One of the best and probably most cherished habits I have developed is the ritual of waking up early to read and sometimes write for an hour or so over a coffee. Getting up super early isn’t always realistic to most of us — but could you get up just 30 minutes earlier than you already do? Could you cut your scrolling time and replace it with reading time in the evenings? Why not listen to podcasts while you commute? If you believe you just don’t have the time to read…I implore you to take a closer look at your typical day. Put simply, there is always time. When I made reading a priority, it became relatively easy to fit in. 10 minutes here and there begins to add up.
Tips to make it a habit.
· Schedule reading times into your normal plan for the day. · Pledge to read 5, 10 or 20 pages a day. Divide it up if you have to. · Always have a book with you. It can be on your phone/kindle, an audiobook or just a regular book in arms reach. · Spend some time researching what books you want to read and choose 1-2 for each month. I get ideas from listening to podcasts, reading articles or talking with friends. · Join a book club of some sort or even just get a friend to be ‘book pals’ with. That way you can discuss the book when you’re finished too.
The books below include themes such as mindfulness, health and wellness, self-love, entrepreneurship, creativity, performance, productivity and forming habits. I have read all of these books and can say unequivocally that they have had a positive effect on my life: be it in differing volumes and ways.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny by Robin Sharma This has to be one of my all-time favourites. I own a copy and refer back to it often and it has many pencilled notes!
The book is centred around an interesting one-night conversation between two men, who used to be colleagues but now lead very different lives. “You are what you think about all day long. You are also what you say to yourself all day long. If you say that you are old and tired, this mantra will be manifested in your external reality. If you say you are weak and lack enthusiasm, this too will be the nature of your world. But if you say that you are healthy, dynamic and fully alive, your life will be transformed. Words have remarkable power.” ― Robin S. Sharma, Daily Inspiration from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
The War of Art: Break through Creative Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield An incredibly succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere. The War of Art is nothing less than medicine for the soul. The author, Steven Pressfield, identifies an internal foe that every one of us has to face, outlines a plan to conquer this internal enemy, and pinpoints how to achieve the greatest success once you have become aware of what he calls ‘resistance’. This book single handily shows the reader the absolute determination needed to pinpoint and furthermore overcome the obstacles of ambition. Effectively showing how one can reach the pinnacle of creative discipline.
Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone If you want to have tangible success, you have to know what to do in order to harness your obsession — this, in turn, can take you to the very top. This book acted as a great inspiration and gave the tools I needed to break out of my little cocoon of mediocrity I had wrapped myself up all cosy in. The author teaches you how to set lofty goals and then reach them, the real value of money and why you can spend it on the right things for you to get more of it. It’s defined as a simple choice: be obsessed or be average.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson Absolutely Love this book. It talks around a lot of the everyday personal growth and performance stuff you’d expect — but in avant-garde and tough love kind of tone. It’s highly amusing and easy to read and will have you racing to the end.
“My recommendation: don’t be special; don’t be unique. Redefine your metrics in mundane and broad ways. Choose to measure yourself not as a rising star or an undiscovered genius. Choose to measure yourself not as some horrible victim or dismal failure. Instead, measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator. The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible. This often means giving up some grandiose ideas about yourself: that you’re uniquely intelligent, or spectacularly talented, or intimidatingly attractive, or especially victimized in ways other people could never imagine. This means giving up your sense of entitlement and your belief that you’re somehow owed something by this world.” ― Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM) by Hal Elrod I’d listened to Hal Elrod on a podcast a while back, about the time he released this book. His words inspired me to start a morning routine which I’ve continued almost every day since — and let me tell you, it’s been revolutionary. Hal speaks with power and wisdom you’d expect from somebody much older, his back story to how he has gotten to where he is today is truly inspiring also.
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Halliday This book has to be one of my favourites for making you aware of your own (excuse my French) bullsh*t. The ego is a concept I wasn’t overly knowledgeable about until I had picked this up and boy, by the time I was finished I had a much better idea! I own a copy and like to refer back to it fairly often still. To summarise this book in a nutshell: just shut up, put your head down and work hard for the right reasons.If you find yourself yearning for those likes on Instagram maybe a bit too much, then this book is for you. 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris Tim is a prolific podcaster and all-round guru of entrepreneurship and productivity. This book is a fairly enlightening read and likely one you won’t forget in a hurry. It will, however, urge you to forget the apparently dated concept of retirement. Meaning you can begin to join the dots and start looking beyond the deferred-life plan which is very much the norm. Whether your goal is experiencing high-end world travel, escaping the rat race, or perhaps earning a monthly five-figure passive income, the 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint — although nothing is guaranteed!
