Category Archives: Life Stories

How More Friends Makes You Lonely

Can having more friends make you lonely? As someone who has social circles in continents and countries all around the globe, I think so.

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote a proper self-help article based on life experiences so let’s dive deep into this one.

A Tale of a Lonely Kid

I didn’t always start out so socially adjusted. In fact, I was known as the weirdo in my school.

Somehow I’ve gone from having a few (unreliable) acquaintances in middle school to supportive, amazing friends all around the world originating from countries such as USA, Canada, Belgium, UK, Bulgaria, Thailand, and Indonesia.

I say “originating” because that is where the connections are made. Others have traveled, expanding my “circle” perhaps to all 6 populated continents.

At this point it is near impossible to track without putting my friends into a CRM (customer relationship management software system, typically used by businesses to improve sales).

As a lonely kid growing up in Nebraska, I never could’ve imagined just how my life would’ve unfolded.

I remember watching a video by a guy named “David Brown,” and he was talking about flying to another country to go to a concert alone to make friends there.

“What the fuck? How could he do that? He just went ALONE, and made friends.. there?”

Fast forward 5 years and there I was walking through the immigration line to go into Sofia, Bulgaria to create what would become the happiest time in my life up to that point.

As a kid, I always thought that I needed more friends. More contacts. More people.

That’s not necessarily bad, but it can also make you lonely. Oh was I in for a surprise for that one!

Too Many Dates

A week or two ago I went through a period where I was meeting way too many people- and I’ve gone through phases like this in Bulgaria and Canada as well.

On one day I had 2 dates scheduled, the next 3, and the day after that another 2 (or 3 if I decided not to flake on the last).

After almost a week of this, I got literally sick. I couldn’t handle it anymore.

On one of the days I took home one girl, then she left and I immediately went out with another girl before recovering. I took that one home too, and as we laid in bed I started making a joke about something which happened to the previous girl, having forgotten that this was a different girl.

By the end of the week I was so bored & sick of girls (and people) that I turned my phone off and rejected anyone new who wanted to go out with me.

This was the dream that I imagined myself happening- something every little boy going through puberty would’ve wanted. Yet I didn’t feel fulfilled. I felt lonely.

Self-Connection

The next day I didn’t meet anyone, and it felt fucking amazing. I played video games, walked through the park, ate at restaurants alone, and meandered through the day compared to the previous week of scheduling dates and work by the hour.

One of the YouTube videos I watched was particularly inspiring (about loneliness). It reminded me that introversion/extroversion is a scale.

You can be an extrovert but still need alone time. You aren’t all on or off. Everyone has a certain degree of social interaction and alone time that is healthy.

Recently I’ve tried to take more naps at home, and it’s made me feel like I’m on heaven. So much so I might even do a 30 day massage or nap challenge.

I found that in between social interactions it allowed me to reconnect, gather my thoughts, and recharge. It helped me clarify so much and “reset!”

Recently I’ve been truly appreciating alone time, as meeting new people can surprisingly consume energy.

Meeting New People: More or Less Energy?

I think that meeting new people can be stimulating and exciting. But if you’re meeting way too many people or only new people, then it can consume a lot of energy.

There comes a point where your body & mind, for whatever reason, can’t handle to meet new people at least without alone time and/or time with people you are already close with.

Most people probably aren’t meeting enough people so they will find that meeting new people brings energy.

Alternatively people may feel anxious or restless about what the other person thinks about them.

It really depends how well you can connect. Meeting so many new people gets tiring though, and so you get tired of constantly trying to form connections. You just want to let what “is” flow out.

Having met so many new people recently I experience almost 0 anxiety around new people. In fact a girl I recently went out with apologized that she was so nervous, but because I was so relaxed and “chilled out” I didn’t even realize that she was nervous or register that being nervous when meeting a first date could be a thing!

The point of this section is just that meeting new people can give energy or take energy- it depends on how well self-connected you are, and whether you are tempering each new interaction with interactions with people you already know.

If you are constantly meeting only new faces, then it will take energy. And that’s exactly what I was doing.

More Quality, Less Quantity

Having even one quality connection is key to so much happiness in life. In the past 4 days I’ve hung-out with one girl that I really like, and it’s allowed me to feel so much happier.

The first 2 days were so-so, actually. I wasn’t too impressed by her, and we didn’t know each other so well.

Yesterday I was considering not meeting, but then we really finally connected. Today I realized I’m starting to get some deeper feelings, and surprisingly have hopes that this goes somewhere.

On paper it’s more likely that it won’t go anywhere (she is leaving Chiang Mai next week), but still- it’s at least a hope.

It’s a surprise to me to think that I might be cool with being with someone, as I’ve told all the other girls that I wasn’t ready for anything serious. Now I realize it just wasn’t quality, but quantity.

Besides romantic prospects, this is true of friends also.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being recognized all over the place and having those short, surface-level conversations by people who know me barely everywhere. That feels good.

But you need that depth first and foremost. It’s the 80% of your fulfillment, and the “being locally famous” part gives 20% of your fulfillment.

One of my focuses moving forward will be nurturing those 1-3 deeper social connections wherever I stay rather than constantly trying to meet new people.

By doing so it’s making me set stronger boundaries and become clearer about what I want, making me more likely to cut out people that don’t serve that purpose.

For example, yesterday I went out with a new girl and I just wasn’t feeling it at all and she slightly misrepresented herself on Tinder. So I left after knowing her for like 20 minutes.

This sounds harsh but it’s necessary for my mental health, and in the end it’s better for her because I don’t care to get to know her- better to end it sooner than waste 3 hours of her time to then end it.

