Singapore – My Gateway To Asia

I arrived in Singapore after my crazy Washington D.C.-London-Singapore flight.

I had been there once before, in 2004, but only visited the airport. At the time, it was probably the most high-tech place I had ever been in my life. It was full of technology and I wondered what the city was like.


Everyone Has A Tablet Or Smart Phone

Everyone Has A Tablet Or Smart Phone

Singapore is, without a doubt, a developed place with a high quality of life. But despite all the comforts of being in a developed place, I couldn’t help but feel like it doesn’t fit me anymore.

I really liked that Singapore is completely multi-cultural. Originally it was populated by Chinese, Malay, and Indian people. Everyone speaks English and most speak their own language at home. The government has done its best to ensure the population is mixed and enclaves don’t develop.

That said, it seems like the national pastime of Singapore is shopping. Everywhere you look there are gigantic shopping malls full of top brands. I’m not sure what to say, but that’s just not me at all.

Consumption, Consumption, Consumption

Consumption, Consumption, Consumption


Durian fruit is found here. It was the first time I saw it and tried it.

It is most famous for being the smelliest fruit in the world. It doesn’t smell horrible – just a distinct smell. The problem is that if you leave the peelings out overnight it develops a truly horrible smell that’s hard to get out of fabrics and houses. So most hotels do not allow customers to bring any in, for example.

It has a creamy taste and it’s not bad. It wasn’t my favorite fruit, but it is the favorite fruit of my couchsurfing host’s roommate. It was his birthday while I was there and we ate durian instead of cake :)

Durian Fruit

Durian Fruit

Trying Durian For The First Time

Trying Durian For The First Time

Trying Durian For The First Time

Trying Durian For The First Time

Botanical Gardens

I have become a bit of a botanical garden junkie. What can I say.. I love tropical vegetation!

It is very hot in Singapore, which lies at the equator, so for the first time in my life I rocked a sun umbrella :)

IE Reunion

In Singapore I met up with some friends from business school. It capped off a week in which I saw a friend of mine in Washington D.C., friends in London, and then friends in Singapore. One of the friends in Singapore works in Hong Kong and actually came just to see me. Crazy! Awesome!

I’ll arrange to be in Bangkok in mid-September to see him again as he and a mutual friend set off for an amazing trip to Bhutan.

Here is a picture from our dinner.

IE Reunion In Singapore

IE Reunion In Singapore

Back In Business

It was a bit difficult being back in a business environment. I had a hard time explaining what I’m doing to the one-track business-minded people I was encountering.

In trying to drum up future speaking engagements, one potential client was concerned that my trip is not financially sustainable right now. True. That’s why I am talking to them… But they completely miss the point that I’m advocating following your passions and finding your calling. I’m having the time of my life and the worst that can happen is I “fail” and go back to a normal job after a couple of amazing years volunteering my way around the world.

What’s the negative with that?

Hard for me to see a negative. Hard for them to see the positive.


But that’s my challenge, I suppose. It’s my responsibility to figure out how to translate my story and my life to fit their paradigm…

Getting (Home)Sick

I’m more resistant to change than you might expect a nomad to be. Upon arrival to Asia, where my trip has to change a lot, where I speak no local languages, and where everything is different… it’s not easy. Singapore was easy since everyone spoke English. But it’ll get harder.

And I guess I was a bit anxious about that and it made me homesick. I was missing my family and my brother’s wonderful dog.

It took a while to hit my groove in Latin America, and I’m sure I’ll hit it again in Asia. It’ll just take time.

But I also got a nasty, nasty cold in Singapore. It was flu season there, it was really hot, and my body was completely messed up from the crazy long trip there + 12 hour time zone change + the 12-hour stopover in London.

I spent a day in bed and found myself with little energy for a few days afterward.

Another cost of being a nomad… Getting sick (stomach) in Colombia in February, Ecuador (stomach) in March, Peru in April (stomach and head cold back to back), and Peru again in May. Now Singapore in June.

A friend joked that I will someday be patient zero, as I’ll be the only person on earth with immunity to everything thanks to my travels. I don’t think so, but I am getting a bit tired of always getting sick…

Off To Vietnam

And, now I head to Vietnam to continue The Happy Nomad Tour.

Not sure what to expect, but it’ll be an adventure as always…

Otherwise, some other pictures from Singapore to close out this post.

6 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the best medicine for being sick is rest, and I applied that medicine in places like Peru and Singapore. In missing the train, my body told me it needed to rest. And I’m glad it worked out that […]

  2. […] Sadly, as soon as I reached this relative level of fluency I left for Asia. […]

  3. […] In Singapore I couchsurfed with a local girl. She was also hosting a girl from the Czech Republic who spent many months, maybe it was years, here in India. When I met her, she put her hands together in front of her chest, smiled, and bowed her head slightly. It was her way of greeting, one I knew was common in India, but one I felt was very awkward and out of place outside of India. […]

  4. […] first encounter with durian came in Singapore. Trying Durian For The First […]

  5. […] City (also known as Saigon before the war) was my entry point to Vietnam. I arrived a bit sick from Singapore and full of weariness of what was to come. I wasn’t afraid, but I had no idea how much of the […]

  6. […] I couldn’t sleep well my first few nights in Vietnam, partly because I still felt a bit sick from Singapore and partly because it was so hot. But I think the biggest obstacle to getting a good night’s […]

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