Know Yourself + Life Update

Hey what’s up! In today’s blog post, I will share with you some useful life-things I’ve learned, and then share some updates on what’s been going on in my roller-coaster of a life.

I’m now in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a bit dazed to be honest. The culture shock every time I come back here hits me, perhaps because I don’t have a girlfriend here anymore to help ease me in.

I also partied it up + jet lagged myself AF in Amsterdam, which is why I’ve been feeling quite fatigued.

This experience has led me to realize some self-things, which I can share with you to your benefit. This first thing has been on my mind for a while.

The Distraction Addiction

I recently read a book called “The Distraction Addiction.” It was great, though quite lengthy, with fascinating tangents.

Reading it is a true test to one’s ability to focus. I’d say it’s an excellent book, but only if you can hang in there long enough for the all the pieces to epically come together.

In today’s society, we are filled with so many distractions: video games, TV, YouTube, social media, this, that, whatever.

I’ve blamed in the past many problems from this surge of internet usage, however now I am doubtful of the degree to which the internet has actually damaged us.

Simply put: now I believe, as realized from the book, that “distraction” comes from within. We simply find outlets to fuel that distraction.

I wouldn’t argue against the point that certain internet sites can inhibit your ability to focus. They are literally designed to distract you, and keep you on their sites.

However, I realized that the “need for distraction” came from within. It was “ego,” in a sense.

Even without the internet, your mind wanders everywhere. It can hardly stay focused on even the breath in meditation.

We must learn to use the internet consciously- to not go down endless loopholes, get triggered by keyboard warriors, or get distracted when we’re supposed to be working or studying.

You can download some software to help with that (I use BlockSite for Chrome), cut out some sites, and try to use the internet less…

But ultimately your ability to focus is reliant primarily on your mindfulness. If you are aware of what you are focusing on, and aware of those tempting feelings that make you distracted, then you can let go of them… And focus.

I think this is becoming increasingly important. I know that for myself, distraction addiction is a huge problem hindering my success in life.

It prevents me from self-connection, identifying my own needs, growing my business, getting dates, and ultimately doing what would make me truly fulfilled.

Distractions are low-hanging fruit that temporarily ease the pain of being a human. Embracing the pain and handling the situation is what’s better for you, though harder in the short-term.

Speaking of this, I recently downloaded video games and started playing again. Oops…

Know Yourself

Now I’ve learned a self-lesson. I play video games to self-medicate the pain of jet lag, culture shock, emotional pain, and well… Fear.

I typically have video games deleted completely off of my computer, but during intense periods of my life, I tend to re-download them.

The gaming is typically great at first. My recent go-to game has been CS:GO, but I’ve played all kinds of other games.

At first dying or losing doesn’t bother me. Then, I get on an epic win streak. Because I haven’t played the game in a long time my focus is razor-sharp & the game pairs me with new players that I can easily defeat.

The wins are exhilarating. Sometimes I save the game for my team, eliminating 3 enemies and defusing the bomb all on my own with no help!

Then the high/low cycles start… Maybe I get angry at a teammate for not playing with the team and costing us the game. Or I rage when I lose focus (Distraction Addiction?) and miss some otherwise easy shots.

The truth is that for all humans we have these patterns & habits, and I think it’s very important to know them.

You can make more conscious decisions when you know what your patterns & weaknesses are, to prevent yourself from falling into a trap.

For example, when I am jet lagged all I want to do is sleep. So I’ve set up a 2-alarm system that wakes me up from one alarm, then I must enter another room for the second, besides which is an open window shining light in, and a large glass of water.

The past 2 mornings were rough. I wanted more than anything to return to bed. But I out-smarted my tired-self, the sunlight + water was too stimulating for me to return to sleep!

When you know your patterns, you can also be more self-compassionate. I am more accepting and not self-hating for my sudden video game habit.

My brain is just like “WTF is going on, I’m in Bulgaria,” and I’m also incredibly tired. I let myself play video games on flights too, which likely primes my brain for more video game playing when I arrive in new destinations far away.

In the end understanding yourself allows you more self-compassion, you can better set up life for success (instead of deluding yourself), and you can prepare for what you know will be an inevitable desire.

2 Weeks of… Woah

Speaking of travel, I’m now in Sofia, Bulgaria. The past 2-3 weeks have been much more hectic than I would’ve liked. In fact, the past 1-2 months have been fairly brutal.

In the past 2 weeks I’ve been in Montreal (which was incredible), Texas (business), Phoenix (family), Tucson (Gov. stuff), Phoenix, Amsterdam (2-day layover), and Sofia. I’m tired!

It’s good that I understand myself better, as normally I’d be getting down on myself for my constant fatigue, hunger, exhaustion, distraction addiction, and all around feeling weird.

Now I just know that I’ve burnt out on a lot of travel.

This isn’t something I’d like to continue. My goal of “traveling less” for 2020 is off to a rough start!

The problem can be traced all the way back into December or even November of 2019 though- I was optimistic to return to Phoenix to see family, however I didn’t create a plan for what’s next.

I was enjoying life, going with the flow, whatever, so I thought it would be great when I arrived. I was wrong.

The jet lag & reverse culture shock hit me. Turns out I really don’t like the city of Phoenix either, primarily due to the long commutes from where my family lives. It’s also not THAT social of a city when compared to Montreal, Sofia, Chiang Mai.

I thought I’d “make the next decision when I arrive,” but what actually ended up happening was a lot of confusion & procrastinating.

This led to a mess of events that leads to where I am now. Derp.

Important self-lesson: consequences you are experiencing today were unlikely from actions you took today. The things you do MONTHS AGO affect you RIGHT NOW.

So make sure you’re making good decisions- it’ll make or break your future you!

So… Bulgaria: How Are You?

