Monthly Archives: November 2019

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