Recently I had a bit of a conundrum: my visa was expiring for Bulgaria- and fast. I had just a little over 2 weeks (and now less than 10 days) until I’d have to leave.
Wow, the time went by really fast. The initial adjustment of coming back to Bulgaria from Thailand was extremely rough:
Memories of a lost relationship, adjusting to western food after months of simple Thai cuisine, lack of AC in the hot summer, jet lag, and other bad coincidences like my laptop breaking.
I kind of went into a work-too-much mode, as I was super excited to achieve my new business goals I had set out. Eventually I burnt out, and was no longer capable of working so hard.
It then became my priority to enjoy my new social life, which had improved significantly since the last time I was here.
I began to date again, hangout with new friends, deepen old friendships, and over the latter course of my stay here in Bulgaria I began to feel much more deeply happy.
Life is simple here. Wake up, meditate, food, coffee, work, hangout. Repeat.
I created some group chats for different groups that I have here, as I was beginning to get too many great friends- instead of many one on one meetups or small groups, I found myself managing large groups of 8-12 people at a time.
This was deeply fulfilling and will now become a part of my life manifesto wherever I go- creating social groups and bonding everyone together is such an incredible experience!
When I wasn’t with my newfound social groups, I was dating AMAZING girls. My dating life has been not as good as Thailand as I spent the first half of my stay here not attempting dating at all really, but now I can see a lot of potential in it.
In theory I could’ve extended my visa for another 2-3 months, but I don’t want to. It’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem, which would be my immigration status in EU.
During the additional 2-3 months I would just get more attached to people, and it would be all that harder to leave. I’d probably get another girlfriend so it’s best instead to stay free until I have the clear-cut home base.
Anyways I’m technically leaving 1-2 days before my visa expires, so I can return to Bulgaria as soon as I pick up a new visa in America. If I were to extend, then the rule would dictate I’d have to remain outside of Bulgaria for a minimum of 90 days (as far as I know).
I feel really sad to be leaving. So many old and new faces, connections deeper, groups better, it’s really an amazing experience this time around!
So… What’s Next? Decision Making…
Because I was so caught up in enjoying everything, I was a bit caught off guard by my upcoming visa expiration and decisions that I had to make.
Making decisions has always felt like a conundrum for me, but now they’re becoming easier to make. In hindsight, I’ve made very few bad decisions, and bad ones that I’ve made were quick to self-correct with time.
In my mind I sometimes saw two paths as black & white. Good or bad. But that’s not really the case- both paths can be equally good, so in a way you can’t make a bad decision. On the other hand, both decisions can be bad…
The most important thing I’m learning about decisions is that it’s best to make them ASAP, given that you are able to collect all of the necessary data to make a good decision.
Realizing that I could often over-think things, I attempted to make a decision too fast in purchasing a new laptop, which I ended up regretting (but everything again turned out okay, so it really wasn’t that much of a problem in the end!).
Now I’m seeing the healthy balance: do the research needed, ask the questions needed, but don’t over-think it or worry about it too much.
I narrowed down my choices to Thailand or the United States, reason being I want to stick to what’s familiar and comfortable more than anything else. I’m preferring these days not to travel and adventure to new places, except for explicit vacations. I’d like to slow down my pace and enjoy a bit more the fruits of my labors.
I had of course other thoughts like “what if I visited Italy, or Ukraine, or XYZ country,” as the prospect of landing in a new country completely fresh and not knowing anyone still feels a bit romantic to me… But I opted not to do that this time around.
It was United States or Thailand- left or right, East or West.
The Heart, The Mind, the Dilemma
I knew with certainty what my heart wanted- Thailand. But my mind resisted, and was insistent on heading back to the United States.
Logically speaking it would be better because I could test it out as a home base, compare it to Bulgaria, then make a decision on where to live and then finally get my home base. Furthermore, it’s in the best time zone, and also offers more networking opportunities. It’s the best thing for my business.
This created a split within me, but instead of resisting anything I decided this time around to just “let go” and hear both sides of the situation. Inspired by a friend’s tip, I called an “inner circle meeting” between “let’s go to Thailand” and “let’s go to America.”
I listened to both sides of the coin, and surprisingly found that Thailand actually had a significant amount of rationale to it!
Thailand is cheaper, it’s more familiar (surprisingly), I’ve multiple friends/dating partners there or headed there, and I know everything I need to know to quickly plug back into an awesome life.
Was I being nostalgic of my previous times in Thailand, or was it truly the best decision? I tried to reflect on what data I would need to make the best decision… And then suddenly I realized it: I needed to figure out if my old apartment building was available.
I decided that I would not go back to Thailand if my old apartment building wasn’t available as I didn’t want to deal with a new place. Where you live greatly affects your happiness!
I sent an Email and have been in correspondence with my old property managers, and found a place that is more than good enough. It’s also $100 cheaper per month. Great!
Still not completely certain, I decided to listen clearly to what my heart had to say. My Heart was super adamant about Thailand, even though the surface-level logic pointed towards United States.
Ultimately what I realized was two things:
First, there was a lot more logic to the decision of heading to Thailand first then America. I will go to the USA for the holidays. I won’t bore you with all the details, but my brain at a surface-level was unable to process what my heart was able to quickly process and compile. Intuition was right!!!
Second, I want to live an amazing life. Whether I live in Bulgaria or USA, I will visit Thailand regularly for fun trips.
It completely goes against my life manifesto to be ultra-logical and boring about life and rush to get everything sorted out. Life is about enjoyment, fulfillment, etc., and so if I can’t go to Thailand because I *need* to find a home base *right now* (essentially delaying happiness for later) then I would never allow myself to *just be happy.*
Think about it: if you train your brain neurons to say “I’ll be happy when [xyz],” then when you finally achieve XYZ then your brain neurons will keep firing on the old “I’ll be happy when” path.
