Monthly Archives: November 2019

Trouble in Paradise: Chiang Mai Feels

It’s been over a week since returning to Thailand from Bulgaria, and that’s quite a mind-fuck. It feels like such a long time and no time at all… Ah, travel is weird.

It feels like Bulgaria was a strange dream that never happened. I wasn’t in Sofia for 3 months- nope, I never left Thailand!

I breeze through the BTS stops unconsciously in Bangkok as by now I’ve been in Thailand so many times and for so long I can find my way around no problem.

In Chiang Mai, my old mental map is still clear as day. I drive by an old park I used to run at, and I feel no rush to run there- I run there 2-3 times a week, right?

It hasn’t been months since I’ve ran there… So it feels. I’m in no rush because I was always here.

This feeling was the same in Bulgaria- as if I had never lived in Thailand. It’s like I live 2 double lives, a different person in each.

My English even shifted a bit when I arrived in Thailand. I spoke more of a Thai-English than Europe-English, for example I would say “I go to [restaurant] yesterday” instead of “I went to the restaurant yesterday” because in Thai they don’t have past tense in their language (so you just say everything in present tense and add “yesterday, tomorrow, etc.”).

I was here last year at about the same time- just in time for the “Loy Krathong” festival. It felt normal- I live here, right?

I made my Krathong, sent it on the river and made my wish… To find my home, or make my peace in this life as a traveler.

Now wiser, I realize that maybe the life I have carved for myself is with its pain points, but maybe I choose it. Maybe it would be more painful to settle, and so I must find peace in this life.

In Thai tradition, you send the Krathong down the river. You light the candle for Buddha, and as your Krathong floats away, so does your pain, your sadness, so that all that remains is peace.

I celebrated with a beautiful Thai girl who has quickly captured my attention- whereas before I may wish to be a player, now I am feeling more ready to be vulnerable. Perhaps I will go deeper, opening my heart to love (and potential heartbreak).

It’s great- Chiang Mai is wonderful. But there is a little trouble in paradise, as always.

Here I just wanted to share some thoughts of what I’m experiencing in this first week back.

Adjustment, Jet Lag, etc.

I sometimes get too hard on myself when I arrive at a new place. This time I’m learning to relax, accept the pain, and go with it.

It’s not that often I arrive in a new place and feel wonderful- unless it’s an explicit vacation. When you have to manage work at the same time, it’s quite difficult arriving to that new place, even if you don’t have that big of a workload.

Within just a couple days of arriving in Thailand I was handling sales calls, producing videos, and publishing content.

It’s difficult coming back though. My mind is still in Bulgaria!

When I wake up my mind says “where is the Rainbow Factory restaurant? I want my morning salad!”

I don’t feel so “culture shock,” as I’ve lived here before- it feels weird writing that. Like I said earlier I find my way around easily.

I know at BTS ASOK how to get to Khao San Road, or BTS Phra Kanong should I need. I know where my favorite restaurants are, and what I’ve gotta do.

I have some old friends (though not NEAR as many as Bulgaria, and certainly not as deep) and girls I’ve dated. It’s nice to come back to that, but my heart misses Bulgaria and my friends there.

Loneliness

To be honest, as great as everything is, I feel lonely. I miss family, I miss friends.

My passion & excitement may be in Thailand, I always wanted to live here. But the way my life turned out is that my deepest friends were in Bulgaria, and my family in America.

I didn’t realize how lonely I was until I did a meditation a friend recommended to me. I was starting to get all kinds of muscle tension and pain, a sign that there are deep, unconscious emotions that needed to be expressed.

As I meditated I realized I was in so much more pain than I could’ve imagined. It was like heart-break, except with all my friends and a place!

I wasn’t ready to leave Bulgaria- and because I wasn’t ready, I didn’t prepare properly. I acted up until the very end as if I wasn’t leaving, delaying packing as long as I possibly could, buying an AirBNB for Bangkok at the last moment, etc.

There are days where I wake up and I just want to swing by “Apartmenta,” one of my favorite places to hangout at in Sofia. I expect to see my friends there, but “Apartmenta” is too far even with a motorbike.

However, I should add that I haven’t made a big push to make more friends here yet. In fact, I’ve made none.

Tonight I’m finally going to one of my favorite weekly events where I know I have many friends- and in adding this event to my calendar last night, I realized that I had forgotten to text some of my friends I was back- OOPS!

I texted one “Hey I’m back in Chiang Mai” and he’s like “WHAT?!?” Other friends will be back in a couple weeks, as they’re currently on travels elsewhere.

One mistake (if you may call it such) I made when I returned to Chiang Mai after my stay in Bangkok (which was amazing) was that I went out with a girl I used to go out with, BUT she was only in Chiang Mai for 3 days.

Now, this isn’t a mistake in the sense that you might expect it to be. She’s awesome, I enjoyed hanging with her.

The mistake was that it was transient. She was here only for 3 days, during which time I could’ve gone to an event (or taken her to an event) to make some longer-term friends for while I’m here… You know, friends that actually live here.

I want to add that I’m not actually calling it THAT serious of a mistake, if at all, I’m just saying I should’ve prioritized going to an event instead of hanging out with just her- because as fun as it was she left back to another city, leaving me here.

One thing I’ll add is that I know I’ll be okay- so don’t worry about me. It’s just a bit lonely, missing Bulgaria, missing my deep friends there!

However, I’ll be going to that event tonight, and I’ll feel much better then.

