Category Archives: Life Stories

The Great Return to Bulgaria

Finally I’m writing this… I’m going back to Sofia, Bulgaria. No more speculation. It’s official.

After months of flirting with the idea as I voyage across North America & Asia, a flight has finally been purchased and I will officially return to Sofia.

I’ve got all kinds of mixed feelings. Some positive, but most negative to be honest.

There are a few reasons I feel this way. One of the reasons is the realization that Bulgaria has made an unconscious association with love, as soon into my first time in living in Sofia I fell deeply in love in my most intense relationship ever.

Now I know that I will not return to this, but instead something else.

This “something else” I can’t exactly say what it is. This uncertainty is painful. I feel I am approaching something fast, something I should remember, but don’t quite.

Many months ago, as I attempted to apply for immigration to Bulgaria in Chicago, a photo a friend from Bulgaria showed me made me tear up in a public restaurant.

It was a deeply happy moment in my last month in Sofia. Me and many friends were at our favorite bar. The smiles you see on this photo are deep. The eyes are genuine.

I’ve been gone a LONG time, and if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that you as a person can change faster than you imagine.

Thinking back to my friends in Montreal is quite the surprise to see how they’ve changed, or Phoenix too. In fact for Phoenix I always seem to be hanging around new friends.

For long Bulgaria has existed as a sort of mental delusion which I have consciously accepted yet not ever expressed to others.

This delusion was that Sofia was my home. I wrote about it. I shouted it to the world. I announced how amazing Bulgaria was and meant it because there was a time when Bulgaria was everything to me.

Even as I left Bulgaria, I maintained this delusion. I did things which didn’t exactly make sense, but in some ways did, such as avoiding returning to Bulgaria.

It was mentally comforting to think that I could “return home” at any moment to Sofia because the truth is I don’t feel like I’m at home anywhere anymore.

When I am in Phoenix I long for the adventure that can be found outside the USA. Sometimes I wonder if I can have this adventure within the USA. I’d need a bit more cash, but it’s possible.

When I am in Thailand and living, I miss the sense of community I’ve had in other places such as Bulgaria. I haven’t found so many deep connections besides various girls I’ve dated, but not in just friends- if I have they’ve left for onward travel.

Bulgaria felt like a home because of the love I had there, of the many friends I had, and it was the first time I was really living alone and more financially secure than in Canada.

I have more friends in Sofia than any other city. I had love there, one I thought would last always and forever.

As I’ve meandered onward, maintaining this delusion of being able to “return home” at any moment was necessary because without it I may have felt too much emotional pain.

Such is this life, this grand journey, to be torn between many worlds. Experiencing them all, yet occupying none.

I purchased the flight back to Bulgaria for a few reasons. It seemed to be an overall better decision, especially because I began to feel like I wasn’t growing how I wanted to here in Thailand.

It kind of felt like my progress in various areas of my life had hit a stand-still here in Thailand.

What was beginning as a period of great growth and fulfillment is now evening out, and I’m finding that I’m not ready to live here, if at all.

I’m not entirely opposed to living in Chiang Mai, but as I’ve wrote before I need to do a better job of picking friends. Being as many travelers come here, it’s imperative that in order to live here you paradoxically avoid the travelers, otherwise you will struggle to maintain stable social ties- your mental health will suffer as a result.

I suppose having a girlfriend may have kept me here also, as it’s easier to put up with transient social scenes when you do have at least one deeper social connection maintaining you.

My hope with Bulgaria is that I can reconnect with my many great social circles there, and grow in the ways which I’d like to now.

The thing is, I’m kind of nervous to see how we’ll actually connect. I can’t visualize readily how this will play out.

I’m certain that some connections will be deepened by my increase in maturity, but other connections I have no doubt drift off as we realize we are more different than the same.

What I wonder most of all is just what my experience of Bulgaria will be this time. Will my values align with the Bulgarian?

Thailand has changed me. Learning Thai has changed me. I’ve changed a lot, I am not who I was when I left in November of 2018.

It’s hard to objectively say whether my previous love for Bulgaria was grounded or not.

Remember that my love for Bulgaria was also the first time I was madly in love, having so many friends, having money, living alone, etc.

It may be my shocking discovery that Thailand or USA is more suited for me, and it was only via association that I claimed to love Bulgaria.

Soon the truth will be found, and this is what this journey is about.

I intend to take notes on my updated experience of Bulgaria to determine if I could live there longer-term. It’s very well possible I may decide that elsewhere is better for me.

