Insane European Adventures (Travel Stories)

Europe has been a crazy, unpredictable, wild, absolutely insane adventure. I can barely put it all into words. Rather than give the long version, I’m going to give the highlights of the past month.

Also, after this E-mail I’m going to try switch up the style and write a lot on an internet BLOG (little stories, self-help, etc.) and then send THIS E-mail out with several links to different posts you might be interested in. We’ll see how it works.

Here Goes: The Crazy, Unpredictable, Wild, Absolutely Insane European Adventure (So Far)

London

I landed first in London. I thought I’d sleep on the 10 hour flight, but nope! I forgot my sleeping pills. I had just partied like crazy on my last weekend in Phoenix, and I was experiencing some massive jet lag.

My accommodation was in a hostel. My first travel experience was in a hostel, and it was absolutely incredible, so I concluded that a hostel stay in London would be perfect. Well, it started out like that…

I got some work done, extremely jet lagged and way out of it. I was exhausted, especially from the customs lady who, quite frankly, grilled the shit out of me. No matter, I made it in.

While working I met two other people. A woman and a gay guy, and they were working on online businesses too! They bought me coffee and drinks, and I accepted. I felt like I was tripping HARD. I hadn’t slept well in DAYS, and now I just had put a stimulant in me.

She gave me a tour of the nearby area and… complained a LOT. She was pompous as fuck, acting all rich and high. I didn’t enjoy it, but she was my only friend. She complained a lot about Americans, stereotyped Americans, and it was annoying. I met some German friends at the hostel, and we hung out.

One of the Germans could speak Russian, and I said the chick that I met could. So I introduced them, and she couldn’t speak Russian (she would always talk about being a Russian family bla bla bla). When she couldn’t respond, I challenged her being Russian. “Can’t a Russian speak.. Russian?”

Tip: never question someone with a huge mother-fucking ego. She blew up. I avoided her for the rest of my stay.

I met my friend Evan – a great high school friend – who is serving in the military and stationed near London. We had a blast going out to a pub my last night in London, and met some amazing people. I had to buy an $80 AirBNB for ONE night because I was so jet-lagged and fucked from all of the sleeping issues.

Belgium 

I took the Eurostar underground through France to Leuven, Belgium. It was cool, and I met my Belgian friend Helena. I stayed the night with her family, and they were super cool. We were going to visit several cool things in Belgium.

SURPRISE: her mom liked me so much, she gave me her car!!! Suddenly I had to re-learn stick shift, and not only that but drive in Belgium. Needless to say, it was an adventure. European driving seems crazy but once you get the flow down you actually realized it’s organized chaos.

We went to Brugge, Belgium, which is like the Venice of Italy. It is absolutely stunning. (Sidenote: I’m going to start adding photos after this E-mail LOL). It was seriously INCREDIBLE. I loved it. We then went to the seaside where her family owned an apartment. It was beautiful.

We explored around there, and ended exploring Brussels & Leuven. It was all fantastic, and I must say that Belgium is quite fantastic. I never would’ve expected it to be such a magical place to visit. Also, after the first night I recovered quite a bit on sleep!

Wizz Air BS

I flew from Brussels to Budapest through Wizz Air. Be careful. Wizz Air acts like they sell cheap tickets but they’ve super strict rules. For example, it costs $40 USD to print your ticket at the airport (you’ve gotta print it at home). You can only have one carry on, otherwise you have to pay $80.

I was told I had to pay $80 because I had two carry ons (normally one in the cabin and one under the seat, right?), but when I went to the front desk the lady was clearly new and said I didn’t have to pay for the other. I was prepared to pay, but didn’t have to! I hid my backpack tags behind every other guard I walked past and magically avoided the $80 fee. Amazing.

Budapest – a Lovely Tragedy

I landed in Budapest and took a taxi to the center. The taxi guy was amazing. He was charismatic and helpful. I completed a set of tasks to get into my AirBNB apartment, and finally I was there at the door…

The AirBNB apartment was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. You don’t even understand. When I start making BLOG posts more official w/photos n’ videos n’ shit, you’ll see. It was HUGE and rich AF! For about $1k USD / Mo., it was a steal. In America the equivalent in Phoenix would run for at least $3k USD / Mo.

There was a bit of a weird smell, so I opened the windows hoping it would go away…

I joined a self-improvement group and got to meeting people. On the first night I was invited to partying, and same for the night after that. Both Friday & Saturday night were insane. Sunday I hung out all day with a friend I made from Bratislava (who was there for the weekend).

