Random ‘Office’ Day of a Digital Nomad

29 Nov

It’s another beautiful morning in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The sun is shining – brightly. The A/C is running high but still it’s starting to get quite hot, especially by the windows.

A waitress is walking around handing out free drink samples. It’s iced? Of course I’ll try it.

Ugh..what is that? Iced peppermint mocha? Oh right, Christmas is in less than 4 weeks and this is supposed to get me into the mood?

The speakers are playing Christmassy tunes all day long and the same ones every day. Bing Cosby proclaims

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Colbie Calliat disagrees, in her opinion

It’s not Christmas if the snow don’t fall!

I can’t agree with either one. While I quite liked my first warm Christmas last year, I also can’t say that anything but the decorations inside of Starbucks look like Christmas to me .

Starbucks office with view

Starbucks office with view

Never mind the Christmas tunes and flavours, it’s time to get some work done.

One of the benefits of living as digital nomads, is being able to work from almost everywhere. These days we’ve traded cubicles for a private office with view over Chiang Mai city. Sure, it’s the third floor of the local Starbucks, but somehow not many customers make it up here. The few who do are working quietly just like us – students usually, probably from one of Chiang Mai’s many universities.

Instead of office gossip we people watch on ‘lunch break’, which can be much more entertaining than your daily soap opera.

A sweet Asian girl is studying diligently at the table next to mine. One of the baristas walks by pretending he has to adjust the A/C unit over her head. He strikes a conversation with her. Well, he is talking – a lot – while she just smiles and giggles shyly.

Scone with Apple Juice

Lunch at the ‘office’

Turns out she is not Thai and cannot understand him (or maybe she’s pretending). They exchange a few words of broken English. He wants to give her his number or maybe is asking for hers, but she (pretends she) doesn’t understand.

He moves on to a different tactic, disappears and comes back a few minutes later with a whole tray full of coffee samples and a survey booklet. He is trying desperately to get her to do a coffee taste testing with him, but either she doesn’t understand, or she doesn’t want to and again pretends she doesn’t understand.

Poor fella… eventually he gives up, packs up the tray and leaves with his head hanging low. But don’t feel sorry for him for too long: I just overheard him flirting with some other customers – chatty Canadian girls. Flirting seems to be his way of breaking up the work routine. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way it’s entertaining to us.

But it’s time to get back to work.

Osaka Starbucks Coffee Mug next to laptop in Chiang Mai

My daily companion. Starbucks even gives me a 10Baht (30 cents) discount when I bring it.

Sure, we could be working from our room just as well – actually, no. I truly believe there is something about cafes that offers a perfect combination of amenities and atmosphere to be productive. There are

  • tables with comfy, cushioned chairs (our current room as no desk 🙁 )
  • wi-fi internet connection (mostly better than at the place we stay)
  • A/C cooled temperature
  • washrooms
  • and of course unlimited amounts of caffeine.

However, it is not only the amenities but also the certain atmosphere that energizes and inspires at the same time. Cafes are a great place for creative tasks!

And if we run out of steam entirely or just don’t feel like working anymore, we can just get up and leave (try doing that at your office job). Maybe we’ll go off to discover another little gem hidden away in a side street of Chiang Mai’s culture-rich Old City.

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