Also I went out with a girl and we connected very quickly. She was exactly what I was hoping to find when I come back to Thailand, and WOW do I enjoy my time with her.

I definitely prefer the dating culture in Thailand over Bulgaria, where I feel that things are a bit too traditional. For example, one girl I went out with in Bulgaria basically expected me to pay for everything- she didn’t even offer, and I later got the impression she was taking advantage of my money and I chose not to meet her again.

However, I also didn’t get enough dating experience in Bulgaria to compare it to Thailand, as I was in work-a-holic mode for the first half of my stay.

The more I travel the less capable I feel of making comparisons between places as I can see just how contextual and “lucky” everything is.

It just so happens that in Bulgaria I focus more on social life and in Thailand more in dating, so it should be no surprise that I prefer each for their respective reasons and am unable to make a proper comparison.

Anyways, back on topic:

I feel a bit lonely, but I know it’ll go away soon. Also the “loneliness” feelings I realized is me not connecting with my own emotions. I was at first too much in the “happy me happy me” mode, and denying my sadness within.

The loneliness is also caused by the adjustment, which is energy-taxing. It’s hard to go out and be social when you’ve gotta run errands, handle work, feel tired from jet lag, etc.

Motorbike Troubles!

Not sure if this is a real problem or not… The first time I rented a motorbike longer-term in Bali, my hands/arms had no problems. Same for my first long-term rental in Thailand.

But then my second long-term rental in Thailand had a problem. The handlebars vibrated WAY too much. I asked to return the motorbike, and I got a new one which was better.

Now I again have the same problem: I feel that the handlebars vibrate too much, causing hand & forearm pain.

I took the bike for a test run before buying it, and I kind of feel that vibration. I felt I shouldn’t buy it, but bought it anyways.

The reason for this was with the upcoming Loy Krathong festival there were literally NO other motorbikes I wanted to rent (the rest being too heavy, too expensive, etc.).

In seeing that so many people were at the motorbike shop wanting a motorbike, I took the motorbike quickly from a place of scarcity.

It’s funny- I’m a marketer and could even observe myself buying the motorbike only because the shop was full and I was test-driving the last affordable + lightweight motorbike (scarcity!!).

Well I don’t know if it’s the motorbike, adjusting back to regular riding, or even my emotions (unconscious emotions tighten your muscles causing pain), but my hands fucking hurt!

I’ve known that I should just take it back and ask for a new one (when another lightweight bike gets returned) but I’ve been too nervous too. It’s weird, why am I so nervous? The worst they can say is no, and it’s obvious that I’m not trying to pull a fast one.

Furthermore they said yes to fixing this problem before!! Same motorbike shop earlier this year I had this problem with, and they fixed things for me before. Why am I so nervous now?

When I move to a new place, I tend to have lower self-esteem than normal for the first 1-2 weeks. I think this is due to sensory overload from the new area, jet lag, and other things taking my energy.

It’s so silly- if this were to happen in the end of Bulgaria I would’ve not fallen into scarcity and bought the motorbike and instead of found another shop. Had I bought it and wanted to return it, I’d do it instantly, not think about it for days.

However I should add that I am doubtful of just how much of my hand pain is caused by the motorbike. The last thing I want to do is return the motorbike just to get another that is worse OR the same.

Like I said deep emotional pain tends to cause muscle tension for me leading to physical pain just like what I’m experiencing. While a part of it is probably physical, another part could be emotional. It could also be I need 1-2 weeks to strengthen my hands to intensive Asian riding.

To add to my over-thinking, I fucked up dismantling the bike once (as it’s a bit larger than what I typically prefer) and I accidentally kicked the right side foot pedal with my left shin, causing a big bruise and a lot of skin to shred off.

The motorbike did not fall or anything- it was just me accidentally kicking some metal with my leg.

NOW it looks like I’ve gotten into a motorbike accident, at least for the past few days. I already have some scars on my knees from last year, and the fresh blood, scabs, and bruising on my left shin make the previous scars look fresh.

I’ve decided to wait to attempt to replace the motorbike until my wounds heal up. Now taking a look at it, I can see that in 2-3 days it’ll almost completely disappear.

It’s probably just me over-thinking it (no, it definitely is), but I don’t want them to think I got into an accident and want to replace the motorbike to pull a fast one.

Again, probably me over-thinking. Such is the joy of adjusting to a new place…

Bangkok & The Islands

I was really excited + happy to be in Bangkok. I met with a really awesome girl there whom I had seen there a few times before. I also met with a really good friend who is also a traveler, we’ve met in multiple cities around the world!

I almost feel a little stagnant in Chiang Mai- again don’t know if that’s the “adjustment” and my mind is looking for a quick-fix, or if it’s a genuine feeling.

A part of me really wants to try living in Bangkok or the islands down South! I’m gonna give it a little more time before deciding anything.

did meet a really cool girl here in Chiang Mai also, and there’s a lot more to explore up North.

Routine & Stagnation

Since returning to Chiang Mai I’ve just done the “same same.” I ate at the same restaurants, drank at the same cafes, etc.

I did this exact same thing when returning to Bulgaria! And to be happy in Bulgaria again, I had to chase the unknown, to do something exciting, to meet new people, go new places, etc. within the city.

It’s apparent to me now that this is what I must do to bring happiness again to me.

Last night I went for a walk down some roads I don’t think I’ve gone down before, discovered some cool places, and this morning I drank coffee at a new cafe I never went to.

