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7 Things I Learned from the Road in 2016

By the time this post runs, I’ll be airborne heading back to California from my new “home” in Eastern Europe. While it’ll be a temporary stop for only about a month, it’s the perfect time to look back and reflect on the year.

I took a one-way ticket on March 28th to Poland, and spent the rest of the year hopping around. Certainly some things have measured up to my expectations about living abroad. Other things have fell flat. While I’m infinitely happier as a free man and have no desire to go back, there are things that have made me, well—unsure of life.

The point I’m trying to make is that the grass is always greener. It’s rare that everything will be perfect, all of the time. It’s best to adjust expectations accordingly to maximize happiness. With that being said, here are just a few of the many things I’ve learned as a nomad this year.

I’ve broken them down into categories as appropriate: Girls, Travel, and Business.

Girls

1. I Feel Robbed

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I walk around places in Ukraine such as Kiev and Odessa and I just think:

“Wow, I really truly got fucked by life in some ways.”

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Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything. But when you see girls walking down the street in heels and see genuine feminine energy alive and well in the world, it makes you a bit sad.

America could have been like this, but for many reasons (all of which have been discussed on this site) it’s simply not.

To an extent, it hurts.

It hurts to know that I had to travel so far around the world to find better. It sucks that the nice guy within me had to be killed off not only because of me (I was a total wimp, I can admit), but because of the environment he was raised in. Don’t get me wrong. Eastern European women require you to be strong and masculine, but they don’t have near the stigma against the nice guys that girls of the West have.

I simply feel that I was robbed off a chance of a “normal” life with normal male and female interactions.

2. They’re Very Aware

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Girls in Eastern Europe aren’t stupid. They know the value they have when they’re young. They recognize that skills such as cooking and cleaning go a long way towards pleasing a man. Unlike their American counterparts, they go to great lengths to show these skills off. On the flip side, American girls go far out of their way to show you that they don’t have these same skills.

To back hand in hand with what I said about being ‘robbed’ above, I’ve had my whole world flipped upside down on me.

Instead of having girls actively trying to discourage me from entering a relationship with them, I’m now faced with girls doing everything in their power to lock me down. In some ways, it’s refreshing. It’s nice to be chased, to feel desired, and to have all the options.

On the other hand, it’s also terrifying.

Travel

1. Other Places Aren’t Perfect

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I recently ran a post on my niche site about how to learn Russian online, and decided I’d post it over on the Ukraine Reddit forum. Oops.

Before I knew it, my tiny niche site was flooded with criticism for saying that travelers to Ukraine should learn Russian instead of Ukrainian. Never mind that both languages are incredibly difficult to learn. Never mind that most Ukrainians speak fluent Russian. Never mind the fact that 250 million people in the world speak Russian versus 40 million for Ukrainian.

It’d be like going to Barcelona and people being upset that you’re speaking Spanish instead of Catalan.

I ended up having to clean up some posts’ comment sections and am still getting heat weeks later. Indeed, it was this kind of mindset and stubbornness that made me realize that Americans aren’t the only ones that are guilty of being slightly ignorant and misunderstanding of the rest of the world—even though we get the most criticism for it.

2. Weather And Environment Play A Huge Factor

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Around October, things started to look awful gloomy in Eastern Europe. Short dresses and high heels were replaced with rain boots and fur jackets. Smiles and leisurely paces turned into scowls and anger.

I went from seeing the sun every day to seeing it every week—or less. Upping the dosage of my Vitamin D pills improved my mood significantly.

If you’re not happy with your environment, you won’t thrive in life. Having spent the last 5+ years in Southern California, it was eye-opening to me to see what kind of impact something as simple as sunlight had on my productivity, happiness, and overall well-being.

In the future, I may do a sort of follow-the-sun kind of travel schedule. I must say, Vietnamese women and the (somewhat) untapped waters of Vietnam are calling my name.

Business

1. Creative Juices Flow Better As An Entrepreneur

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It’s quite common for me to wake up at bizarre times of the night now and be unable to get back to sleep. I’m not riddled with crazy dreams, but rather an overflow of ideas.

Sometimes it’s a new niche site I’d like to build or an idea for an upcoming blog post. Sometimes it’s how I could do things better with my business. The point is, once you’re out of the rat race, you’ll be amazed at how much more creative thinking gets done. That’s not to say that you have to be location-independent or a nomad to have these ideas. I imagine they will start flowing for anyone who decides to walk away from the office life.

2. Hard Work Is Much Easier

Going hand in hand with the above, “hard work” has never been easier. I don’t mind waking up before the sun comes out and then well into nightfall. It’s my dream, my passion, my business.

No longer am I working to be a small cog in someone else’s dream. Sure, I’ve had to make sacrifices in other areas of life. I don’t game girls as much as I used to. I’ve admittedly skipped a workout here and there. I settled down in one city towards the end of the year because I wanted to work.

3. It’s Always Up To You

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The most valuable lesson I learned this year was this: it’s always up to you, and it’s never too late.

I’ve attempted to start small businesses or websites with people I’ve known on a personal level, and it’s fallen flat on my face. I’ve tried to help friends start their own business and live freely, to no avail.

Sadly, I’ve learned that there is only so much you can do to help other people. It’s cliche, but you can lead a horse to water but you sure as hell can’t make him drink. You can give someone all the tools in the world to succeed and yet they just won’t drink that damn water.

It’s frustrated me in numerous ways this year.

I think of the time wasted that could have been better spent. A huge loss. However, I also recognize that there are lessons to be learned from this. I didn’t lose out on anything major, financial wise. It didn’t cost me any truly valuable relationships. I simply lost some of my time, but I learned a lesson from that loss.

I’ve learned that it’s not a bad thing to take a loss if you take a good lesson from it. Most of all, I’ve learned this:

My own destiny is always right in my own hands.

(Post originally appeared at ROK).

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