Flirting with the American Southwest

A Deepened Sense of Priorities

With my recent Revelations of Reality, in which I have been feeling quite pained during my time spent here in Bulgaria, I have begun to think more of a solid place to call a home base for at least a year.

Southeast Asia has been primarily disregarded for a variety of reasons, including political instability, crazy drug laws, massive pollution, dangerous traffic, and the fact that the path to immigration is a bit more difficult and less-permanent.

This has left me with my Sofia, Montreal, or the American Southwest. I have unfortunately disregarded Montreal due to the absurdly cold Winters. Anyways if I live in the USA, I’ll be visiting over a lot anyways! And if I lived in Europe, I’ll still visit when transferring between both continents.

While I am in theory open to places such as Spain, I have disregarded them for the time being because I’m trying to avoid too much newness.

I’ve observed in myself a lack of vitality in the past year. In some instances I feel reborn with this energy and passion, particularly during streaks of NoFAP but also extended periods of time in one location.

For example, my last month in the Phoenix area in early 2019 was incredible. By the end of my experiences in Thailand I was feeling quite great as well, and dating several girls I really enjoyed.

Every new adjustment takes up a lot of conscious willpower, and these days I’d rather use this willpower on building social circles, dating girls, and growing my business. Or just having fun!

The adventure- the very thing which brought me pleasure- is now becoming my personal hell.

It is becoming more imperative with every month that passes by that I find a home base to return to in between travels. Anyways, I’ve been considering: why did I travel in the first place?

Perhaps it was to find myself. I feel that by going abroad I “found myself” and I also allowed myself to “be myself,” so now perhaps it’s time to head home and “be myself” except in the place that is truly home.

One exercise I have done in the past few days is ask myself: “if I were to die TODAY, what would I regret the most?”

A vision of my mind pops up almost immediately of a desert- I am living somewhere in the American southwest- Nevada or Arizona, perhaps even California- I have a motorcycle, a girlfriend, an established group of friends and am doing fun things with my family.

In the beginning of my travels it was exciting to meet people, perhaps because my brain could not yet identify that there was an inherent meaninglessness to every experience.

Building up a social circle, then leaving, has been super detrimental to my mental health. It’s made me slower and less vital when it comes to valuing things like social contact, mainly because everything has felt as though it lacks purpose.

Is this something I’ve lacked within myself, and should find within (and thus everywhere), or is it a true physical effect of the reality of my travel situation?

One thing is certain and that’s that something changed when I left Bulgaria that first time. It could even just be the annoying heart-break that I’ve had for quite some time, some months better and some months (since returning to Bulgaria) worse.

Instead of each new destination being an exciting adventure to explore and connect with people, it became a bit of a personal hell in which everything felt meaningless and without direction.

In Cyprus I said, “what’s the point of making friends, if I leave and will never return?” Yet I still value one of those friendships to this day, and we’ve called on the phone and shared valuable insights with each other.

So I can logically know that any connection is valuable, especially as I can return or meet up in another place, but emotionally I have become bogged down and slower in my capabilities.

This is why I hypothesize in having a home base to remedy it. It sure would be nice to have a place that is 100% mine. A place to always fall back upon when the adventure gets exhausting.

For example, the first two weeks of Bali were incredible but by week 3 it just felt exhausting- it was like when you’re full while eating some food but you just keep eating and eating.

I ended up living in Thailand, in Chiang Mai specifically where I had lived for a few weeks prior.

I became quite happy there, even though there was still a sense of pain and lack of connection with the culture.

What are the things that matter, that really bring you happiness?

Because the coffee scene in Chiang Mai is 15x that of what’s in Sofia, but I’m certain that having deeper friends is more important than the cafe scene.

This has led me to some more deeper, profound thinking about what I should do with my life in 2020. Namely: what are the things that matter the most?

Having a home base is high up on the list of priorities, and in my previous post I wrote about the pros/cons of Bulgaria. I’m starting to get a more objective grasp on the situation as I am not blinded on a drug-level high caused from love with a local girl.

It breaks my heart that that relationship could not be still…. But I need to move on, as she has better than me, and in doing so find a home base for myself.