I couldn’t stay long at the cafe- literally just 10 minutes, as I had a sales call. But those 10 minutes were SUPER refreshing!

It seems a bit ironic to say a world traveler can fall into stagnate, boring routine, but guys, it’s possible. I’ve done it!

The brain gets tired and it decides to go to the same places, do the same things, etc. just work and do nothing else. It’s hard taking care of yourself- going to a new place, etc. especially because there’s a desire for certainty.

I don’t want to go to a new cafe because the taste of the coffee might be bad. I want the same same good stuff… But I dared myself to do something new.

Tomorrow I’m gonna go to a new cafe also before work.

I’ve discovered that just relaxing alone, connecting with my emotions, and then daring to do something new fills my spirit up SO much! This day has already been SO much happier just because of that tiny decision to go to a new cafe for 10 minutes.

Social Media Addiction

I’ve known that I’ve had this for a while, but I have a social media addiction. It keeps me up at night, and wastes my time like nothing else.

I haven’t had time to do important things like buying new running shoes, buy motorbike gloves, etc. because I’m self-medicating with social media.

When I’m bored or eating alone, I turn on YouTube. I watch it after work alone. Sometimes it’s amazing- I discover an epic video, but the next 5 videos often suck and I skip around, desperate for a little more dopamine to ease the loneliness I described above.

No more!

I tend to do this a lot when arriving in a new place to cope with the stresses of adjustment.

No- I don’t want to cope. I want to thrive. So yesterday I practiced a meditation a friend taught me in which you speak your emotions aloud in detail (ie. I’m feeling a red pyramid-looking thorn in my bottom right stomach, it is shifting…).


It exploded a storm of sadness so strong that all I wanted to do was lay down and cry. That’s how I realized I was pushing things too hard, not taking time to connect with myself.

That’s what loneliness is, right? It’s not necessarily that you lack connection with others, but also with yourself.

In my desperation to be happy, I cut myself off from my own feelings of sadness. Instead of medicating with media, I decided to go deep in it. It is painful. It still is. But I feel a bit better.

Yesterday evening instead of staying up late I turned off my phone and went for a walk without my phone. Me, just with myself- I felt great.

Though soon my muscle tension came back, and I felt myself tense up as my energy was not flowing. I felt a compulsion to watch a video so strong, but I remained aware. I stayed with it.

For the first time since coming back, I woke up with relative ease. I did not snooze. I woke up with a bit of peace, and felt capable of handling the day. I feel… better.

This morning I then turned off almost all notifications, leaving just my Thai messaging app, direct phone line, and Whatsapp with notifications on.

My Instagram, sometimes Tinder, and Facebook Messenger always seem to be blowing up.

I can’t handle it anymore! Today I left home and did not post a picture of my morning breakfast on IG story.

Instead I sat with clarity while eating, watching the birds dance. It was really peaceful. I felt a craving to indulge in YouTube, but I resisted.

I wish I could delete that fucking YouTube app… Okay, I took a break from writing to move YouTube to the very far right on my phone, so that I’ll have to swipe left many times to reach the app.

Social media + the phone is a form of short-term “dirty” entertainment. It is not fulfilling.

Meditation is more fulfilling. The problem with meditation is that the initial 10 minutes can SUCK as you go deeper, as you feel all the pain you carry. But after, you observe in peace what is within, and sometimes feel just bliss.

I am committing to keeping a clear mind, to avoiding social media, and using it intentionally!

Of course I won’t delete it- I am posting on Facebook for business reasons, and IG is great for making friends. Same for Messenger.

But now I’d like to use it intentionally, instead of getting drawn into all of the notifications and rabbit holes.

Affirmations

Later today I may rewrite some affirmations to say in the morning too. This morning I said some, and I felt a ton better.

It filled me with a lot of motivation to get up and feel better. It makes you feel more capable of succeeding, of doing what you need to do.

Gratitude + Focusing on Improvements

I’m also reciting some things I’m grateful for instead of just being sad about what I miss in Bulgaria! I am grateful for beautiful Thai girls, the amazing coffee, my amazing client, etc.

Sales-wise I’ve been struggling in my business a bit, focusing only on the fact that I’m not growing substantially, but then I realized something:

I AM IMPROVING! At first I couldn’t get sales calls, now I have sales calls. Now I just need more sales calls, then improve my sales ability and then everything will work out!

I’ve changed the background images on my laptop to be seeds + nature-related things to remind me that I am planting seeds.


When I finally start getting new clients, it’ll be because of the work I did months prior, not on that day. I am setting the foundation for my business to grow. It’s a fuck ton of work sometimes and exhausting but necessary.

Meditation is helping a ton too. It’s like it resets your brain, puts you in the “now,” and thus makes you capable of figuring out what you’ve gotta do for your happiness (for me no more social media, workout more, make some new friends, break the routine).

Also, I just realized I only worked out twice since returning to Thailand. I missed 2 workouts.

That is also why I was probably feeling lonely/bad. After each workout I did, I felt significantly better. I will work out in a few hours.

Everything is Alright

As they say in Bulgarian: “Всичко е точно.” Everything is exactly, or everything is perfect.

Now I am wiser, and throughout all of the pains of re-adjusting, loneliness, business struggles, whatever, I am alright.

I can see from a place of wisdom & awareness that this is normal and okay. Adjustments are painful and sometimes difficult! I shouldn’t be hard on myself, and instead take more time to meditate, relax, and focus on the important things and don’t self-medicate with social media.