How More Friends Makes You Lonely

The more friends you make, the more lonely you can get because you miss out on the deeper social connection which happens with alone time or with someone you have a shared history with.

That’s not to say not to make lots of acquaintances. That’s great. And being recognized all over the place is great as well.

Just focus though on 1-3 deep social interactions, and if you can handle it maybe 5. These are the people that will make you fulfilled and happy.

Everyone else does not deserve priority. I will still enjoy meeting new people & acquaintances, but they simply will not receive priority.

If you give yourself to everyone, then you lose yourself. No one wins because you’re giving 1% away to everyone.

I say give 80% to a few people, then 20% to the rest- but when you’re with anyone give them 100% of your attention. You can only give someone 100% of your attention if you are socially fulfilled.

So strangely by focusing on the close friends, you also feel more socially fulfilled and thus capable of meeting new acquaintances who can turn into romantic partners, deep friends, or business partners!

At the very least you can be party buddies and share good times together.

In the end, focus on what matters: meaning. Those close connections are key to fulfillment, and constantly meeting new people in the absence of deep friends is no way to live.

Done. (:

-Michael

A Newfound Peace & Joy

It’s been a while since I’ve published a proper post- and this is all with good reason.

I’ve been focused on other things recently, or just enjoying life. You see, I’ve realized there’s a huge difference between “talking” and “walking.”

Recently in my life it’s been more about actually doing things rather than talking about them.

Granted I know that my writing can help inspire & uplift others as well as provide practical tips, but my preference as of recent has been to just enjoy my own flow and not focus so much on the blog.

I’ve actually attempted to write some articles, but not had the drive to sustain finishing them.

It’s not that I lack motivation- it’s that priorities have shifted. In some instances I’ve wrote an entire blog post, only not to send it at all.

As of now I have maybe 3-5 articles that I need to send out which I’ll schedule for the next few days in just a minute after writing this.

So, what’s been up? Besides my feedback request on my new website, I’ve been for the most part dark for the past 2-4 weeks.

Chiang Mai: A New Home?

A couple weeks ago I left Chiang Mai after a month here. I went to Vietnam for 4 days, and was so exhausted and ready to go back to Thailand after that experience.

I was then in Bangkok for a week. I wanted to try it out for a week and then decide whether to stay longer or leave.

It was fun, but very over-stimulating. I am discovering my own personal preferences for where I would enjoy living.

Bangkok is great if you just want to hook-up & party, but man the commutes are really annoying and it doesn’t seem to have any peace.

Chiang Mai, Thailand and Sofia, Bulgaria- despite being completely different- share some commonalities which I now understand as my preference for a city to live, at least for this period of my life.

Both are medium-sized cities that have fast commutes, lots of nature, yet at the same time good parties & social life. It’s more of a balanced life, compared to Bangkok which would be a crazy party life or a small city which would be too boring for me.

Sometimes it feels like something is missing. I’m still finding my deeper connections here.

I miss my friends in Bulgaria and in Phoenix (and everywhere else like Montreal, etc.) but recently have begun making deeper connections.

One problem with Chiang Mai is that many people come and go. In my first month my two best guy friends left. I’ve now made more of an effort to cut out transients, and only focus on people that live here, will often return here, or whom I could otherwise meet elsewhere.

A few deeper connections is much more fulfilling than many small connections!

Chiang Mai has been surprisingly fulfilling overall though, and what I really love is the great work-life balance.

It’s got the kind of vibe where you want to hustle & get work done in the morning & afternoon, but in the evening it’s almost demanded that you do something to relax and be happy, such as get a massage, hangout at a waterfall, or jog around the park.

Chiang Mai is also quite affordable. Every dollar I save is a dollar I can re-invest into my development or business!

That’s actually one of the many reasons I’m hesitant to go back to Bulgaria- Bulgaria isn’t that much more expensive but the cost of flying there and living will increase expenses by at least $500 per month.

And that’s $500 per month I can put into ads if I stay here.

Of course life isn’t all about money. I learned that the hard way last year when I did my wisdom teeth surgery without painkillers, anesthesia, or even laughing gas to save money… Sometimes the spend is worth it.

That being said I find myself really integrating into Thai culture and developing habits that I know will not serve me in Bulgaria.

For example, I am super smiley here- people said I smiled a lot in Bulgaria, but now I’m very smiley. It’s just Thai culture! Bulgarians would see this behavior and think that I am a fraud, high, or crazy.

It’s not good or bad. It’s just different. But I know that there will be a re-adaptation period to Bulgaria which I am not so excited for.

I can’t remember if I published that post or not, but I recently decided that for the rest of the year I will not travel anywhere new unless it’s with friends and explicitly a vacation.

Traveling to new places costs a lot of energy- energy which could be used to workout, relax, or service a client.

Also, there’s just no point. In the past 2 years I’ve been to 14 or 15 countries or something like that.. It’s crazy. But I’ve had enough, for now.

Yes, there’s still so much I wish to do. But why? After so much instability, I am ready for some stability.

Long-Term Goals

Finally I have some longer-term goals for my life, which feels great. I’ve got a rough idea of how I want my fitness, dating life, social life, and life as a whole to look like in the next 2 years.

The main goal I have now is by June 1st, 2020 to have a primary home base where I spend at least 6 months per year.

For the next year I will probably only be in Phoenix, Montreal, Sofia, and Chiang Mai. There are of course the exceptions mentioned, such as visiting friends in Bali or having a layover in London or something like that.

Trust me it sounds like a dream to travel like crazy & indefinitely, but it only feels that way within the context of what you already have. Eventually all sights look the same, all parties are the same, etc.. Depth is key. Priorities change.

