I've been working out of cafes since 2005 when I bought my little white Mac IBook (this was before MacBooks). I had been a home-based business owner for years and I was getting tired of being chained to my desktop. I was also a little intimidated by the prospect of working in a cafe. I saw others doing it (it was still fairly rare back then), but I felt a bit awkward with the thought of simply plopping down, opening my computer and typing away. So I took baby steps. The first cafe I went to was a cool artsy place called Rue de Jardin located in Hoboken, NJ where I lived from 2002 - 2007. It was run by two brothers from Turkey. One was a sculptor and screenwriter and the other was a poet and screenwriter. They were also great cooks! Their cafe was frequented a lot by musicians, artists, writers and heady intellectuals many of whom belonged to a Nietzsche club in Manhattan. Once, they shut the cafe down for several days to shoot one of their movies.
It made sense for me to break in my laptop there. Plus, it was right across the street from where I lived at the time!
Well, after indulging in some great Turkish coffee (one of the brothers often did readings with my coffee grounds) gorging on delicious savory crepes and enjoying the colorful people and conversations around me, I was hooked! My home office seemed boring and uninspiring by comparison. I ended up going there every day for months. With the prodding of both brothers, I also wrote my first full-length screenplay there.
The brothers sold the cafe and I moved to Seattle, but the experience planted a seed which had blossomed and grown., Now I find I do most of my best work in cafes. While living in Seattle, I made the rounds to my favorite places. Lucky for me, Seattleites are in love with coffee and tea, so there are many awesome cafes throughout every neighborhood in the city. Oregon and California are the same, making it easy for me to work while on the road. In fact, cafes make me feel at home wherever I go. I'm so grateful that I cultivated this way of working before I made the leap to becoming nomadic.
My only concern now is that having the lived on the west coast for so long, I'm pretty spoiled. It's not all about Starbucks out here. Most west coast coffee lovers stay away from Starbucks and choose local vendors because the coffee is usually better. Plus, people here like to support local businesses over corporate chains. When I start heading east, I will be leaving some of these values and these cool wifi cafes behind. There are some pockets of the cafe-loving culture along the way that would make my travels and work flow easier such as Sedona, Santa Fe, Boulder, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Asheville, NC...to name a few. The rest of the time, I'll have to hang near large cities and huddle in Starbucks drinking hot tea (their air conditioning is frigid in the summer).
Perhaps us cafe lovers should post a list of favorite places to work so that us travelers will always know where to call home and office for a few hours.