If that’s the case I’ll still make visits back for my friends most likely, and Sofia, Bulgaria will always hold a place in my heart, but then I’ll move on.

I know that already much has changed. Messaging all of my friends in Bulgaria the night I purchased the flights was eerie and creepy.

Some of my best friends are gone, no longer in Bulgaria. Though I’m sure I’ll make new friends who have entered Bulgaria, and friends of friends I may have not otherwise connected with.

I’m curious what changes my friends have made too. Surely a lot has changed over 9 months yes?

Some things remain the same, but some change. This is the humbling aspect of travel because I can’t state what will change and what has stood the test of almost a year.

Looking myself in the mirror, I can state that I’m so different. I have a different look in my eye, a certain change in presence, new values, and more direction.

Whereas before in Bulgaria I was rather aimless and still discovering myself, now I know more who I am, where I’d like to go, and what my values are.

I find that so crazy and I’m so grateful to whatever unknown force is carrying me on its back.

This time I know the exact fitness goals I have, the exact business goals, my hobbies, my values, what I want in a girl, and my boundaries.

I used to have so much free time, and now not so much. Knowing your purpose makes you busy I guess.

I won’t share on here what some of these things are, and as you may have noticed my writing frequency has already decreased drastically. I’m busy in other projects, more meaningful ones, and I’ve realized a big difference in the “talkers” and “walkers.”

I used to very much be a talker. Now I’d like to think I’m a walker, though I’ll bite my lip when I say that because even admitting such a thing is a form of self-validation that can distract me from the path I’ve laid out and intend to walk.

The flights to Bulgaria are as ideal as it can get. I’ll be flying with Emirates airlines for less than $600 USD Bangkok -> Sofia. There is a 4 hour layover in Dubai. I leave Bangkok at 3AM, and arrive at 3PM in Bulgaria.

Having been constantly on planes for 2 years now, I can tell you that these flights are about as ideal as it gets. Besides the fact that it’s the cheapest (and on a Sunday, so no worries for work) it allows for the most likelihood of quick adaptation to the time zone (arriving past 5PM is dangerous).

Despite the most luxurious of flight options and flight paths available, I’m exhausted and a part of my non-excitement with this journey back to Bulgaria has to do with the fact that I’m just done with travel.

I can’t even muster up much excitement to see my friends after purchasing the ticket because I’m already wondering about accommodation, jet lag, and the massive change in environment I will be experiencing.

To counter-act these effects I’ve wrote down a list of goals for Bulgaria so that I have a clear sense of direction with what needs to be done in Bulgaria. This is comforting.

My new goals will set the framework for me to develop proper habits & routines necessary to re-adapt to the Slavic life, and also keep me on the path.

If I start to deviate from my goals, it will be obvious because they are written down and I know what needs to be done.

Still, I’m ready to have a primary home base from which I see the world. It makes more sense financially, emotionally, physically, and for all my goals.

I guess this again goes back to the beauty of me having “discovered myself” by traveling so much.

There was a time necessary for wandering aimlessly, and actually I’m so grateful for that.

Now I know who I am. What I want. Where I’m going. And most importantly what needs to get done.

Perhaps why I also am so non-excited for Bulgaria is that there are certain people which I don’t want to see, but also curious to see, and certain places I don’t wish to go, but will go anyways.

It is a possibility to see my ex again, especially with how compact Sofia center is. Sofia is the type of city where everyone bumps into everyone. It’s where synchronicity happens.

I will be facing the entirety of my past most likely, not just a portion of it. Now I should see clearly Bulgaria for as it is, good and bad, yin and yang.

I think though that I am under-estimating how happy I will feel with the social support of my friends. Right now experiencing some of these places & people would still emotionally upset me, but I must remember there will also be deep friends through which I feel more fulfilled.

It’s hard to imagine that, as it’s been so long. I can know this logically, but not yet feel it.

While all this seems non-exciting, and I don’t necessarily feel the most excited about Bulgaria, it’s okay.

There are loose ends which need to be tied up. Something needs to happen, and I am opening myself to the experience.

I know what I need as an individual so even if it is so bad, I’ll be able to take care of myself. Hell, I always get through everything.

First I was excited to go, but now after buying the flights my emotions are more grounded.

There is almost a sense of dread that comes with leaving Thailand. I truly love it here. It’s taught me so much and I have embraced many of the Thai values.

Every time I meet a foreign friend or acquaintance, such as a Dutch friend that recently came here a week ago, I am reminded of just how much I have changed.

