Alive in Singapore: A tale about presence.

Nicky Cullen
6 min readMay 8, 2019
Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

Singapore has a reputation somewhat as a sterile city. Bali is a jungle. There’s nothing sterile about it — which is why I can’t believe it took a trip to Singapore for this particular lesson to hit home.

One of the first things I usually do when I touch down in an airport is grab a sim card. So I’m never offline. It’s a reflex. Kind of like when I go to the bathroom now for a whizz — I no longer stand, I sit.

That’s evolution, folks. Blame the smartphone. It won’t be long before the monkeys pass us out. I fear if I didn’t remove these apps from my phone which I spoke about in my last article, I’d turn into The Hunchback of Notre Dame by the time I’m 50. And I’d be so miserable from devoting my life to a screen that I’d be better off in ashes.

Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no two ways about it — she gets pissed with me for spending too much time on my phone. And even though I tell her it’s my digestive issues, when we touched down in Singapore, I decided to treat her the gift of my presence — which is a fucking great gift now that I think about it!

I should probably say that we — together, in unison, blah blah — decided data wasn’t necessary for our mini city break. We were strong enough to go without.

And so, by removing the temptation to check in with our screens, we gave birth to the possibility of being truly present to our surroundings.

Is it even a debate?

Many people who are traveling these days put more energy into curating perfect pictures for friends to envy on Instagram than they do into actually enjoying the experience.

The result of this is that they’re never really present. One could argue they’re never really enjoying themselves either.

A recent study found more than a third of millennials have intentionally posted deceiving photos to make their holiday seem better than it is. And 65% of the honest ones admit they did so to make their friends envious — the bastards!

Nicky Cullen

Stress Coach | Helping legend overcome anxiety and stress. 👉