Now I am aware that such difficulties are normal when traveling, and that I experience such feelings when I go to a new place, even if that place once felt like home.

This is just my feelings now- they will pass, and soon I’ll be great again. It all comes down to the conscious choice to be great.

That’s all for now!

Thanks,

-Michael (:

Demon Humans: Protecting Yourself From Hell on Earth

I’d like to think that the vast majority of people on Earth are good- that it is only bad situations which turn them dark, and that darkness is but a passing moment, not them.

But even in such optimistic beliefs, it is impossible not to deny the darkness that lies within some of the walking demons here on Earth.

These people- demon humans- are in reality as they are described figuratively. Let one into your life and you can expect hell on Earth.

The thing about demon humans is that it’s the smart ones you have to be afraid of, or at least the ones that are “more normal” but still corrupted.

The less intelligent demon humans will go rob a bank, or commit some crime that gets them locked up rather easily. These are the obvious dangers we should fear.

It’s often visible who these people are very early on, and their vibes are powerfully potent- it doesn’t take long around them to feel a sense of danger so strong that even those most disconnected from their intuition know logically this person needs to be cut out.

The ones you should fear are those that you’ll never know are a demon until weeks, months, or years later.

These walking demons are “more human” on the scale from hell to heaven. They will have friendships, relationships, successes and achievements, and be “okay enough” to get by in society.

What I am describing by using the term “demons” are those crimes committed by humans that are not legally criminal- instead those humans that’ll ruin your life in every other way.


It is illegal to punch you in public, but it is not illegal to make you fall in love with someone, get you very attached, then cause you emotional hell, destroy your self esteem, and take everything you’ve got and leave you dry.

These demons are not just romantic either (but the romantic ones receive the most press)- they can be friends, co-workers, bosses, clients, anyone!

What makes someone a demon?


A demon will typically be a narcissist, have machiavellian tendencies, be a psychopath, be extremely bipolar (and take it out on you), or have some other mental illness that hurts not just them but torments those around them.

Remember it is a grey scale. Most people are not black n’ white. There is a degree of psychopathy, a degree of narcissism, etc.

The grey zone is what we need to be careful of. Those that are clearly dark will be shunned from society rather quickly, or commit a crime that sends them to prison.

The grey zone people (or even some of the smarter darker ones) will make you feel amazing- they will be charming, loving, or have only a few red flags.

We all have our personality quirks, right? How do you distinguish between a quirk and darkness?

The point of this post is not to write about all of the red flags because there are many, and I am no expert. I’ve just had a few experiences, done a bit of research on the “dark triad” and other personality type theories, and in integrating the knowledge + experience have become more naturally aware of what’s going on with the people around me.

These days I am more cautious. I am more guarded. I carry a big smile, yes- you must be enthusiastic with everyone you meet as to not turn off the good people.

But I don’t let anyone get too close for some time now. When a girl wants me to commit to her, I wait. I tell her this too, and remind her that she doesn’t know me either (if we’re being completely honest, we all have a little darkness within).

I am careful to tell details about my work, my life, my weaknesses, to anyone who might be able to abuse it. I do not have roommates, and do not intend to have roommates for a long time.

Sounds like a lot- sounds like I’m being paranoid, but if you met me, you’d never know that I think this. You’d probably assume I’m naive and giggly with joy.

Like I said you can’t turn off the many great people in this world being afraid of the few evil ones. You just have to be careful in how you approach any new person.

I will be giving, abundant, happy, free-flowing, all that without paranoia. No need to not enjoy an interaction- there are some “demons” I’ve met with whom I smile and talk when they are there within a group, because there is no other choice and because they still have a little light within ‘em.

The key thing here is to not give too much or to be naive. Give people the benefit of the doubt, but don’t trust them with your wallet until they’ve earned it- you get what I mean?

The thing you need to realize too is that the high-functioning “demons” (ie. sociopaths and narcissists) will not be recognized as such by everyone.

We all scream evil at the atrocities committed by those in the great wars, but few will see you getting backstabbed by someone you thought you could trust.

This is the great dilemma here- you can’t necessarily scream “demon” and cut the person out if they hurt you, or if they are presenting extremely red flags. Other people will jump to the demon’s back because the demon has only been given to them; the demon has not backstabbed them… Yet.

You need to be attentive to red flags when meeting new people without cutting them out too soon. There are good people with a few dark sides that deserve to be trusted and cared for, and whom you can rely on, but there are also bad people with a very good side.

All I can do is point you in the direction of learning about narcissists, sociopaths, and all that- it’s rather fascinating, and you no doubt will have stories of your own!

In the end there is almost always red flags. People’s true natures come out somehow before that “epic event” which ruins it all. In some rare cases there are perhaps no red flags, but in many there are.

You should trust your intuition too- sometimes you just get a feeling of “oh wait this person is not right.” Leave, and give it time.

Other times you may be lacking in a certain way (ie. business connections, dating connections, etc.) and feel that you are stuck with that person.

This has happened to me when I was moved to a new city. Because high-quality, socially intelligent people don’t hangout with narcissists and other “demons,” they cut out demons…

Thus making the demons easier to meet. You’re looking for new friends, and they’re constantly getting cut out so… They find you!

Other times the narcissist is super high-functioning, capable of love-bombing some people and making some connections. In these cases it’s also tempting to stay in their life because of what they have to offer.

