I’ll confess. I’m getting exhausted in life, a bit
depressed, and the downward momentum feels strong.
Since June of 2018, I haven’t been in one country for more than 1 month. A few days ago was 1 official
month in the United States (woohoo), however I did not spend more than 1 month
in Phoenix until I flew to Chicago.
I’m currently writing this on a plane back to Phoenix from
Chicago, but more on that later.
Time is Flying
Time feels like it’s flying by. A couple weeks ago I woke up
realizing that I’m just a few months away from turning 21.
This horrifies me, as it feels like yesterday that I turned
20 and received the best birthday gift ever from my then-girlfriend, now ex.
At 18 I thought things would be considerably different now.
I had just started my online business and I had what felt like endless
motivation to make things happen.
Now I’m feeling burnt out on energy, and devoid of
motivation. The constant switching around of places makes it all too easy to
become lazy & complacent.
Anyways, time is flying by fast and it’s a huge kick in the
ass to wake up. Since May/June of 2018 I don’t feel like I’ve done anything too
I’m just worn down, and breaking up with my ex probably has
a lot to do with that among the other life stressors such as some business
issues & the whole travel-too-much thing.
Home Base Struggles
So why did I fly to freezing-cold Chicago in the middle of
Winter from cozy Phoenix? First let’s take the story back a bit.
Following my surgery in Chiang Mai, I was pretty crushed. I
felt alone, depressed, sad from my break up, and the massive physical pain
following the surgery didn’t help.
A friend (who helped after the surgery, thanks V) convinced
me to stay in Chiang Mai longer and to stop traveling around to new places.
The problem is she ended up leaving to Vietnam for a week,
and during my period alone & in pain (though I did have one other Spanish
friend I was eating with) my silly mind began once again its escapist tactics.
“Maybe you’ll be happy back in the USA,” it thought.
So I wrote passionately about moving to Las Vegas, Nevada,
or Portland, Oregon. Life had essentially become an “escaping into the future.”
I purchased a flight from Chiang Mai – Phoenix for
mid-December, so that I could make Christmas with the family. Then I healed
from the surgery.
After I healed from the surgery (about one week) I began
doing the things in Chiang Mai that I legitimately wanted to do.
For example, I met people and explore the area. I rented a
motorcycle and rode it with a friend hanging on the back in the beautiful
Chiang Mai mountains. I made another motorcycle friend and we explored some
beautiful regions together.
Suddenly passion filled me again! I was having fun, living
how I had always dreamed of.
You see, it was my dream
to ride a motorcycle (or scooter in this case) around Thailand, meet people,
eat delicious food, etc. When I first arrived in Thailand, I was doing none of
I felt scared, culture shocked, heartbroken, and I simply
wasn’t putting in proper effort in
order to be happy.
What I’ve learned is that happiness is really more of a
choice than you could realize. You can’t say “I’ll be happy exactly now” in ALL
cases (but some certainly), but you can choose to do the things and put in the
effort (such as making friends) to genuinely make you happy.
The last week in Thailand was a ton of fun, but I had
already purchased a flight back home. I considered skipping the flight but
didn’t. In hindsight, I should’ve skipped the flight- it was made days after an
extremely painful surgery which I was completely unprepared for.
Oh, another thing I’ve learned is that I need to stop
playing super-human all the time. After all the crazy traveling before
Thailand, heartbreak, etc. I thought I could go all alone and have a surgery all
alone? Yeah, I need to take better care of myself because this is just a
Did I mention I also had no anesthesia? Just basic numbing.
No painkillers either. No laughing gas even. I may have unconsciously chosen
this because I felt guilty leaving my ex in the midst of her own life
struggles. Laughing gas would’ve been a mere $60, but I was determined to save
The slight PTSD I had for a month around blenders probably
wasn’t worth saving $60. Actually, I still get a bit uneasy around blender
sounds. It reminds me of when I could feel the saw ripping apart my gums &
wisdom teeth, the blood splattering outside my face and choking me as I was
forced to swallow my blood by the cup.
Let’s get back on track now:
The problem in Chiang Mai is that I had gotten used to constantly moving around, even
if I didn’t like it. Staying and putting in the effort to meet new people
would’ve made me genuinely happy, but instead I was still in work-a-holic
coping mode so I isolated myself in the first week. In the second I couldn’t
meet anyone from the surgery. And the third was awesome, but I was already
committed to leaving.
When I returned to the USA, I felt very sad for the first
week or so. I was constantly upset and missing Bulgaria & my ex. The time
passed by super fast, I can’t believe I had stayed almost a month in Phoenix
before going to Chicago!
One really good thing I did was take up Yoga. Yoga really
helped me feel peaceful, relax, and focus. It helped calm me and re-focus.
I’m still struggling with motivation, loneliness, and lots
of other things, but yoga really helped grounded me to give me that tiny edge
to keep moving forward.
After a few weeks in Phoenix, I couldn’t decide where I
really wanted to go. I began to doubt Vegas. Portland made me nervous, I
questioned if it could be anything like Europe.
What I realized is that asking an American, “hey is this
city walkable,” is a ton different than asking a European if a city is
walkable. American cities are designed for machines, not humans. When you can
walk 20 minutes to a grocery store, that’s considered walkable, whereas in
Sofia, Bulgaria (and most European cities) there’ll be like 20 grocery stores
within a 20 minute walking distance.
I don’t feel particularly passionate for any of our
“walkable” cities such as Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia, Boston, and New
York. A lot of our American cities lack beauty & humanity like European
If you like to drive, then of course you will love American
cities. I wish to get around without a car or public transit because it’s
healthier and I enjoy that lifestyle more.
