Category Archives: Life Stories

Observing Patterns of Existence: Your Destructive Pendulums Revealed

“People don’t have business problems. They have personal problems that reflect themselves in business.” -Sam Ovens

Months after completing the best business course ever (that link is referral if you’re interested), I am still processing what I’ve learned. I rushed through week I and week II of the course, yet I’m finding those weeks to be the most valuable, funny enough.

That quote above was found on I believe week II, in which course creator Sam Ovens spends a whole week to immerse you in your mindset & mentality so that you don’t fuck up all the valuable information you learn.

It was difficult to go through Week 2’s content because I didn’t always understand initially how relevant it was. For example, one thing he talks about is your “Patterns of Existence” over a macro period of time.

It’s hard to observe these things until you become aware that it exists- and now that I’m aware, and have been aware for months, I can observe my negative patterns of existence play out over many months.

Another critical thing taught in Week 2 is that success is not about playing up your strengths, but minimizing your weaknesses. This is counter-intuitive to typical mainstream feel-good content which is all about “focus on your strengths.”

But when applied, this way of thinking actually makes sense. You could have a ship as awesome as the titanic, but it only takes one hole (weakness) to sink it. Same is true for your life: it doesn’t matter how many healthy habits you have if you shoot up heroin and undo all the good you’ve done over the course of years.

The problem is that many of our true weaknesses are not obviously apparent. My obvious weaknesses are easiest to mitigate because I know that they exist. The long-term, macro patterns are extremely difficult to realize without a high degree of awareness.

Observing Long-Term Patterns of Existence

Your “pattern of existence” is basically the yin/yang of your life spread out over a period of time.

One example of this is the entrepreneur who hustles really hard when times are tough, then blows away his earnings when times are good. His “peak” and “low point” are unconsciously defined. When at the low point he hustles and shapes up, and when nearing the peak he becomes lazy and loses it all.

As I wrote it’s extremely hard to observe this. Some patterns may become obvious with some reflection after reading this, but I guarantee that you will be reflecting back on this post (if you truly indulge in it) months later as now you will be consciously aware that this exists.

I’ve recently become more and more aware of my long-term patterns of existence. That is, the deceptive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors I have that feel so relevant in the moment but end up being quite destructive in the long run.

That’s because in the moment they are helpful. But long-term they end up trapping me into a cycle which I’ve been on for years.

One of my Long-Term Destructive Pendulums

One long-term destructive pattern I’ve had is a period of “immersion” in one subject in which I neglect other areas of my life in order to fulfill a singular task. Instead of balancing multiple areas of life, I find myself jumping too deeply into one.

The best example of this is my business immersion upon returning to Bulgaria. I decided that I just wanted to focus on business, and became obsessed with making progress. I neglected other areas of my life to work all day.

But slowly an explosion started to come… When what I was doing didn’t produce results, I snapped and spent 3ish weeks not being productive at all. In fact, it was embarrassing just how unproductive I was in those 3 weeks, especially when compared to my previous month of intense progress.

Suddenly my social needs started screaming, and I began to date, hangout, party, and do what I needed to in order to get my social needs were met. In the past couple weeks I’ve had dozens upon dozens of new Facebook contacts added, and created some pretty awesome group parties and group dinners and other group-related events!

But this was not sustainable either. My period of immersion into this area of my life neglects business, so I know obviously that I must get back on the productivity train. I need to deliver results for my clients and I need to get new clients for long-term sustainability in my career.

This has been a pattern for quite some time. In fact, it’s a bit of a blow to the ego to realize just how unconscious I was of this. Let’s go back into my life and observe this:

  1. When I first moved to Phoenix from Omaha (mid 2016), I went through a 6-month period of social immersion. I didn’t work much.
  2. Then I went through a period of business immersion in which I severely lacked a social life but ended up launching my business (first 6 months of 2017).
  3. Then I shot back into a period of social life & dating when I moved to Montreal (last 6 months of 2017)
  4. Then I got a girlfriend, and ended up focusing a lot on health and improving my health (first 6 months of 2018)
  5. But then my business nearly collapsed, so I re-immersed myself in business, and ended up breaking up with her as I realized it was not a healthy relationship (last 6 months of 2018).

These are extremely rough estimates and of course there are yin/yang drops in between, but even over a 6 month period I can see how I go through different boom-bust cycles.

These cycles have become shorter and shorter recently, but are still there nonetheless. There are also other cycles.

Dissolving the Pendulum of Existence

Consciousness is the starting point when it comes to dissolving any egoic pattern, especially the unconscious ones. That doesn’t make it easy though- you have to consciously go against what you’re feeling in the moment for the sake of balance, but not so much against what you’re feeling such so that the pendulum inverts.

In my case I’m trying to introduce some balance in my life, which I’ve written about previously. I need to find a way to balance social life and business as these are the two big areas of my life now that my health is consistently great no matter what happens in this boom-bust cycle.

This means working less and socializing less such so that both areas of life can be handled at once. I actually did a great job of this while I was living in Thailand earlier this year, as I would work hard throughout the day but never work past 5PM / 17h- that time was reserved for social gatherings and/or dating.

I think that when I finally get a home base (hopefully by later this year) I will be able to implement more of this balance in my life too. Constantly traveling to new places presses the “reset” button on the social life progress made, whereas when you live in one place and have regular friends it’s a lot easier then to work until 5PM then be DONE because people want to hangout with you anyways.

What are your Patterns?

As I’m learning in life, improvement is really not about maximizing your strengths- it’s about handling your weaknesses because those are the things which fuck you up. Goliath was taken out by David through one tiny weakness, all of his strengths mattered not when compared to David.

The first step is observation and awareness. The answers become more clear when you observe… Without observation, you don’t even realize that you have a problem!

Now that I know one of my biggest long-term destructive patterns of existence, the solution can come up. Instead of me writing stories about my struggles or endlessly searching on Google for solutions to my problem, I can relax and let the answers arise from within, as the problem comes from within…

-Michael Keller

Thinking Bigger & Lifestyle Design

The great problem of thought is that it is often limited by that which is real and can be seen, felt, heard, or previously thought.

