Don’t Leave Your Dreams Hidden Away, Make Them Come True

Great post by Benny Lewis on why why you (yes, you) can be live overseas and travel. Benny, from Ireland, has been traveling for 8 years now and started with no cash. Another of his posts explains why you don’t have to be rich to travel the world.

This isn’t the life for everybody, but if you want to do it, you can. The challenge is mainly being willing to accept the challenge. I certainly would put the difficulty below what most of our ancestors faced in their lives. At least for me, right now the nomad part is a bit too much. But if you want to give being an expat in Singapore, go ahead and try. Or if you are in Singapore and want to try elsewhere, do that.

Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future.

I believe this. Not only across cultures but across generations. Quit all those posts about generation x,y,z, a, b,c. He has many great points:

Deferring your happiness to the future is a terrible idea…
Spending time exclusively with people who agree with you on everything would never challenge you and allow you to learn so much more…
There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know”…
The Internet is the greatest tool ever available to us, but daily use must be capped…
Don’t take anything for granted. I couldn’t afford to pay for accommodation one night and had to sleep outside on a rock because of it. Ever since then I appreciate having a bed, couch or hammock, no matter how small or where it may be, because I know what it’s like to not have one…
Make sure that every day you have someone (family, friends, lover) to remind you that you are special. If you postpone this part of your life until later, after you get or do that thing you want to do, you will continue in that lonely path indefinitely…

Lots of great stuff. Ok, he is just crazy on some things like capping the amount of internet use; unless he means capping it at about 20 hours a day 🙂 Seriously read this entire post. And think about taking on the challenge of living abroad. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. But our lives our not very long. The value this can bring to your life is huge.

I lived in Singapore and Nigeria as a kid and travelled a great deal with my family. It was wonderful. It was also a big pain at times and I sure complained about it. Now I am living in Malaysia and looking at Singapore out my window. Getting settled has been a bigger hassle than I imagined but I am very happy. And I look forward to traveling around: Singapore, Thailand, China, India, Australia

Finally, living overseas is not going to be something a majority of the people reading this blog do (your kids though, I think a majority may well live outside your country for more than 5 years of their lives – the world is changing). Most of these ideas can be applied in a life where you live right where you are now.

Related: Singapore Ranks Highly as an Expat DestinationNew Graduates Should Live FrugallyHow About Only Enforcing Copyright in a Country if the Owner Allows Citizens Access

Strong Singapore Dollar

The Singapore dollar has been very strong. This is a sign of a strong economy. But it also brings challenges for an economy when its currency appreciates. Competing against companies internationally is more difficult as those wishing to buy Singapore products and services have to pay the increased prices due to the currency appreciation. Often companies will absorb part of the currency increase but that reduce their profit (or forces them to reduce costs – which can mean layoff and reduced pay). Those making Singapore dollars though get the benefit of being able to buy more for the same price – the same S$100 buy 10% more if the currency has risen 10%.

Many countries try to devalue or at least prevent increases in value in their currency as this is often easier for politicians to do than helping move the economy to a new reality. Singapore however has taken serious steps (as you would expect, taking smart economic steps for decades is why their economy is so strong and currency has done so well) to accept that as they will have a stronger currency (especially when they see what Europe and the USA are doing – acting irresponsibly and making it hard to have faith in their currencies).

Here are some charts of the Singapore Dollar (SGD) versus other currencies over the last 12 years.

chart of the Singapor Dollar v. US Dollar 1999-2011

From 1999 to 2011 the Singapore Dollar (SGD) is up 37% v. the US Dollar. And just since January 1st of 2009 it is up 19%.

See the current SGD to USD chart on yahoo. Such a rapid accent in the currency makes it difficult for companies and individuals to react.

chart of SGD v Euro from 1999 to 2011

From 1999 to 2011 the SGD has risen 11% versus the Euro. Since January 1st of 2009 the SGD has risen 15%.

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Singapore Ranks Highly as an Expat Destination

Global Professionals on the Move Report 2011 analyses responses from 2,637 professionals from 85 different countries with qualifications of a bachelor degree or above. The most popular destinations for those working internationally (outside of their country): USA (18% of respondents), UK (11%), Australia (10%), Switzerland (6%), Singapore (5%), Canada (5%), Hong Kong (4%).

The press release also states that 42% of Singapore’s population is made up of expats and overseas students and 80% of the professionals surveyed found it easy to settle in and make new friends in Singapore.

Working overseas received a great endorsement from participants who had already relocated, with 98% saying they would recommend working abroad to others and 76% of those away for at least three years saying they would stay working overseas for longer.

Related: Online Resources for Moving To and Living In Singapore