Right now the likely candidates for a home base are Phoenix, Sofia, or Chiang Mai.

If I live in Chiang Mai I will have to leave every year around February for a couple months because of a season called “smokey season.” The farmers burn their fields and the air quality becomes the worst of all cities in the entire world!

If I live in Phoenix, I will have to likely sign a 1-year lease for an apartment or house. This will greatly reduce my desire to travel especially as America is the most expensive place.

I don’t yet see myself living in Phoenix, but I do confess it’s a possibility. I had a ton of fun in my last month in Phoenix because my friends were so much better.

If I live in Bulgaria, I will have to do a complex, complicated, and expensive immigration process to get residency there.

So overall I’ve no idea exactly what the plan is. Right now I’m taking things one step at a time and going with the flow.

At the very least I have my “main 4 bases” which I can circulate between.

Healing, Habits, & Progress

Because I’ve been in Chiang Mai for long now I’ve been able to develop healthy habits, healing, and routines that promote progress in my life.

For example last month I re-started my arms & abs routine to grow my arms & abs. It fucking sucks but I love it. I’ve always wanted bigger arms.

I actually hooked up with a girl yesterday that randomly gave me a lot of dating advice. She basically said I was in the clear for everything but I’d be “perfect” with bigger arms.

That I can’t deny, it’s something I’ve known for some time and I am excited to see those results.

Already with what little growth my arms have made I’ve noticed a huge difference in dating & social life. Yesterday I partied and 2 different guys came up to me asking if I was someone famous (I can’t remember this dude’s Instagram).

Even I had to admit he looked a lot like me, except the fit, muscular version. It’s funny: first I re-start my arms routine, a month later I hook up with a super sexy girl who motivates me to get bigger arms, and then later that day 2 guys come up to me asking if I’m someone famous, who just so happens to look almost exactly like me except with big arm muscles.

Such synchronicity seems to be the Universe’s way of saying “this is what you will look like in 1 year if you stay committed.”

Around 4 months ago I was in a dark space. I was back in Phoenix, reverse-culture shocked from too long outside America, and not doing success habits or progressing in life in anyway.

Perhaps it was a necessary darkness. Who knows. One way or another I am finally progressing in business, fitness, and dating in the way which I’ve always wanted to.

Fulfillment in the Flow

And that’s why I feel peace & fulfillment here. I’m not everywhere where I want to be- but I’m authentically living life how I’ve always wanted to, and that’s what feels amazing.

I am saving money all while making moves in every direction in my life. I’m doing everything I always wanted to do.

Recently it just hit me that I, in a way, “made it” and it was a deeply emotional moment. I’m not successful and rich or ultra-good with girls, but I’m at the next level I always wanted to be at.

Less is More

I’m probably writing another post on this. With progress comes excess that needs to be cut out.

Example: I recently put forth a huge initiative to improve my dating life. Within weeks I was seeing an average of 2 new girls per day. I was even mixing up who was who!

I had charmed so many girls some even wanted to fly out from other places in Thailand to see me. Just yesterday I remembered that one girl was flying out to see me this weekend, but I am paying off her tickets because I’m so exhausted with so many girls.

First world problems, I know. I never could’ve imagined a reality in which I am actively cutting out girls who are quality because I don’t want to deal with all of them.

But it happens. It seems there are “layers to life” (more on this later). Most people idealize success, but with success comes a new set of problems. Granted they are much better problems, but still situations to deal with nonetheless.

Anyways, my point here is that I’ve re-evaluated my priorities and realized I was spending too much time dating around when I could’ve been using that time to work on fitness, business, or hell even some alone time.

Tomorrow I plan to have an “alone day,” which again I never could’ve imagined desperately needing. I always wanted more people, more girls, more friends, yet now I am so done with all that and need a day to just “be.”

I guess what I’ve learned most in this is that priorities change. When you haven’t had a wild dating & hook-up lifestyle, you crave it more than anything else.

Then you finally get it, and priorities shift yet again. Now I rather go deep with one girl, and hook up only here or there with others.

As if the call had been answered, I met a really cool, deeper girl with whom I really enjoy spending time with.. I’ve since cut out most other girls that I’ve seen so that I can prioritize time with her.

I’ve realized that with many things in life less is more. It’s not about doing more- it’s about doing less so that you can do more. You only have 24 hours a day, after all.

Instead of writing down “I want to do more XYZ,” I am writing down .that I want less of dating around now so that I can do more business and have more alone time.

I know some of what I am writing can sound silly. I sure feel that way. As a kid I never could’ve imagined having this dating & hook-up life. It is amazing and I truly feel grateful for it.

But then you realize you are dating too much and would rather be alone. Or have some guy friends you can just chill with. Or even one deeper, special girl.

The Flow of Life

It’s the flow of life. There is no endpoint in life- isn’t that what is so beautiful? At any given moment you don’t have to be successful by other’s standards.

As long as you are working towards your goal and winning each day, you win. That’s what is so beautiful!

We don’t have to be successful now. We just have to make progress. THAT is success.

Priorities change and as long as you stay authentic to your new desires you win.

Southeast Asia has taught me that great lesson. There is no arriving anywhere. Are you living authentically now? If so, you win.

Layers of Life

Life is like an onion- there are many layers to peel back. Sometimes you have to achieve a goal to realize it’s not what fulfills you most.

Then you can re-adjust and find balance. I always wanted to hook up with many girls and have that crazy fun lifestyle. It’s still a ton of fun, but now I am easing up on that goal and focusing more instead on business.