Realizing that America is hardly
suited for these desires has been a struggle. Who knows, maybe Portland or
Philadelphia is actually great, that’s what I hear, but I don’t have an excess
budget to visit many of these places to feel them out first.
Being as I’ve also been in
Chicago, I can affirm that “walkable” in Chicago is miles different than walkable in Sofia, or all of the other
European cities I’ve visited. No, it’s literally miles different. Chicago is fucking huge! And expensive…
So a part of me would love to live
in the USA. It’s that part of me that just wants to speak English, understand
everyone, understand the culture, and all that jazz.
The other part of me wants to be
around culture, uniqueness, walk-ability, and architectural beauty, which I’m
sorry but USA really lacks this.
Another side-tangent: I also don’t
understand at all how the USA was developed. Look, I understand all of the
cities were made after the invention of cars, but what about those people who
couldn’t have cars, or how did people socialize?
For example in Krakow, Poland
there is a giant main square filled with shops, restaurants, and everything you
could imagine. Around the giant main square is everything else you’d need.
These city squares or similar can be found in every European city packed with
people. It’s where people go to meet, hangout, and be social!
Growing up before phones blew up,
the only way to meet people was through other families in the neighborhood, or
school. We went out in the woods (nature) or played in front of or behind the
houses. That’s it.
If you haven’t been to Europe, you
may not understand exactly what I’m trying to communicate here. I’d argue that
it’s near-impossible to understand. Until you’ve lived the European city life,
you can’t really tell.
I just don’t understand why things
were developed like this. It must’ve been so hard to socialize pre-technology.
The friend I stayed with is in the
suburbs of Chicago, and it was 100% lonely. The only friends he had here were
friends from school. It was literally
impossible to meet more people without going downtown to Chicago.
I guess if you have an established friend
group, wife, kids, etc. then the suburbs are cool but it just seems so lonely
and desolate. There is no easy way to meet people and everyone is alone in
their giant houses. Is that really a way to live life?
You may be able to guess where
this is going: I wish that the entire European city development could be pasted
into the United States of America. I wish we had their public transit, cheap
flights, and walkable cities.
Who knows, maybe I’ll end up
somewhere in Phoenix with a motorcycle and be perfectly content. Or for all I
know Boston could be just like any other European city. What I do know is that
most of what I’ve experienced reveals that it isn’t the case.
When I made the decision to fly
back to Phoenix from Chiang Mai, I also had another reason deep down (which I
believe I wrote about also): the Bulgarian Consulate is in Chicago, so should I
decide I want to live in Bulgaria I can always apply from here.
Looking back, I think the decision
was unconsciously made because I
could apply- not because I intended to live in the USA. Ah, I have one tricky
Getting over the whole “not living
in the USA” thing is as you can see a huge internal struggle. I’m reminding
myself it’s temporary, and to go where I’m happy. I’ve always been happy there,
even when I was single for that last month while it hurt I at least had friends
& a happy lifestyle.
So that’s why I was in Chicago: I stayed with
a friend to apply at the consulate.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to
apply; I am missing some much-needed documents which we thought I could get
here but can’t. I am returning to Phoenix one week early (and wasting $, grrr)
to handle my documents. When the documents are complete I’ll confirm with the
consulate then fly back for an interview & application.
I’m really nervous, to be honest.
There’s some quote that says something like “we are more afraid of success than
we are of failure.” That couldn’t be more true.
If this Visa gets rejected from
Bulgaria, it would mean that I can’t live there. If I never applied, I could at
least have the opportunity. I know this is silly reasoning but you can’t deny
that you’ve thought in a similar way for your goals. I’m also more afraid of
living there and loving it so much I never want to return to the USA, which
would (and currently is) mind-fucking to that little kid who so proudly held
the American flag.
I guess I’ve traveled so much now
(the world?) that I’m gonna be culture shocked no matter which way I go. USA?
Reverse culture shock. Bulgaria? Foreigner forever. Anywhere else? Culture
So I’ll be landing in an hour or
two, and putting one foot in front of the other into getting my visa shit
handled. I pray that it gets accepted, for I know I am happy there.
In the meantime, I’m working on
being happy now- the first thing I’ll do is sign up for an unlimited yoga
membership and continue with daily yoga. I’ll work on getting a good
morning/night routine and growing my business.
My business has suffered as a
result of my complacency, surgery, and heartbreak. I hate to admit it, but I’m
starting over at ground zero, with a bit more cash but a lot owed in taxes that
I wasn’t able to pay as a result of my mistakes.
It sucks, but I’m figuring this
out, you know? I’m much more grateful that I took these risks, even if it
turned into a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back kind of situation. Actually, that’s
exactly what happened- 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. Time to take another 3
My goal in Phoenix is to improve
my habits, get some energy back, and keep pushing forward. Being depressed is
no joke but I’m gonna stay focus on Bulgaria.
I’ve also been second-guessing
every decision I make, and struggling with focus. I made a lot of wrong moves
recently, and some unnamed people weren’t supportive in the beginning of it and
made me feel like I couldn’t make a right decision, so part of this is just
regaining my own self-confidence and self-belief (which is all you really
I saw a movie recently, “Glass.”
It was great, but watch Split before you see it. There was a deeply emotional
moment for me in which someone said that “superheroes become superheroes
because they believe in themselves so much it becomes true.” Nothing could be
more accurate about life itself.
If you believe in yourself, you
may have what you wish to have. Through all of this, I’m learning just to
believe in myself again. Even though things got tough, crazy, and I made a few
wrong moves, I know it’s all going to work out because I believe in myself (at
least I’m trying more and more to bet on myself).
And with that, I pray I do get
that Visa and fix the business and my habits and everything and I return to
Bulgaria strong than before. And should that not work out, then I pray I do
find my home, soon.