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Freelance life: attributes of a great coworking cafe

Freelance life: attributes of a great coworking cafe

If you’re a freelancer, digital nomad or telecommuter, you’ll appreciate the value of a great coworking cafe. Not to be mistaken for a coworking space (which we’ll look at soon here on the blog), coworking cafes offer the best of a coffee shop but with work-friendly benefits.

The flexibility of working from home or remotely is, well, brilliant. But sometimes we need to get out into a place where there’s other people. This can be because ‘home’ (wherever you call it) is noisy, or lonely. I’ve done some of my best work immersed in ‘the zone’ in  a fave coworking cafe discovered around London, Vancouver, even Cairns in North Queensland.

The line between a coworking space and a coworking cafe is blurring, as some coworking cafes around the world are really set up very well for working in. Fresh Cup magazine has written about these trends happening in the USA that we found interesting.

If you have a favourite coworking cafe I’d LOVE to know about it – please drop details in the comments below.

 

a great coworking cafe needs to be well set up for freelancers and digital nomads

 

Attributes of a great coworking cafe

We seek work-friendly spaces everywhere we travel, from Ibiza to Lisbon, the Gold Coast to London. What distinguishes a normal café or space where it’s technically possible to work, from a fabulous coworking café space that’s free, motivating and easy to work in?

In our experience, a cool coworking cafe has:

 

Space and cool design elements

Our very favourite coworking cafes in London and around the world inevitably offer a sensory and design experience that we can’t get in the home office. In fact, it’s recognised that coworking cafes and coworking spaces of the future that are to attract the most clientele, will boast cool design. We want to be creatively inspired, and it starts with the architecture and interiors of the places we’re working.

Hotel cafes and bars often do this really well. The Hoxton in Holborn and W Hotel’s Perception Bar in Soho London, and Room Mate Aitana in Amsterdam are great examples.

 

a coworking cafe needs just the right amount of buzz

 

Essentials in a coworking café also include comfortable seating and a nice amount of space. Various options for working such as bench space, tables, seating at different heights and maybe even some sofa areas are also preferable.

Our favourite coworking cafes are bright, inspiring, interesting but ultimately cosy. They’re convenient, with easy access to transport and other amenities in a city we’re visiting or working in.

 

Delicious coffee and food (fuel!)

There’s nothing quite like the tantalising smell of fresh food and coffee while you work. I especially like it when I’m not having to cook it. That’s just me though.

A coworking café should offer great coffee and a range of food, from treats to lunch. Preferably at reasonable prices.

 

Energy and ambience 

There’s a fine line between ‘just right’ and ‘too much’ in cafes targeting freelancing or digital nomads. Cooper and I need to find a place that plays agreeable music. This obviously might differ person to person. The best type of work soundtrack for me is smooth House or world music like Buddha Bar. I don’t want music blaring, but I’d like to be able to hear it and enjoy it.

Similarly, if the crowd in the café is too noisy, or there’s kids running around, I can’t work effectively.

My best experiences in coworking cafes are when the energy is buzzing and there’s other people working in there. Sometimes you can catch the right level of background activity like food prep, conversation and background noise that makes it easy to focus on the task at hand.

Dog friendly is always a bonus!

 

Easy access to decent tech

We’re talking about ‘working’ after all, and there are some basics that all remote workers will agree on:

  • Stable, quick, reliable internet
  • Inexpensive internet access (if not free)
  • A secure connection is preferable. That said, we have recently purchased a VPN to keep our networks private when we’re working out and about. Reputable firewalls and virus protection should also be implemented on your machines. For more on safety for digital nomads take a look at this helpful piece from Traveling Lifestyle
  • Plenty of accessible power outlets – the scramble for the only corner in the room with an electrical socket is never fun.

 

Know a spot that fits the criteria? Also keen to hear about what other elements you consider are crucial in a work-friendly coffee shop. Do please share in the comments.

 

7 best travel vloggers and bloggers’ European destinations

7 best travel vloggers and bloggers’ European destinations

Travelling to beautiful destinations is an inspiring activity for everybody, but if you are a content producer chasing wanderlust, there are some places that stand out.