Flirting with the American Southwest

And this is where the flirting begins.

The American Southwest- Arizona, California, and Nevada- has a culture that I love, climate that is incredible, a wonderful motorcycle scene (which is a bigger priority of mine), everyone speaks English, and there is still a diverse culture/cafe/human scene.

Last night I created a “decision matrix” in which you analyze all of the important things to you (ie. what do you want to do, weather, girl scene, cafe scene, motorcycle scene, cost of living, etc.) and then you give a “weight” to each one.

Las Vegas came out on top with Phoenix (specifically Scottsdale) tied. Sofia came in next, but by a large enough margin to make it considerably worse than the two.

I also listed some other cities out of curiosity for how they would rank. Surprisingly Chiang Mai ranked the lowest, which I was happier than in Sofia in some ways.

Now what I did last night was not good enough. I want to trust my intuition, though my intuition is so far matching the analytis. I still need to update the weights, the values, and the metrics to figure out what really matters to me.

There are pros/cons everywhere, but I need a place that is the biggest net positive. As does everyone.

There are some wonderful pros to living in Bulgaria, as referenced in my previous post. But there are also some stark downsides I’m coming to terms with, as this time around I am not letting my brain get hyped up on the drug of love.

This time around there is no one special to keep me here. With this factor of the equation out, I think that I still really like Bulgaria and would certainly visit, but is it really the place I should live?

Real Life vs. Living in a Dream

On some days, it doesn’t feel as if living in Bulgaria currently is matching with “reality.” This is kind of hard to explain, other than that it feels that I am “living in a dream land.”

Think of Peter Pan- the king of nothing. The king of a fantasy world. On some days, it feels as though I am the King of emptiness!

It doesn’t feel as if there’s any real progress being made here. It feels as if I’m spinning my wheels, not really going anywhere.

Part of this is probably long-term travel depression that I’m picking up. I am certainly slightly more irritable and frustrated, and things are feeling more and more difficult.

I guess for now, it just doesn’t feel like Bulgaria is the real home for me. This could change, and on some days it really does feel like a home. And maybe if in the next month I find a really awesome girl and more deep friends, that’ll change- but for now, even with everything I do have, it still feels like a sense of belonging is missing with the local culture.

Being Myself

When I left to live abroad, I “found myself.” I am now living more authentically than ever. Sometimes when I went back to the USA I stopped doing that, and again returned to a shell.

Perhaps the problem then is that I need to learn to be myself in the original context? Either that, or I must find a home abroad.

Bulgaria was the closest thing that came to that, but again it’s likely because love created a new home here. My ex’s heart was my home, but without that, this place isn’t quite what it was.

Creating a life

Ultimately what I’d like to do is create a “real life” somewhere. I am still not totally opposed to that being in Bulgaria, but I am considering whether it would be the most ideal long-term. Hell, even short-term as I would have to navigate a frustrating immigration process just to live here long-term!

I want to be able to date girls for longer, have longer-term friendships, and have travels/adventures with them that actually mean something. Instead I am often moving around too often to experience these things, due to visa restrictions.

This kind of piggy-back off of the sense of “not living in real life.” A part of that is the language disconnect as well. When in a group with Bulgarians, I can only catch so much. I miss the deeper parts of the conversation, and thus deeper, meaningful conversation becomes harder to obtain in a group setting. This is really what draws me to English-speaking parts of the world.

From Heaven to Hell

Finally, I am finding that travel of any kind- the thing that brought me Euphoria- is turning into my own hell. I wrote about this already, so let me give a more unique example:

Living abroad and working remotely is cheaper than living in the USA. That’s great, right? I can save money while living luxuriously.

Well, what if I want to get more clients and grow?

The very thing which helped me (living abroad) actually hinders my growth because the time zone difference and it’s harder to network with high-level people.

9-5 in Phoenix is something like 10PM-6AM in Chiang Mai- not the most ideal time for handling sales calls at all. I’d either have to wake up at 4AM, or start to work at night when I’d rather be partying. Ugh.