Take a moment, breathe, and listen to your thoughts to the next 30 seconds. I can bet with extremely high accuracy that your thoughts are not original; you had these same thoughts yesterday, and the day before, and the day even before that.

The way we perceive and organize are lives are often determined by our thoughts- and our thoughts are often created by other people or our environment, rather than truly unique and beneficial thoughts.

When you get into a certain “vibe,” you begin to experience a certain reality. The more you experience this reality and think about it, the more “solidified” and real to you it becomes- thus further perpetuating the reality.

Only now do I truly understand this. Me explaining it from the perspective of an “average person” would not make such a statement believable, so let me show you how it is become true for me and the implications of it.

The goal of this post is both for me and you to understand the limitations of thought & experience, and to find ways together to transcend our limited thinking so that we can create a better life we really want to live.

My Vibe, My Reality – The Absurdity of My Life From Outside Perspective

Earlier this year I relaxed in one of the top coffee shops in the entire world in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The coffee was some of the best I have ever tasted in my entire life. It was constantly packed and expensive for Thai standards.

I sat with my new friend from Finland. We shared stories from around the world, experiences in Thailand, and talked about relationships.

He had met an American woman, and they had near-instantly fallen in love. They video chatted from separate continents then decided to give it a go. So they flew across the world to travel together, and had been together passionately ever since.

We complained about some of the difficulties of our lives. Finding AirBNBs. Dealing with visas & currency exchanges. Finding WiFi to work from.

It dawned on both of us the absurdity of our conversation- it was good that we didn’t talk too loud, as the other patrons might have been offended as is often the case with those who complain about “first world problems.” And let’s be real, our problems are 0th world problems because we’re already in the top 1% of the first world.

You see, me and my Finnish friend, and his American girlfriend, we aren’t normal people. You already know why I’m “different.”

We are digital nomads. We work remotely while exploring the world. We live in cheaper countries to live bigger and save more, but also work on our online ventures passionately so that we can adventure to expensive countries as well.

Digital nomads do not typically have a “home base.” It’s quite normal for us to leave suitcases worth of belongings in different locations in the world.

At that day in the cafe, I had one suitcase worth of belongings with a friend in Sofia, another bag worth of clothes at a Bulgarian friend’s village, and the rest of my stuff in my parent’s home in the USA. “My stuff” was spread across three continents, and it wasn’t a big deal.

In the beginning of being a digital nomad, things were exciting and shocking. It felt like I had found the secret to life (as does every digital nomad). Suddenly you have the ability to be anywhere in the entire world, you can work from anywhere, you can work anytime, you can essentially create your life.

It is the epitome of the 4 hour work week. While the both of us were not quite financially successful, we had the ability to live a life freer than the majority of the world.

And there we sat, in one of the top cafes in the entire world, in Thailand, COMPLAINING!!!

The Self-Perpetuating Absurd Echo Chamber

I am often reminded when I speak to others about “what I do” of just how “lucky” or gifted I am to have this life. Actually, it isn’t that hard, but it is so different than most people can’t believe that it can actually be easy!

In the first year of this lifestyle, the difference in vibe and experience was so different that it was quite apparent to me how amazing it was to be able to live that life.

Throughout the second year, I had habituated to this way of life. It is certainly better for me than a 9-5 job or University path, but it is just a way of life filled with its own set of problems as well.

This life also doesn’t make me immune to normal people problems, such as relationship troubles. In fact it can amplify them- I spent a lot of my second year in pain over a relationship which ended.

Now here’s the point: me and my Finnish friend, and the rest of us “digital nomads,” live in such a vibe to where this is SO NORMAL that we often can’t even realize just how lucky or gifted we are!

It can seem absurd to most everyone else to complain about our problems, especially because on the outside a lot of the solutions seems to simple.

In the “digital nomad vibe,” it is hard to settle down because you are always craving more. You want a relationship but you also want to adventure and explore. You always want more experiences, and because you’ve had so many experiences it becomes harder to settle because you’ll always be acutely aware of the lack of any one place you are.

But in the “normal person vibe” the solution is simple: pick a damn city and settle there! Stop moving around. Build a life somewhere!

I am a digital nomad in this moment. And the longer that I spend in this vibe, the more solidified the identity becomes and thus the reality. After 2+ years of this, it’s become a way of living. It is normal to me, and I’ve disconnected from “normal ways of living” so much so that I can hardly fathom it, or relate to it entirely.

The “Vibe Blinders” & Conflicts Thereof

When you are on a certain “vibe,” you become blind to other realities. It becomes so normal for you to live and experience life in a certain way that you forget that there are other ways in which you can live. You get trapped to the very thing you jumped into.

This is why I gave the example of my life & my Finnish friend’s life. We are digital nomads and as absurd as it sounds have complained about problems that many people would love to have.

Living a life completely free to travel anywhere in the entire world has become so normal to us that we have disconnected from what it is like to have a 9-5 job somewhere like most people. Or to be struggling in other ways.

This is where the problem of a “vibe” comes in: you become “blind” to anything else BUT your vibe!

The digital nomad relates easiest to other digital nomads. We seem to find each other and “get” each other so much. This just reinforces our own reality.

Even if I am not around other digital nomads, the reality is still self-perpetuating. I can’t understand intimately the lives of my friends in Sofia, Bulgaria or anywhere. It’s simply out of my reality. It’s normal for me to be in airports, dealing with SIM cards and accommodation problems, and all these other things. It’s just my life.

Herein lies the problem with “vibes.” You develop “vibe blinders” and this creates conflicts because your problems also become self-perpetuating.

It was Einstein that said “we can’t solve a problem on the same level that created them.” But all too often everyone is trying to do just that!

Most people don’t believe that the digital nomad life or ANY other life is possible for that matter.

They are trapped in the vibe of the masses, which is to go to University, get a job, and then work and then retire. Not that it’s an inherently bad path, but it may not be ideal for an individual and there may be other lifestyle design for that person to do!

