us powerful. Drop me randomly in any city in the world and I’ll find a way to get by (well maybe not North Korea or ISIS-held areas please).
The Key is in Perpetuation…
But the problem becomes that the ENERGY wants to PERPETUATE itself! When you are happy you want to share that energy. And when angry, you wish others to be angry too!
So we’d adjust to stress better than most, but the problem is that we find ways to perpetuate it at the same time.
The problem would be that if you dropped me in a random country I’d probably unconsciously decide to go explore all the countries around it in an unsustainable fashion such so that this CPTSD energy keeps living on within.
We wouldn’t relax when we have a girlfriend, job, and stable life in the new city. We would claw for more.
Releasing and Transforming
This is why I’ve been believing in a lot of transformational stuff recently. The fact is that “I” am not capable of achieving “XYZ” because “I” am not someone who HAS “XYZ.”
You have to become exactly that which you want to receive- transformation must take place in order for change to happen, otherwise you will perpetuate the past.
I can’t say with certainty how to release the shackles of the past, but via meditation, conscious action, and reflection, I feel that it is possible.
Ultimately it also takes place in the present moment. I am choosing to feel belonged, and choosing to enjoy each moment as best as I can. What other choice is there?
Finally in each pain there is a positive.
In becoming an outsider, I thought independently and realized that success was incredibly easy to achieve. Most people are chained by the shackles of others. I am chained by a shackle nonetheless, but at least I got to live an epic past 2 years.
Ultimately no shackle is worth holding onto, it is against the essence of true freedom!
So I intend to release my shackles, break the cycle, and redesign my life and fulfillment as I see fit instead of letting the past run me.
And you can do this, too 😉
The ego is never satisfied. Quickly it habituates to each new level achieved, and forgets the beauty of the present moment in favor of a better future.
It never ends. It doesn’t matter if you have the power to live anywhere in the world, or be financially free- It. Never. Ends.
Years ago when I first started working on my goals, I found myself compelled with intention and action.
When I wanted to meet girls, I went to malls to meet girls- alone. I worked passionately on my business and had a clear vision for what I wanted the future to look like.
At some point, I forgot this. And likely it is so that you have forgotten this as well.
The paradox of achievement is that with each new achievement you lose a bit of your purpose.
If it is your goal to become great with women, but then you get a girlfriend, then by gaining a girlfriend you lose out on the excitement of hitting the clubs with your friends in hunt of a pretty face.
Two steps forward, one step back. If you’re not careful, two or three steps back.
At some point in all of this, as I sit here in a cafe in Bulgaria drinking a cappuccino without checking the prices, and ordering completely in Bulgarian, I have forgotten to measure just how far I’ve gone and more importantly what I’d like to do next.
The ego is quick to point out all of the desires and things I have not, but what of the things I have done and have now?
Is it not wonderful that I can speak enough Bulgarian to order, and am I not blessed to live in a cheap country abroad?
At some point the passion turned to dullness. The joy of routine became the mundane of routine. Desire took over, pointing out “wants.” A gap between the next goal and this moment was created, and in this gap I lost all my happiness.
It is sometimes useful to reflect on the past realistically. 3 years ago I had chronic pains, wasn’t working out hard, was a virgin, never had a super deep relationship, had no independence, didn’t live alone, was struggling to make sales online, and lacked self-esteem. In some moments I was suicidal.
Now I’ve been to Bali, lived in Thailand and learned enough Thai to order my food in Thai, to avoid the “foreigner fees” because I spoke enough Thai, lived in Bulgaria, fell in love and lost (but it’s better than nothing), and so much more.
Somehow in the process of all of this though I lost a bit of myself. My conscientiousness. Only now am I reclaiming this.
The first time in Montreal I was careful with my cash, on some days fasting across unnecessary meals and then eating $1 mac n’ cheese so that I could save up.
Somehow in 2018 lifestyle creep started to eat me. I lost myself in the joys but gave up some of my conscientiousness.
In the end I was always improving, just in different metrics. The total sum is going up but in some ways I have lacked.