There shouldn’t be such a rush for me to find a home base. Life is about enjoyment and fulfillment, not about rushing to completely everything that the mind wants completed.
Finally, my heart just really wants to go to Thailand over USA. In fact, Thailand is more familiar/safe to me than USA. What???
As shocking as it sounds, it’s true. I haven’t ever lived in the USA outside of my parent’s home far away from the city center, so I’ve never truly experienced life in the USA. When I was doing some research I realized just how different it really would be.
Honestly I’m not ready for that yet- as crazy as it sounds even to me USA is the “foreign” place by this point, and Thailand or Bulgaria are familiar places.
I mentioned earlier this post I had narrowed down my options to Thailand or USA due to familiarity and comfort above adventure, reason being that simply the travel itself is extremely adventurous.
That was my little hint that I would be choosing Thailand over the USA- because Thailand is, as shocking as it may sound, more familiar than any American city.
Following the Heart: the Results
Immediately after making the decision at 5AM in the morning (because I couldn’t sleep all night due to subconscious stress about this), I felt relaxed. I just felt this beautiful relaxation come over me.
Maybe I would’ve felt this for the USA also. I don’t know. Neither decision is particularly bad, just Thailand is better for me now.
I was talking to a friend a few days ago and he said something very important: “it doesn’t matter what you decide because in the end your brain will do confirmation bias to make your choice the right choice.”
So what I am about to write about is probably just confirmation bias that the choice I made is the right one, though it should be added there was some synchronicity + clues that I should go to Thailand before the decision was made, also.
As I mentioned earlier I had other friends traveling to Thailand at the same time I was. People had reached out to me prior to the decision asking if I was going to Chiang Mai because they were.
Things are connecting perfectly, too.
I will arrive in Bangkok on Nov 5, and stay in Bangkok until Nov 8, when I’ll go to Chiang Mai.
During my few days in Bangkok I have plans to meet a Thai friend from Chiang Mai, a dutch friend now living in Bangkok, and another Thai friend.
In Chiang Mai I have multiple meetings already planned out, adventures pre decided.
I know so many amazing cafes, restaurants, yoga places, etc. so I’ll be able to re-plug into my Chiang Mai life very quickly- I estimate within a week it’ll feel like I never left, and Bulgaria was just a dream (just like now my life in Chiang Mai feels like a dream).
Since making this choice- which I knew was my authentic heart choice- I’ve felt more good energy, vitality, and happiness. I was actually starting to feel sick as a result of standing on the fence for too long, so at the very least the “excess energetic potential” of sitting on the fence is gone- the decision is made, the path is set.
I may not stay in Thailand that long, either. A girl I went out with in Chiang Mai from Taiwan invited me over to Taiwan- her group has a car and we could have some fun exploring Taiwan.
As I’ll be flying over to America anyways, I am seriously considering reducing my stay in Thailand to just a month so I can enjoy a week or two with her in Taiwan- that is an adventure I feel ready for!
Listening to the Heart & using the Mind
What I’ve learned, and probably we all deep down intuitively know, is that we should follow our hearts.
The fact is if I were to fly straight to the USA my heart would not be all in for that. My heart would be asking, “why not Thailand, just a month before going to USA for the holidays?”
Because I wouldn’t be “all in” for the USA, I wouldn’t even have an optimal experience. When it comes to choices in life you’ve gotta be “all in or all out.” Halfsies doesn’t benefit anyone.
In the end, life itself is an emotional experience. We do things because we want to be happy, and the mind should only serve as a tool for our heart.
Unfortunately many of us struggle in today’s society with that- society places the mind above the heart, as irrational as it is. Luckily it seems we’re going through a cultural transformation that embraces the heart for what it is- the heart is much more wise than the mind, it just speaks subconsciously, and thus we don’t easily understand all the reasons for its premonitions.
What sealed the deal on the Thailand vs. USA thing for me was this realization:
If I went to the USA, I’d have to use my mind energy to rationalize the decision. If I went to Thailand and followed my heart, I’d have extra mind + heart energy to use to handle the various problems associated with Thailand, such as the worse time zone for business sales calls.
What’s better: to live in the USA where the time zone for business is better but not feel all in for it, or go to Thailand and stay up a bit later or get up a bit earlier so I can call my clients in America?
The latter of course! Anyways, the ultra-logical decision-making process begs this question: what’s the point?
What’s the point if I go to America for better business opportunities, if I, deep down, will just want to leave for Thailand anyways?
Reconnecting with Core Values & Principles
Ultimately we all have a “core reason” for being alive, for living. Adventure, exploration, and spreading love is a huge part of that for me.
Using my mind to serve this purpose is useful- I can create plans for doing business so that I can live this life.
But you have to be careful not to get too stuck in the mind, then the mind will keep making decisions without the guidance of your “core self” or the heart.
The mind will say “we have to go here for business,” but it has gotten completely detached for the reason to do business in the first place, which was to travel, adventure, and live an epic life of freedom!
I’m headed to Thailand
So I’m headed back to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I don’t know yet how long I will stay. I’ll buy flights back to America soon for the holidays most likely. I also may visit Taiwan or Hong Kong or something. We’ll see.
For sure though I’ll be in Bangkok on Nov. 5, and then on Nov 8 be back in my “other second home” in Chiang Mai for at least a month!
If you want to come adventure, I encourage you to do so! Come meet me in Chiang Mai 🙂