I recently met a beautiful girl- I’d love for her to be a part of my life. I hope that good things will come of it. She wants to travel and experience the world as I do. And to be honest if she can do it, then I may give up settling in a home base for a while and we would travel for a while.

But the problem is that this vibe is so far off from her current vibe that her “vibe blinders” prevent her from realizing just how easily possible it is.

It’s simple: get a remote job, travel. That’s it. I can teach anyone how to do it and within 3 months be location independent (assuming they also take massive action on what I say).

Let me restate this cleary: to ME in THIS VIBE, it’s EASY to work remotely while traveling. But she is in another vibe, and is blind to the fact that it is extremely easy and possible!

This is true of any skill or path which you want to take in life. I’m discovering more and more that things are really easy in life, especially if you pay someone to coach you or guide you.

You can learn how to be sociable, get girls (or guys for you ladies), create parties, travel, grow a business, whatever you want. The only problem is that your current vibe is in conflict with this and so you don’t believe it’s easily possible, and thus you don’t take action to create this reality.

I hope I explained clearly the absurdity of vibe blinders by using my own situation as an example.

To most people being a digital nomad and location-independent is absurd and completely out of their reality, and so when I show you just how “normal” it has become for me (and others) it should really outline the importance of recognizing vibe-blinders and what vibe you are currently in.

Restrictions in Thinking: Echo Chambers

When you are at a certain vibe, your thinking and reality become distorted in a way that perpetuates that reality.

You may be more fit for a certain type of life but you don’t even realize what is possible. You have been born into a certain life, had certain influences, and this created your thinking which sets the path of your life.

A lot of our thoughts in life is very non-original. It is provided by others and the situation we are born into.

“I am American and you are XYZ,” the proud American shouts, without realizing that humans are basically the same everywhere. And so does the Bulgarian, the Thai, the French- everyone shouts their country proudly as if it’s the only thing in the world, or as if there is some superiority to it when in fact there is nothing superior at all.

When you are in any vibe, this vibe often creates an echo chamber. I’ve switched vibes in different areas of life and this has become quite apparent to me now.

The digital nomad lives in such a way where they do not have a permanent home. They are struggling in certain ways. They are thriving in others. There are inherent problems and upsides, but it all becomes an echo chamber.

The same is true of the “beaten path” of University, 9-5, then retirement. When you follow that path, surround yourself with others on that path, and live that path then it becomes reinforced and you enter an “echo chamber.”

This is where the danger comes in: these echo chambers prevent you from switching to new, creative methods of thinking and being. You think in a certain way. You act in a certain way.

But is this productive to fixing your problems and creating the life you want?

Creative, Original Thought- Do We Have It?

It’s probable that creative, original thought is a rarity. I know for myself that the vast majority of my thoughts, as much as I’d like to proudly proclaim them as my own, are not from me.

My beliefs and experiences in location-independence and travel and business and all that are the direct result of the books and YouTube videos I watched. I simply picked up other people’s vibes and thought processes and started creating the same reality for myself.

Perhaps just 1% of thought is original. Or even less. Or slightly more. It’s hard to say, but it’s safe to say that most thought comes from others, your environment, and your biological drives (I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m horny).

This is why most people follow the same path, and the hierarchy of life is shaped like a pyramid.

Most people don’t realize that they can consciously choose their influences, and so they just follow what everyone else is doing. They think that is “right” because everyone around them is doing it, so it becomes a self-perpetuating reality.

I’m sure that creative, original thought exists. Just way less than we imagine. It seems to come as an epiphany from silence, intense working out, or meditation in nature. Or when we “let go” from a problem.

The vast majority of other thoughts we can all agree on are not original. You have them day in and day out.

This is why books like “think and grow [you know this word, but I can’t type it because this Email might not deliver then thanks to Google’s spam detection]” exist.

The whole point of that book is to start thinking a certain way so that you can attract things to you in order to become more successful. It’s about taking conscious control of your thought patterns!

Unknown Unknowns

Now here is the problem of this whole vibe thing. When you have “vibe blinders” on, which we all do, your thoughts gets caught in an echo chamber and your reality becomes self-perpetuating.

This means that there are “unknown unknowns” outside of the loop you’re stuck in, and these things could help you meet unmet desires, achieve your dreams, and live the life you truly desire!

But how do you find these things? By definition “unknown unknowns” are difficult to discover.

For example, you may know that you don’t know how to cook. That’s an “known unknown,” meaning that you are certain that you know that you don’t know this.

Many people- myself included- have ways of thinking and opportunities that we don’t know, but we don’t even know that we don’t know them.

The problem then becomes that our life gets set by “initial conditions.” You are born into a certain reality. Then you embrace that vibe, as you don’t know anything else exists. Then you live a life based on this vibe.

Your life becomes dictated by the situations in which you were born into, things which you had no control over. Is that a life you want to live?

In the Hunt for Creative, Original Thought, Vibe, and Solutions

It was recently through a friend that I had an epiphany. I’ve recently been wanting to find more of a “home base” and start to relax instead of constantly traveling in the digital nomad life.

But the past week has actually been really awesome in Sofia, Bulgaria- and I’m kind of feeling inspired to travel again. The problem was that I wasn’t taking care of my social or dating needs.

It was an unknown unknown. I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t know what it was or how to solve it. This unknown unknown was causing a lot of pain in my life and the home base may not have fixed the problem.

Suddenly I’m feeling more self-confident, self-reliant, and happier. I feel like I can take on the world and go anywhere and be anything. Perhaps I could go back to Thailand, I think- or hell, I’ll be okay in USA also if I choose to live there.

An even greater epiphany which I had (as provided by a friend) was “fuck it why not have a home in all three locations?”

USA is awesome, Bulgaria is awesome, Thailand is awesome. Why choose? Why not just grow the business then have a home in each country and be completely free to choose?

Boom. Mind blown.

I was SO stuck on the “digital nomad vibe” or the “one home” vibe that it never occured to me that I could have multiple homes, or at the very least have a home in one place and then get a very fine AirBNB in another place.

The math behind it isn’t absurd either! The cost of getting a home base in Las Vegas or the Phoenix area would be roughly an extra $1,000 per month, perhaps a little less maybe a little more.

