It took me almost thirty years – and traveling half way around the globe – to find out what really makes me happy, who I am and what I’m passionate about. The heart of it came to me while sitting on top of the ocean, over the clear tropical waters off the coast of Phuket. I had just learned to breathe underwater for my first time but, more importantly, how to really be alive! I know it sounds like a lot, but it happened and I didn’t expect it. I was actually quite happy right before I came to Thailand – I had it all: the beautiful blonde girlfriend, a convertible sports car and access to the hottest nightclubs in Los Angeles. But, it turns out, none of that shit really made me happy – it was all a facade.
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Diving became my first passion, which lead me to come back to Thailand for 12 more weeks. Then I discovered Muay Thai and MMA which made me come back, yet again, for 12 more. It was a vicious cycle that could not be broken. Every time I went back to the States I would think about staying; life there really isn’t so bad…but then winter comes and, even though it’s not nearly as cold in California as it is in the rest of the world, I feel the need to escape. On the sun deck of a dive ship, while eating what may have been the best tasting meal I’ve ever had – a simple dish of fried chicken and spaghetti – I met a man that forever changed my life.
His name was René Christoffersen and he was my scuba diving instructor. The funny thing was my cousin and I showed up that morning absolutely unprepared for what was in store for us. We didn’t even think to bring a towel or swim trunks. We ended up walking around in wet underpants the whole day yet it ended up being one of the best days of our lives. Imagine that! Scuba diving was so out of our realm of reality and I had no idea what to expect. The idea of getting wet hadn’t even occurred to either of us. To think so little time has actually passed since first taking that flight: selling all of my belongings and moving across the world, throwing my first kick in Muay Thai, attempting my first submission in MMA and all the way to taking my first fight. Thinking back, it all seemed so magical but, then again, if it was going to happen anywhere it would happen in Thailand.
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