Or the narcissist may have certain necessary skills for business. In these grey zone situations, there’s almost always SOME value or slightly good side that makes it hard for you to cut out the otherwise toxic person.

These are the situations I wish to raise awareness for! If someone is 100% rotten you will know obviously- you don’t need intuition to tell you because it’ll be screaming and your mind will see clearly what’s going!

It is those situations that are grey where it’s dangerous.

They’re nice for a month then start acting up. Is it you, did you mess up? Maybe you hurt them?

They’ve got massive value to offer, but there’s a sense they’re taking a bit too much. Maybe you aren’t that valuable after all?

They praise you when you please them, but as soon as who you are isn’t in total alignment with them, they criticize you harshly. Maybe they were right?

The sex is so good, and he or she is nice “BUT……”

The “friendship” was strong for 5 months, when “SUDDENLY…..”

These people may not even be aware that they are doing such toxic things, and good people also make some of the same mistakes that narcissists and demons make.

That’s why it’s so hard to figure out who is who! The good person will make a mistake, be genuinely sorry, and then make sure it doesn’t happen again

The bad person will make the mistake and then do anything it takes to get you back, disregarding your feelings at the same time.

It’s hard to distinguish between the two. That’s why I’m raising awareness for this to you.

One scary thing about learning about this is seeing those negative patterns and behaviors in yourself.

You may come to find YOU are a bit dark in some ways, and that you need to fix it. Although the pain of others will hurt a ton, it is even more difficult to recognize the darkness within yourself and heal it.

“Oh shit… Maybe I was a little manipulative. Maybe I acted the wrong way and hurt him/her because of that way. Maybe it wasn’t ALL their fault.”

Confronting my own darkness in the demise of my last serious relationship was the hardest thing to do.

Strangely enough, it doesn’t hurt that much. The pain from others will be more painful, but to just see what YOU did is worse.

When you become aware of your darkness, it almost instantly dissolves into light. The hardest part of your own personal transformation is complete. The first step, and hardest, is to see.

In the future you will not be so easily capable of those dark acts, for you will know that they hurt others, and even more hurt your own honor and integrity.

You can’t be dark because you are aware, and to be intentionally dark in awareness is true evil.

You’ll notice the pull of darkness when it comes. You’ve read the articles. You’ve reflected on your past. You will stay aware, and burn the darkness into light.

This is your inner transformation, and without the inner side of this path you will remain a victim to the darkness within others. Darkness finds darkness.

You may not be evil like a demon, but it is still that trauma and pain within that attracts you to the darkness of others.

Those that are light, that are free, happy, socially intelligent, and abundant in their lives can cut out so quickly those people that are not good for them.

It is only those that are desperate and in pain themselves, or also dark, that will miss the red flags the demons wave as they plunge their knife into your gut or your heart.

Ultimately remember that in cutting people out you are doing everyone involved a favor.

You are no longer feeding their darkness. You are taking care of yourself. You are opening a space for good people to come into your life- good people who might genuinely need your support and love!

You will become more abundant and light and happy, and be able to spread more lightness to others…

But it all comes down to that single choice to be aware. To observe the actions of others and even more importantly the actions of yourself.

Those that are good in your life treat well- and those that are not, no need to be dramatic. Smile and move on. Be authentic if they ask, but be careful not to get sucked into battle.

Know that darkness exists, even among so much light. Research narcissism, sociopaths, all that stuff! They are in prison, but they are also walking among us.

It is a crime to physically destroy someone, but not emotionally. So be careful those that hurt your emotions, and be daring in taking care of yourself.

You are an adult now. We all are. No one can take care of you but you. The fate of your own life rests on your shoulders from now on.

Armed with this awareness, I hope that you go out and take care of yourself. Be light, heal yourself, and free yourself of the chains others tie onto you!

Thanks,

-Michael

Embracing Freedom as a Lifestyle

Recently, I believe that one of the most dangerous words in the English language is “should.”

In many ways it is egoic, guilt-filled, and you “shouldn’t” force yourself into undesired action with the word “should.” Yet this is how we are trained as kids.

This past year has been filled with epiphany and personal growth, and one recent lesson I’m about to share with you is embracing freedom as a lifestyle- and removing “should” from my vocabulary, except when absolutely necessary.

For example, in my recent dilemma of whether I should go to Thailand then USA or straight to the USA I had in my mind that I “should” go to USA because “that was the plan” and “I am American and thus should try out living there.”

Note that I “must” (should) leave Bulgaria because of my visa expiring- that is a practical, truthful use of the word “should.”

But the second use- that I “should go” to America- was not fair to myself and let to an egoic split within my mind that made it harder to follow what my heart really wanted to go, which was to go to Thailand.

Eventually I came to the conclusion (thanks to the support of some friends) that it would be wiser to go to Thailand, and save my “mind energy” for dealing with the logistical issues of Thailand such as the difference in time zone, instead of living somewhere I don’t truly want to live!

Another example of this (and even better) is last night I was at a party. I wasn’t sure if I should go or not as I was feeling tired and a bit sad to be leaving Bulgaria.

I ended up going, and was having a blast. I then decided to leave, when some friends came together and one suggested we go to a club playing some great electronic music.

My mind said “I should go home and get some rest.” So when we left, I promptly excused myself and started walking home.

During my walk home I began to feel this sense of nagging… My heart was saying “no, let’s go to the club and party all night.”

Keep in mind North American readers, this was at 2 or 3 AM, and clubs in Bulgaria go until the sun rises! When I say “party all night” I mean literally party until 5 or 6 in the morning.