That’s just one extra client that I would have to close, and then suddenly I could have an awesome “main apartment” but my quality of life wouldn’t change at all if I wanted to travel to Bulgaria or Thailand.

The math is simple- close one more client. Easy. That can be done within 3 months. But why didn’t it occur to me earlier? Why was it so turbulent?

Well as I wrote earlier, it is the “vibe blinders” that prevented me from realizing that I could easily have multiple homes around the world, and have the best of all worlds.

Another thing which I realized was this: I love Sofia, Bulgaria for living but I’m also curious to live in the USA. Flights one-way from Vegas OR Phoenix to Frankfurt are quite cheap (less than $300 USD I think), and then one way from Frankfurt to Sofia is extremely cheap (like $50 or something).

I could easily have a home in both Sofia AND the USA, and switch between the two rather easily. Then take occasional 1-2 month vacations in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Another epiphany that I’m having is that I could have multiple non-serious relationships around the world (ie. in Sofia, USA, and Thailand). And this way my dating life never suffers. Or I could meet a special girl that also would be motivated to live this life of freedom and adventure, and then BAM the need gets met anywhere.

The original motivations for having a home base have other solutions. My problem was that I could only think in terms of previous vibes that I had experienced.

Those two main vibes are: live in one city and create a life there, OR digital nomad life.

It is an entirely new vibe to have 2 home bases, or a traveling girlfriend, or multiple open relationships that fulfill my needs anywhere I go.

I think it would still be wise for me to have one main home base for other reasons, but as you can see by this writing I have discovered new solutions to a problem which I did not previously know.

The problem of a consistent dating life that the home base was intended to solve can be solved via other methods. The problem was “vibe blinders” preventing me from seeing it.

It is in the digital nomad vibe to struggle with dating because you always have to move due to visa regulations. I’m only allowed to stay in Bulgaria for max 3 months per 6 month period, for example.

Thinking Bigger & Lifestyle Design

The truth is that there are MANY solutions to our problems, but we are blind to the vast majority of them due to our vibe blinders. We exist on a certain vibe, but this same vibe does not solve the problems that exist on that vibe.

The way we think bigger is by making new connections, being open to new ways of thinking, and actively trying to reflect upon and discover solutions (ie. via dreams, meditation, journalling, reflection).

It is so key that we discover unique solutions to our problems otherwise “initial conditions” (that is, the life we were born into) will take over and we will never realize live an authentic life where all of our needs are met.

I am reconnecting recently with the idea of “Lifestyle Design.” That is, the idea that you can design your life exactly as you want.

One of the keys then becomes to define your life as it is now, and then define it exactly how you would like it to be. You can’t find solutions if you don’t know the problem. But once you know the problem, you can start to discover solutions.

Remember to try to search out new vibes though, and new solutions. For example, a more consistent dating life is something I would desire, and having a singular home that I live in is one way to solve that problem, but there are multiple ways to solve the problem.

I am discovering these other solutions by meeting others in different vibes, consciously reflecting, and taking care of myself the best I can (when you’re happy you become more creative).

We live in a Universe filled with infinite potential. We have foundations that we need to break.

There are creative solutions to problems, but first we need to define the problems and the desired outcomes. Only then can solutions come- but be open to new thoughts, both from yourself and from others.

Beware getting too entrenched in a certain vibe or way of thinking because then you may become limited. For example, becoming a “digital nomad” has become a normal vibe for me and it comes with its own set of problems. These problems can’t easily be solved on the same vibe.


There are many more vibes and realities than we can imagine! Living free is about trying to consciously design your life rather than letting initial conditions dictate it, as most people do.

When all else fails, think bigger. In my case this means considering that I could have “multiple homes,” or at the very least have one main home base but still be able to travel from there.

When you think bigger and consciously design your life, you start to already entered a mental state called “abundance.” You don’t solve your problems from scarcity and limited thinking. You realize there are many solutions and nothing is really that big of a deal after all.

Now, what will you create? What will you do? How will you live. Pick the path consciously because believe it or not, you have the power to create your life exactly as you want.

-Michael

Embracing Balance for Growth

When I returned to Bulgaria from Thailand, I made a huge mistake- I neglected a big area of my life and sacrificed it in hopes of making progress in other areas of life.

My life in Thailand was much more balanced than it was when returning to Bulgaria.

In Thailand I would hardly work past 5PM, it was my rule to go out, hangout, date, have fun, whatever. I would also hangout with friends quite a bit in the weekend.

I made good progress on my business and dating / social life. Things were good- though I was curious to go back to Bulgaria.

When I returned to Bulgaria, I started to work longer and harder. My business goals are ambitious and I want to bring them to fruition.

In doing so I sacrificed a huge area of my life- dating. I stopped making it such a priority, and thought “I don’t need girls” and started working longer and harder. I neglected taking care of that aspect of life.

For example, I would work so long and hard until I burnt out, by which point I had no energy to figure out who to date or what to do.

This was okay for a month, but then it all started to snap after a while.

A week before last Thursday (9 days ago) something happened. I couldn’t work. It just wasn’t working. I decided to take a day to relax.

At the end of the day, my friend announced he was having a birthday party THAT day. He would pay for everyone’s meals, alcohol, everything so of course I couldn’t deny this. Not to mention I was working too hard- it was the perfect release.

We partied into the night, smoked, drank, and ate. It was a great celebration. I slept in on Friday.

On Friday I had many obligations to take care of, and work got kind of pushed aside. I was also having problems with a laptop, so work was already getting slightly delayed.

Somehow this problem compounded over the weekend, and the last week was one of my least productive weeks ever.

Only now am I realizing that I was slightly a workaholic, as observed by a previous post I wrote about trying to optimize my energy and focus ability as best as possible.

I neglected one huge aspect of focus and hard work- the other side of the coin!

I was treating myself like a soldier, trying to work so hard and keep pushing pushing pushing but I wasn’t allowing myself to release. It was a lonely way to live.

Many of my friends back here in Bulgaria weren’t productive for my growth either. Many are still trapped in their same problems and habits. I really could only care and want to be around my best friends back here- I realized that having such a big social network here wasn’t so useful.

