Sunday, November 2, 2014

Untethered


Lake Norman, NC. October 2014 -

I’ve been a digital nomad since 2007 as both an employee and a business owner.  In the early days, I remember feeling a bit self-conscious when I first used my laptop in a restaurant.  Those days are long gone.  Today, more people are ‘working remote’ than ever before.

Today, we’ll talk about two establishments worthy of your patronage.

I’ve quantified as much as possible, my criteria based on personal feelings and experiences culminating in a non-scientific rating system called “Mad Max Hours”(MMH) - a homage to the original Road Warrior, Max. The best is five, zero being the worst.  When I feel the establishment is a good place to work remotely, I give it higher hours - as in I’ll feel comfortable staying there for four hours and so on.

Today we look at watering holes with WiFi: Davidson Beverage Company and Carrburritos.

First a special thought: I’ve been in a few meetings where adult beverages are part of the catered offerings - those meetings were effective and enjoyable. It goes without saying, drinking alone is not an optimum personal place to be.  So I hesitate, just a bit, to review a ‘bottle shop’ as a place to work remotely.  But when I listen to my heart of hearts, I don’t have any hesitation working and having a beer at 1:00 in the afternoon. On a Wednesday, no less.

Two points:  Living the hyper-freelancer style demands much.  We are out here on our own, without a net, toiling away building something we love and paying bills.  Relaxing at 1 in the afternoon balances out all that coffee consumed at 3:00 AM when the deadline is 7:00 AM.

Second point.  It’s called adult beverage for a reason.  Be an adult about your life, work, family, operating heavy equipment, and consuming.  The world today treats all of us less and less as a grown-up - seatbelt, helmet laws, sunscreen - somebody, somewhere thinks of themselves as eternal parents. I already have a mom and a dad - I don’t need anymore.

There.  I said it, I meant it, I’m here to represent it. Enjoy.

Davidson Beverage Company, After 1PM - 4 MMH

John opened his establishment in May of 2012; most days, you can catch him and his little dog too, "Deanie".  The lighting is great, the bar substantial and easy access to a separate game room.  Although John doesn’t offer coffee, “We have Summit for coffee…”, he does proffer hundreds of beer different bottles and 12 taps.

The people are friendly, service is stellar and if you need food, there are plenty of restaurants across the parking lot or street - they deliver.  There are two, large screen TV’s and if you ask nicely, Charlie will pop cinema-quality popcorn.

The Wi-fi is steady and there are chairs and tables outside, so taking a call away from any crowd is easy.  Power is limited but available.

While here I was able to complete an article, the time was pro ducting

Carrburritos, after 11AM - 3 MMH

Great food, open atmosphere, two TV screens with comfortable sofa and chairs.  The WiFi is strong and steady, power outlets against the wall in the bar area.

No coffee available, again, see above, the coffee sources all seem to be 'downtown'.  There is easy access to outside to take or make calls.

The quesadillas are excellent and after they open at 11:00 A.M., grabbing a quick lunch is a great idea.  I recommend Carrburritos as a place to meet for a lunch meeting if you can get there before the rush.  After hours, four o'clock, the Margaritas are the best in town and entertainment is on the docket some nights.

Here’s something weird.  While I sat at the bar, my MacBook Pro mouse touchpad lost its mind.  Without any human interaction, the mouse moved on its own slashing from side to side then slowly moving over icons - and clicking on them.  I had no control over the mouse.  It was so bad I had to leave and no, I hadn’t partaken of any oh so delicious, Million Dollar Margaritas.

I’m not saying, the physically large and heavy, metal bar was generating its own magnetic field - well, okay, that’s exactly what I’m saying.  

At home, there were no errant mouse ramblings.  My admittedly nonscientific research found the internet filled with reports of this occurring, attributed to some sort of USB/Bluetooth reset.  I was able to uncover a single report from a person utilizing his MBP on a large metal bench and his mouse went nuts. The physicality of that bar feels substantial yet will work from the more comfortable chairs and sofa in the future.  

If you run into the same, send me an email. greg@grwalters.com

I've worked remote in locations from California to North Carolina. Ft. Myers is similar to Asheville or Costa Mesa, no matter what the venue, there is a familiar feel. I think we’re part of an organic social movement.

To summarize, the best places for the Untethered Worker cover the basics: power, space, WiFi, friendly atmosphere, and access to the outdoors.  Most have coffee, some do not.  For me, a quiet environment with plenty of caffeine, power, and WiFi are all I look for.  I hope you find this information useful and keep an eye out for more as I begin to explore further outside the Lake Norman area.

Are you a digital nomad?  Do you have a favorite haunt?  Do you have the mettle to call yourself a Hyper-Freelancer?  Check out my MeetUp group and meet folks with similar experience, challenges, and triumphs as we travel the digital thoroughfare, turnpikes, and footpaths of the Untethered Worker. 

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