I am finding that in discovering this “flow of life” and achieving goals I am also finding more deep, meaningful goals.

Instead of me saying “how can I get laid” or saying “how can I make money” it’s more about “how can I give mutual value to the world?”

It’s a lot more fulfilling to set a goal of helping others and then making money as a result of it than to make money just for money.

I find that focusing on this brings a passion to my life. The best part of my day is when I get to my favorite coffee shop to work.

Me writing this now, and then soon to study a book after, this is the best part of my day because I am living most authentically and on my purpose.

Misc Thoughts

I also love Chiang Mai because the service quality is exceptional.

For example, I am writing this in my favorite coffee shop. I’m always greeted with a warm smile and a big thank you when I leave. The baristas all remember my order exactly- so I just hand them money and sit down.

As soon as I walk in, they bring me the largest glass of ice water possible. In fact they begin preparing the water as soon as they see me before I enter the coffee shop so that I can sit & drink immediately. When I work and focus, I often drink a lot of water. They sneak by and refill my ice-water without me even realizing so that I don’t have to get up and refill it myself.

This doesn’t happen in Bulgaria or even America!!! People are all about giving here so I feel genuinely happy to leave tips and learn Thai, which just seems to continue this cycle of giving and good energy.

People at the park I jog at often wave or smile at me. They compliment my Thai or running speed. Other runners exchange “thumbs up” with me.

Fun games are also often played at the park, and people are quick to invite you if they see you are observing them. I have always been too exhausted or too tight on time to join, but perhaps one day I will randomly join.

I feel greatly welcomed into the culture here, more so than anywhere else. Everyone actively invites you into their groups and fun, it’s amazing.

I feel so grateful to be here. Every month I decide to stay just a bit longer. Who knows what will happen in the future, but for now, I am here, so I live here.

4 months ago I was in darkness, but now I am in light, for no other reason than I’ve rediscovered my own authentic drive and am actively making moves. It’s the progress that brings fulfillment more than anything else.

What are you progressing on? Let me know by hitting “reply,” I love hearing (:

Thanks,

-Michael

An End To Adventure?

After 1 month in Chiang Mai, I realized just how deeply happy I was with it.

Edit: this draft was not reviewed & published to my Email list a bit late.

Chaing Mai is beautiful, has mountains, nature, waterfalls, extremely cheap (yet luxurious) accommodation, delicious food, and so much more.

It’s not all perfect- Bangkok for example is much better for dating, and Sofia, Bulgaria cools down quite a bit.

Leaving a destination is always the true test to how much I liked it or didn’t. Do I wish to return, or am I happy to leave?

In Vietnam I was so excited to leave that I got to the airport extra early- I missed Thailand, and Vietnam was a bit too chaotic for my tastes (as in they literally don’t stop for you at cross-walks and have to endanger your life to cross the road).

I spent 4 days in Vietnam, and now almost a week in Bangkok. I feel torn as what to do next, as often I do while traveling.

With the whole world at my fingertips, it’s hard to make a decision! But recently I’ve observed that my choices are becoming more and more narrow.

For example 2 years ago when I just started I researched the endless destinations and even created a post on my blog about all the places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do.

It included dozens of countries and wild adventures that would no doubt create memories for life.

However, I’ve noticed that there’s a “yin and yang” to life. You can adventure and be crazy, but you also need familiarity, comfort, etc.

One psychologist (I forgot whom) said there were 6 basic psychological needs of humans. One was familiarity, and then the one right after was spontaneity.

On one hand you need routine, comfort, and familiarity. But on the other hand you need some stimulation and newness. A dash of uncertainty makes for some excitement!

That’s where this post begins. It’s a bit wrong to say “an end to adventure” because of course adventure will not end.

I’d probably really enjoy staying in one city for 1 year, but no doubt by the end of it I might again be writing up a list of endless destinations that I would now know I can’t possibly complete within even a reasonable time period.

A better way of saying this would be “a temporary end to adventure.” Let’s dive into this.

2 Years of Adventure

I can’t believe I am writing this. It’s still fresh in my mind marveling at those individuals who claimed to have traveled to a dozen countries, speak 3 languages, and make money online.

There was just something about it that drew me in. Now I’m in, and have been, and what I’m discovering is that this is not the one-way trip that I thought it would be.

Every nomad ends their journey. I’ve wrote about this before, when I was mentally snapping in Thailand last year (but that was more-so due to heart-break, surgery, and isolation).

In the past 2 years I’ve actually visited 14 or 15 countries- which means I’m excluding unintentional layovers.

I’ve learned to speak some French, a few phrases in Dutch, Finnish, and Hungarian, some basic Bulgarian, and some Thai. My German has been slightly improved. There’s probably some others in there.

This fact is even more shocking- I’ve “lived” (which in my book means spending 1 month minimum in the country) in Phoenix; Montreal, Canada; Heidelberg (debatable as it was broken up), Germany; Sofia, Bulgaria; Pafos, Cyprus; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Canggu, Bali. This is 6 or 7 countries, depending on how you count it!

I don’t know what I expected would happen after I did all of this to be honest. I looked up to those who had accomplished such feats, as if something would change.

Alas, everywhere you go, there you are. I am still just me, at the end of the day. I’ve “done” so much but nothing really changed. At the same time, I’ve changed completely & grown so much.

Does that make sense? If you’ve aggressively pursued any goal you can probably understand me.

Travel Fatigue

Now let’s be completely, brutally honest. I was hardly happy during all of this traveling.

There have been some exceptional moments, such as falling madly in love, hooking up in Thailand, riding a motorbike, surfing, and those unforgettable nights with friends.