Recently I started going to events, parties, and stuff like that as I was also inspired by a new friend which I made via a mutual friend. It’s been incredible.

It made me realize that again I was missing balance- like in Thailand. I was burning out on work, spinning my wheels but not really going anywhere!

The thing which I didn’t realize when I wrote that previous blog post was that you really do have to acknowledge the yin/yang of life.

Many of the most successful people in the world (think Charles Darwin, for example) would only work 5 hours per day. The rest of the time they spent enjoying their life, going on walks, doing whatever they want.

In my case I was neglecting my social and dating needs in order to charge forward on work. You can only do this for so long!

Now that I’ve started dating again and going out with girls, my mental health has improved tenfold (probably by an even greater factor).

I’m just so much more relaxed, confident, and happy. I don’t feel so stressed and in a need to find a home base NOW.

In fact, the relaxation has allowed me to achieve so much more! I’ve fixed my broken laptop, cleaned/organize my apartment, upgraded my style, met all kinds of cool people, and more.

It’s even allowed me to relax on the whole “home base” thingy. Before I was writing so intensely and so worried about “where should I live.”

Should it be Thailand? Bulgaria? USA? Somewhere else? Once again I am relaxed, and okay with the flow. In fact, I’m even okay if I have to travel again.

I’m starting to believe in myself again. My “vibe” is raising.

The problem back here in Bulgaria (which was simply “hidden” in Thailand) was that I didn’t believe in myself. For some reason I stopped believing that I could easily attract girls and social situations, and I made things harder on myself.

What I’m discovering is that things are… the same. In a way. It’s just as easy to go on dates here as it was in Thailand, it’s just that the method you go about it is different.

For example in Bangkok tinder is super easy for white guys with blue eyes like myself. That doesn’t mean here in Sofia dating is harder- it’s just that the methods are different. Instead of using Tinder to meet girls you can simply go to an event, and it’s surprisingly quite easy.

And because I’ve been relaxing and trying to enjoy things a bit more, I’ve been meeting girls/people in unexpected places. I met one girl at one of my most favorite hangout places.

She was pretty, we looked at each other, somehow we had an instant connection, started talking, then decided that we should go out. Perhaps it was even easier than in Thailand.

Here’s what I’m learning: where you go doesn’t matter so much, it’s more-so about what you’re doing wherever you are.

If you move abroad and then decide to suddenly start living authentically and dating whereas in your previous place you were not, then of course you will love the new place and not enjoy the previous!

The opposite is true as well- you won’t like any place in which you restrict yourself, consciously or unconsciously, because what you really need is not so much a place but a way of living.

What I’ve really learned since returning to Bulgaria is the key importance of balance, and especially socializing. It’s not hard to meet anyone, but you have to put in the work to find some events on Facebook or whatever and then start saying “hello” to people.

It’s actually really easy! The hardest part is the 5 minutes it takes to find the events and figure out the directions to the event. Once you have that figured out, it all becomes really simple.

Why do we complicate things so much in our mind? I work with Facebook Ads, and I see that many if not all clients are completely complicating the matter.

But the same is true of our personal and social lives. Dating is made to be so complicated when it is in fact so simple. Same for living.

The key thing I’ve learned here is balance. Work hard, sure. Make sure you get your solid 4 hours of focus work per day done. But then enjoy life because you aren’t alive to work, you’re working so that you can enjoy the best life possible- right?

I suppose everyone falls on a different range here. Some people work too hard, some people not hard enough. Or sometimes you may lack in every area.

Make sure that you’re working hard 4-6 hours per day, but then make sure that you’re “playing hard” and having a great social/dating life for the rest of the day. Or pursuing hobbies or passions or whatever it is you want to do.

What do you need to improve on? The rest of the post will be more journal-style focusing on me but you’ll learn a few things if you continue to read.

Personal Growth from This

I’ve just rediscovered this side of myself. It’s causing me to believe in myself more.

You see when I first started “traveling the world,” I kind of- kind of– had this figured out.

I was all about the “4 hour work week,” so I made sure to focus hard for my work but then go out and have fun. When I had just started traveling I had gone through half a year of really hard work to get my business going, and then I was going through a period in which I was more-so prioritizing socializing and whatnot.

Whenever I landed in a new city, I made sure to set up social events and things to do. I really prioritized meeting people.

In Montreal I said “yes” to everything, and joined a self-improvement group. This brought me many friends which I met and could hangout with. In London I stayed in a hostel and met a friend that lived there.

In Belgium I met an awesome girl I met in Montreal. In Budapest & Sofia I joined the same self-improvement group, but for the local cities.

Something changed in me sometime in Bulgaria that first time around. I got into a relationship and became so attached to that. I ignored many of the HUGE red flags in her. And to be fair she did the same also.

When my visa finally expired and I had to leave for Cyprus, I wasn’t so motivated to meet people and take care of myself. I just wanted her, which wasn’t healthy.

It led to me staying with her despite MASSIVE boundaries being crossed, that involve life or death. Cheating would’ve been preferred to what happened. If I could go back and do it all over, I would’ve broken up immediately while I was in Cyprus. It would’ve saved me a ton of hassle, and her as well.

That’s when a downward spiral started for me. You see, the problem is not that she crossed the boundary. People can do whatever they want. It’s up to you to withhold your own boundaries and take care of yourself.

In a guided meditation with a new awesome friend yesterday, I realized at least 90% of the pain I feel isn’t even from her. It’s the fact that I stayed 4 months longer in that relationship and gave so much when it was a no-brainer to walk away. Even after we broke up I chased her sometimes- why?

The reason for this was due to personal issues. Perhaps not feeling worthy of love, or something like that. I’m still meditating and going deeper and deeper into the feelings, learning what it is, and healing.

What I just wrote may sound like a complete 180 from the topic of balance, but it is through balance that I started to have these epiphanies. I met people, girls, and new friends that helped me understand this.

I realized that A LOT of my unhappiness in the past year was not caused by her or even travel, but from the simple fact that I was not taking care of myself and finding balance.