My friends in Bulgaria will no doubt be in for a surprise when they meet me. Some good, some bad. I am not the same.

Everywhere has yin & yang, including me, including you, and even Bulgaria.

Before I was obsessed only with the Yin nature of Bulgaria, but now I am wise, and know that there is a Yang side which I may see as well.

This time, I’ll see the whole, and not neglect the half.

Even if I don’t choose to live in Bulgaria after these 3 months, I will finally have that loose end tied up and know that it’s not for me. Phoenix & Thailand will no doubt call me on each side of the world as I stay in Bulgaria.

That being said, it’s also possible that I’ll love Bulgaria and my life there so much that I immediately immigrate there.

This is the beauty of not knowing. While my writing sounds non-exciting and nearly dreadful, it is not without a hint of humor.

This is the journey. Yin & yang, left and right, but in the end, experience.

What will I experience this time? Will my past haunt me?

Let us discover, friends.

I’ll be in Bulgaria on August 11 at 3PM. Feel free to join me for dinner around 5 or 6PM. First rounds on me after that. The original intention is a stay of 3 months, though we know what often happens to these types of plans…

-Michael.

Resisting the Call of the Sirens

In Greek Mythology, the Sirens were incredibly dangerous creatures that lured sailor’s boats into the rocks to their death with their enchanting singing.

I don’t think sirens are just a myth. It’s real- but not in the way you might imagine.

Let me share my story in charting a course and sailing out into the open Sea. I hear now the calls of many sirens around me, and must confess I haven’t been so ideal in maintaining my focus.

Think carefully of the Sirens in your life- these enchanting beasts will make you fail, but it’ll feel oh so good in the process.

Charting a Course

My biggest goals recently have been with running Facebook Ads with the goal of getting new clients. I’ve also put forth a huge initiative into improving my skill at Facebook Ads for my clients.

Very quickly I was able to improve & validate my skills with some test clients. Now armed with newfound weaponry, I feel ready and confident to take it out into the market.

First I created my new website– but upon reflection even this may have been a call of a Siren!

Or maybe not. Time will tell.

I’ve also helped clients out for free or extremely discounted service rates that were in similar niches to my own so that I can effectively test my ideas with their ad budget.

As mentioned the results were exhilarating- for example one campaign getting leads at $1.69 per lead! At a .1% close rate, that’s still highly profitable…

Despite the intoxicating preliminary results, other tests have been a complete disaster.

For example I made an Email course about everything that I learned as a “free offer” to warm people up to a free consulting session with me where I will then close them.

The open rate so far has been horrendous- tomorrow morning I’ll have updated data to work with.

I’ve also adjusted the experiments with other ad types and targeting options to test for all kinds of variations. I’m hitting it from all angles. Suddenly…

I never could’ve expected the Sirens to call so loudly, and so sweetly…

The Call of the Sirens: Inner Demons

In my mind logically I always understood that “less is more.” I’m sure you too could learn all about the art of efficiency, the 4 hour work week, and all that juicy stuff.

The problem is if you get this information before you legitimately need it, then you may not properly apply it. In some ways I’ve done great, such as working extremely efficient with current & previous clients, but I’ve failed vastly when it came to huge leaps forward such as what I’m working on now.

One of the many Sirens is within us all- self-sabotage. Confronting our inner insecurities and succeeding is often scarier than success itself.

In fact I believe the action itself is what’s scaring. If you never try you never fail, and you also never have to deal with the effects of success.

When I succeed in figuring this out, it’s not an achievement unlocked and then all work is done.

I’ll have to work on sales calls, closing clients, hiring assistants, and all kinds of stuff. Success increases, but so does more work and unexpected surprises. It’s all too easy to slip back into familiarity and comfort.

The Call of the Sirens: Enchanting Voices

The majority of Sirens come from the outside though. These Sirens may prey on your inner Siren, but many of them also wear beautiful masks that attract you but also hide their sharp teeth which they use to kill you.

Here’s the thing with Sirens- they are enchanting. Not alluring, addicting, or powerful inherently; they possess the power of magic, appearing so real to be necessary yet not at all.

A non-example of a Siren includes drugs, sex, social media distractions, fear, and laziness. What I mean is that these are not Sirens which I refer to.

A Siren is much more cunning than these petty things. You know in your heart that you should not get wasted every night if you want to grow a business, become fit, or achieve another goal.

The Enchanting Voices of the Outer World Sirens mask themselves as necessary steps in your voyage- yet if you actually follow them you will find yourself lost, shipwrecked, and eventually, dead.