The prices were insanely cheap too. I accidentally withdrew $325 USD from the bank (100,000 Hungarian Forints) LOL! I realized that, if I wanted to, that $325 USD could last me a whole month on food and everything. Seriously- if you want to you could spend less than $10 / day on food, and that includes eating out 1-2 times PER DAY.

The language barrier made me incredibly nervous. I wasn’t entirely myself, and was also starting to get sick and depressed. I couldn’t explain it.

Suddenly I realized the cause: MOLD! That “weird smell” in my AirBNB wasn’t going away, it was getting worse. There was SEVERE water damage and I discovered that the upstairs neighbor flooded the apartment a week before. My dizziness, headaches, and itchy eyes were NOT random. My depression and inability to focus wasn’t random – it was fucking toxic mold.

I had to get out, and so while nervous, I set out my intention to do so…

AirBNB: Support as Retarded as Monkeys + Crazy Drunks

I called AirBNB and had a great experience that first night. She said I’d get full refund the next morning if my host didn’t respond (she wasn’t initially responding to me). The next morning, I found out I’d gotten a new case manager. I talked to him and he said he had to try make contact to my AirBNB host.

So I waited. And I E-mailed him. I got no response. So I waited another hour. Another E-mail. Another hour. Another E-mail. I was also talking with my host, and she sent her husband over. He noticed the smell too and said they’d give me a refund. I E-mailed AirBNB yet again, 6 times now over 6 hours, and still NO FUCKNIG RESPONSE!

I figured things out with my host and we needed AirBNB to handle the refund or give instructions on how to do it. While trying to figure things out, sitting outside in the cold w/all my stuff, a guy asked me for a cigarette. I said no before he asked. He asked again in Hungarian, I said “nem nem nem nem” (no no no). He asked in English. I said no in English. He asked again, I said, “buddy, I don’t have a fucking cigarette.”

“What did you just say?” He got angry at the word “fucking,” and got up in my face. He put his hand in his pocket, and with one backpack on my pack and the other in front I was in no fighting shape.

“I said I don’t have a cigarette.” I stared him dead in the eye and saw the fighting look in his eye. He got close, too close, but there were too many people around. I got up and left as he said okay, laughed, and walked away facing me full of hatred.

The next morning I still hadn’t received a mother-fucking E-mail from AirBNB. I E-mailed again 5 times throughout the day. No responses. In the evening, sitting out in the cold again, I gave them a call.

Guess what? My fucking AirBNB case manager “went offline.” I asked how to do the refund, and he told me how. My intuition screamed “that’s wrong,” so I made him ask his manager. His manager said the same thing.

Before taking any actions, I calculated out how everything was working out. Either both the employee and manager are purely retarded, or they wanted to keep my money. Either way, I don’t normally hate, but I truly hope for the worst of these two people & AirBNB. They don’t know how something as simple as a refund works, and straight up told me information that would cost me about $800 if I had followed. Yeah, great job, retards.

I figured it out with my host and she sent the refund. Could you fucking image if my AirBNB host didn’t agree to the refund? Even though there’s LITERALLY TOXIC MOLD in the apartment, AirBNB would keep my money. Hell, even though we did agree on a refund, AirBNB tried to keep the money (either through retardation or malicious intent).

Either way, I truly can’t wait for the day that AirBNB gets replaced. From now on I’m doing 1 night bookings of a place before paying for the first month because of how much of a disaster it is to get a refund. It’ll make traveling harder and require more money, but it’s insurance for not being stuck on the streets trying to figure out a solution with monkeys. AirBNB is fantastic because of the people being connected – not the support. These people are no loss to society.

Solving a Disaster

I froze to be honest. I procrastinated, for almost 2 days. I tried to find accommodation in Budapest, but didn’t initially try hard enough. I was considering leaving, considering staying, and I didn’t have a clear intent. I was lost, sad, and lonely. I was still recovering from Toxic Mold (I’m probably fully good now).

I became overwhelmed with all of the decisions. Everything was a fucking downgrade. Flying late at night, taking long buses/trains, or accepting a downgrade apartment (that’s also more expensive) were all just flat-out depressing. I was afraid to make a decision because I didn’t want an apartment with any weird smells. I felt so sick, so tired, and my intuition was screaming no at the only available option.

Of the two only available options, one flaked on me. I understand that because I kept telling her “yes I’ll go,” then switching it to “no.” She felt off, and I don’t blame her. The second option was trying wayyyyyyy too hard to close me, even while I was at the other apartment. Something just felt off, even though everything looked perfect.