I had always been too focused on meeting girls, OR partying, OR doing business, OR health, OR something. The key word is here “or,” not “and.”

Anytime I lacked something, I would sacrifice everything I had to attain that thing. Then I would lack the thing which I sacrificed to obtain that other thing.

When you sacrifice something to attain something else, you attain that thing much faster than if you had not sacrificed that original thing.

For example, if you’re in a (happy, let’s say) relationship and you start working 12 hours a day your partner will likely not be fulfilled. They will feel neglected and the relationship will dissolve because you’re not investing time into them.

Well one day you’ll have all kinds of financial abundance, but at what cost? You lost a relationship. Then you’d have to go find a new relationship which is just a waste of time because you already had something successful!

The same is true, inversed. You shouldn’t sacrifice your business and health to go pick up girls 8 hours a day. Which I’ve done, by the way.

Self-Belief and Happiness in Balance

What I’m discovering by finding this balance in my life and taking care of my needs is that I’m believing in myself A LOT more. I feel significantly more authentic and “okay” with everything.

If you dive deep on ONE thing, you can go fast on that thing. But if you live a diverse and rich life, then you can go far in everything. Do you follow?

In the short-term you can tackle your wealth, your health, or your dating, or whatever, and you can make a ton of progress, but it’s a lot more wise to tackle these things in such a way that it is sustainable long-term because then you’ll make true, long-term progress.

For example, I hustled a ton in the past couple months, but with hardly any productivity in the past week (I’d say I had at most 3-5 hours focused work, and even that is high) I undid a lot of the progress I made.

Had I just worked a little less, I could’ve handled my social life, and then I’d probably still be at the same place as I am now except with some balance between dating, socializing, parties, AND business. Instead I fucked up a lot of the sales progress I made in this past week. Luckily my new client has been understanding, but that may not be true of the next deal I close.

Back on track:

I’m believing in myself a ton more, in every which way possible. I realized another key just now:

When you focus on one area obsessively, it’s kind of like saying you don’t believe that you can achieve it. Instead of chasing it from passion and joy, you’re chasing your goal from a neediness which screams “I need this now,” or “I don’t believe I can have this so I’m going to suffer and sacrifice in my best attempt to get it!”

And usually, it works. You do get it. You do succeed. And thus begins the never-ending cycle of lack of fulfillment because you believe that in order to succeed you have to sacrifice, and so you constantly sacrifice other happy points in your life to get other happy points- the net positive remains the same!

I’m finding that I believe in myself a ton more now in every area of life because I learned that “yes, I CAN have it all. I just have to put equal weight on every area of my life.”

I also discovered that my self-belief & confidence with women went down slightly when working like a workaholic. Suddenly it became a special, new event to go on a date, rather than a way of living.

Now that I’ve had the past week filled with dates, I’m relaxed- I’m calm. It’s okay, everything is alright.

Relaxation & Implications for My Home Base

And in taking care of myself, I find myself more relaxed. As you would, also.

With new (amazing) friends, pretty girls I have the opportunity to meet, and a better daily flow I simply feel more relaxed and fulfilled on a day to day basis. I woke up today feeling “chill” if you will. I’ve got things to do, but it’s okay- one step at a time, you know?

My “mission” for the past week was to NOT think about my “home base” or where I should live, as this had been a source of anxiety for me. I was so focused on the “place where I can feel like I belong,” that I neglected that I could find my people HERE AND NOW.

While I still don’t know with certainty where I’d like my temporary home base of a year to be, I’m totally okay with that now. It’s alright.

In fact, I previously alluded to the fact that I might be totally okay remaining a digital nomad for a little longer.

I’m not sure how true that is, but in this moment, more socially fulfilled, I am okay with the prospect of it and also okay with wherever my “home base” ends up being.

There really is pros/cons everywhere, so I’m deciding to slowly experience places and then live somewhere. Anyways, it probably won’t be forever anyways, so minus well go with the flow.

By taking care of my social needs and living in a more balanced way, I am finding that I am more naturally fulfilled, and actually excited with life itself.

It’s EPIC to live in Bulgaria, USA, or Thailand, or anywhere for now. The desire to have a primary home base is still there, but it’s less of a need and more of just that- a desire that will be fulfilled with time.

Ultimately living more balanced allows you to be okay with the journey because you’re meeting your immediate needs immediately, and then tackling a long game as well.

Sacrificing anything- for example health, wealth, or your social life, leads to short-term massive progress but really fucks you up and prevents you from going above and beyond.

I’m noticing for myself this more balanced method of living gives me more inspiration, relaxation, and “okay-ness” with the flow of life. The problems that are long-term are less urgent and I’ll be okay either way. I’ll be okay in any home base, as long as I live like this, anywhere.

-Michael

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

Revelations of Reality: The Truth about Bulgaria Revealed

This is part I of a 2-part series in which I contemplate my thoughts on a home base and reflect on previous experiences.

The Bulgarian Home Base

I’ve enjoyed my time in Bulgaria for the past 1.5 months, but there have been quite a few problems greatly changing my perspective of the place.

It is hard to be objective when other things that are not the fault of Bulgaria are “going wrong” as well. For example, my primary laptop started having some massive issues so I had to purchase a back up. Hopefully repairs will be finished by tomorrow, otherwise I will have to buy a new high-powered one.

This current laptop is ungodly slow. In fact, I’m going to sell it for as cheap as I possibly can because this laptop is utterly useless.

This is not Bulgaria’s fault. Though, what is Bulgaria’s fault is the absolute lack of purchasing options and the fact that strangely laptops are more expensive here for what you get than in USA/Germany.

Well, maybe it’s not Bulgaria’s fault persay, but you get the point: it would be a downside to living here.

Some other issues in living in Bulgaria have included extreme heat in the Summer with no AC (driving me insane and destroying my sleep), and many of my friends also being abroad during that first month of returning.

Strangely I seem to be hanging out with all kinds of new people than the old. Some of the old people I do not value anymore because I have realized they are unethical or not useful to my happiness. Others I don’t know what happened… Maybe they don’t like me as much, or we grew apart.