The growth itself is beautiful and amazing also. Simply looking back onto my days in Montreal for example, I see that technically I wasn’t in the best state (financially, physically, emotionally), but I was growing so much and so I look back on those days fondly.

But there comes a point that every new country is.. well, as they say in Thailand: same same.

By the time I entered my most recent “new” country- Vietnam- I was hardly impressed. I walked down the famous party street excited, but I had context for it- it was like KhaoSan, in Bangkok.

The temples, bridges, rivers, nature, etc. all fade into the same thing. Yeah, it’s beautiful, and profound, but you can have too much of it and become numb to it all.

You still experience culture shock, but in a different way. It’s almost annoying and you’re getting severely diminishing returns from your efforts.

Think of it like this: the difference between $1 and $10 is a lot, but the difference between 10 million and 25 million not so much in terms of lifestyle change.

With an extra $9- from starting at $1- you can suddenly afford significantly better food and even restaurant food.

When you’ve already got 10 million to enjoy on life, an extra 15 million, while substantially greater than the $9 improvement in the other, will not drastically improve the individual’s life.

The same is true about travel. It becomes fatiguing. You start having other needs, and prioritizing other things that the destinations.

For example, I wrote that I wanted to visit a water-park, Chiang Rai, get a tattoo, or visit Pai while staying in Chiang Mai. I did none of that and give 0 fucks about doing it. Another fucking temple or experience hardly turns me on.

In hindsight, this created a lot of troubles for me and my ex when we were visiting some European countries together. All I wanted to do was work in a cafe, while she wanted to go to museums.

My brain could literally not handle any new stimulation, so I desperately wished to return to the same restaurants & cafes over and over. Only now can I see why we had clashes.

The same thing that brought you pleasure can bring you pain. There is a balance to everything.

The problem comes when you associate the activity with pleasure it’s easy to lose perspective which is that it may not be pleasing you anymore… but because it brought you pleasure then, it’s easy to keep up the activity (see: every addiction).

Constantly packing bags, saying goodbye, adopting to new languages & culture customs, searching for drinkable water, restaurants, etc. seriously begins to consume a ton of energy.

With other commitments such as work, relationships, and personal enjoyment time, it becomes near impossible to fulfill everything while on the road.

It simply gets to be “too much.” I am writing this now in Bangkok, and I really want to love this city.

In fact, tonight was absolutely fun. I enjoyed going out. It was great, but I am realizing that I can’t handle it… now.

A Narrowing of Travel Destinations

About 6 months ago I snapped from heart-break, isolation, and travel fatigue. I was unintentionally traveling at an absurd pace, I think an average of one new country every 2 weeks.

I didn’t even want to do that, but things were just getting fucked up and I wasn’t taking responsibility for my life.

I thought I wanted to move to Portland or Vegas, but I quickly realized upon returning to Phoenix that this was a form of escapism. I began to catch my grounding in Phoenix, and then I was planning on going back to Bulgaria.

But in my heart I really wanted to experience things in Bali & Thailand. I figured I’d knock out some goals there, then go.

Even in Phoenix then, my destination list was looking more like “Montreal, Sofia, Bali, and Thailand” compared to that ridiculous list of dozens of countries to visit.

Compare that to when I was down to go anywhere, intended on doing this and that and everything, etc. 2 years ago before I had set off!!

As I’ve traveled, the destinations list has shrunk so much. Other things have became priorities, and I’ve observed my own energetic limits with travel.

Right now in Bangkok I literally have 2 options: Chiang Mai or Sofia. I’ll probably do Chiang Mai 1 more month, then Sofia for 3 months. Then I’ve already decided I’ll return to Thailand to live for about 4 months.

Of course, that’s a rough, un-set plan. Things change. They probably will. But compare this to back when I was using “Google Flights Explore” to view every bloody country I could visit.

I was recently invited to Holland with free accommodation and cheap food, but turned it down.

I just can’t, anymore. Well, at least for the time being. I need to slow down.

A Plan For The Future

My plan for at least until the end of the year is to only visit destinations that I’ve previously visited and have a social circle, or ONLY visit a new place if it’s with friends and in the context of a vacation.

Work is such a priority now. So is fitness, social circle, and dating. After taking several girls home in Bangkok (not necessarily hooking up with them all), I’m really desiring something a bit more stable.

It’s really fascinating to see how I’ve changed like this. I thought I’d never settle like this, yet here I am, kind of nearing the end of the line.

I can intuitively see the future. Starting now I will only visit familiar destinations- specifically Chiang Mai, Sofia, Bali (maybe), Montreal, and Phoenix.

My travel is slowing down. I’ll begin to spend more and more time in each place. 1 month in Chiang Mai, and who knows maybe I’ll be tempted into another month.

Then Bulgaria, for 3 months. Then back to Thailand (Chiang Mai).

The only exception to this is Bangkok- I’ve got 2 week’s experience in Bangkok, and I told myself I’d give here a try for a month or two once I’m making more money and re-grounded.

There’s also one other exception, but it can be wrote about if it comes about.

Probably what will happen is I’ll spend considerably more time in Bulgaria & Chiang Mai, and I’ll split my time between the two or end up wishing to immigrate to Bulgaria or Chiang Mai.

Then that’ll happen, and I’ll start to really slow down my traveling.

Who knows, maybe it won’t happen like this. I still want to check out South America for example, but that could be years down the line rather than months.

Adaptation Cost

Why is this happening? The biggest reason digital nomads and perpetual travelers start to slow down then “quit” traveling is the adaptation cost of every new destination.