To be honest, I’m struggling over here. It was a hard decision to come.

Go back to Chiang Mai- November 2019. I had just left Bulgaria. I felt sad to leave, but visa rules and all that.

At that time my intention was to return to Bulgaria- either to get a long-term visa, OR to do half Bulgaria half Thailand.

Something changed though… I don’t know what it was.


I learned a lot more Thai. I went deeper into relationships there. My heart opened up. I found some Thai friends to go running with. I ate more Thai food. I partied. I got work done. I had such an incredible time.

When I returned to Phoenix, my intention was to still get back to Bulgaria as soon as my visa fixed itself.

One day, I went into a Thai restaurant. I spoke Thai. The waitress asked when I would return to Thailand, and I said… 1 month.

Did I lie? I don’t know. It just happened. I wasn’t sure to make of what I said.

At some point, I don’t know when, my heart started desiring Thailand more and more. Perhaps that could be the place where I could live longer-term, it thought? And by that, I mean 1 year commitment to start?

I’m feeling drawn there. It’s good there. And I don’t have to leave every 3 fucking months.

Visas are easy and affordable. They make sense. The visa-extension takes an hour at most, most of which is spent waiting. You don’t even need to speak with someone- as long as you provide the right documents, which is CLEARLY LISTED & WRITTEN IN ENGLISH, you can get a visa.

Compare that to Bulgaria, with one of the most confusing & unclear immigration systems. The rules are not clear. The rule is to not speak anything but Bulgarian- even to fellow EU passport holders.

At some point in my stay in Montreal, I wrote a super long blog post that I never published. It was left hidden, just for me. I might publish it later.

It was just me ranting about the ridiculousness of the immigration here, when compared to most other countries in the world. Of every nation I’ve been to, Bulgaria is very likely the hardest country to move to.

It would cost thousands of Euros, AND a flight to Chicago, + 1 month waiting, AND YET ANOTHER flight to Chicago.

No wonder Bulgaria is losing population – it’s near-impossible for non-EU members to move there!

Waiting for the Truth

I guess the way I could describe it is a sense of meaninglessness. Like, “what the fuck am I even doing here?”

If I’m being completely honest, I wanted to return to Chiang Mai first, but they have a 1-2 month burning season which is going on right now. This is when pollution gets bad due to wildfires + farmers burning their crops (among other reasons).

Of course, this feeling of dullness is amplified by my sleep deprivation & jet lag, which is taking a bit too long to pass.

That + culture shock is a recipe for bleh. Not to mention derping too long on video games fries the brain!

I “know myself,” so I’m gonna wait it out before I accurately assess the situation. I do truly appreciate my friends here, I just don’t feel good yet due to my travel fatigue.

That being said, I’ve calculated the cost of loss if I decide to leave Bulgaria early for Thailand.

It is manageable. So there is that chance that I might decide to leave early and go to Thailand.

I didn’t want to go anywhere new in 2020. But I still have to take care of my happiness, so I’ll go to a new city in Thailand until the burning season in the North passes.

While there are some legitimate downsides to Bulgaria that ignite this feeling, a big source of it is just the knowing that I must leave in May anyways. For yet another 3 months.

It’s not healthy to say “I’m not going to enjoy where I’m at because I’ll be going soon,” but if I really am internally seriously about living in Thailand, then it would indeed make more sense to rip this band-aid off now instead of letting myself meet some girls here, get new friends, and all that just to say good-bye when that time could be spent creating something that’ll stay at least a bit longer.

“Why Not Stay Right Here…?”

A couple weeks ago in Montreal I also had an interesting feeling: why not just move to Montreal?

I was enjoying it. Hanging out with an awesome group of international & diverse friends. Dating really cool girls.

Sure Montreal is cold, but people don’t let that stop them. People live life to the fullest there- go out, eat some food, drink cafe, hangout at the bar, go for a walk!

And… Immigration is likely easier. I don’t even know if I’d “have” to (it might be possible literally just to go and stay without much paperwork).

Also in Montreal I planned out the next year or so- I have a general plan with contingencies included for the rest of 2020.

It was good doing that, but I think I’ll add another contingency: the “stay where I’m at” contingency, where if I’m really liking a place, maybe I’ll just move there.

Things change quickly. When you only have 3 months to make friends, many don’t stay too attached when you’re gone for yet another 3 months. Even if I do.

So why not just stay where you’re at, and develop that further? I was seriously considering that in Montreal. I love those friends. They were incredible. I felt so good.

I’d say the experience of Montreal was 9/10, maybe even 10/10. And I want that clearly written for my own reference, in case I forget that.

Every time I go back, my same old awesome friends are there for me, and so are new friends & girls. It’s incredible. Things happen in Montreal. And it’s diverse!

My mentality is simplifying these days. Instead of analyzing so much, I’m trying to be in more of a productive, action-orientated mode. “Just go” or “just do XYZ” is more common of a thought nwo for me.

Why complicate it?

I would like to see what’s in Thailand, so I shall do that. And if that doesn’t work out, then I’ll likely move to Montreal.

Unless things suddenly change for Bulgaria, the prospect of me living here long-term is starting to dim out. Which makes me sad. Which makes me want to buy the next flight out and get it over with now, because goddamnit I have too many awesome friends here and I would truly enjoy living here for a year straight to go deep on it… But the fucking government..

It’s kind of funny. Bulgaria makes it so hard to immigrate, that now I’ve spent too much time in other places (Montreal & Thailand), so much so that they’re taking my heart away.

We’re gonna see where the wind takes me.

For now, I’m gonna try to sleep off this jet lag. It’s possible that I may feel better and suddenly I may be convinced this is my one and only place, worth fighting for. Or not.

A clear mind is needed to tell.

Goodnight.

-Michael