Here’s a list of the best travel vloggers and bloggers Euro destinations, courtesy guest contributor Rebecca Brown.

The best travel vloggers and bloggers’ destinations in Europe – 7 faves

There is something to say about every new, and even old place you visit, since sometimes you see things you’ve already seen in a different way.

However, some places are better than others.

The best travel vloggers and bloggers' European destinations - Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal has many hot spots, and its beautiful capital is definitely one of them.

Perfectly combining the new with the old, Lisbon welcomes all kinds of creative travel vloggers and bloggers.

Nostalgic and romantic writers can find inspiration while exploring the city’s beautifully arranged streets and admiring the mesmerising landscapes from the many viewpoints strategically located throughout the city.

Foodies have the chance to indulge in memorable culinary experiences without having to empty their pockets.

There are many affordable restaurants and cooking classes a passionate blogger can enjoy while in Lisbon. Cervejaria Ramiro is one of the locals’ favourite gathering places that recently became famous among travellers as well.

Find out more about Lisbon here in our 3 days in Lisbon blog and vlog

The best travel vloggers and bloggers' European destinations - Barcelona Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Catalonia’s beautiful capital, Barcelona, is also a destination creative travellers should visit.

Inspiration is everywhere throughout the city, from the impressive architecture to the bustling beaches.

Follow Gaudi’s steps, explore Picasso’s genius and Miró’s wonderful mind to inspire your articles about art and architecture.

Enjoy some of Spain’s best wines and tapas, and party in Europe’s famous clubs.

Relax while having picnics at Barceloneta Beach, and, if you want to get in touch with history, explore the many interesting museums in Barcelona.

The best travel vloggers and bloggers' European destinations - Berlin Germany

Berlin, Germany

Bloggers who are passionate about travelling and history can’t miss seeing Berlin, one of Germany’s most interesting and intriguing cities.

The number of museums and historical monuments is fantastic, giving history enthusiasts the thrill they are looking for.

Art, great architecture, as well as shocking stories from WWII and other crucial moments of Europe’s past are also present everywhere in Berlin.

 

Mallorca, Spain

Do you want to share stories about sunny days, splendid beaches, cocktail recipes, and mouthwatering dishes, but you are also interested in cultural and historical places?

Then, visit Mallorca.

The island is paradise for travellers who dream about being caressed by the sun, enjoying water adventures, and having real island fun.

But culture and history aficionados are also welcome in Mallorca.

Palma, the capital city, as well as the great number of castles, fortresses, and historical monuments are always a delight for curious visitors. And the Palma Cathedral is definitely an inspiration for all bloggers and Instagram users who love sharing their travels through amazing photos.

The best travel vloggers and bloggers' European destinations - Hvar Croatia

Hvar, Croatia

Since we are talking about islands, Croatia is worth mentioning because it has many special pieces of land where passionate bloggers can spend memorable holidays and write great posts.

Hvar and the little, beautiful Pakleni Islands amaze the eyes of all visitors with spectacular landscapes and a multitude of secluded beaches surrounded by crystal-clear waters filled with thrilled snorkelers.

 

Paris, France

Whether you are interested in romantic walks, want to indulge in some of the world’s most interesting cuisine, or dream about following the steps of famous artists, Paris is the perfect destination.

The city was an inspiration for many great minds, and just wandering around its small alleys can give you enough beauty for your articles.

But if this is not enough, enjoy an artistic adventure at the Louvre Museum, climb the famous Eiffel tour, visit the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral or get in touch with your childhood at Disneyland.

The best travel vloggers and bloggers' European destinations - Algarve Portugal

Algarve, Portugal

Portugal is one of the best travel vloggers and bloggers’ countries, not only thanks to its fascinating capital, Lisbon, but also because it has so much natural beauty.

The Algarve is a region that should be at the top of your list if you love writing about your adventures.

Not only will you find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world here, but the Algarve promises to amaze you with breathtaking landscapes, small, picturesque villages, and authentic cities.

Tavira is a place you shouldn’t miss if you want to catch a glimpse of the village culture, and Lagos is a great city to observe daily Portuguese life.