There were a couple other options, but they weren’t responding to me. The remaining 2 options in Budapest I was absolutely not digging. I can’t even say why. Maybe it’s because of the mold making me depressed and not interested in things. Maybe it was all the craziness. Maybe it’s because it truly wasn’t the best way.

The hours carried on, as I set in a restaurant. A cute Hungarian girl checked me out, and my inspiration to stay returned for but a brief second. It felt too cold and hostile, but suddenly it felt welcoming. I felt as confident as I was in the states. However I couldn’t find a fucking solution. For some reason my intuition wouldn’t let me book a place. Maybe I didn’t truly want to stay… but I kinda did. Seeing the messages of the few friends I did make is saddening. They are sad to see me go, and were so helpful. It sucks.

Man, sometimes travel is exhausting as fuck. You know it’s not so bad having a base to make friends, and share these adventures with friends. This is a self-improvement game though, and my new destination will force me to grow massively.

Note April 26 2018: Tip: Back up the profile links to all of your friends. I had an issue with Facebook and had to make a new profile. I truly miss my friends from Budapest. It was not meant for me to live there, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy going on a weekend vacation with them! 

Sofia, Bulgaria: A Promising New Adventure, or Addition To Hell?

I booked a flight to Sofia because it was cheap, fast, and CHEAP. It’s apparently cheaper than Budapest, and there are several AirBNBs. 3 hosts now are willing to let me tour their apartment before booking for a month, and they’re offering fancy refunds.

Why did I choose this? I don’t know. It was cheap and close. In hindsight maybe it wasn’t the best decision, especially because my refund just came in from AirBNB, and I get paid tomorrow. Oh well, I’ve got money to fix the decision.

My trip here was uneventful until after the flight. I took a taxi, and I feel like the guy was drunk. He was a dick too. It was scary AF. When I arrived, he didn’t accept card. He told me “12 Lev,” and I asked if I could pay in Euros. He said “sure, 20 Euros.” I knew that was fucking bullshit and that I owed 6.25 Euros, which I proved.

I handed him 7 Euros and told him to keep it. A 5 Euro bill and a 2-Euro coin. “I can’t accept coins,” he said.

“What the fucking fuck is up with fucking scammers and assholes everywhere,” I thought. Before this taxi a weird (probably drunk) guy at the airport tried to explain to me he owned the taxi company and would give me “very good price.” I told him to fuck off.

I told him I don’t have 10 Euros bill. I asked why he couldn’t accept coins, and he pressed onward. “Why the fuck are you wasting my time?”

“I’m not tryna waste your time man, sorry.”

“You MUST know how this works. Can’t accept card unless you tell the receptionist (who called the taxi), and the machine doesn’t accept coins.”

I knew he was fucking bullshit. I tried to fight it, and he got angry and got up in my face. He was about 2-3x my size, and I felt scared. My stuff was in his car and I couldn’t run. Despite being a REAL taxi driver (lots of scams everywhere), I was going to lose this fight or my gear.

I thought maybe we should go to an ATM, but there were none nearby. He kept asking why I was wasting  his time. I stood my ground confidently. I asked him if he could pay in Lev himself, and then keep the Euros cash. He denied that.

I ended up pulling out a few other Euro dollar coins. I handed him 10 Euros and asked if it would make up for him. “Well, I’m not going to let you waste your time, and you don’t know how this works, so sure.”

Lesson: know when to lay off. It’s just 4 Euros. I didn’t even have 20 Euros, but giving 50 Euros bill is better than losing your stuff (or your consciousness by getting knocked out).

Still, it pisses me the fuck off. The drunk guy in Budapest getting up in my face, AirBNB support going “offline” and lying to me (or being straight up incompetent), and getting pressured into over-paying in cash for a taxi in Sofia. It’s too much man.

I figured out how to get in my one-night AirBNB, and I’m writing this now at 0215 local time. I’m exhausted, have a horrible headache, and am just done with bullshit. I’ve lost hundreds – maybe a thousand – dollars in bullshit from travel. My goal is to build a 3-6 month safety net, and now I’m back behind again.

Postpartum Depression: It’s Normal – Final Thoughts + Next Steps

So, what am I going to do now? I don’t know. I can’t let these bad events be the center of my attention, especially when I did have great experiences in Budapest. Here’s some important things I’ve learned though, and what I’m going to be doing next:

1) Routines are critical. I still am a bloody mess. I know all of the answers, but I’m not organized enough yet to execute on all of them. My mentor – a multi-millionaire business owner – taught me secrets that make other business people break their neck wondering how I know this information.