The biggest lack I see in myself and others is that we forget to embrace internal abundance & gratitude and we forget to stick to our roots.
It is through the law of attraction that greatness came to me, not through a needy craving for more wealth or more girls. I met my ex only after an intuitive sensation that I would spend more time in Sofia.
Today, and the more recent days, I have been trying to reconnect with some of these roots.
For example, “Reality Transurfing” and “The Science of Getting Rich” has been two of the most powerful books I ever read in my life on manifesting goals. I’ve been reconnecting with these mentalities and beliefs, and already “remembering” that I can choose to be happy- right now.
Instead of walking to my work this morning with a sense of needy desperation for new clients I embraced the beauty of Sofia, expressed gratitude for all the scenery and experiences, and played some positive scenes in my mind.
My thoughts sometimes can become so negative. Why? It is as if it is programmed by another person!
I chose instead to play some positive “slides” or visualizations in my mind, of people respecting me and girls checking me out. Instantly I felt better, a good energy uplifted me, and I caught the eye of the prettiest girl in the cafe.
I feel that success and growth changes you- in the end you are a net positive, but there is a core part of your past that can be too easily lost to the past.
I’m better, I won’t deny that. I would never, ever go back.
I’m just saying that even though I’m better, there are key things in my past that I have forgotten to take with me. There is now a “remembering” taking place.
The passionate fire of the past must be integrated into the maturity of the present moment.
When I was 18 I recall going to the party streets of Phoenix to meet girls and practice my social skills. In one instance, me and some friends were kissing girls on the street.
Even in Sofia, before my ex, I had done this on the main walking street in the evening! I had approached a girl with such charm we kissed then and there, and hung out later.
Now I am a better man, and girls can sense that, but in some way I’ve forgotten my passion to take action and face rejection! I do not go out to meet girls alone so often as I did in the past.
It scares me less, but it still scares me the most of all that I do.
And is the same for my wealth- my skills are better, but there are actions and habits I have forgotten from the past.
Now is better, but there are integrations to the past that must be done.
Ultimately too you must become grateful for THIS moment, present to THIS moment, and enjoy everything as it is. You have already come a long way- why not celebrate it while moving to the next?
The tricky mind forgets how far it has come, always searching for the next thing to get, go, or be, but do try to remember where you came from. You’ve almost certainly improved.
Regardless of whether you have or not, be grateful for what you do have. Embrace that internal abundance within you and share it with the world.
Approach each situation with the most positive mentality you can, for no other reason than it will give you the best possible outcome.
On one hand, life is a bit fucked up in a way- but what use is it to perpetuate these beliefs if all they do is shackle you to more pain?
You’ve already been born, you have no choice but to embrace it. To give into life fully. To live!
But let’s start simply. You may write down now- what are three things you are grateful for?
- My remote work which allows me to live anywhere and travel
- My amazing friends all around the world which have guided me, helped me, and celebrated with me
- My mentors online that have inspired me with endless possibility
- And a fourth, extra: the fact that I take care of myself via fitness for the past year despite having been in so many countries and time zones.
When you are grateful, play positive mental slides, think good thoughts, and embrace life with abundance only more greatness can come.
It starts however with that initial decision to be in a state of abundance, which really is a choice.
I would like to start giving more, not only just for that sake, but to create this sense of abundance for myself and to share it with others…
“Why buy that course when you could find it online for free?”
I used to be a skeptic, too. But then I started investing in myself and some really crazy things started to happen.
For some reason everyone feels entitled to everything- especially knowledge. With Google delivering an answer (albeit not necessarily the right one) within mere seconds of a search, I suppose it’s only natural that we all begin to demand information be widely available, free, and instantly accessible.
The harsh fact is that it is not. In fact, as I’ve leveled up in certain areas of life I’ve discovered that often what you find on the front page of Google is just a ton of clickbait bullshit.
“SEO experts” are people that do a great job of ranking their web pages high up on Google.
It often isn’t the most accurate, relevant, or useful information that you find for a Google search but instead the Google search which is most SEO-optimized.
