Expatland Tour of the USA

On 9th October my Expatland tour of the USA began in St Petersburg Florida, and it ended in Atlanta on the 10th of November.

It was an amazing month on the road and truly worth the investment of time and energy.

Apart from St Petersburg and Atlanta I had the opportunity of visiting Los Angeles and New York (where we have E-Teams) as well as Las Vegas, Portland, San Francisco, San Mateo, Pasco, Rapid City, Bozeman, Washington, Dallas & Brooklyn. For most of the trip I was travelling with Boon Tan, from CST Accountants & Advisors in Singapore.


To say the USA is a wonderful country for expats is a massive understatement.

The country has expats from all cultures, backgrounds, and areas of expertise. More than 1 million people a year move to the USA to begin a new life.

In fact, the total number of people who live in the US that were born in another country exceeds 47 million.

Apart from meeting expats all over the US, Boon and I also took in more than enough NBA games, NFL games and MLS games to last for a while.

Our journey started in San Francisco.

Not surprisingly the expats we met there were focused on technology, start-ups, and the venture capital industry. Our trip out to Stanford University Campus was just crazy. At 33 square kilometres, the sheer size of Stanford Uni dwarfs any other university campus I have visited.

It was also very cool checking out the main Google Campus. The Google Campus is full of colour and has an awesome vibe which resonated with us. It was also expat central, and we had a good number of conversations with new arrivals to the USA.

One of the biggest surprises to me during the tour was Las Vegas which typically is regarded as the gaming capital of the world.

However, there is so much more is going on in Las Vegas than gambling. Consider these points:

  • Real Estate Rental and Leasing and Accommodation, Food Services and Retail Trade contributed the most to Nevada’s GDP in 2022, representing a combined 34.0% of state GDP.
  • More than 500,000 homes are expected to be built in Nevada over the next decade
  • The city is developing into a sporting capital of the US now that it has its own NFL team and soon the NBA is looking to licence a franchise in the city.
  • GDP growth in Nevada over the last 12 months was 7.1%
  • Per capita GDP is $67,895 which makes Nevada the 4th highest state in the US

Finally, the total GDP of Nevada at $159BN is greater than 157 countries in the world including:-

  • Qatar (gas centred economy and the host of the 2022 World Cup),
  • Ukraine (agriculture),
  • Hungary (manufacturing),
  • Kuwait (oil & gas), &
  • Luxembourg (banking capital).

As we headed east across the US, we were struck by the diversity of the expats living and working in the US. We met expats in Dallas (oil industry), Atlanta (media and professional services) and New York (Financial Services).

Brooklyn too is an amazing city.

We got to watch the Brooklyn Nets play and Patty Mills (an Aussie hero) was in great form.

The view of New York and the Brooklyn Bridge from our hotel was something to behold.

In New York we caught up with Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB). The EDB has long understood the market opportunity that the US presents for expats.

Boon and I enjoyed the opportunity of meeting senior representatives of the EDB to explain how our Expatland Global Network is able to help Singaporeans moving into the USA.

We highlighted to the EDB that one of our E-Teams led by CST Tax in Los Angeles – has a particular focus on blockchain businesses and is well placed to help US bound entrepreneurs from Singapore and elsewhere develop their businesses.

A rewarding experience was the time we got to spend in Portland, Oregon. Many people know of the Portland Trail Blazers (and indeed Boon Tan who is a basketball tragic made sure we toured the Stadium) but there is so much more to this great city. With more than 30,000 people a year moving to the city the local economy has been reinvigorated since the Covid 19 shutdown ended.

In fact, 72% of the economic growth lost during Covid has come back in the last year. Strong economic growth is forecast to take place in green industries, including agriculture (wineries, orchards, and cannabis products).

Portland has a great vibe and being less expensive than other major US cities it’s a good place to live for those looking for quality of life as well as working in a natural environment. Boon and I really enjoyed Cheryl’s Diner at 1135 Washington Street – so if you find yourself there it’s worth checking it out.

All in all, the list of highlights from our time in the US is too many to mention though, Mt Rushmore, South Dakota, the Devils Tower in Wyoming, and the top of the Empire State Building in New York, deserves a special shout out.

The memories of that tour will stay with Boon and me for a long time.

Expatland Global Network is building a great number of E-Teams in the US and we look forward to helping you or anyone you know settle into the US.

Enjoy the journey!

GALLERY: My Expatland Tour of the USA