This problem isn’t as pronounced in Bulgaria, but still very bad. I am having to take sales calls anywhere from 4PM-7PM in Bulgaria. Again not as bad but still quite frustrating. I’d much rather do sales calls from 11-3, or something more in the afternoon!

The Three Factors

When it comes to the home base, I wrote in the previous post that it depends on 3 things:

  • Daily routine
  • Long-term goals
  • Intuition

It’s hard to pick a place based on the daily routine because I’ve really loved both Bulgaria, Chiang Mai, and the USA for various reasons. I’ve especially enjoyed Sofia & Chiang Mai’s daily routine.

For long-term goals, it’s obvious how living in the USA is the most productive.

For intuition, I’m still waiting for it to fully come out, but I think it’s starting to lean more towards the American Southwest instead of Bulgaria.

It’s funny. At first last year I was writing “I can’t believe I’d want to live in Bulgaria.” Now I’m writing “I can’t believe I might actually move back to the USA, for a home base!”

One of the hardest parts of moving back to the USA would be the lack of ease of travel abroad.

Asia is super far from the American Southwest, and Europe is slightly difficult as well (though it’s now becoming increasingly easy due to affordable flights directly to Frankfurt from both Phoenix & Las Vegas).

This problem might be mitigated soon with upcoming direct flights from Vegas or Phoenix to places in Asia such as Bangkok.

For now I’d at least be able to easily visit Europe from either place, due to those epic flights to and from Frankfurt, Germany.

Phoenix & Vegas

The two contenders are Phoenix (specifically the town of Scottsdale) or Las Vegas. Both have pros n’ cons. Both are actually quite similar as well.

I can’t figure out exactly what to do, so what I’m considering doing is going on a road trip with some friends from Phoenix to Las Vegas and meeting my friends in Vegas to see what that experience would be like.

We’ll see if that comes to fruition or not.

The Decision Matrix + Intuition

I created what’s called a “decision matrix,” in which you assign certain aspects of a place numerical values to a place based on logical factors.

For example, one important thing to me would be the cost of living. The more affordable a place is, the more likely it will end up as my home base.

A few misc others include “quality of women” (how beautiful the girls are), language (+1 for USA because English), and how naturally beautiful the place is (+1 for everywhere in Europe!).

Currently Las Vegas or Sofia ranks the highest. I’m still not logically certain about Vegas yet, especially as it is reported to be more transient which I hated in Chiang Mai.

Though if there’s anything that I’ve learned from years of world travel, it’s that statistics hardly mean anything significant.

Example: you can research the “most walk-able American cities” and excluding a few more European-style cities such as New York City, you will have cities ranked that are obviously not walkable.

People say Chicago is walkable, but it’s hardly anything like Sofia or a typical European city.

People and stats can only be as good as the reference point from which they originate, so when you say things like “give me the top 10 most walkable American cities” you have to keep in mind that “walkable” is a lot different in the USA than it is in Europe.

So when people say “Las Vegas is transient,” I’m wondering just how transient it actually is because a place like Chiang Mai is truly transient, where 2.5 months would be considered a long time to have a friendship. Even the Thai’s in Chiang Mai are quite transient, coming in and out from their remote villages for work or government-related duties.

I won’t state anything with certainty yet, as I am now trying to practice relaxing into a decision, but I’m really feeling Las Vegas.

It seems to be a solid set up for working on my long-term goals while enjoying some day-to-day pleasures such as motorcycle riding & partying (minus one for Sofia due to Winters preventing safe motorcycling!).

Relaxing into the Adventure

In the beginning of my adventures, each decision felt like the end of the world. I used to get so stressed, research so much, but now I’m learning to let go, relax, follow my intuition, and remember that not anything is “forever” or “permanent.”

If I make a bad decision, whether in immigrating to Bulgaria or moving to Vegas (or something else), it is reversible with time and effort and thus not the biggest problem.

I’m also trying to make decisions from places of abundance instead of scarcity. For example, yesterday I went out with friends and had a blast so today I’m feeling really good. Now is a better time to write & research than when I’ve worked all day without social contact and feel stressed + worried.

What do you think? What advice would you give in my shoes?

Thanks,

-Michael