What’s the point of it though if you can’t take action on it? Traveling messes you up if you can’t maintain a routine. My goals here in Sofia or wherever I go is to get a fucking routine. I want to wake up at the same time everyday, eat the same thing every morning (to a degree), do the same things at the same time everyday.

Is that dull? ABSOLUTELY NOT. By penciling in your work and goals, you create free time for fun and play. Work and success is created by contraction and focus, whereas fun and joy is created by freedom and love. I need to get back onto the success train by contracting, which should also increase by fun by having dedicated “derp” times and free time to do as I love.

In fact free time is a bad phrase – as “Tim Ferris” (4 Hour Work Week) puts it: “Boredom is the enemy.” I’m seeing that now more than ever. Things to do is more important than nothing. I find I often distract myself checking E-mail, social media, etc. I’m not doing it because I’m interested – I’m doing it because I’m avoiding the bigger issues within me (feeling lonely, wanting to meet people, etc.)

2) Everything has its ups/downs. Don’t let anyone tell you that traveling the world is all there is to life. “Traveling the world” is too vague anyways. Now I’ve learned that it’s more about the people and experiences you create.

In my opinion now the order of importance in your life should go like this: HEALTH -> SECURITY -> FRIENDS -> EXCESS WEALTH -> LOVE. I’m working on healing some chronic pain (which is thankfully finally improving). Security is also very important – you can’t be living in stress. Enough money to pay the bills and then some is all you need. Friends make amazing experiences. Excess wealth is obvious. Love comes when you’re open to receiving it.

I could be wrong. Keep in mind I just took a sleepign pill an hour ago and am VERY tired. Love could be before wealth. To be honest, I might change that. Now that I think of it, those two are probably equal. They are “cherry on tops” for an already amazing life. If you’re in love lackign something else, it’s okay to create and succeed on that goal with a partner. But for those of you single folk (like me), I think it’s best to level up yourself then find a partner.

Again I can’t stress socializing enough. Get out, talk to people. Sightseeing is stupid. Deep down, we all know it’s who we’re with.

What’s Next? Self-Doubt + Anxiety

Now, I’m anxious and full of doubt. You know, traveling the world seems cool, but when you finally have the $ and ability to buy a flight anywhere in the world within 3 hours, you kinda struggle making a decision. Some of you know where you want to go. Me? I’ve only recently learned that “what I want” is deeper than travel. Travel can give it to me, if I’m the right person to receive.

Even then, it might be wise for me to settle someplace and build a massive social circle, then often travel with a home to fall back on. We’ll see what happens. For now I’m going to keep traveling because I didn’t give Budapest my ALL. Also, quite frankly, I’ve never really felt at home. I really enjoy that flying experience, and I tend to feel at home where I am in the moment.

What I want is an amazing life: I want it to be busy, free, full of adventure, full of great health, love, and wealth (and peace of course). I want it all. Travel is probably an integral part of that.

No matter how negative this post sounds, I love it: travel.. I don’t know that I could commit to a home (maybe that’s my problem?), but traveling is amazing. It forces you to adapt, improve, and analyze yourself deeper. My goal is to create an amazing routine that constantly delivers me an amazing life, no matter where I am in the world.

Tomorrow I’ll be exploring AirBNB options, and following that I’ll make a decision with what to do. I may actually leave, the reason being that I don’t speak the language. The only problem is that I am very keen on finding a CHEAP place. I can’t be wasting money. Yes, I’m making money now, but spending all that I make is a sure-fire way to be poor.

Security before friendships, remember? Who knows, maybe I’ll love it. It’s really late here so I’m getting depressed from exhaustion. In fact I’m willing to bet that this last part of the E-mail probably won’t even make much sense. If it does, great- because I don’t feel like I’m fully communicating how I feel properly. There’s something there, and I’m putting my head down as I write this.

We’re going to see how Sofia goes. I hope for the best, and am prepared for the worst. The refund went better than I imagined and I should have more money available than what I thought. Worst case scenario, I fly out again. I know my goals now (kinda)- the pain is a reminder of what I want. It’s just a matter of executing on it.

If you dared to read this far, hit “reply” and let me know what you think. Am truly curious how many people made it this far. Have a good night :->

-Michael

Edit 04/26/2018: I’ve been in Bulgaria for half a year now. I LOVE it! Looking back on my posts & journal is quite interesting. Here I found my home, my soulmate, and so much more. Sofia, Bulgaria is a magical place. 10/10 recommend, just don’t let the poor first impression get you.