The only ones who have successfully managed long-term travel is with consistent returning to favorite destinations with stable social bases, OR having a partner or community to travel with.

At best the adaptation period is about a week to a new city, if you’re planning on staying & working remotely.

While often pleasurable, significant energy is lost learning customs, finding restaurants, places to work, etc.

The simple act of discovering new roads is taxing on the brain. It becomes near-impossible, sometimes impossible to do other tasks when you have to adapt to a new place.

For example I haven’t done yoga since leaving Phoenix, despite being in yoga hot-spot Bali!

I was too busy with adventure, adaptation, and work and socializing that I while I did have the time I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to wish to invest in a yoga practice or find a teacher.

When you go back to places that are familiar, there is no adaptation cost, except to a small extent.

Every time I’ve gone back to Montreal for example has been a breeze- I know the city, metro, have friends, know restaurants, and cafes.

Same for Sofia, Bulgaria. I’d argue that I enjoyed Chiang Mai so much for the simple fact I was here last year, even if I didn’t enjoy it so much then. It is familiar now, I know where to go, and for that I required almost 0 energy with adapting myself to here.

There is a small cultural adaptation cost even if destinations are familiar. This can be painful and leave you crying in a car, feeling so misunderstood and out of a place (true story from me one time when I returned to America after years abroad and realized I had changed so much).

One reason I’m hesitant to go to Bulgaria now is that I realize I’ve culturally adapted to Southeast Asia and Thailand specifically. Certain habits, such as a slight bow, big smile, etc. would make me appear high and insane to Bulgarians.

Going from Thailand to USA to Bulgaria is better because USA isn’t as respectful as Thailand, and Bulgaria isn’t as respectful as USA (in terms of service & social customs). Going directly from Bulgaria to Thailand or vice versa is a more sudden, drastic, difficult change.

Things Always Change

Maybe I’ll get bored of staying in Chiang Mai or Sofia. In fact, it’s likely that’ll happen.

So that’s why I clarified earlier that this is a temporary “ending of adventure.”

That being said I do prefer the title “an end to adventure” because the past 2 years have been chaos, but now things will likely never be as chaotic again for the simple fact that I don’t want it to be chaotic.

2 Beautiful Years of Adventure (slowing down)

Looking back I can’t believe all of the experiences I’ve had. What the fuck?

It wasn’t long ago that I was a nobody from Nebraska, not respected by anybody. Now here I am, a “world traveler,” finally what I wanted to be, and living dreams I never could’ve imagined.

Look, I’m not trying to hype it up. It’s not like I’m high all the time. It becomes normal.

The point is just that looking back there’s a certain satisfaction for that it was done.

From what I know there are a couple different types of happiness, and one is growth-based. If you have grown a lot or achieved something difficult, you will always derive fulfillment from that.

I feel that way about this. Today is where I am consciously realizing my own needs and evening out from what was a chaotic, beautiful journey.

I wasn’t necessarily happy all the time. The whole 9 months fiasco that began in Cyprus and ended in Phoenix (with like 10 countries in between) was not a light period.

But I came out of the darkness. That’s what’s fulfilling. I learned, grew, and reset my own priorities.

I’m very grateful for that all of this was experienced! Like I said earlier, it’s not necessarily the end to adventure. Perhaps after re-grounding I’ll wish to do 3 months in Costa Rica, then Colombia, etc.

Just right now my priorities are about familiarity and comfort. Enjoy deep friendships and deeper relationships with women.

I really can’t believe it’s been 2 fucking years. Wow.

A New Beginning

It’s not an end- a new beginning. The chaotic, uncontrolled travel is coming to a close.

Now it’s more about focusing on business, enjoying a great social life, and developing other hobbies.

Travel is still without a doubt on the table- but not every power is meant to be used to its fullest capability. I can be anywhere anytime, but should I be? I think not.

Now it’s about cultivating relationships in those places that I love- Phoenix, Montreal, Sofia, and Chiang Mai. And when I’m ready, I’ll check out Bangkok more.

It seems everyone who also has traveled long-term has felt these things and gone through a similar path.

At first it’s crazy, exciting etc. and you love it. But then you find a home, or a group of people you really resonate with. Or you straight up fall in love.

Then you start to slow down, enjoy those places that are familiar, and focus more on fulfillment and social life.

After this the individual has one or two main bases, or settles down completely.

What Other Paths of Mastery Await?

A closing thought before this post is over. I do wonder, what other growth challenges does life offer?

In life you can become an expert athlete, develop a hobby or passion, contribute massive value, grow a business, and so much more.

Most people don’t commit to mastery and truly grow. So they stagnate and live life in a derp state.

One of the beautiful things about this travel experience is that it prevented me from derping.

I had to be massively awake and focused to do this. I’ve grown so much and learned about who I am and what I want so much so that being fulfilled is much easier.

So now I wonder: what other paths of mastery await? If I commit to business mastery, will I receive similar epiphanies and shocking growth?

At any rate, doing something bold or challenging seems to be one of the keys to fulfillment in life.

This is something no one can take credit for but me. I planed piano for over a decade, but my parents forced me to do that (and then I later did it out of habit). Piano is not a true accomplishment in my books. This is.

In the end everything changes- you start out in yin, then shift to yang, and then balance..

First, to desperately wish to travel like crazy, then, to do. Then, to find a happy medium, a true fulfillment.

Maybe the same with every path of mastery..

Done (:

-Michael

It’s Okay To Have Good Memories With Them

When I was in Bali, I often found myself tortured by circling thoughts surrounding my ex and previous relationship.

I found it hard to imagine how such boundaries could be crossed… And what made me act in the strange ways that I did?