If nature is your cup of tea, make sure you explore the Ria Formosa National Park, and if you are interested in spending some time by yourself and admiring the surrounding beauties, check out Ponta da Piedade and Cape St Vincent.

These are just seven of the beautiful European destinations a blogger should visit, but there are many more places waiting to be explored and added to your travel posts.

 



 

 

About the author

Guest contributor Rebecca is an expat and translator by day, and a traveller mostly at night. She is an expert on living with jet lag – and packing in tiny suitcases. You can read more of her exploits at RoughDraft.

A weekend in Prague (for travel bloggers and creatives)

A weekend in Prague (for travel bloggers and creatives)

A welcome cool breeze skimmed across the Vltava, as dozens of paddle-boat revellers and a few small ferries floated past me on excursions along the Prague waterfront. I’d arrived ahead of Cooper for our weekend in Prague for travel bloggers – or, with a creative content twist; you see, we’re on our way to another annual TBEX conference, and I couldn’t be more excited to be in the Czech Republic.

It was Friday afternoon about 6.30pm and after a scorching hot day fighting through crowds for a glimpse at the city’s famously pretty highlights, I’d stumbled into a stunning yet quite secluded spot by the water. The place was otherwise anonymous, crudely labelled ‘Riverside Bar’ on a blackboard out the back of the place.

The shabby-chic joint served cold drinks and was streaming chilled House tunes – right up my alley. Similar name as a luxe and expensive Brisbane counterpart (that admittedly I love), yet cheap, romantic, less sweaty and overlooking the city’s medieval structures including the Charles Bridge. With a flavoursome gin and tonic sparkling in my eyes and the sun beginning its descent across the Czech Republic, it occurred to me, this is the life. I could be an a$$ and hashtag it ‘blessed’, but…

For the first time in months, I’d say, I sat without thought, just observing in peace.

It’s been so so busy this year and I need this weekend in Prague. I don’t like to overuse the word ‘busy’ – we tout a saying in my team at work about how ‘busy’ has become an excuse, often meaning that actually, you believe your ‘stuff’ to be more important than someone else’s, when often we have no idea what others are up against, nor do we remember to be respectful of it.

That said, while I’ve tried hard to balance things, it’s been tough, and writing or blogging for myself and for this lifestyle and travel space is the last thing I have energy for. Yet, it’s in my heart. And away from the hustle and bustle of Prague’s overcrowded tourist centre (not to mention my ‘other’ routine life), yet with its best bits in my line of sight, I felt inspired again.

While I moan about the crowds (apparently Prague is the fifth most visited city in Europe), I must admit to having a moment on Friday afternoon. I was wandering the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage listed Old Town Square, and as I gazed around me at the colourful, historical architecture and felt energy of so many who had come before, my breath caught and tears came to my eyes. It was rather overwhelming and took me by surprise. Probably nothing to do with being deliriously tired following a work social the night before and a 6am flight.

 



 

In all seriousness, it’s as beautiful as I remember it, and more than that, how lucky are we to have the chance to be in such places, so far from home?

Beyond the selfie sticks and those taking more photos of themselves than their surroundings, the depths of crowds attempting to enter popular areas, and hundreds of tourist groups dripping in deep-fried ice-cream-stuffed doughnut cones (yep it’s a thing, although not even Czech, as I understand it), there is palpable magic in this city of red rooftops and a thousand spires, wooded hills, romantic views and influence from generations gone by.

Founded in the latter part of the 9th Century, Prague became the seat of the kings of Bohemia. The city flourished during the 14th Century and for hundreds of years was a multi-ethnic city with an influential Czech, German and Jewish population.

From 1939 the country was occupied by the Nazis and while Prague’s structures remained relatively undamaged during the war, most Jews either fled the city or were killed in the Holocaust. The German population was then expelled in the aftermath of WWII.

Most of us remember the Prague that was under Communist rule for over 40 years, rarely visited by tourists until after the Velvet Revolution on 17 November 1989. Freedom meant a huge economic boom and an influx of delighted visitors from then on, which only increased after the Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004.