For example, I found it quite difficult to research what different laptop specs were because every blog post is filled with thousands of useless fluff just so that they rank higher for the search terms from Google bots and keep me on the website longer (which Google also counts as being more relevant).
When I type something basic in such as “HDD vs SSD” you don’t find the short, relevant answer that SSD is faster than HDD and thus significantly better to go with.
Instead you get thousands of words of bullshit comparing every little thing and breaking it down into completely unnecessary parts such so that it becomes confusing.
This is true with everything.
One thing I notice this particularly in is Facebook Ads- I’ve committed to excellence in it, and everyone is so adamant that they can find information about it via Google or practice.
No, you can’t.
The last course I bought was $1,500 (normally $2k) and contains the best information I have found in my life. The 10 hours worth of video content was more than worth it- how many hours it would have taken me to discover the same amount of information via Google? If at all?
Another problem is that you don’t have a good filtration mechanism if you aren’t already quite successful in the field. I often took VERY bad advice for things like Facebook Ads from the free blog posts… I wasn’t wise enough then to consider that maybe these people had no idea what they were talking about!
The fact is despite so much widely available free information the best is still behind a paywall, and rightfully so- it often takes the curators of such content years of their life to discover what works well.
I’ve noticed a couple other interesting things when it comes to purchasing advice or courses instead of discovering the information for free:
- You value it more, and thus are more likely to apply it. When you get something for free it doesn’t mean much. I’ve been given strategies that would’ve 10x’d my business if I had applied them starting last year, but I didn’t pay for it and thus never took action. The stuff I purchased now I’m applying because I feel I have to get my money’s worth.
- You save a TON of time. You don’t waste time on bad advice. You don’t waste hours, days, weeks, or months trying to figure out what works. You get an expert to give you the stuff, NOW.
- I seriously can’t overstate just how important time is.
We live in such a one-dimensional world, as if it is your wealth that is the most important thing.
What about time? And energy? It is a combination of these things that make life truly abundant.
I’m starting to value my time more and more, and in doing so I’m considering purchasing courses but most people are so quick to tell me “no, don’t do that!”
Everyone has good intentions but I don’t think most people know what they’re talking about. For a very long time I haven’t. I still don’t- I’ll openly admit that.
What I do know is that the quicker you learn something, the more likely you are to excel at it.
For example, to learn sales it could take you years. How many rejections and failures can you handle until you give up?
If you invest this time to ultimate success reduces, and thus your overall chance of success. You also can spend more of your life succeeding instead of bulldozing through failure until success.
Cutting the learning curve in life is one of the most undervalued things in society yet one of the most important things.
With the widespread availability of free information, we have forgotten to value just how transformational coaching, masterminds, courses, trainers, and bootcamps are.
In my life I have been quite stubborn, rejecting financial assistance, medical assistance, and refusing to purchase courses when I otherwise could’ve- but the spend would’ve totally been worth it.
Life is meant to be enjoyed anyways. Sure it’s a process, but the process is more enjoyable when it brings you results.
Here are some thoughts on how to cut the learning curve and succeed in all facets of life faster:
- Buy courses, and stop accepting free advice. The best stuff is usually behind the paywall. You’ll be more likely to apply it. You’re also giving value, and thus intimately understanding the buyer’s perspective (thus making it easier to sell yourself).
- Get a mentor to fast-track you to success
- Get a mastermind group or friends where you can “be real” with each other in advice-giving.
- Get a fitness coach, dating coach, or life coach to help guide you on the various paths of life
- Get a psychologist to help with mental health if you are struggling
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Of course not all of these are financially permissible at any given moment. So pick and choose based on priorities, but know that the help you receive (if from the right course/instructor/whatever) will come back to you significantly greater than if you were to fight alone.
A Deepened Sense of Priorities
With my recent Revelations of Reality, in which I have been feeling quite pained during my time spent here in Bulgaria, I have begun to think more of a solid place to call a home base for at least a year.