Love is a powerful drug, and as I’ve learned it doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in you.

Sure, it can make you stronger, happier, healthier, and give you a newfound passion and purpose for living. It can be exactly what you need.

But it can also bring out your possessive side, the needy side, the manipulative and controlling side.

If everyone is being completely honest no one is close to perfect. We all act a bit strange while under the influence of the most powerful drug on Earth.

Even if your actions are kind, you still likely have some problem. It could be that you’re idealizing your partner, or perhaps you’re being a bit too okay with certain boundaries being crossed.

As powerful as that love is, it isn’t always meant to last in this lifetime- if at all.

There’s probably not much more painful than a break up. It can go on for days, weeks, months, years… It just hurts. And you don’t know how to fix it.

It’s such a mind-fuck. It’s like you’re mourning someone but they’re still alive. It’s such a challenge, and one of the hardest things to overcome.

Idealizing the past is not good because that is not the true situation. The truth is it wasn’t all sunshine n’ rainbows.

You can’t hate them though because hate keeps them in your heart and prevents you from moving on.

You can try to focus on their downsides as reasons for moving on, but that doesn’t help much either.

You can delude yourself into thinking things would be better in the future, when really you two would just fall back into the same dynamic.

Honestly I don’t think a certain part of the brain will ever understand a break up. Can it?

One day you wake up and it doesn’t hurt so bad. You feel a bit happy and grateful for everything you have.

And there’s not anything special that you did, it’s just that you feel better.

Sure things like making deep friends, getting a life purpose, working hard, working out, and just letting yourself cry help- a ton.

There’s also the side of recovery which is just “giving it time.” Feeling it out. Going into darkness, so you can be reminded what light is.

One of the biggest mind-fucks of a break up is the contrast between the good and bad times.

If you focus on the good times, you idealize your past partner, ignoring that your boundaries were crossed and that you probably have some self-development work also.

If you focus on the bad times, as a method of telling yourself “this is why we need to move on,” then you just grow resentful and the pain stays all that much more longer.

One of those most important epiphanies I had when I first came to Thailand was that..

It’s Okay To Have Good Memories With Them.

And it’s okay to let those good memories sit there. Don’t indulge in them, but they don’t need to be destroyed or forgotten.

I think I was trying a bit too hard to forget everything. I couldn’t comprehend that her darkness existed next to her brightness.

Since that day I’ve felt a ton better. It’s like a wave of acceptance and peace washed over me.

Some days I still hurt and have a few tears to let loose, but I’m doing so much better. When a positive memory surfaces, I can just let it be there and then let it go back into the countless list of great memories I have.

I think I got this epiphany thinking of other girls I had a short thing with, or even girls that I had hung out with here.

There is one very attractive girl I hooked up with recently for example, and even though that was a one-night thing there’s no need to purge this memory all because it won’t continue forever into the future.

The memory can sit there, and I can just be grateful for the experience that I had.

While the dynamics in my past relationship weren’t perfect- we definitely bordered on co-dependence- there were some damn good memories and she was there and vice versa sometimes.

I found this brought about a new wave of gratitude for her, and peace. Not gratitude in a needy way desperately wishing to go back, but just gratitude that it happened.

We were meant to be in those moments of time. We weren’t mature enough or ready or perhaps even meant to be forever… and that’s okay.

Now when I feel the pain, I try to ask myself what other lesson I need to learn. Sometimes I learn about how I should’ve set better boundaries, or walked away sooner.

But there are also lessons of the mistakes that I made. The pain forces you to improve and grow. It is fuel for a better you.

The past is the past, and all because there is pain for a love that didn’t last forever doesn’t mean the good memories need to be purged too.

All because they weren’t there when you needed them in the end doesn’t mean that they weren’t there for you before- because they were. Just something changed, maybe your fault, maybe not, but it did, so change and improve with it.

With every experience in life we can “get better, or get bitter.” Change forces you to move up or down. Reflecting on my life there’s never been a moment that I haven’t been moving up or down.

So let the good memories rest where they may, and keep on moving up. Better awaits.

I’ll add too that this applies not just to past romantic partners but everyone- friends, family, everyone & everything.

As I “adult” I learn that not everyone is who I thought they were. The past begins to make more sense with certain people as I learn things that… shock me.

We all have a darkness inside of us, no point in denying that. That doesn’t mean the light needs to be purged because that too is the truth. There are two truths in everyone.

Let the good memories be, and let them go as you create new ones.

-Michael.

Love & Ladyboys: Tales of Thailand

In 4 days, I must leave Thailand for a “visa run,” or I must extend my visa. Wow, that went by fast.

It feels like yesterday that I was departing from Bali, saying good-bye to my newfound friends and adventures I enjoyed in Indonesia.

I deeply missed Bali- it’s a place I must return to soon, but there is just something here in Thailand that nowhere else in the world has.

It’s got something that makes “Thailand” the place to live and “Bali” the place to work-cation.

In fact it even has me questioning the whole immigrate-to-Bulgaria thing that I had originally planned on doing later this year!

Now the thought of committing to a 3-month apartment lease in Sofia seems too much after the “take it day-by-day” vibe you have here in Southeast Asia.

With next-day flights basically as cheap as flights purchased 1 week or 1 month in advance, and abundant apartment rentals available on a month-by-month basis, any type of commitment seems scary.

Did you know that Asians, when their brains have been studied, literally process information different than Westerners? This is actually probably true of every culture.

I’ve taken many of the good pieces of their culture and integrated it into my personality. Now, while I do miss Bulgaria, I kind of want to stay…

So let’s talk about Thailand. For the past month, I’ve been living in Chiang Mai.

