Because of Singapore

Singapore 2010

Five years ago this summer, I boarded a one-way flight to Singapore. I had recently turned 21, graduated college, and decided I wanted to live and travel outside the US for the foreseeable future.

I didn’t know where to go, though, so I found myself headed for Singapore: no job, no friends, (almost) no money.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Singapore declaring its independence. Singapore is younger than Hawaii, The Beatles, 8-track tapes, my parents, and probably yours.

But thanks to Singapore, my decision to move abroad led to more surreal, outlandish, awesome adventures — and friends — packed into five years than I could have dreamed of in a lifetime.

Because of my move to Singapore, I became involved with the Youth Olympic Games.

Because of the Youth Olympics, I met friends and contacts who helped me land a job at the 2011 Universiade Games.

Because of that event, I heard one fateful line: “If [only] you spoke French, we’d hire you…”

Because of that line, I decided to move to France. 

Because of that decision, I turned down a job in Palermo, Sicily, to accept one in Paris.

Because of the job I had in Paris, with understanding employers and generous vacation time, I was able to accept a position at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Because of those Games, I went on to work events in Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Dubai, Italy, and Sochi, and edited a quarterly international magazine.

Because of those international media experiences, I got a job on Ford’s Asia Pacific communications team, headquartered in Shanghai.

Because of that job, I was able to save up enough money to quit my job to write and travel full-time (with an eye always on Rio, of course).

And of course, because of Paris, I met Joe: my partner in beer and travel and adventure.

It’s all been one extended, five-year domino effect. What I initially thought of as a mere “pit stop” after graduation ended up being a jumping off point that shaped the path of my early 20s and led me to a good life, a great career, and an amazing guy.

It’s hard to imagine where I would be now if it hadn’t been for that spontaneous, risky, unpredictable move to the Little Red Dot. Probably not 26 and self-employed driving a campervan through Wales, I’ll tell you that much.

So if you’re questioning a move, a trip, or just making a change: Book that one-way ticket. Shake things up. You never know where it will lead.

Congratulations on 50 years and Majulah, Singapore!

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  1. Also, don’t forget that if you hadn’t moved to Singapore, I probably wouldn’t have reached out to you for travel advice and our glorious friendship never would have been. Clearly that would have been the worst of all! ;)

    • Yes! I still remember how funny it was receiving your messages and realizing we were staying literally across the street from each other! And the three hour breakfast the next day :) So happy to have met you guys!!

  2. I love this! Kudos to you for taking on Singapore and opening up the possibilities that have made these past five years so enriching for you. I’m thankful to call you a friend! Sending my love from L.A. to Wales :)

    • Thanks love! I’m so happy these roads led me to you as well :) So wishing I could see you in London right now!

  3. I love seeing the “domino effect” of your decision five years ago. Things that are meant to happen, they just do.

    • Thanks Mardi! It’s funny, I don’t think I even knew what was meant to happen, but I figured I would go with the flow, and it’s been wonderful so far :)

  4. Awesome post. There sure is something serendipitous about Singapore…
    2013; I booked a one way ticket to the Little Red Dot. Just me, a backpack and a hunch that this is where I’m meant to be…
    2014; I moved away for a month but felt an overwhelming pull back there. Secured a great Tanjong Pagar design job that were happy to sponsor, moved to Tiong Bahru with 3 lovely chicks from all corners of the globe, met the funnest group of friends & had a ball…
    2014/15; Met my fiance one beautiful evening on the Screening Room rooftop bar just 1 month after moving back to SG. In April, we welcomed our baby daughter to the world!
    Because of all this it will always be my special place. Loved reading your story too :)

    • Yes! I remember reading your blog when you first moved there, and following along as you progressed from Singapore newbie to dating to mom! Very happy for you that Singapore worked out so spectacularly!

  5. and because of this one-way ticket, we can enjoy this blog :)

  6. Hooray for you going to Singapore! What an appropriate post to celebrate the country, too. This gave me chills, even though that might make me lame! Your domino effect is so, so exciting and inspiring to read.

  7. Love this! It’s amazing how much that one decision has helped shape your entire life. If anyone is debating whether or not to move abroad, this is the post to read!

    • Thank you Ashley! That’s why I started this blog, ultimately, to show others how one leap can make all the difference!

  8. I’m grateful for Singapore!!

  9. Amazing, Edna! Here’s to those scary decisions that lead to a lifetime of happy surprises! I cannot wait to see what unfolds next for you.

    • Thanks Marina! I can’t wait to see what happens for YOU! Looks like I’ll finally have to go to Canada… :)

  10. It’s amazing that we don’t quite realise how far we have come until you look back. Here’s to five more happy years foy you, and five more, and five more etc etc xx

    • Thanks Amy! That’s so true — I also can’t believe it’s been five years! Could’ve sworn I just graduated yesterday…

  11. Happy anniversary Singapore! ^^ I’m glad that you did decide to go when you did, because looking back at memories, we can realize the full extent of our decisions, good or bad. At least you got happy memories out of it and that’s all that matters in the end.

  12. Much could be said for my 2005 move to Holland =) Congrats to you, friend, on all your success and, mostly, for finding love!

    • Thank you Kristin! :) Also, I don’t think I knew about your 2005 move to Holland, somehow. This is why I tell everyone they should move abroad at least once — you never know where it will lead you!

  13. Thanks for being constantly inspiring Edna!!!! I just got certified to teach English abroad and am about to start looking for jobs. Hopefully I’m about to begin my own domino effect!

    • Thank you so much for your support, Mo!! Can’t wait to hear about your upcoming adventures!

  14. Love this. It’s amazing how one little or big decision can reshape the rest of our lives. Imagine if you’d chosen to stay in America after graduate. Or moved to a completely different country. Your life would be so different.

    • I know, right? I’m so glad I didn’t stay in the US, though I do wonder sometimes what would have happened if I’d stayed in Shanghai, or did get that visa to New Zealand, or chose Italy instead of Paris…