These past months have been interesting.
I spent the whole summer focused on my two goals - working out to bulk up and executing at work. Both came out fine - I gained a good amount of muscle and hit my quarterly OKRs.
Unfortunately, I’ve found both approaches to be a bit contradictory - it’s hard to eat a ton (of carbs), cook all the time and be 100% on-point at work. Even though I gave it all of my effort, it felt like running against the wind. I’ve been feeling dumber and less productive these months than what I know I can achieve. No regrets though, I’ve been working out harder than I ever have throughout my life and have enjoyed it thoroughly - feeling strong and full of energy.
Other than that, I traveled a lot at the end of the summer.
I spent close to two weeks working in Redwood, CA. That was a great experience - working with all my colleagues face to face was invaluable. While there, I was consistently waking up at 5AM and headed straight to the gym for a grueling 1-2h workout almost each morning (did like 10/13 workouts). The weekends were also fun. I really wanted to enjoy the good weather and can say I went overboard with it - I rented out a Mazda MX-5 the first Sunday (right after I landed) and a Porsche Boxster the second weekend. There’s something about driving around in the great Californian nature that’s utterly satisfying to me. Note I’m not even going fast, I’m just cruising and listening to music. Great fun.
At the end of my US adventure, I dropped by Austin, TX to visit a tech conference. It was disappointing as most of the things mentioned I had already heard/experienced.
Regardless, I’m grateful I got to experience Austin! It was consistently around 35°C and surprisingly, I bear it pretty well. There is something awesome about being able to walk outside after 10PM with a tank-top and shorts on.
On the first day there, I went out to a local park and found a group of fit people exercising. Funnily, I was just looking for a place to workout so I went in there and joined them. I met a couple of entrepreneurs that were starting their own fitness-oriented brands. The thing that struck out to me was the overwhelming positivity of everybody around me. I felt welcome inside their community the minute I said Hi. In general, the people in Austin felt warm - you could tell from the genuine smiles from strangers on the street.
And again, because I’m a young kid I had to splash out on some exciting experience: They don’t have cars with engines smaller than 6.4L in Texas, right?
My favorite thing in Austin was this amazing coffee shop I found - Flat Track Coffee. It had a very cozy, energetic and cool vibe. All sorts of tatted-up young people coming in with their dogs and ordering drinks I’ve never heard of (matcha mocha latte?). I’ve been to cool coffee shops before but there was something particular about this one. I am definitely visiting this place again.
After coming back from Texas, I spent a quiet week at home battling jet lag and getting up to speed with everything. Now came time for my holidays. I had taken a week of PTO to travel across Europe with my girlfriend, starting from Madrid, Spain and ending in Sofia, Bulgaria.
There is one thing I find more enjoyable than careless long car rides with nothing to do but have fun and that is doing said activity with people you love. I had done the same trip a year ago but that was in the middle of December (cold!) and with a friend. Going back at it again with some knowledge of the road proved to be beneficial. I managed to carve out time to visit a lot of interesting destinations - Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, Monaco, Milan, Bled (Slovenia). This was the best week of my life. I won’t go in-depth here as its personal and probably worth 3 articles.
I spent a week working remotely in Bulgaria and finally got to see my dog - I’ve been missing him so much. It was fun to sit down and work again after so much traveling. After a week I went back to the UK and continued working there for 7 more days.
What followed was yet another week of PTO!
Me and a friend went to Azores, Portugal - a couple of small islands in the middle of the Atlantic. This was a very interesting destination and somewhat of a hidden gem! Pretty cheap to travel to, cheap to stay in and full of things to do. A week there proved plentiful. The islands are amazingly beautiful and chock-full of breathtaking views. My Instagram profile was well fed during that week. These islands are certainly worth the visit again given how inexpensive it is. They would make for a good remote work destination.
Enough retrospection, it is time to focus back onto the important things. All of this time off was fun and refreshing but it was ultimately me indulging in short-term pleasures. I guess I had to live a bit more like the stereotypical 22-year old that I should be. It was also perhaps my last chance to explore Europe and spend proper time with all my Bulgarian friends before I move out of the contitent.
I turned 23 three days ago, though - it’s time to put my foot on the gas pedal. In the end, it’s worth saying I didn’t need the break. I love my work and, as always, am extremely motivated to achieve big things. I’ve had enough traveling and am looking forward to get back into my controlled environment - I’m talking proper nutrition, sleep, workouts and work schedule.
One of the things I’m looking forward to most is more time for reading, introspection and thinking. I’ve been feeling dumb these past months and I desperately want to dive into topics that make me think. Further, all of this training and bulking up made me eat a ton of food. I had essentially stopped all kinds of fasting and my diet suddenly started consisting of a ton of carbs. Unhealthy stuff that dull my thinking.
I am super excited to finally get back into Keto after some 7 months. This time I’m getting into it more seriously than before - it’s just a matter of time until I drown in all the anti-inflammatory olive, coconut and avocado oil I’ll drink. I plan on actively measuring my ketones and I’ll finally know for sure whether I’m in ketosis or not. I am looking forward to definitively figuring out whether everything they say about Keto is true - how much more energized you are, how you retain muscle while shedding off fat at a rapid pace and my favorite - the improved cognition. I also look forward to the reduction in food cravings, eating twice a day, cooking less, feeling lighter, getting leaner and generally feeling better (reducing inflammation).
This winter we will focus on the mental. Let’s see what we can get out of the next few months :)
~Stay positive, Stan