Southeast Asia has been primarily disregarded for a variety of reasons, including political instability, crazy drug laws, massive pollution, dangerous traffic, and the fact that the path to immigration is a bit more difficult and less-permanent.
This has left me with my Sofia, Montreal, or the American Southwest. I have unfortunately disregarded Montreal due to the absurdly cold Winters. Anyways if I live in the USA, I’ll be visiting over a lot anyways! And if I lived in Europe, I’ll still visit when transferring between both continents.
While I am in theory open to places such as Spain, I have disregarded them for the time being because I’m trying to avoid too much newness.
I’ve observed in myself a lack of vitality in the past year. In some instances I feel reborn with this energy and passion, particularly during streaks of NoFAP but also extended periods of time in one location.
For example, my last month in the Phoenix area in early 2019 was incredible. By the end of my experiences in Thailand I was feeling quite great as well, and dating several girls I really enjoyed.
Every new adjustment takes up a lot of conscious willpower, and these days I’d rather use this willpower on building social circles, dating girls, and growing my business. Or just having fun!
The adventure- the very thing which brought me pleasure- is now becoming my personal hell.
It is becoming more imperative with every month that passes by that I find a home base to return to in between travels. Anyways, I’ve been considering: why did I travel in the first place?
Perhaps it was to find myself. I feel that by going abroad I “found myself” and I also allowed myself to “be myself,” so now perhaps it’s time to head home and “be myself” except in the place that is truly home.
One exercise I have done in the past few days is ask myself: “if I were to die TODAY, what would I regret the most?”
A vision of my mind pops up almost immediately of a desert- I am living somewhere in the American southwest- Nevada or Arizona, perhaps even California- I have a motorcycle, a girlfriend, an established group of friends and am doing fun things with my family.
In the beginning of my travels it was exciting to meet people, perhaps because my brain could not yet identify that there was an inherent meaninglessness to every experience.
Building up a social circle, then leaving, has been super detrimental to my mental health. It’s made me slower and less vital when it comes to valuing things like social contact, mainly because everything has felt as though it lacks purpose.
Is this something I’ve lacked within myself, and should find within (and thus everywhere), or is it a true physical effect of the reality of my travel situation?
One thing is certain and that’s that something changed when I left Bulgaria that first time. It could even just be the annoying heart-break that I’ve had for quite some time, some months better and some months (since returning to Bulgaria) worse.
Instead of each new destination being an exciting adventure to explore and connect with people, it became a bit of a personal hell in which everything felt meaningless and without direction.
In Cyprus I said, “what’s the point of making friends, if I leave and will never return?” Yet I still value one of those friendships to this day, and we’ve called on the phone and shared valuable insights with each other.
So I can logically know that any connection is valuable, especially as I can return or meet up in another place, but emotionally I have become bogged down and slower in my capabilities.
This is why I hypothesize in having a home base to remedy it. It sure would be nice to have a place that is 100% mine. A place to always fall back upon when the adventure gets exhausting.
For example, the first two weeks of Bali were incredible but by week 3 it just felt exhausting- it was like when you’re full while eating some food but you just keep eating and eating.
I ended up living in Thailand, in Chiang Mai specifically where I had lived for a few weeks prior.
I became quite happy there, even though there was still a sense of pain and lack of connection with the culture.
What are the things that matter, that really bring you happiness?
Because the coffee scene in Chiang Mai is 15x that of what’s in Sofia, but I’m certain that having deeper friends is more important than the cafe scene.
This has led me to some more deeper, profound thinking about what I should do with my life in 2020. Namely: what are the things that matter the most?
Having a home base is high up on the list of priorities, and in my previous post I wrote about the pros/cons of Bulgaria. I’m starting to get a more objective grasp on the situation as I am not blinded on a drug-level high caused from love with a local girl.
It breaks my heart that that relationship could not be still…. But I need to move on, as she has better than me, and in doing so find a home base for myself.
Flirting with the American Southwest
And this is where the flirting begins.