Things are still tight with my best friend, but with other friends it seems to be no different than anywhere else. I partly returned to Bulgaria to enjoy my pre-established social circles, yet strangely I am finding myself hanging around new people and doing new things.

I ask myself: what is the point of returning?

The most difficult thing about Bulgaria has been the constant feelings of heart-break and petty thoughts regarding my previous relationship. Some days it feels there are a million things I’d like to tell her. It’s so tempting to ask her to meet, to demand some respect or beg for the love that is now lost.

It feels that since returning to Bulgaria, my “vibe” has dropped. The reason for this occurrence I haven’t exactly pinpointed.

First, I am only recently discovering just how brutal travel is. Travel is easier than it has ever been, but it’s still brutal. I’ve moved around more in the past two years than most do in a lifetime, and that is not necessarily a positive thing.

In some instances the adjustment has been wonderful. Arriving in Bali was incredible and I adapted fast because I was well-rested for weeks before in Phoenix.

However when returning to Bulgaria I had a straight week of poor sleep and sleep deprivation in Thailand. I could be happy in Thailand as I was hooking up with a girl I would’ve potentially enjoyed to be my girlfriend, and partying with friends, but as soon as that went away and the sleep deprivation (and subsequent jet lag) persisted into Bulgaria it made adjustments massively difficult.

Perhaps the bigger reason for this drop in vibe is that- and this is only speculation- subconsciously Bulgaria has become associated with my old flame. After all, I never would’ve extended my visa that first time around if I hadn’t met her. I would’ve likely returned and enjoyed my friends, but it wouldn’t have ever become such an important place to me in my mind.

Since leaving Bulgaria that first time, I feel that I’ve lacked a certain vitality that I originally had when I started traveling the world.

Last night I couldn’t sleep until 3 in the morning, and as I wandered the streets alone I asked myself: is this drop in vitality a physical result of the brutalities of travel, or is this something within me that I will take even if I live in one place for a year straight?

My intuition (and reading) tell me that it could perhaps be a mix of both. There have been some moments (ie. Bali) where I’ve been able to zap out of my funk and enjoy some exhilarating excitement, but even in those moments there was a sense of persistent physical fatigue.

Perhaps I have lost my way, my self-connection, and what really drew me to travel in the first place. Or perhaps I was always lost (there’s a strong argument for that, too).

One way or another, I think that Bulgaria became bigger in my mind than it really is.

The Negatives of Bulgaria

Some of the negative facts include:

  • Generally rude and unproductive customer service. I’ve mitigated this by only sticking to high-quality establishments, but it is in these places that prices are higher, so I minus well live in USA or Western Europe in that case
  • Political instability / police / laws- it’s certainly safer here than in other places, but now with an increase in maturity and long-term thinking I am feeling more reluctant to live in such a place where the police are allowed to stop you and search you for no reason provided.

    And I want to make VERY clear that I’m not saying Bulgaria is that bad. Southeast Asia is way worse/scarier in this side of things. All I’m saying is that I prefer to live in a place where I have more rights as an individual.

    For example, in Thailand there are police checkpoints everywhere and they just become annoying to deal with after a while. Being white, they would occasionally test me by asking very specific questions about my driver’s license… It was clear they wanted me to trip up and bribe ‘em.

    It was even worse in Bali, where the government literally bans some internet websites such as Reddit.

    The overall point here is just that I do not feel so safe when I see a Bulgarian police officer. I feel that everyone (including Western Europe/USA) feels a sense of intimidation around the police, but it’s worse here in Bulgaria because they have stopped and aggressively searched me before for no reason provided.
  • Drug laws- This is actually adding onto the previous point, and more-so of why the previous point even matters.

    Listen, I haven’t done any shrooms/LSD in quite some time and I don’t really like weed, but I prefer to live in a place that is accepting of other people’s decisions. The fact that the police could throw you in jail (which has happened to a friend) for holding a joint is absurd.

    Again, I prefer to stay sober myself. But I don’t like to live somewhere where people that do these things will be judged, and potentially thrown in jail. It’s just ridiculous.

    And that’s one of the big political things that turn me off here- if I do decide to have a joint for the rare special occasion, I’ll be quite paranoid of the police.
  • Hospitals- I’ve had poor experiences with hospitals here. Thank God my ex and her family was with me in 2018 when I needed help in early 2018. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the quality of care is that low quality because I definitely received quality treatment in some instances, it’s just that the system is so different to what I’m used to in the rest of the world. Even more important than that is the next point, language:
  • Language – I love speaking what Bulgarian I can but I’m not fluent. This is a huge downside to living here or considering it as a home base. To navigate things such as immigration, hospital care, and other institutions I will certainly need the help of Bulgarian speakers until I become fluent.

    I’d love to become fluent in another language but this requires many months worth of dedication and focus. Is this a sacrifice I’m willing to make? I don’t know yet. In the meantime this is a downside.

    Perhaps even less apparent is the way my way of speaking English has changed. Me and another American friend that lives here have poked fun at each other for the way we speak English, as it has changed to become more simple, less grammatically correct, and more accented.

    This isn’t bad until you hop on a sales call with a native American-English speakers and you ask them to work with you in a really sketchy way.
  • Lack of optimal food, cafe, and people diversity. I guess this is more of a problem because of my perspective having lived in Asia and USA. Bulgarians (and many Europeans) don’t realize how bad the coffee scene is, and that’s of course because they have nothing else to compare it to. I’ve been spoiled particularly by my experiences in Asia, in which you can have all kinds of exotic flavors of coffee and fascinating methods of making it that simply do not exist in Europe (or potentially even USA!!!).

    I wish I could have some authentic Mexican, or talk to a beautiful latina or Asian girl.
  • Memories of a broken past. Finally, the biggest personal downside for me is simply the fact that I’ve over-exaggerated how amazing Bulgaria is primarily because of a deeply passionate relationship. Perhaps the heartbreak that I feel now is not the mourning over my ex, but mourning over the experience I had of Bulgaria before. It’s a lot different this time around.

