The Wayfarer in Shophouse

Recently, we caught a mysterious guy typing away behind his laptop and decided to have a chat with him. Turns out, the American-born Iran-Jamaican was a guest at The Shophouse! 

Mateo Askaripour, New Yorker

Words by Syafiqah J -- Images by Amiera Raushan

Tell us more about yourself.

Cliché but in 2016, I took the leap of faith to quit my job simply because I wasn't happy with what I was doing.  I was the Director of Sales Development in a successful company for four years and was earning a sh*t ton of money. Sure, I earned a six-figure salary and I was living the high life. Yet, life just did not seem fulfilling.

I started travelling and writing. I'm currently re-writing my novel. I sent the first draft to a number of publishers and I did receive some positive responses. I'm not fully satisfied with my manuscript so I've decided to give myself more time to polish up the plot. While I am at it, I earn money though my travel writing and articles on both my blog and other websites. I don't earn much, but it is enough to keep me going. Before every writing assignment, make sure that I research extensively so that I am knowledgeable enough to present accurate information to my readers.

I try my best to produce things of high quality yet engaging for all. I've agreed to do things that will only bring benefit - not to do things for money or just for the sake of it. I'm doing what I love and I couldn't be any more blessed.

You've travelled to a number of places before. What brings you to Singapore and how are you liking your stay so far?

Honestly, Singapore was never part of my travel plan. I was in Indonesia when I took a look at the world map and thought, "I've never been to Singapore!" I went online to check on the reviews but decided that I shouldn't judge a country until I visit and witness it for myself. Since the flight ticket was cheap, I hopped on the next flight to the little red dot (or should I just say Singapore).

I expected Singapore to be wealthy, superficial and business-oriented. It did still seem like it on the first day yet the more I explored the country, I was exposed to the real deal. For instance, Singapore's population is multi-racial. I've assumed it to be just the Chinese and maybe some Indians.

I was amazed by how clean the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is. Back in New York, people would rush into the train but here, people actually lined up! Best thing is, internet is still accessible which isn't a privilege if I was taking the Subway back in my hometown. My first interaction with a Singaporean was heart-warming.  I was short of change to buy a ticket - ten cents short to be exact. I was saved with the help of a kind stranger. Simply said, I was blown away.

I also gave the National Museum of Singapore a visit. Learning about the history made me, I wouldn't say fall in love, but reaaaaally like this country even more. I'm actually extending my visit for another day before I continue my journey to Thailand!

Thanks for the lovely chat Mateo! We wish you had a safe trip to Thailand and we look forward to reading your novel in the near future. Don't forget to visit us in Singapore soon! Check out Mateo's blog at SwagPapi.com and follow him on IG @AskMateo.