The American Southwest- Arizona, California, and Nevada- has a culture that I love, climate that is incredible, a wonderful motorcycle scene (which is a bigger priority of mine), everyone speaks English, and there is still a diverse culture/cafe/human scene.
Last night I created a “decision matrix” in which you analyze all of the important things to you (ie. what do you want to do, weather, girl scene, cafe scene, motorcycle scene, cost of living, etc.) and then you give a “weight” to each one.
Las Vegas came out on top with Phoenix (specifically Scottsdale) tied. Sofia came in next, but by a large enough margin to make it considerably worse than the two.
I also listed some other cities out of curiosity for how they would rank. Surprisingly Chiang Mai ranked the lowest, which I was happier than in Sofia in some ways.
Now what I did last night was not good enough. I want to trust my intuition, though my intuition is so far matching the analytis. I still need to update the weights, the values, and the metrics to figure out what really matters to me.
There are pros/cons everywhere, but I need a place that is the biggest net positive. As does everyone.
There are some wonderful pros to living in Bulgaria, as referenced in my previous post. But there are also some stark downsides I’m coming to terms with, as this time around I am not letting my brain get hyped up on the drug of love.
This time around there is no one special to keep me here. With this factor of the equation out, I think that I still really like Bulgaria and would certainly visit, but is it really the place I should live?
Real Life vs. Living in a Dream
On some days, it doesn’t feel as if living in Bulgaria currently is matching with “reality.” This is kind of hard to explain, other than that it feels that I am “living in a dream land.”
Think of Peter Pan- the king of nothing. The king of a fantasy world. On some days, it feels as though I am the King of emptiness!
It doesn’t feel as if there’s any real progress being made here. It feels as if I’m spinning my wheels, not really going anywhere.
Part of this is probably long-term travel depression that I’m picking up. I am certainly slightly more irritable and frustrated, and things are feeling more and more difficult.
I guess for now, it just doesn’t feel like Bulgaria is the real home for me. This could change, and on some days it really does feel like a home. And maybe if in the next month I find a really awesome girl and more deep friends, that’ll change- but for now, even with everything I do have, it still feels like a sense of belonging is missing with the local culture.
When I left to live abroad, I “found myself.” I am now living more authentically than ever. Sometimes when I went back to the USA I stopped doing that, and again returned to a shell.
Perhaps the problem then is that I need to learn to be myself in the original context? Either that, or I must find a home abroad.
Bulgaria was the closest thing that came to that, but again it’s likely because love created a new home here. My ex’s heart was my home, but without that, this place isn’t quite what it was.
Creating a life
Ultimately what I’d like to do is create a “real life” somewhere. I am still not totally opposed to that being in Bulgaria, but I am considering whether it would be the most ideal long-term. Hell, even short-term as I would have to navigate a frustrating immigration process just to live here long-term!
I want to be able to date girls for longer, have longer-term friendships, and have travels/adventures with them that actually mean something. Instead I am often moving around too often to experience these things, due to visa restrictions.
This kind of piggy-back off of the sense of “not living in real life.” A part of that is the language disconnect as well. When in a group with Bulgarians, I can only catch so much. I miss the deeper parts of the conversation, and thus deeper, meaningful conversation becomes harder to obtain in a group setting. This is really what draws me to English-speaking parts of the world.
From Heaven to Hell
Finally, I am finding that travel of any kind- the thing that brought me Euphoria- is turning into my own hell. I wrote about this already, so let me give a more unique example:
Living abroad and working remotely is cheaper than living in the USA. That’s great, right? I can save money while living luxuriously.
Well, what if I want to get more clients and grow?
The very thing which helped me (living abroad) actually hinders my growth because the time zone difference and it’s harder to network with high-level people.
9-5 in Phoenix is something like 10PM-6AM in Chiang Mai- not the most ideal time for handling sales calls at all. I’d either have to wake up at 4AM, or start to work at night when I’d rather be partying. Ugh.
