In the city: digital nomading through London
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
"Digital Nomads are individuals that leverage technology in order to work remotely and live an independent and nomadic lifestyle."
I hadn't heard of this term until my friend Olivia asked me my opinion on it. I have to say it has stuck hard with me since. The same night I researched free spaces where digital nomads and entrepreneurs work - with a particular focus in London. You know when you get that rush of excitement and enthusiasm and just can't wait to get stuck in??
I asked a friend in Camden if I could stay with her for a couple of days, packed a bag, grabbed my laptop and hopped on the coach.
Thursday 14th July
I arrived in an hour later than planned to Victoria and headed straight across Central London to (Google) Campus London for a talk by Leigh Ashton about 'Making Sales Easy'. She had a really inspiring and holistic approach to sales which I find really refreshing and speaks to the 'audience' of today so I got a lot out of it!
In a warehouse-like room with big light bulbs dangling from the ceiling, it had that hipstery, unfinished but unashamed feel. Different groups of chairs lined up neatly facing the display screen with a separate TV monitor next to it with #campuslondon tracker display. The Twitter nerd in me went to work…
After the talk I made my way down to the basement floor. The cafe is an open space where any member can sit and work for as long as they need to. To become a member, all you have to do is register - and it’s free.
I nestled into one half of a desk, took out my laptop and went to work on my summer internship project, followed by some blogging and then some general admin before going back to my summer work.
I was super excited and buzzing at first and then began to feel a tiny bit uneasy being surrounded by tech start ups and coding connoisseurs. Once I got over this though the time went really fast and before I knew it I’d been working in there for nearly five hours! Refreshments cost as much as any chain coffee store but at least you get free Wifi and no one questions you about being in there.
The whole messaging of Campus London is about ‘doing the impossible’, so it’s a fun environment to be in. There’s a veranda area wedged into the centre of the tall building with a Campus rocket and a foozeball table inside. It could easily be someone’s home. A great place to work and connect with people.
I even practiced some Spanish by listening to a few people have conversations.
More for the techy starter uppers, this has a really awesome community vibe to it. People are comfortable leaning over for a chat and to ask questions. If I was in the area and had some time to kill or had a bit more dollar I'd go back again. It's one of those places I'd work in regularly if I had a bit more money to splash on coffee.
To kill some time I made my way towards Old Street. I'd read some positive reviews about
Lantana Coffee just round the corner - and having heard a lot about Australians and their coffee, I was curious to test it.
Sadly I got in, sat down and was disappointed. A guy with a hoover was cleaning, trailing the lead everywhere and actually hoovering on and around customers' feet! It was noisy, it was smelly, it was uncomfortable.
I had to ask for the menu after about five minutes of waiting - in a virtually empty coffee house - and even that was disappointing with barely any food and some very pricey coffee even by London standards.
I got up and left. I wasn't impressed.
I went and sat in the Pret just up the road and giggled at some penguins (businessmen) in their stuffy suits stood outside The Angel pub instead.
Friday 15th July
This morning I made my way back to Old Street.
Ozone Coffee Roasters on Leonard Street peaked my interest. I ordered the granola and an Americano.
While not particularly conducive to productive working, I at least got my to-do list for the day written and some energy to start the day.
A part of me didn't feel hipster enough to be in there, but it was a fun hangout that must be used to creative minds judging by the little signs around and the art.
For what I wanted it to be: a place for breakfast - it was great! But I wouldn't recommend trying to work in there unless it's maybe a work lunch. It has more of a catch up with friends vibe or grab a coffee and go.
No more than I was expecting, but it is also on the pricey side.
I recommend you check it out at least once if you're around Old Street!
Second Home - Hanbury Street
Once again on the recommendation of a one Miss Olivia who completed a summer internship here, I wandered from Leonard Street across to Hanbury Street off Brick Lane.
Oh my goodness! I was in love!!
Unless you walked down the street or had heard of it, you would never have guessed Second Home was there.
A futuristic looking building, it reminded me of the spaceship-looking playgrounds I used to play in in the McDonald's restaurants in Spain, but for adults. If you can imagine that!?
While I sadly don't have the £350 to hire out private space, it definitely made me want to! A design like no other, it just gave off an innovative, creative vibe that just 'spoke' to me, haha!
I got work done and I got inspired here. I've taken some information about the spaces and will definitely have a serious think about getting proper space here for the future!
You can work in the cafe for free and that was amazing! The staff are super friendly, the coffee is strong and everyone in it highly engaged.
Timberyard (TY) - Seven Dials
My final working stop today, I'm super happy I made the effort! Subtly called embellished with TY signage outside, considering how central I tend to be when I come to the city, it's a place I wish I'd discovered sooner.
Full of chairs and tables, it's another digital nomad's paradise complete with yummy alternative bites and beverages.
Slightly easier to get to but a tiny bit busier feeling. I've been super productive - although you can't help but social media fart about it so I got a bit distracted for a while...
You might struggle if there's more than one of you but for the lone monkey/wanderer it's pretty easy to wiggle into a corner, grab a matcha latte and get to it.
Again, a bit pricey but it is Seven Dials sooooo...
I highly recommend the Peanut Butter Brownie, so delicious! And anywhere that serves Matcha Lattes is great in my books!!
Obviously I haven't covered everywhere, but these were the ones that grabbed me first. If you can recommend a (free of charge) work space in London that inspires you, let me know!
Have a fabulous weekend!
(Caffeined-up) Han x