A Change in Course?

The past 2 months have flown by faster than yesterday. I’ve been in Phoenix, quite honestly a recovering mess.

I underestimated just how much heart-break could fuck with your mind… especially when you really, really loved the girl.

That being said, I’ve been making improvements. My mind is clearer and… inspiration returning.

A belief in myself is coming back. I can create peak experiences. I can live my dreams. My head is coming out of the darkness, and with it some surprising truths.

The Original Plan

Since after a few weeks of arriving in Phoenix, I decided that I should try immigrate fully to live in Sofia, Bulgaria- the place I was happiest in my life. I have friends there, it’s extremely cheap, and it’s an amazing city (even if it wasn’t so cheap it’s 10/10 worth living there).

I’ve already flown to Chicago twice to attempt to apply for a long-term visa, which allows me to get residency to live there. Immigrating is clearly a much bigger pain-in-the-ass than showing up as a tourist and making a tourist extension!

The goal keeps becoming farther and farther to reach- new documents need to be sourced, new procedures need to be followed.

All the while, time has FLOWN by in Phoenix. It does not compute in my mind how little has happened in my life in the past 2 months, compared to the craziness of before.

If I am to follow-through with the Original Plan, I will have to make AT LEAST 2 more trips to Chicago, perhaps even 3 trips (the Bulgarian consulate is in Chicago, you must show up in person to apply and handle documents). I also will have to invest a few thousand Euros, assuming things go as planned.

At first I was going “all in” for this until…

Texas: a Turn of Tides

Last week a client hit me up on Tuesday: “Hey want to come to our annual meeting in Texas…. in 2 DAYS?”

A part of me was excited, and the other part was like “FUCKING DAMN IT I AM TIRED OF CRAZINESS ARGHHH.” I did some reflection… and decided I should go. Worst case scenario it would be a brutal 4 days but then I’d be back in Phoenix.

They were paying for the flights, hotel, car rental, and some food too so it was basically an all-expenses paid trip…

And you know what? The trip WAS brutal. While flying there, I had issues with car rental (I’m 20, no wonder) and the flights were delayed. I wasn’t sleeping in the hotel until 4 AM in the morning.

I got a bit sick, and I was constantly out of it during the entire trip. Getting up every day was hard. Furthermore during the trip I found some gifts hidden in a secret pocket of my backpack by accident- throwing these away was deeply emotional, a sign of me trying to move out (albeit struggling very much so). Instead of going out to socialize that night, I was too emotional and missing my ex. I played CS:Go instead.

Flying back was a bitch also. On the last night I slept literally ONE HOUR, and then woke up at 0145 AM to drive an hour and a half to the airport to catch a 5 AM flight. Needless to say, the flights were far from ideal. Oh, and they delayed the flight coming home too so it just messed with my sleep even more!

Now all that being said, the trip was fucking awesome. Despite the fatigue, sadness over ex, horrible flights, and craziness, the client and the company are amazing!

The last day where we had no business, but just fun, was especially awesome. We ate at great restaurants, explored the area, went to museums, all the while telling jokes and laughing.

It wasn’t corporate-approved jokes either, you know, the fake facade people in corporate environments put on? Everyone was very authentic and down-to-Earth, which is one of my #1 values in both myself and others.

By the end of the trip, I was so energized and happy. The sickness didn’t really bother me. Sure I was tired, but I had a bloody smile on my face!

And Then, the Memories Came…

It was on the last day that memories of my adventures in Thailand started coming up.

Partying and laughing and dancing on Khao San in Bangkok. Going to Virtual Reality with a friend in Bangkok. Winning some matches with a friend in Chiang Mai. Riding a scooter on the side of the mountain in Chiang Mai.

Suddenly I urged to be Asia again…

Thailand, Take One

The first time I was in Thailand was a bit of a horrible mess. Let me give you an idea:

First, I was over-traveled from all kinds of life craziness which I won’t get into. I had been all over Europe & North America, not even because I wanted to. I had become negative, isolated myself, and wasn’t so social. I urgently needed a wisdom teeth surgery as my teeth were moving positions. Some boundaries were broken in my relationship, and I tried to make things work but we eventually broke up.

I showed up in Thailand devastated from the heart-break, exhausted, negative & isolated, and then on top of all of that I had to remove all 4 wisdom teeth at once, without anesthesia (because I wasn’t taking care of myself and had become obsessed about saving every penny).

This was a recipe for disaster. I didn’t do any of my goals & dreams in Thailand. I was isolated and obsessive. I also fantasized about returning to America, and living in Vegas or Portland.

One girl I met in Chiang Mai made me promise I would stay there another month because she knew that I was not in a mentally healthy place, and I needed to stay there and relax. I feel very bad that I broke that promise and left- had I stayed, perhaps I would’ve been enjoying Asia all this time…

Taking the Next Step

So that brings us to right here, right now: before I felt so certain, but now after this Texas trip, I feel a bit inspired to re-try Asia, this time from a healthy frame of mind, not weeks after a break up with a girl who meant the world to me.

Asia was after-all my original dream. I wrote about it even as I traveled to Montreal, Canada the first time. I considered doing Asia right after Canada.

The only reason I haven’t traveled to Asia yet in my almost 2 years of world travel is that I’ve been enjoying Europe, OR trying to make the relationship work there, OR in North America sad & out of it (last 2 months).

