I’m Selling Everything and Moving to Thailand

I’m Selling Everything and Moving to Thailand

Plane taking off out of SFO in San Francisco, CA

Dramatic title aside, I am indeed selling (mostly) everything and moving to Thailand (initially). I also stopped working on RewardMe along with a few other team members at the beginning of July – times are a changin’!

To those who know me well this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I’m a knowledge and experience junkie. Here’s the Five Ws explaining, well, the Five Ws of why I’m moving to Thailand.


Just me!

About two years ago Courtney Alev and I took a trip to Southeast Asia. We started with a 3-week trip around Thailand, stopped over in Cambodia for a quick visit to Angkor Wat, and finished with a week in Vietnam. It was a great trip (not to speak for Courtney!) and ever since I’ve wanted to go back.

I won’t have any close friends even remotely nearby – which is both exciting and just a tiny bit scary. However, thanks to modern technology it’s almost impossible to be unwittingly cut-off from the rest of the world. This site will be one of the ways I stay in touch with people back home.


I’m going to take this one as “What are you doing there?”.

Monk walking on street in Bangkok, Thailand Justin Warmkessel and I started Lief International – a business helping U.S. manufacturers export their goods to Southeast Asia. A lot of my time abroad will be researching consumer trends and getting in contact with potential distributors. In fact, Justin may also be moving to Thailand later this year. I’ll be traveling to neighboring countries – especially Malaysia and Vietnam – fairly frequently.

I’ll also be learning how to write again and doing a few other things on the side!


Thailand, dummy.

Chaweng Beach on Koh Samui I’ll be flying into Bangkok and staying there a few nights to get my bearings. Then, who knows! I’ll most likely end up in Bangkok or Chiang Mai (the northern big city), but I’m really tempted to go to Koh Samui or somewhere more isolated in Phuket. I’ve wanted to live by the ocean for a long time – so I may just do it.


The last time I went Thailand I landed in Phuket at 11:45pm. By the time I got my bag and found a taxi it was getting close to one in the morning. And I still had a 45-minute drive ahead of me. 30 minutes into the drive (and I would come to expect this) the driver – “Paul” – told me he didn’t know exactly where my guesthouse was. But not to worry because we could get directions from his friend at the 24-hour travel agency. Sure.

30 minutes later and rejuvenated with some fresh orange juice we got back in Paul’s taxi and just after 2am we made it to my guesthouse. Which was closed. Paul knew of a nearby hostel and we were off once again. At 3am I finally had a room.

This time I’m arriving in the morning. I fly out of San Francisco on a redeye the 2nd of September and land at 9:45am the next day!


Here’s a few of the reasons of why I’m moving to Thailand:

  1. I love change and believe it’s necessary to grow. While I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Thailand and I look forward to going back, I’m not moving for Thailand. I want to challenge myself and make myself uncomfortable so I can continue to improve.
  2. I want to meet more people who are similar to me. I love all of my friends and family but I want to meet even more people who want to know about as much of the world as possible. Traveling is a good way to meet those people.
  3. I don’t like the decreased interest in true innovation and the environment of Silicon Valley as a whole. Innovation does exist, of course, but the vast majority of companies seem to work on incremental improvements and minor utilities. I may return – but right now I need a break.
  4. I get to get rid of all the crap I’ve accumulated over the years! Honestly this has been one of the greatest feelings – canceling accounts, selling furniture and books, donating clothes – it’s a nice reminder that I am not what I own (and existentialist me likes to be reminded).

Moving to Thailand for things like this Temple Statue on Koh Samui, Thailand

All of my reasons are really rooted in one thing – a desire to learn.

Wish me luck!

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8 Responses to “I’m Selling Everything and Moving to Thailand”

  1. JunLoayza says:

    Good luck Stephen! I’m rooting for you and Justin. Oh, and I’m excited for dinner this Friday.

    Kim and I will make our way to Thailand in a year or so 🙂

  2. Court says:

    1. Hangout with me before you leave. If you don’t we are no longer friends.
    2. I’m coming to visit in Sept/October. You think I am just saying this. I am 100% serious.

  3. Sumithra Jonnalagadda says:

    Hi Steve, I am wondering if I could have a chat with and hear your insights about a startup situation I am in.

  4. Sean says:

    What ur doing is awesome!! I’m moving to Thailand in July to teach and can’t wait.. Ur blog has been motivating thanks.. I also live in the Bay Area.. May our paths will cross.. Good luck to u!!!

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