As mentioned, we’re destined for TBEX Europe 2018, in a place I’d never thought to have visited, Ostrava. That said, as travel bloggers and explorers we are very excited to see somewhere new! Preparing and in Prague for the weekend, Cooper and I wanted our schedule to be part (re)discovery, part relaxing, part planning for networking and the conference (which I blogged about for the TBEX Events site recently).

We stayed about twenty minutes walk from the city centre, at Hotel Kinsky Gardens in a quiet Prague neighbourhood, yet with the convenience of supermarkets, shopping mall, pubs, a delicious tapas restaurant called Miro, and tram stop not five minutes’ walk away.

The river precinct I came to love (including the ‘Riverside Bar’, gorgeous new waterfront restaurant opening this week Kalina Kampa and Belle Vida Cafe) was just ten minutes walk from our accommodation, and is perfect for anyone who has done the central Prague tourist bit and is happy to indulge in the views away from the chaos.

On Saturday night I hosted my very first TBEX meet-up (this is my sixth TBEX conference so I’m excited to have taken this step).

We met up with four locals to Prague and five visitors from as far as America, Costa Rica and another conference attendee coming from England like us. We ran the plans through the conference Facebook group and Katie (an American expat living in Prague) chose a cool pub on a hill with a view for our group’s meet-up, and Prague local Veronika assisted with finding an impromptu dining option so we could all hang out and try local cuisine.

It was immensely fun to meet other travel bloggers and content creators in Prague this weekend and part of the reason we’re so pleased we continue to develop our little corner of the web here, for love and a hobby.

Prague is easy to do as a city break – you can walk around the old town, to the castle, up to view points, catch trams to gardens, boat-ride around the Vltava, enjoy a little jazz, join a free walking tour and get cultural in museums.

A weekend in Prague: practical tips

Be careful of taxis, they can be unregulated and rip you off. Go with a pre-booked service or use the trams and trains as they are very well run and cheap, but DO buy a ticket as if you get caught without one or if you have not validated it the fines are hefty.

Try the beer (it’s the home of Pilsner, after all), and as always, get out of the tourist areas of a cheaper experience when it comes to food and dining.

Take your money out of an ATM that’s associated with a bank and be careful of the exchange outlets that say ‘zero commission’ (usually they are hiking up hidden charges).

Importantly, be curious. In our case, this weekend in Prague was for us as travel bloggers: an unexpected low-key treat and reminder of how much I’ve gained from travel – the people met, surprising and inspired moments, lands wandered at early (or late) hours, and the fulfilment that pursuing creativity provides. We are lucky, but I too am grateful.

Onwards to Ostrava…

Got a question on where to stay, how to get around or things to do in Prague? Drop us a line in the comments – we love to chat and share

How to fly drones in London (safely!)

How to fly drones in London (safely!)

We had the chance to work with a drone coach to experience how drones in London can be manoeuvred safely and responsibly. Without practice, we would absolutely NOT recommend flying anywhere, let alone in dense areas. In fact, there are a lot of irresponsible drone operators who make it hard for others just wanting to capture some great content.

There are rules when flying drones, most importantly you need to ensure the safety of people. Our London drone experience gave us insight into the fact that you need to practice, practice, practice!

Take a look at some of the footage, and you might like to read about what we learnt about flying drones in London and abroad here in this special digital feature. Questions and comments, as always, are appreciated below.

Living and working abroad: big life lessons

Living and working abroad: big life lessons

Guest contributor Rebecca Brown is a traveller and a translator who publishes roughdraft.eu – she shares a little insight with us on what living and working abroad has taught her about life.

~

As someone who spends half of their time travelling and going on adventures, my life is surprisingly peaceful.

I’ve spent the last few years travelling more than I’d ever thought I’d get the chance, working as an interpreter and a translator in various countries and learning lessons that will last me for a lifetime.

Having spent most of my teen years and early twenties as a stressed, anxious person, I never even dreamed that this kind of wandering, busy adventure would give me such a fulfilling life.

Here’s what it all has made me learn.

Dreams are still important

When I was a teenager, my mom would often talk to me about the importance of education and getting the good old “steady office job.”

While her idea of steadiness was almost a nightmare for me, I wanted to please my mom and I managed to get some work right after getting my MA.