During my walk I reflected on this feeling- I asked myself, “Why should I go home?” No answer came up.

I was saying that I “should” go home because it’s “healthier,” but I also had nothing to do all day Saturday! If I stayed out, I could sleep in as late as I want, and allow myself to recover.

Furthermore I loved the party, the group of friends, and my days in Bulgaria are numbered. Why not enjoy some time at an awesome Bulgarian club?

I turned around and went back to the club, and partied past 5 AM. It was a ton of fun. The music was great, the dancing awesome, the club filled with great vibes and attractive women.

Today (the next evening) I slept in late, ate some food, drank coffee, and I feel good.

Deep down I know that had I eaten a sandwich then went home at 3AM, I would’ve been more tired than staying up until past 5 AM partying with no food. I could feel it in my heart.

When you follow your heart, you are gifted with more energy than is required to do what you want to do.

I feel incredible today- why? I should, by all standards, be more fucked up… But I’m not. I lived authentically. I’m not hungover, despite being hardly able to walk straight earlier today at 5AM.

Today I was talking with an awesome friend I made via a mutual friend about life stuff- travel, where to live, adventure, our jobs, dating, all that stuff.

She was very authentic and down to Earth, and in being in that energy field it made me reflect on my own lessons that I’ve been learning and applying in life.

For example, she had a very specific type of guy that she liked- and she was totally okay with that.

Deep down I know that I’ve felt more attracted to Asian girls and Bulgarian-looking girls, but I never admitted it publicly. I always felt some discomfort in admitting it.

But part of embracing freedom as a lifestyle is in being okay with the way you are. You have to know who you are, and what you want, and when you know that, you should just go for it.

Don’t over-complicate things with the whole “should.”

I had a friend suggested I live in Las Vegas to “learn how to pick up girls,” but what’s the point in going all the way there? It’s just a useless “should.” I know that what I like is in Eastern Europe + Asia, why “should” I follow a path to there?

In reflection, it is actually strange to not have a type, in the dating example. Most everyone I’ve met has common denominators in all of their past partners.

Yet due to society we feel scared to admit it. We don’t want to admit what we like or want, and thus we never chase our true dreams and goals. We get stuck in the loop of “should” rather than truly living our authentic lives!

When I write, I am thinking of the YouTuber Nomad Capitalist who says something along the lines of:

“Go where you’re treated best.”

He was saying this in reference to other countries in which you can enjoy a better cost of living, but also where you might actually be treated better in certain regards.

When examined though, and in a deeper video upon his life quote, it is revealed that the meaning of this is to be completely free. Just follow your dreams, your heart, whatever you want to do.

Stop worrying about other people, or getting stuck in the egoic notion of “should.”

It should be said also that this also means being careful about creating unnecessary life steps for success in your life.

The biggest example of this I can give is that sometimes people recommended that I go to a certain city for a certain thing, but the two things are vaguely related.

Example: “you should go to XYZ City because it’s great for business… Or because you can network, etc.”

People have suggested to me to move to a certain city or check it out just because the city has made a loose association with business or the type of work that I do.

This is a huge way I see people fucking themselves up- when I’ve observed friends doing these things, they usually shoot themselves in the foot.

Now, I’m not saying that moving to a new city doesn’t carry certain benefits. Obviously if Asian girls is your thing Asia is better than Eastern Europe, so on and so forth everywhere.

What I am saying is when there’s not a clear-cut statistical relationship between two data points and you make a decision on that, that’s basically just you creating extra steps in your life for no reason.

Some people say that Sofia, Bulgaria is not that good for business. Often times I am believing this as well- I would likely not have clients here as they can’t afford my rates, and when it comes to the EU you minus well sell to countries like Germany, Sweden, or Finland that are much more abundant.

However in reflection we can see that my work is online, and thus I can work from anywhere. I could have German clients but live in Bulgaria, or American clients and live in Thailand.

The biggest problem with this is that I am in a different time zone, and also unable to meet people in person. These are the two biggest disadvantages to such a thing, which are real, measurable disadvantages.

Does that mean I should move to another city? I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

There are ways to overcome this problem that allow me to maintain my life of freedom and adventure. There are still clients that I can close, and remote work is starting to become the norm slowly but surely.

In short, what I’m trying to describe here is that a loose association between two cities (ie. New York and business) is often made in people’s minds, and then people make decisions based on that when in reality they might be able to succeed in business (or whatever) right where they are.

This is the hardest “should” to overcome because as I mentioned earlier there are several cases in which moving to a new city will have tangible benefits.

Again Asia has Asian girls, if you’re into that. Moving out of the Middle East provides you with a safer political environment, as another example. These are tangible benefits associated with moving.

But many people confuse tangible benefits with general associations that are drawn up, so people say they “should” go here or there or do this or that when in fact they have not personally measured whether this particular action will tangibly help them!

Just Be Free

It sounds almost ridiculous to write those 3 words as you’ve seen similar stuff everywhere, but when actively applied it is completely true- and I understand it can be harder to apply at some times over others.

There are societal pressures, your own ego, friend pressures, family pressures, etc. but ultimately you have to follow your own path in life.

This is the big mindset shift that I’ve been making in 2019, and it’s been reconnecting me with the original dreamer I had inside me in 2017. In 2018 I took a slightly different path that was necessary for my growth, but now I’m finally coming full circle, integrating both sides of the coin.