Many people claim that “success is hard,” but I doubt that to be the case. I learned quickly how to earn an income online while traveling, and that’s only because I was hyper-focused and weary of Sirens.

Those people that announce to the world that success is so hard often do so because they find themselves in bed with many attractive Sirens- beautiful mermaid-like creatures- yet in their trance they fail to notice that their blood is slowly being drained.

Meeting the Sirens: My Examples

Why have I not yet clearly identified what a real Siren is? It’s because they’re so hard to identify.

You can hardly tell if it is a beautiful woman you are staring at or if it is the mask of a monster ready to devour you.

You might not believe me, but here are some of the Sirens which call my name…

People have recommended books, YouTube videos, courses, ad strategies, offered consulting sessions, advice, and all kinds of different suggestions related to how I can achieve my goal.

These are the Sirens, my friends. No, I’m not saying never to recommend anything to anyone.

What I do remind you is to focus only on that which brings you to your destination; your ship does not have infinite supplies, and you don’t have time for every side-mission that comes your way in life.

For example, a couple years ago some people were adamant that I needed a website in order to get clients. Yet for the past 2+ years I’ve traveled while working remotely with no website- did I really need one?

The answer is no, and many of my friends who made a website did so under the enchanting allure of a Siren. The truth is the website never helped with sales, it never brought them a client, and it was a complete waste of time.

The problem is that making the website felt like a productive use of time, and it was related to the end-goal.

When you sail in foggy waters, it can be quite difficult to see what direction you must truly walk down.

Losing Focus to the Voices

I’ve said already that my preliminary results have been good- but I’ve hit a roadblock, and I’ve researched ways to get around it and fix the problem.

Now my problem lies in that there are many Sirens around me- but surely a few are real Angels sent to guide me on my path.

Should I watch this course, or that course? Should I read this book or that book?

If I do everything that is recommended to me, then it will be yet more months or years until I achieve my goals- but I know that it shouldn’t take that long.

Yet still already I’ve noticed it becoming more difficult to focus, and keep attention- many notifications are coming my way, many people want to help me, many people invite me to their “Masterminds” and offer advice.

It all sounds so beautiful! It’s all so alluring! Everything brings me in theory at least 1% closer to my goals, but the key here is in identifying the one thing which brings you 20% closer to your goal- or better yet 80% or 90% or even 99.9%!

Time is precious; it seems to be the one dimension everyone in this world forgets. The irony of life is that we live in an infinite Universe (so they say) yet have a finite life.

Navigating Dangerous Waters

As I navigate this path towards my goals, I do my best to focus on that which truly brings me to my goals. I’ve taken a moment today to nap, and I’ll take a moment tomorrow to slow down and relax as well.

Being busy is not being productive; the Sirens love to prey on a busy man who lacks awareness for how much progress is truly being made.

With all that I do, I ask myself if it really brings me closer to the end-goal. I have a ship to sail, the waters may be dangerous so I must remain all the more vigilant to avoiding the alluring call of the Sirens.

I know not yet which activities are lies and which are truth. In this way, perhaps prayer to the Universe or a higher power is necessary. Only God knows when my time is up, and I’d like to make as much progress as I can while I’m here.

With Faith, maybe I won’t fall prey to the Sirens all around me. Maybe I can focus, and this time sail my ship to my goal.

And What About Your Sirens?

And do ask yourself- where are your Sirens?

Remember that Sirens are those things which look good, feel good, appear good, but are in fact not truly good.

We all know that eating shit food is bad. We all know that excessive alcohol or drug consumption is not particularly healthy.

These addictions are the surprisingly easy thing to tackle. What really holds you back (and thus prompts you to re-engage in your negative copying behaviors) is the fact that you get caught in Sirens that draw you away from your goal!

You say you want this or that, yet try to complete every side-mission along the way when it serves no real purpose.

Life may be much like a video game, but unlike a video game you can’t play it again. You have a goal, don’t waste your time in endless side missions.

These side missions are designed to feel like you’re achieving something, when really you are still where you are- just now you have “something else.”

Your goals and dreams are closer than you imagine. Your only problem is that you sail your ship in circles, chasing the allusive beauty of the Sirens..

One day their spell will end. Their teeth aren’t so enchanting. It feels not so majestic to cry out alone as they suck your blood dry, and things go black- it’s over.

Take your ship to your goal, or follow the distracting beauty of the enchanting Sirens. The choice is yours. Though it sure ain’t easy..

-Michael.

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