I now knew fluent Spanish and French, and it earned me a job in customer service. I longed for something else, but I tried to convince myself the idea was far too childish.

I pushed myself through several jobs that simply didn’t fit me, and stress became a part of my life.

From the moment I’d get up in the morning, to my last, exhausted thought before bed, I’d feel tense, strained, and unhappy.

The only work that I did enjoy was my freelancing, and the only thing that gave me some relief was my journal.

I’d write about the places I wanted to visit, things I’d want to do. I told myself that this was only a dream, a form of escapism, and that it didn’t mean much.

But that dream, however ridiculous it seemed even to me, gave me far more comfort than my steady office job.

It took me far too long to realise this, but as long as you’re willing to compromise and be flexible, even these seemingly ridiculous dreams and ideas are actually within reach.

Sometimes you need to push yourself to make a change

Stress changes a person. It turned me into someone grumpy and anti-social who complained all the time.

It wasn’t until I took a good, hard look at myself that I realized that I needed to stop pushing myself in this direction where I tried to please everyone, and ended up pleasing literally no one, especially not myself.

With my freelance translating, writing, and the large portfolio and connections I’ve made, the path became obvious to me – pack up my bags and accept all the job offers that I was afraid to accept before.

From human’s rights conventions and government work, to meetings and conferences, my job took me back and forth between several countries at a relentless pace. And you know what? I was never happier.

Being challenged will make you thrive

As soon as I started my new job, I knew that for the most part of the year I’d be living out of a suitcase.

I didn’t mind it, and while I became quite busy and always had a lot to do, I realised that being challenged is what made me actually work on myself and improve.

Sitting at home and being sad made me stagnate, it made me slow. Doing things that you love, however, will make you sharper, quicker, more eager to try new things.

One of the most transformative experiences I’ve ever had was when I decided to push myself to walk a part of the Camino de Santiago a year ago.

The Camino is a famed pilgrim’s path that has many starting points, and ends at the shrine of Saint James the apostle, in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

I walked almost 500 miles on my journey, and I walked for an entire month from a little port town in France, all the way through Spain to reach my destination.

Does it sound crazy? I loved every moment of it. I brought my journal with me and I wrote in it every day. This time I didn’t have to imagine anything. I could see and feel and experience all of it.

Managing your time is key

I think that travelling can suit many careers, but to pull it off successfully, you really need to learn how to organize yourself well.

People think it’s impossible to keep everything in order when you’re abroad so often and aren’t quite sure where your job will take you, but I assure you, all you need is a good planner, organizational skills, and a good self-awareness about how much you can accomplish.

I know a lot of people with steady 9-to-5 jobs whose life is a lot more chaotic than someone’s who travels and knows that they need to keep their affairs in order.

Surprisingly, travelling for work meant I got more free time in my life than I ever had before. I simply stopped procrastinating and learned how to fill up the time I had with things I really wanted to do.

That’s how I got to walk the Camino de Santiago, and that’s how I use the time when I’m not booked for anything to travel even more.

People crave to be kind

One of the things we fear the most when going to a foreign country is the strange culture and the even stranger people who, we believe, are nothing like us.

From my experience, that’s anything but true.

Not only was I always welcomed everywhere, but people went out of their way to be kind and helpful to a stranger. Not everyone will be nice, no. But most people will be.

You will put things into perspective

When you travel, you get to meet so many new people and see so many different lives. Your problems become… different. Relative.

Your perspective on everything will change, and you’ll realise how meaningless it is to worry over small things, to be so constantly stressed and tense.

Having an open mind is essential for happiness

I did not agree with everyone I’ve met on my journeys. There are a lot of different cultures, a lot of different customs, and a lot of different mindsets than what I was used to. And when you’re sitting at home and complaining about people online, it’s easy to hate everyone that’s even a little different.

But when you see them, meet them, hear the reasoning behind their words, it opens you up. You embrace the diversity, you embrace the fact that we’re all so different and varied. It makes you happy.

Most of all, working abroad has taught me to relax and let things come my way.

Opportunities are all around you, but you need to open yourself up to them and take them. Being afraid of change won’t give you a better life, but taking that leap of faith usually will.

