Derek Sivers

I moved to Singapore


I was born in California, and lived many years each in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Chicago, Boston, New York, Portland, and Seattle. I’m very American. I get America.

So, in the name of learning and growing, it was time for me to move on and not live in America anymore.

When I met my future girlfriend, I told her my plan and asked, “How would you feel about living in the rest of the world for the rest of your life?”

She can do her work from anywhere, so she thought a bit and said, “Hmmmm... Yeah. I could do that.”

A year later, we took one carry-on bag each, and went around the world, looking for a new country to call home.

We went down to Brazil, up to Sweden, around Europe, over to India and China. There’s so much going on in Asia, so exciting, so much to learn. I really wanted a home base in the middle of it all. And so we found Singapore.

Singapore is 3 hours from India, China, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, and Taiwan. 2 hours from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Philippines. Such a wonderful hub for this entire part of the world. Cheap flights to 13 countries for under $200.

On our first visit, we met so many amazing people from NUS, Hackerspace, e27, EDB, and INSEAD.

Though there are 5 million people here, the music and entrepreneur scenes are quite small, so it feels like a small town in a big city, with the advantages of both. It’s a great place to set up a business, which is important to me.

I could go on and on about how much I love Singapore, but if you want a quick overview, the Discovery Channel did a great documentary about it, and the Wikipedia page is good.

We made some really dear friends on our first visit, and decided it was home. After eight months of waiting for the paperwork to process, we became official residents of Singapore yesterday.

We rented an apartment. We got a kitten. I set up my new companies here. I’m an “entrepreneur in residence” at INSEAD, mentoring for EDB, SPRING, and ACE. And I’m back to work.