From commuter to digital nomad

My life used to be amazing. I was one of those commuters who took the 8 AM train every morning, rode the elevator up to the 7th floor in a big office tower, powered her computer up and only left the building for a short lunchtime walk. To make sure we wouldn’t get too much daylight, the architect had even darkened all of the office’s windows. As a result, even on the sunniest days, it seemed as if we were witnessing dusk on a grey day in January – no temptation to go out, whatsoever.

And suddenly everything changes...
And suddenly life changed.  (image courtesy of evali / photocase.de)

But that’s not all. I don’t have a boss anymore. What I do and don’t on a working day is completely up to me. I can start somewhere around 10 in the morning and finish off at around lunch time. After moving to Berlin, I started working for multiple clients in a variety of businesses in Germany, as well as in Holland. This means that I can write a text about hotels on Monday, about fashion on Tuesday and about Berlin on Wednesday. On top of that, I’m starting my own travel blog together with two good friends. All I have to do is meet the deadlines. No more early mornings, no more daily routine. No one seems to care what I do. It feels lonely.

I had to take pictures

“I can already see myself, composing my blogs with the window open, overlooking Strausberger Platz and Karl-Marx-Allee” is what I wrote in the piece that won me the apartment. The idea was amazing, but my home office is closed until some ‘Techniker’ comes to install our internet. Until that day, I have to work in coffee bars. Back in Holland, my daily bike ride through Amsterdam used to be rainy and gave me time to wake up on Hollands perfect bike lanes. Berlin’s morning traffic however is crazy. This morning, as I was rooting through my bag for my sunglasses while simultaneously riding my bike down Karl-Marx-Allee, some guy on a fixie passed me on my ride side. To avoid all the craziness, I decided to make a detour and rode along the Spree. Another 10 minutes of my valuable time wasted, especially as I was aiming to take pictures of the sun above the river.

The bike lanes of Berlin are crazy full
The bike lanes of Berlin are crazy full

You think working in a coffee bar is fun? Think again. People keep asking you what you’d like to drink and every single time you have to decide whether to choose a coffee, a Club Mate or a fresh juice. And what about all those cakes, just staring at you all day? Eventually you have to give in. I tried café Sankt Oberholz, which turned out to be an institution among digital nomads in Berlin. I was just looking for a quiet place with a good Wi-Fi network, but unknowingly stepped into the most happening place in all of Berlin. Thank God I have a Macbook, because I don’t think I would have passed their door policy without it.

This is not an office
This is not an office

Meet the digital nomad

Worst of all: Because of all this, I’ve become a digital nomad. It wasn’t something I ever planned on becoming, nor a transformation I made on purpose. I just seem to fit the profile on Wikipedia: “Digital nomads are individuals who leverage telecommunications technologies to perform their work duties […] Such workers typically work remotely—from home, coffee shops, public libraries […] to accomplish tasks and goals that used to traditionally take place in a single stationary workplace. […]More and more digital nomads are travelling internationally and moving abroad, while they continue to work with clients or employers.” Why did this have to happen to me? I’m just an average girl who wants an average life!

Sankt Oberholz, digital nomad heaven
Sankt Oberholz, digital nomad heaven

And thus far I have only described my mornings. The afternoons are one big black hole: once I’ve finished my work I always realize I’m in one of Europe’s biggest cities and I have to do things. In my neighbourhood alone there’s more to see and do than one could fit into a year. The choices are driving me crazy: do I go to Simon-Dach-Straße for lunch with a friend? Do I take my boyfriend and a blanket to Volkspark Friedrichshain, or should I go shopping at Alexanderplatz or somewhere in Mitte? Hopefully the weather will be less sunny soon, so that my decisions won’t be this mind-crunching anymore.

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Another afternoon wasted on the beach

There’s hope!

Hopefully I have made myself clear, because I don’t think I can bear to get into more details. If anyone has any idea on how to solve my horrible current state, I would be more than willing to hear it. Please, please, please just help me out. For now I’m just praying for the Techniker to arrive as soon as possible. With Wi-Fi at home, I can at least work in peace. I’ll think I’d better buy some black window foil too, in order to finally make it feel like those good old days in my office tower again.

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My home office, still short of black window foil