There’s no doubt that one of the coolest aspects of being location independent is the ability to work anywhere. I mean, that’s part of the allure to all of these people who are trying to quit their jobs and pursue internet based businesses.
That’s what sucked me in.
Back in 2009 I had to listen to my buddy Ryan talking about his days which consisted of reading in a coffee shop, surfing, and being a cabana boy at the local hotel. While he wasn’t building a business then, I knew that the lifestyle was something worth striving for. Here I am 2 years later, and while I’m not currently on a beach, I could be if I wanted 🙂
Through my travels since leaving my job, it’s been pretty interesting to see how I’ve actually put the whole “work anywhere” thing into practice, as I really have spent considerable amounts of time working in just about every locale that I’ve visited.
So here is my top ten list of coolest “offices” I’ve had over the last year or so. I define the term office, by any place I spent at least four hours working at during my travels.
10) Sports Bar – Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. I got to know this bar pretty intimately during the combined total of 8 days I spent on Koh Phi Phi last year. They hated me. Not many people go to Phi Phi to work, so I don’t think the employees there fully got the concept of what I was doing. That said, I was able to sit on the table outside, drink my beer, and get familiar with the new websites I’d be working on, this was one of my first memories of the location independent lifestyle.
9) Heathman Hotel – Portland, Oregon. I love the Heathman Hotel in Portland. When I started this blog, I’d frequently go down there after work and sit in their mezzanine library. It’s a beautiful, historic building, with a hell of a happy hour to boot. In the library there are a wall of cases full of first editions that they open up to the public each evening at 5:30. Each book was signed by the author and they’ve all stayed at the hotel. The fact they serve free wine during these showings makes it a no-brainer – especially considering it’s almost always empty.
8) Hyatt Pool – Austin Texas. A buddy of mine worked at this hotel and I had a few hours to kill while I waited for him to get done. So what did I do? I took my laptop, sat by the pool and enjoyed the phenomenal 80 degree weather while making updates to Overcoming the Fear of Uncertainty.
7) Starbucks – Empire State Building*. I actually only spent about an hour here, but I thought it was pretty cool to get to work from the Empire State Building. I literally showed up from JFK having no idea where to go when I walked out of Penn Station. I had 4 hours to kill before my bus to Philly left and so I just started walking towards the first thing I recognized. Upon arrival, I found a Starbucks, setup shop for a little while, and proceeded to play dumbfounded tourist up until my bus left. I didn’t get a whole lot of work done during my next day in NYC though…
6) Baiyoke Sky Tower- Bangkok. Speaking of big buildings, this one is the biggest in Thailand and was a short 15 minute walk from my Bangkok apartment. The wifi here was pretty lacking, but my view from the 18th floor hotel lobby was spectacular. I’d come here whenever I needed to get some distraction free writing done, only to usually get distracted by the driving range that was across the lobby. If you find yourself in Bangkok, while the hotel itself isn’t the most luxurious, it’s definitely worth seeing for the view…and golf.
5) Badladz Resort – Puerto Galera. After fleeing Bangkok when the protests hit their worst, I decided to hop on a flight at the very last minute to Manila to go visit Dan of the Tropical MBA. 24 hours after that I was sitting in beautiful Puerto Galera working from my laptop and drinking an endless supply of ice cold San Miguel Lights. While Puerto Galera is definitely small, and not super fancy, it had two essential components to a good office: fast internet and an incredible view.
4) Teba House – Bali. The Teba House in Ubud, Bali was spectacular. It was $27/night for a very large clean room, but it was the terrace that truly made it worthwhile. Twice a day we were served coffee and tea, and we had daily jaffles served to use for breakfast – which is one trend that I’m amazed hasn’t caught on stateside. To be working in the middle of the jungle was something I hadn’t experienced before. Ubud felt like a completely different world from the rowdiness of Kuta Beach, but if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, some incredible food, and beautiful scenery, look no further…
3) Third Place – Bangkok, Thailand. While there were no jungles, beaches, or beers (usually) at Third Place, this was one place that literally did become my home away from home in Bangkok. It ranks highly on this list for many reasons, but mostly because they served the best coffee in Bangkok, and whenever I was there I was surrounded by amazing friends and entrepreneurs. It was one of the first (and only) times where I could show up knowing that someone I know would be there working on something great. The friendships made, and work accomplished there was second to none. Also it was in Thong Lo, which is definitely one of the cooler neighborhoods in Bangkok.
2) Ao-Nang Garden Bungalows – Ao Nang, Thailand. In the first few weeks of my time in Thailand, I spent considerable amounts of time in the beach town of Ao Nang. Sure it was a little touristy, and maybe a litte more expensive than nearby places, but I loved this place – for so many reasons. This was my absolute first experience of working from an exotic destination, and the mountains that surrounded our jungle bungalows certainly fall under the term exotic. These bungalows had the fastest internet in the area, and I was able to get into a great routine, while still saving plenty of time for fun in the afternoon and evenings.
1) Sowden House – Los Angeles. Of all the opportunities I’ve had in the last year, and all the places I’ve been, the Sowden House in Los Angeles has to take the cake as the coolest office I’ve worked in. While it wasn’t in a foreign country, or near a beach, the sheer exclusivity of this place, made my 4 days there an experience I’ll never forget. I had my own room in which to work, and when I felt compelled to have a change of scenery I had tons of choices: the private (semi-secret) Koi Pond, the aquarium, or the beautiful courtyard were all excellent examples of good workspaces. I was also able to get a lot done as I helped Chris to launch his Travel Hacking Cartel from the sunny courtyard.
Well, there you guys go, 10 of the coolest “offices” I’ve had the pleasure of working in this past year. I can’t wait to see what this post looks like next year as I make it to even more cool destinations and continue to build my businesses.
So for those of you that move around a little bit, what’s the coolest office you’ve ever had??
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