I haven’t really had the “perfect opportunity” to go fulfill some of my bucket list items in Asia, and now I wonder: will I ever? Sometimes you’ve just gotta “make it work,” rather than waiting for that perfect moment.

I could wait here until I’m perfectly over my ex, or immigrate to Bulgaria only to discover that I wanted to do so because I was chasing memories of my ex.

Either way, I feel like I’ve really lost touch with “who I am.” I spent a bit more time than I’d like playing video games, derping on Reddit, or otherwise just not being focused on my goals like before.

Also, that’s OKAY. Break ups are tough! But, now I’m feeling a bit better and have to take a bit more conscious action to get over the remaining pain.

Thankfully I do feel my good ole’ go-lucky self returning. Ideas and passions are returning, as with my “I can” mentality.

3 Options

I am left with 3 options, and who knows maybe I’ll do some random 4th option (I’ve done it before).

#1: Immigrate Fully

The first is to complete the immigration process to Bulgaria. It’ll take 1-2 months, during which time I can live in Montreal or Phoenix. It’ll take several thousand dollars.

I feel insecure in this option financially- money is becoming more of a priority, especially because I lost so much in the mid & latter half of 2018 due to life craziness. On the flip side, if I live in Bulgaria I can keep my costs very low (rent locally, for example) and create a routine to grow my business in a place which makes me happy.

Another huge benefit to this option is the fact that I finally get one single apartment to call “my home.” I won’t have to switch between AirBNBs or hostels or hotels. This would in theory increase productivity.

In addition to the financial cost, I also have a tax bill coming up due April whatever. This is why I feel so hesitant to take this option- I am tired of limiting myself financially. Waiting to immigrate feels a bit better, so that I can spend the few thousand bucks without batting an eye when I have that kind of money.

#2: Tourist Visa

The second option is to renew my passport (2-3 weeks), and then re-visit Bulgaria on a tourist visa which would allow me to stay a max of 3 months.

The benefit to this path is that I can feel out Bulgaria to see if I want to immigrate there fully. It will also allow me to connect with local lawyers who could help, or complete some more of the immigration process without lawyers. If I do decide I want to adventure Asia after 3 months, I can just go straight there.

The downside is that if I decide to stay there longer, I’ll have to fly back to America and do the whole Chicago 2-3x thing most likely to immigrate. One way or another, I’ll fly back to America, no exceptions.

I like this option logically, but can’t fully feel it out yet. In some ways it appears like a great idea, but in others not so much.

#3: ASIA

And of course, the final option is to travel to Asia, and immigrate to Bulgaria later.

The benefits to this choice is that I finally get to adventure and live that life I had always wanted to live. I can surf, scuba dive, live on the beach, get regular massages, and explore local culture.

I’m heavily considering this option, but not committed to any choice just yet. It’s very cheap so I could get a good apartment, and save lots of money.

The downsides include being in an opposite timezone to America (for example, having a client sales call at 11PM Thai time for 11AM U.S. time), and the fact that I won’t have a permanent home.

I realize now that the reason I didn’t enjoy Asia the first time was my mentality & the way that I was approaching life. I was not positive or engaged. I did not actively try to create social circles and meet people. I was heartbroken and sad.

I’ve been riding out that sadness and heart break for the past couple months, so presumably in the next 1-2 months I’d still be a bit sad but ideally I could engage enough with my life there to fully move on.

Also, the most important thing is that I “make an option work” rather than expect the option to fulfill me- this is one huge thing I’ve learned recently about life. Sometimes it’s the belief in a choice in life that makes it work rather than the choice itself. No matter which path I walk, I must commit to it fully and “make it work.”

That’s why the Texas thing inspired me. Honestly, ever since the break up & getting kicked out of Bulgaria (visa problems in June 2018) I’ve been scared to travel abroad. I’ve been scared to make new friends that I’ll have to say “bye” to, which is silly because I always somehow meet them later in another place… and the experience is still so amazing.

Both #1 & #3

In the end, I’ll do both #1 & #3 most likely. If I move to Bulgaria fully, then I’ll later travel to Asia. If I travel to Asia now, then I’ll likely later immigrate to Bulgaria, assuming that I don’t fall in love in Asia or love it so much I decide to immigrate there!

Heart Break

Honestly, heart break and relationship craziness has driven a lot of my choices ever since June of 2018, when me and my ex had to be long-distance the first time.

Reconnecting with myself and asking, “what do I want” has been so important. It’s hard for me to feel that inner authentic version of myself because it is masked in pain and longing for my ex.

At the end of the day, I need to take massive action in my life- as do you in your life. I can’t let me missing her dictate all of my life; I must make new friends, grow my business, and develop great habits, rather than letting the pain run me.

To be honest, a part of the reason I ran away from Thailand the last time was just me running away from the heart-break. I heard Christmas songs and kept envisioning me and my ex having the Christmas that we thought we were going to have together, in Bulgaria and/or Germany.

It’s really tough to confront those deep feelings of sadness. Contrary to the advice some acquaintances gave, it doesn’t take “weeks” to get over someone you loved SO MUCH. It takes months. That’s just the shit truth about it.

Through it all, I’m reconnecting with myself and through it figuring out what it is I really want.

If you have any feedback on the three options, I’d love to hear it. At the end of the day I’ll follow my intuition, when it speaks louder. For now I am giving it time, to make sure I’m hearing the whispers correctly…

-Michael