Career. For the past 4.5 years, I’ve felt everything within the range of SUPER ecstatic and thrilled, proud, intellectually stimulated, culturally pleased, happy, grateful, relieved, okay, mellow and restless about working for the world’s largest travel community. When one of their internal recruiters reached out to me in 2014, I was burned out (without really admitting it to anyone, least of all myself) and frustrated after three years of working 70 hours a week as a creative writer-editor-managing-editor for a badly run daily dealsite, once the ‘fastest growing internet company of all time,’ my first job out of college, which had been super fun in the beginning, but which just wasn’t a great idea of how to spend each day longterm. It taught me so invaluably much; it gave me some friends for life; it was such an important part of my first years in London … But it just wasn’t a great company to work for, and furthermore, I wasn’t passionate about the product; in fact, I never bought a single deal on the site. Travel, on the other hand, and thinking about what to see and what to do when travelling and how I could help others in this respect as well, was such an essential part of who I was, and still am. Everything about the new opportunity seemed amazing – great subject matter, great culture, great travel opportunities. And this week I do look back on some amazing years professionally. And I am excited for the company’s new product, the social sharing. But I am even more excited about leaving – about starting something new, which also has to do with travel, but on a different level, something that feels as if it really will encompass everything I’m interested in and good at – and eager to learn more about and become better at. I’ll also admit that while I love travel, I rarely use designated travel apps. I use Google maps – filling it with flags and stars marking things that have been tried and tested by people whose opinions I trust and value. My first day at Google is 26 November; next week, I’m going to hang out in Singapore, soaking up the last bit of this chapter while preparing for the move and the fresh start; this week is my last week working at TripAdvisor.
A few words of gratitude before handing in my laptop – and my Singapore Employment Pass, woah! It suddenly becomes so real! 😉
In the past 4.5 years with TripAdvisor, I’ve learned so much and enjoyed working with kind, collaborative and passionate people from / based all over the world. This amazing culture and work environment, the fact that I’ve been able to work from various locations across the globe as well as the overall mission of being helpful to travellers worldwide – such wonderful and enriching experiences! I have enjoyed the benefits of working in a progressive global online tech organisation. Thrived as part of the productive, innovative unit that is the Content Team. Made great friendships. Loved that whenever anyone, anywhere in the world, asks me where I work and I reply, they light up in a smile and say that they use the platform every time they travel. Like all of you, I love travelling, exploring, great experiences, in nature and culturally, and making all of this accessible to all kinds of people, while helping to promote some cool businesses and initiatives along the way. I love seamless UX, expertly handled user-generated content, thoughtfully localised internally-created content and guiding all kinds of travellers with all kinds of challenges and perspectives in their journeys online and offline; things I’ve been exposed to on a daily basis at TripAdvisor.
A few months ago, I got the opportunity to say yes to a new job, where I’ll be able to dig deeper into some of the things I think I’m good at and know I’m passionate about, making it possible for me to contribute and keep learning in new ways. However, I’ll always think of my time at TripAdvisor and all of you guys with a smile – and hope to see you around in London as that’s where I’ll be based!
Thank you and all the best!
Pearl’s Hill City Park. On my way home from an after-work barre class, I decide to veer off the usual route and venture into the park that’s hidden up behind the alluring yellow apartment building that, in turn, is halfway hidden behind the construction work surrounding Outram Station. I’ve always just walked past, acknowledged the green lump peeking out from behind the buildings and on the map, but never really bothered to actually go there. Outram has always felt to me like a sort of no-man’s-land, no more than a passageway between Tiong Bahru and Chinatown, necessary to cross, but preferably with a podcast, phone call or actual human being as companion. I’ve walked by every day for 2.5 years. In a few weeks, I’d have to put that sentence in the past tense. I’m slightly fatigued and famished by the long day, but these factors get overshadowed by the thrill and excitement of exploring. I simply forget my body and its signs as I walk up the steep stairway next to the yellow beacon, a 113 m hollow 3/4 cylindrical tower, like a giant luminous Brutalist horseshoe, in the golden hour light and discover that this ‘lump of green’ is actually a pretty exciting park. Hilly, lush, with ponds and enormous manicured flower beds, quite sizeable. With a big reservoir at the centre, which, like in Fort Canning Park, you can’t walk directly around, unlike in Central Park, but you can do loops at the bottom of its steep formation. Which I do, or, I do one. When I come back to the entrance, and see the sunset glow over the city, I start to feel my body again, and this time, it’s full of adrenaline: can’t wait to bring Sanoop here! To think we’ve lived right next to this paradise for two years without knowing about it! So glad we do now.
Singa Social. Monday: spontaneous dinner with my, who just got back from a 3-day worktrip to London – PS takeout on her balcony at the Highline. Tuesday – home-cooked dinner at another friend’s house in Tiong Bahru, this time one of the heritage buildings over by the market. She’s moving to Beijing with work – Chinese correspondent for the Straits Times! – next week. Wednesday – farewell drinks with my lovely work colleagues at Merci Marcel, Club Street. Thursday, dinner with a close friend in Hong Kong Street. Friday, stingray at Lau Pa Sat with Sanoop, followed by a glass of wine at a bar in Rob Quay that we’ve been meaning to check out. Saturday morning – morning yoga and Plain Vanilla Bakery coffee/newspaper session with Sanoop followed by brunch with the barre ladies at Fynn’s, South Beach. In the evening evening, we head over to Everton Road for our friends’ wedding reception, which they’re hosting at home in their beautiful shophouse after getting married in the Botanic Gardens earlier in the day. So much fun. Sunday morning – listening to the rain from bed, morning yoga with Adriene, taking Sanoop for a walk around Pearl’s Hill Park (he loves it too!), getting a late breakfast of waffles at Tiann’s, where we really savour each bite and each moment, chatting to the sweet staff about our upcoming departure and promising them we’ll come back and visit sometime. It’s our penultimate day together in Tiong Bahru, as Sanoop is leaving for a work off-site in the Philippines on Tuesday and we move to London when he gets back at the end of the week. This is where we met, and where we’ve been so happily in love with each other, our surroundings and life in general for two years. This quaint, charming, lively, white-painted, lush little art deco ‘hood. We are leaving together, to create a new lovely base, so it’s not sad as such, but it still feels rather melancholic to put an end to this sweet moment in time. In the afternoon, we throw a heartwarming house cooling party for our Singapore friends: gløgg, Plain Vanilla cupcakes, kombucha, fresh fruit, chat, laughter, hugs, sweet cards and Singapore memorabilia. Late in the evening, we head over to PS Petit for dinner, the manager, Eric, who’d water our plants whenever we were travelling, giving us a glass of wine on the house because we’re leaving. Back home, we watch an episode of Chef’s Table with the guy from Room 4 Dessert in Ubud. How lucky are we – going to Bali on weekends has been a normal part of our lives here … and we even visited that restaurant together in the spring; I’m glad we did.