Last year I was in Bangkok for 1 week and Chiang Mai for 3 weeks. I also had just broken up with my ex, was in massive culture shock, had a surgery, and a motorcycle crash. Yeah, things were a bit dark…

I couldn’t appreciate the beauty and “awesomeness” of Thailand then. Now I do, and WOW, now I understand why people come here and stay forever!

Chiang Mai is just such an incredible place to live. It’s quiet, relaxed, filled with beautiful nature, near waterfalls and lakes and mountains, cheap, has tasty food, and even the night-life scene is pretty good considering how small the city is!

One of my most favorite aspects is the abundant number of coffee shops & cafes all over the place that are literally designed for work.

This place caters to students and digital entrepreneurs, so it’s an exceptional place to get some work done while also having a great, balanced social & party life.

At any hour you are sure to find a good place to work with good or exceptional internet connection. Coffee & Thai Tea is delicious.

“Ristr8to,” while not a place designed for work, is a place I love to frequent with friends as it literally is one of the best coffee shops in the world. Their signature coffee costs 98 Baht, or about $3.

In USA for a similar taste & size you’d pay at least $6, but probably even more. Especially in expensive cities like Seattle!

Here you can enjoy world class coffee by a Barista who literally won multiple international Latte Art championships around the world for just $3! If you follow my Instagram (@DrivingTheUniverse) you’ll regularly see I post his designs he makes on my coffee, including angels, unicorns, rabbits, and more!

Things are just good here. I am missing a bit of that deep social connection & social life that I had in Sofia, but I can see that the longer I stay here the more likely I am to find it here.

In fact, it is already developing like that. I’ve already observed myself coincidentally bumping into several people all over the place. It kind of feels like the Sofia, Bulgaria of Southeast Asia!

Thai culture is exceptionally kind as well. You can expect amazing service, smiles, and genuinely wonderful people. Learning a bit of Thai helps also.

One running joke about Thailand is about the ladyboys. “Be careful about hooking up with ladyboys,” everyone shouts!

One night me and a friend went out. I went home with a beautiful girl, a 10/10 in my book.

He went home also with a beautiful girl but… As his hand went down, he.. erm.. found out that it wasn’t a girl he took home.

It didn’t bother him though, and having spent some time here, I wouldn’t say it would bother anyone so much either. It’s only scary when you haven’t lived here. Once you’ve experienced life here in Thailand yourself, silly things like this don’t bother you.

If that happens, you just draw the line and walk away.

In your mind it is traumatizing because you know it’s a boy, but when the primal part of your brain really thinks it is a girl you can’t really be traumatized, even after logically knowing that it is a boy.

The next night after my friend pulled a ladyboy, I met with a ladyboy. We didn’t touch or kiss anything- I suspected it was a ladyboy from the start, given that her friends were ladyboys (typically they all hang around each other).

I was tired and a bit tipsy, and I couldn’t believe that it was a guy. This “girl” looked so real that if she were alone with a ton of other girls who weren’t obviously ladyboys, there would honestly be no way to tell.

They invited me to dinner, and I decided to go, because why not? It was an interesting experience hanging out with them.

Before I had felt resistant to being around ladyboys, and I’m not entirely sure why. Now I feel my mind is more open, I feel more compassionate and understanding towards trans.

I can’t say whether it’s right or wrong, but my thinking now is just that it’s a path that their soul must experience in this lifetime. In that way, it is perhaps right for them, and no need to judge.

I personally would not want to do anything sexual with a ladyboy, but after that night and hearing about my friend’s story the fear of accidentally kissing a ladyboy is gone.

Yeah, this sounds crazy, some of you are gonna freak out, but really it’s only one of those things you’re afraid of when you haven’t had proper experience in Thailand.

After you’ve lived in Thailand for some time (technically I’ve spent 2 total months in Thailand now!) the fear is gone. There’s sometimes no way to tell, and the primal part of your brain can’t get traumatized because the ladyboys truly do look so feminine.

Countless memories have already been made in this fast month of Thailand, so much so that I’m a bit sucker-punched because I really can’t decide what to do next!

My visa expires in 4 days- what the hell should I do?

I’ve tried just now writing down some ideas. I want to explore Vietnam, Bangkok, and even stay longer here in Chiang Mai. I also of course miss Bali and have friends there.

There’s just so much to explore and do, and now that I’m finally healing from my last relationship I’m feeling so much more mentally healthy and ready to take on the world.

I am regaining that self-confidence and self-belief that everything will be alright no matter what.

I am feeling stronger, happier, and more able of taking care of myself and working towards my goals.

I am reconnecting with myself, feeling alive, feeling energized.

In the next month or so, I plan on going back to Sofia. Of course, it seems that every month I extend my stay in Asia a bit longer… So we’ll see what happens.

For now, I must decide what to do. Visa extension, or visa run? Move to Bangkok, or visit it for a weekend while living in Chiang Mai? So much to do and see!

And the beautiful thing is, unlike Europe or North America, everything is so affordable and short-term that there’s no such thing as a bad decision.

Apartments don’t have to be booked for 1 year or even 3 months. I can do it for 1 week and decide day by day what to do.

I’d like to create a bit of mental stability, as I prioritize work & working out, but I’m truly relishing in the fact that I need not commit to anything.

At the end stages of healing from a relationship, I’m so happy to know that I don’t have to commit to anyone or anything now.

Who knows what I’ll do. All I know is that my experience of Bali & Thailand have been amazing and made me really question what I should do next. It was much more awesome than I could’ve ever anticipated.

-Michael.