Looking For a Home

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 substantial.

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 that.

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 bit crazy.

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 every penny…

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 cities.

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 brain…

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 shock.

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 forward…

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 need).

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.

Namaste,

-Michael