This problem isn’t as pronounced in Bulgaria, but still very bad. I am having to take sales calls anywhere from 4PM-7PM in Bulgaria. Again not as bad but still quite frustrating. I’d much rather do sales calls from 11-3, or something more in the afternoon!
The Three Factors
When it comes to the home base, I wrote in the previous post that it depends on 3 things:
- Daily routine
- Long-term goals
It’s hard to pick a place based on the daily routine because I’ve really loved both Bulgaria, Chiang Mai, and the USA for various reasons. I’ve especially enjoyed Sofia & Chiang Mai’s daily routine.
For long-term goals, it’s obvious how living in the USA is the most productive.
For intuition, I’m still waiting for it to fully come out, but I think it’s starting to lean more towards the American Southwest instead of Bulgaria.
It’s funny. At first last year I was writing “I can’t believe I’d want to live in Bulgaria.” Now I’m writing “I can’t believe I might actually move back to the USA, for a home base!”
One of the hardest parts of moving back to the USA would be the lack of ease of travel abroad.
Asia is super far from the American Southwest, and Europe is slightly difficult as well (though it’s now becoming increasingly easy due to affordable flights directly to Frankfurt from both Phoenix & Las Vegas).
This problem might be mitigated soon with upcoming direct flights from Vegas or Phoenix to places in Asia such as Bangkok.
For now I’d at least be able to easily visit Europe from either place, due to those epic flights to and from Frankfurt, Germany.
Phoenix & Vegas
The two contenders are Phoenix (specifically the town of Scottsdale) or Las Vegas. Both have pros n’ cons. Both are actually quite similar as well.
I can’t figure out exactly what to do, so what I’m considering doing is going on a road trip with some friends from Phoenix to Las Vegas and meeting my friends in Vegas to see what that experience would be like.
We’ll see if that comes to fruition or not.
The Decision Matrix + Intuition
I created what’s called a “decision matrix,” in which you assign certain aspects of a place numerical values to a place based on logical factors.
For example, one important thing to me would be the cost of living. The more affordable a place is, the more likely it will end up as my home base.
A few misc others include “quality of women” (how beautiful the girls are), language (+1 for USA because English), and how naturally beautiful the place is (+1 for everywhere in Europe!).
Currently Las Vegas or Sofia ranks the highest. I’m still not logically certain about Vegas yet, especially as it is reported to be more transient which I hated in Chiang Mai.
Though if there’s anything that I’ve learned from years of world travel, it’s that statistics hardly mean anything significant.
Example: you can research the “most walk-able American cities” and excluding a few more European-style cities such as New York City, you will have cities ranked that are obviously not walkable.
People say Chicago is walkable, but it’s hardly anything like Sofia or a typical European city.
People and stats can only be as good as the reference point from which they originate, so when you say things like “give me the top 10 most walkable American cities” you have to keep in mind that “walkable” is a lot different in the USA than it is in Europe.
So when people say “Las Vegas is transient,” I’m wondering just how transient it actually is because a place like Chiang Mai is truly transient, where 2.5 months would be considered a long time to have a friendship. Even the Thai’s in Chiang Mai are quite transient, coming in and out from their remote villages for work or government-related duties.
I won’t state anything with certainty yet, as I am now trying to practice relaxing into a decision, but I’m really feeling Las Vegas.
It seems to be a solid set up for working on my long-term goals while enjoying some day-to-day pleasures such as motorcycle riding & partying (minus one for Sofia due to Winters preventing safe motorcycling!).
Relaxing into the Adventure
In the beginning of my adventures, each decision felt like the end of the world. I used to get so stressed, research so much, but now I’m learning to let go, relax, follow my intuition, and remember that not anything is “forever” or “permanent.”
If I make a bad decision, whether in immigrating to Bulgaria or moving to Vegas (or something else), it is reversible with time and effort and thus not the biggest problem.
I’m also trying to make decisions from places of abundance instead of scarcity. For example, yesterday I went out with friends and had a blast so today I’m feeling really good. Now is a better time to write & research than when I’ve worked all day without social contact and feel stressed + worried.
What do you think? What advice would you give in my shoes?