 

Feature image by Anete Lūsiņa, Unsplash.

 

Australians living overseas: meet an Aussie in Serbia

Australians living overseas: meet an Aussie in Serbia

Guest contributor, Roxana Oliver is one of the Australians living overseas contingent – she’s an Aussie in Serbia who has shared her story with us

Australians living overseas: Roxana Oliver

About a year ago, I moved to a lovely town in Serbia, Novi Sad. Since I love travelling, it didn’t take me long to discover the good sides of living in this new culture.

Its hospitality, the people’s eagerness to socialise, excellent food and pubs, and, naturally, going out at 8pm and returning home at 8am!

Still, like other Australians living overseas there are things about Aus I miss dearly, and others that, whenever I think of them, give me a tiny mental pat on the shoulder for deciding to move.

Things I don’t miss

No doubt about the first one – Vegemite! Spreading yeast extract over my slice of bread has never been a treat for me, no matter how much you try to improve the taste. That brings me to another food (some) Australians insist on consuming – the witchetty grub, sold in many Australian markets. My palate can endure a lot, but wood-eating larvae is certainly not my cup of tea; not raw, not cooked, not in a soup. Just. No. Although, many say it actually tastes like chicken.

Once I’ve moved to Serbia and got used to Serbian prices, it hit me how super expensive life in Australia is. The costs are too high, even though the salaries are quite decent. Sydney, in particular, is among the most expensive cities in the world, whether you’re talking transportation, food, real estate, or clothes.

Australians living overseas - we sometimes miss the pleasures of home

Another thing that always saddened me was that, in Sydney, I wasn’t able to experience that typical winter Christmas that you can see in so many movies.

Christmas in Australia is in the summer, and somehow celebrating it in hot weather, heading to a beach or going camping is not exactly the idyllic Christmas.

I wanted the snow (there especially for Santa and his reindeer!), Christmas lights all over town, cinnamon cookies and hot tea!

Australians living overseas - we love our lot, but know 'home' is pretty special too

Things I do miss

Again, let’s start with food and drinks! The first thing that comes to mind here is the good ol’ Aussie beer.

Australians are, mildly put, incredibly fond of it and some of the brands there are so good that your tongue will suffer from incurable nostalgia when denied this delight for a while.

The same goes for my #1 drink of choice. As a great fan of high-quality gin, I miss certain brands of it from back home – a somewhat silly thing to miss when you’re in a country that has excellent wine and rakia.

There is the option of ordering my favourite artisan gin online, so I guess I won’t be missing that for much longer.

Chiko Rolls I still shed a tear for sometimes.

There’s something about grabbing a Chiko and taking a walk around your neighbourhood or going to watch a sports game. These delicious snacks are about as Australian as you can get – mutton, spices, and veggies wrapped in cabbage and then fried. Our version of spring rolls on the go!

Let’s be honest here and admit it’s extremely difficult to top Australia’s gorgeous beaches.

Once you’ve been to a place like Whitehaven beach, it really becomes almost impossible to enjoy any other spot on the planet. The whole place looks like a dream, from the breathtaking colours to powder-fine sand and unbelievably clear water. It makes you not want to leave – ever!

Loving life as Australians living overseas although our home country is pretty beautiful!

But more than anything, I miss the road trips.

In Australia, travelling from one city to another takes hours, so my husband and I would sometimes jump in the car and drive off somewhere just for the sake of another memorable adventure.

The breeze, dusk-coloured landscapes, your song playing in the background, the excitement of knowing that beyond what your eyes can see, nothing else matters at that moment…

Something I’m able to experience only back home and nowhere else.

Australians living overseas: reminiscing on home

No matter where you go, certain things are bound to charm you, and others will leave you feeling disappointed or indifferent.

The trick for Australians living overseas or any other expats, is to focus on the things that make you happy, regardless of whether you’re home or abroad.

 

About

Roxana is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant from Sydney and she loves to write about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family.

Being a typical Aussie, she often hits the waves and loves beaches and sunshine! You can find out more about her writing following her on twitter. She is also one of the editors at Higstylife Magazine.