    One of my friends told me I need to get laid ASAP, so I’ve since re-committed to NoFAP (no masturbation) in order to give me the kick up my ass I need to talk to girls. I wrote a super-long blog post on the effects of it while in Asia, but I haven’t published it yet because it’ll make me sound very arrogant as I talk about all the girls I hooked up with and experiences I had on NoFAP (hint: there seems to be a type of “energy” thing that magnetizes girls to you when on NoFAP).

The Positives of Bulgaria

Now all this being said, there are some AMAZING positives to living in Bulgaria. Let’s cover them so this post can become a bit more balanced:

  • Perfect location. No, literally. Bulgaria is the PERFECT base for exploring the world.

    In Bulgaria you are a short flight away from Frankfurt, Germany which now has cheap one-way flights to even fucking Phoenix! It’s insane, it’s like $250-$300 USD one-way from Phoenix to Frankfurt or back. It’s now looking like I’d be less than $400 USD away from a flight back home whenever I wanted to see my family.

    And closer to Bulgaria is the entirety of Europe, proximity to Africa, and closeness to Asia.

    Living in Americas makes it extremely difficult to travel abroad excluding South America. I am personally more interested in Europe/Asia as well as the Northern African nations, so living in Bulgaria is the ULTIMATE base for travel experiences.
  • Beautiful women. Why are people fat everywhere else in the world? It makes you unattractive to others AND feel worse about yourself. Bulgaria is one of the more authentic places in the world in that people have a grip on reality and do not promote things like “it’s okay to be fat.” That brings me to the next point…
  • Brutal authenticity. You can expect people to tell you the fucking truth when it counts. One thing I LOVE about Bulgarians is they will speak the truth like a storm and annihilate anyone with absurd beliefs such as “it’s okay to be fat.”

    Okay look I’m NOT saying we should fat-shame. That’s fucking wrong. I’m saying we need to encourage everyone to be their best selves, and that anything else (such as promoting an extremely unhealthy lifestyle) is pure absurdity.

    I don’t want anyone to get caught up on me mentioning the fat thing. I’m just giving an example. Bulgarians are grounded in reality in general, and not too delusional or idealistic in the way they approach life.

    Sometimes this can be a con, such as if you are unwilling to hear the truth, and it also acts as a con in the sense that they can be too pessimistic. But overall it tends to be more of a pro because people are intimate with the scary truths of reality.
  • Nature. Oh my, Sofia is wonderful. It is in close proximity to a big mountain, tons of nearby nature, and Sofia is I believe the greenest Capital city in the EU in terms of land dedicated to parks. There are just so many natural parks which makes hanging out easy and fun!
  • Walkability. It is easy to walk around the city, which is a big pro for staying fit. Commutes are short anywhere which is great as well and a huge factor in happiness. Walking is safer than riding a motorbike or driving a car as well, another huge pro. Surprisingly, it is also quiet at night, and the buildings are designed to be quiet so you do not get upset by hearing your neighbors play music or something like this. This leads to the next pro:
  • Social life. It’s very easy to stay connected with people when everything is close. It’s also nice meeting friends on the streets. Though this also has a hidden downside because it also means you can meet people you don’t want to meet (which has happened).

    This is a net positive overall though!

Objective Analysis

I’m trying to face it as objectively as possible and not let my emotions guide me. When it comes to picking a home base, there are three things which are important:

  • Daily routine
  • Long-term goal development
  • Intuition

Your daily routine is how you live on a day-to-day basis, long-term goal development is whether the place serves you long-term, and intuition is of course important because your subconscious is wiser than your conscious can ever be.

As much as I loved Chiang Mai and Thailand, some of the downsides such as the political climate were definitely a turn off. Not to mention that you’d get thrown in jail for something as small as weed. It’s ridiculous.

It’s interesting to see how now I’ve matured and I’m less inclined to live in politically unstable countries and places where the police are more military-like, or in which you have less rights as an individual.

I suppose having in-person experiences in which my rights were different, such as the police checkpoints in Chiang Mai or getting surprise-searched in Sofia really changed my perspective on the world and the values I have in a place where I live.

Overall Thoughts So Far

Perhaps I came back to Bulgaria subconsciously expecting a lot more social fulfillment than what the reality of the situation was.

When I am with friends or at a party, I often feel amazing, but then when alone I am quick to suffer from feelings of neurosis, loneliness, anger, and heart-break. At least in Thailand I felt comfortable being alone, and while I was not completely socially fulfilled there either (primarily due to the disconnect with the local culture) I definitely felt better (perhaps it was the girls).

There was one day in which I didn’t feel the hole inside of me, and that was the day I met with my ex. Even without kisses, I had my hit of a dangerous drug.

To be quite honest, it feels often that there is something missing here. More importantly it feels that my vibe is less powerful.

The reality of the situation is not so glamorous. It’s just another place, and I might actually benefit more from living elsewhere.

The question I’m trying to answer is this: is my pain some subconscious pain that I had ran away from, and needed to deal with, or is the pain like me hitting a scar that needs to be healed?

There has been evidence from both sides, as suggested by various friends, but the reality of the situation is not yet entirely clear. I am beginning to intuit that perhaps “Bulgaria” became infused in my mind with my old flame, and so in being here I am actually searching for something which Bulgaria itself can’t actually provide.

We’ll see as I start to more seriously hit the dating & social scene and get out of my work-a-holic phase I temporarily went through.

In short, I miss Thailand, I miss the USA, and I’m beginning to feel more and more like Bulgaria may not be the place for me. There are pros n’ cons everywhere, and one thing that is a huge con here is the pain I feel surrounding the memories of the previous flame I had here.

Those memories can’t ever come back to reality. Boundaries have been crossed, and it seems she has moved on more than I have. Well, it feels more like I took a step back in coming back here to Bulgaria.

Ultimately I came here to experience the true reality of Bulgaria. It seems not to be as positive as I recall it to be. While I did truly enjoy it in my last month (even though I was single and recently heartbroken), that was a different time and those friends have left and I have changed as I lived in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Stay tuned for Part II, titled “flirting with the American Southwest.”

Thanks,

-Michael