If my heart decides that I should live in Thailand and not in the USA, then I should just follow that- I can always check out USA later! Same is true for Bulgaria.

No need to overthink it or burden myself with “shoulds.” You should (pun intended) save the shoulds for when they’re genuinely necessary, ie. I must leave Bulgaria because my visa is expiring and if I don’t leave there will be trouble.

If you want to work a certain job, just do it. If you want to go somewhere, go there. If you want to date a certain type, then just date that type and stop holding yourself back from what you truly want deep down!

Last night I really wanted to party- I wanted to party like that for a long time, but every time the opportunity came up I passed it up with a “I should rest” or some other bullshit. But no, I wanted to party. So I did it. And now I feel better, I feel more energized than had I gone home at 2 or 3AM like all the other nights!

To live this life of freedom, you have to know who you are and what you want. Then you need to just take steps for getting what you want.

I know that my heart enjoys living in Bulgaria & Thailand, so I’ll just live there. If my heart decides to live in the USA, I’ll do that- but for a large part of the past year it’s been a “mind thing” to want to go back there- it’s been something in my mind, not my true, authentic & free self!

There are still places I want to travel and adventure, and living in Thailand and/or Bulgaria make it easier to do so. It’s cheaper, why spend more and have to work harder when my heart wants to live out here anyways?

Like I said I might later this year be “all in” for the USA- or I might not. But I’m writing this now both to you and to me, just to follow your damn fucking heart.

Live a life of freedom! Go for what you want! It’s okay to have a dating type, or want to go somewhere, or create a business or whatever.

Stop bogging yourself down with “should this should that,” when really you SHOULD just follow your heart and make it into a reality.

As sad as I am to leave Bulgaria, I feel excited to head back to wild Bangkok and beautiful Chaing Mai. I’m highly considering- especially if I get a girlfriend- to skip attempting to live in America, and instead just fly back for the holidays then back to Thailand… Or even just stay there during?

There are other things I’ve considered doing out of the norm recently, such as playing video games or going skydiving. Instead of rationalizing these things away, I’m now embracing the freedom lifestyle, and saying “why not?”

“Why not?” is such a powerful thing to ask because it reveals just how silly your rationalizations actually are.

One way or another, just do what you want. Stop complicating things. Follow your heart! Be free and happy!

Finally, I will add that this doesn’t mean neglecting important responsibilities such as your finances- it’s wiser then to reflect on these things so that your heart truly wants it.

When I live more in tune with my heart, I feel more motivated to work harder and longer because I’m actually producing wealth to spend and save for things I genuinely want to do!

What does your heart want?

Go follow it (:

Thanks,

-Michael Keller

Leaving Sofia, 2020 Plans, Life Thoughts

It’s officially November, which means that my days here in Sofia are numbered for the rest of the year- I leave on Nov 5 to Bangkok, and then on Nov 8 I’ll be back in Chiang Mai.

It’s a strange feeling… A mix of excitement, but colored primarily by sadness. In this blog post I’ll be sharing some of my feelings about the past few months, and my thoughts about moving into 2020.

I feel like I’ve grown A TON in the past 45 days- in the first half of returning to Sofia, I didn’t really enjoy it.

A mix of bad luck and unresolved emotional issues regarding my past relationship negatively colored my experience. I entered a workaholic state as I tend to do, and in my mind I thought that “there” would make me happy.

There was, at the time, the United States. Surely if I go back “home,” I’ll be happy- right?

After the first brutal month, in which I dealt with work problems, a failing laptop, a second failing laptop, jet lag, heat problems (no AC in my apartment despite summer), unresolved emotional issues, etc. I found that I really started to enjoy it here.

It happened when I made a shift to consciously be more happy. I feel that I had forgotten a lot of the ways I could make myself happy, I forgot in a way how to take care of myself.

In the beginning of my travels, I was motivated to make friends, meet girls, etc. But then I switched from this when I got into the relationship, and my focus became other things, primarily health.

When that relationship ended, I had forgotten how to take care of myself in the social regard.

Now that I’ve “come full circle,” I feel great. I feel confident. I feel powerful. I feel “okay” with wherever I go because I know that I can take care of myself.

I made it my mission to go out and meet people, and stop hanging out with old, stagnant friends that I wasn’t really connecting with anymore. I made some super awesome friends, and began to meet girls.

For dating I decided that I had to do about 100 approaches, so I re-committed to “NoFAP” and proceeded to talk to almost 100 girls. I had an approach-number/contact ratio of about 47%, which is great but keep in mind that many of those contacts flaked, ended up just as friends, etc.

That is to be expected. Recently I’ve made a mindset shift where I’m totally okay with “rejection.”

I know who I am and what I want, and most girls will not fit that ideal and I will not fit for most girls. So when a girl rejects me sooner than later, it’s a blessing because I can find the right girls sooner.

Very quickly I found some girls that I LOVED. And I write that seriously- I’m really grateful for the girls that I’ve met, it feels like we were meant to meet, and I feel so sad that we couldn’t spend more time together.

Before I did this challenge, I also have to express gratitude to various friends that helped me get past my emotional issues regarding my past relationship. I realized that it was deep things within me being triggered, not anything to do with the relationship.

One friend took me through an insane meditation that went so deep I was seeing deep childhood memories and strange visuals- and no, the water was not spiked.

After that meditation I began to feel, open up, and let out the deep pain within. I was never that heart-broken, I just had deep childhood trauma that needed to be resolved and was simply triggered by the ending of the relationship, by the needs that were unmet.

As soon as I started to heal quickly, and learn how to observe my feelings and go deeper into them, my healing accelerated greatly. Connecting with new girls became a natural and exciting thing, no longer fueled by a slight ache in the heart.

New connections became genuine. My heart could love again, this time without possessiveness or neediness.

Old friendships became deeper, some drifted off and were replaced by new friendships.

Everything feels like it happened as it should, especially in the past couple months.

I am seriously considering living permanently in Sofia, but more on that later.

Despite its downsides, it’s “good enough.” No need to be a perfectionist. I’ve found my belonging through my friends, and we’ve agreed to mitigate the downsides of Bulgarian culture together.

There are many positives which we enjoy, but as with every place there are negatives. When surrounded by the right people, that doesn’t matter.

In healing myself, I also feel re-inspired to adventure again! A part of me feels called to Kiev, Ukraine, or Italy, or Finland, and so many other places to see!

I feel confident in my ability to take care of myself. Should I land in a new city, I now have an action plan to follow to quickly socially integrate.

The plan involves hitting up several events to make friends, rapidly creating groups (I’ve learned a lot about creating cool group social circles), and then talking to at least 100 girls to find the right 1-3 that I can create a relationship with.

That being said, I’m not actually considering starting over in a new city just yet. Most likely what I’ll do is live permanently in Sofia or somewhere else and then adventure to these places, instead of constantly remaining nomadic.

The plan now is to go to Thailand until about Christmas time, then I’ll be back in America for holidays + fun with my family. I’ll scope out Phoenix as a place to live, maybe Vegas too.

To be honest though, I’m highly considering a new plan for 2020:

The idea is to live in Thailand/Bulgaria only, no USA. You see, I got into this “digital nomad life” to be free. I wanted to live super cheaply and grow my financial resources as best as possible.

In mid 2018 I blew that all up and lost a ton of resources, and also fell behind on taxes. Now I’m okay, but I feel like I should be a lot farther than I actually am.

I love Sofia, and I love Chiang Mai. I also enjoy Bangkok, as much of a crazy place it is.

My current idea involves getting a 12-month lease on an apartment in Bulgaria, and then splitting my time between Bulgaria and Thailand.

I never considered this before, I was always getting new accommodation everywhere I landed because I don’t want to pay rent on a place I’m not using.

BUT then I did the calculation! And I discovered that if I were to rent a local apartment in Bulgaria, it could actually save funds, OR equal my current spend. If I live in Thailand also, my total accommodation costs will be LESS than my current AirBNB life that I’m running.

As much as I DON’T like spending funds on a place I’m not using, the calculations make sense.

We humans are loss-averse, even to the ridiculous point in which we actually make ourselves lose more than we need to because we don’t want to consciously lose funds on a place that in the long-term would benefit us.

I won’t share the math calculations, but basically it’s simple: paying for 12-months of a Bulgarian apartment but staying for only 6 months and then living in Thailand also is cheaper than getting an AirBNB every time I come back to Bulgaria.

This idea aside, I’m also considering revisiting the visa options to live in Bulgaria. There are two possible options, one more expensive than the other (and this other being more sketchy).

The fact is I am happy here in Bulgaria, and deeply saddened to have to leave. I want to spend more time with my friends, my routine, my life here! But my visa is making me leave. Grr immigration rules are ridiculous.

The possibility of living in America is still on the tables, but becoming less and less of a reality.

Though I guess we’ll see when I’m there… There’s a chance I could get stuck there! However, I really like the pace of life here, I’ve got many friends, and it’s also perfectly located between Europe & Asia making it perfect for my other travel adventures!

For business, I’ve just hired an agency to help me with some holes. I now have a full-time assistant working with me which is EPIC. The agency appears to already be delivering on their end of the contract, which is amazing.

Instead of pridefully trying to do it all, I’m hiring help where I need help- I’m trying to focus on what I do great and hire people to do everything else.

This is also why I’m considering living in Thailand or Bulgaria over USA. As hinted at earlier, it’s cheaper, and because it’s cheaper this means I can re-invest more into my business!

I want to save more, live better, and most importantly be able to re-invest into my business. It is kind of ridiculous actually looking at how I lived in 2018 compared to my original goals set out in 2017.

I fell off track- a lot of the “being lost” was necessary, but now I need to get back on my goals.

They’re simple: find awesome girlfriend (or girlfriends), have great friends, adventure, have awesome home, grow business, etc.

If I live in the USA, my cost of living will be higher, and thus there is less to re-invest into my savings or business.

Also, I’m at a strange point in life where living in Bulgaria or Thailand is MORE FAMILIAR than living in my own country. I was researching some things and realized just how different it is in USA- the fact is I’m more situated to this life.

We’ll see how things play out…

For now I feel sad to be leaving Bulgaria. It’s way too soon. I’ve made new, deeper friends and also connected deeper with some of my old friends. I’ve met some super awesome girls.

I’ve gotta go, so we’re gonna own that- back in Thailand it is! I’ve already got multiple meetings scheduled for the first week, which is amazing. I’m excited to go back to that life, but until I’m back in that life, I’ll be sad to leave this one.

Overall, I’m starting to feel more relaxed in life. My self-belief is increasing as I have proven to myself that I can overcome adversity and take care of myself. I have plans to make friends, meet girls, and grow my business.

Now it’s just a matter of living it, day by day, and enjoying the process.

-Michael