It’s October and a typical Spring afternoon. There’s not a cloud in the sky and a light breeze blows on the Gold Coast, Australia as I walk into the warehouse converted Karma Collab cowork space. I saunter through the entrance past a row of bowed heads and laptops into the back area, a separate room, where I find Chris Dodd settled in at his desk. Headphones on and typing away, he is completely absorbed. I catch his eye and immediately he beams me a friendly smile, “let’s go chat out the back there’s a quiet space in the alleyway there,” he says.
Chris the Freelancer – as he is better known – is a digital nomad and content creator you may have come across on YouTube. His channel describes itself as being ‘dedicated to documenting the Digital Nomad movement and the Future of Work.’Chris began this channel back in 2016, venturing out into the world from his native Australia on a quest to live a digitally nomadic existence. Deciding he would document the process; the followers soon began to stack up. From his admission — “it kinda just went from there.”
“These days I have a loyal fan base because I am so niche, I guess. There’s a lot of content creators out there who cover digital nomad lifestyle as part of their channels. Yet with me, at least when I started, I feel like I was one of a very few focussing on the digital nomad lifestyle in its entirety”.
And you cannot fault the guy. With a healthy seventy-seven thousand or so subscribers a quick search on YouTube brings up a plethora of videos Chris has made ranging from: interviews with other successful digital nomads, city profiles, general tips on how to make the dream become a reality, and how you might financially support this dream even if you are the indulgent type; whereby drowning yourself in pool parties and beer is your modus operandi.
“The problem I found with other channels is they’d cover tourist style stuff — this is what you can do when you aren’t working, etc. They’d never touch on the nitty-gritty like, is the Wi-Fi here good? Is there a decent grocery store nearby? For me, this is what I felt was underserved. My content is weighted towards where you can work, available coworking spaces, accommodation and the associated costs. It’s candid and real.”
Scratching out a living as a freelancer can be a hard task. Especially if you find yourself outside your home country and completely reliant on continuous work in a remote capacity. Projects can dry up — they can also come in deluges. Either way, financing this lifestyle is certainly a much talked about aspect.
“Cost of living abroad is a hot topic, especially for somewhere like Chang Mai,” He tells me. Chris’ most popular video is a half an hour mini-documentary on how to live on $600 USD a month in Chang Mai. In the video, he succinctly breaks down a vast amount of variables with astute candour. And with nearly 2 million hits and counting it’s certainly caught a lot of attention. Chris muses, “I wanted to make this video special, entertaining and above all genuine. I set myself the challenge and documented the whole thing, rather than just getting to the end of the month and recapping. Mind you there is nothing wrong with those style of videos. With this one, it was more an experiment to see if it could be done”.
Could it be done? Let’s just say he’s fairly savvy with his money.
“If you want to go out and hit the beers — you’ll spend money fast. If you make work a priority and watch how you spend your money, the cost of living can be really low.”
These days Chris is a web developer specialising in theme development within Shopify, as well as other spaces. He also takes the time to make videos on how you can teach yourself to do this on the platform Skillshare. He’s quite the busy chap you might say. Helping out those along the way, though, is part and parcel of being Chris the Freelancer — and now a verified top teacher on Skillshare, he is somewhat obliged.
Is he getting hit up all hours of the night from folks all over the world?
Chris laughs, “I do get random messages all the time, even now when I am currently outside of the digital nomad world. Some people don’t make it easy. Pleasantries do go a long way. Quite often people reach out to me and come across as entitled and/or abrupt. My time is precious these days — I’m reluctant to answer back if this is the case.”
Needless to say, Chris certainly isn’t doing any travelling anytime soon. Being holed up in Australia for the foreseeable future is a very real prospect, even moving around domestically has its challenges with closed borders and travel restrictions galore.
How does this affect a guy who appears to live and breathe travel, a guy who obviously enjoys those freedoms and helps others to do the same?
“I’m trying not to think about where we are with the pandemic. If I did, I think there is the potential to get pretty depressed about it” Chris says with a distant look.
It’s the first time I see a grain of negativity whilst talking with the young Australian. It doesn’t last, nodding and flashing me a grin Chris goes on, “It’s particularly frustrating as I planned for 2020 to be a starting point for me to ramp back up my content and build my brand. Life is pretty sweet here in Australia, but I am playing it smart mind you. My current housing is on a month to month basis, as is my desk here at the cowork space and my local gym membership. As soon as we can travel, I’ll be on my way somewhere. When that is though? Who’s to say!”
Seems Chris has himself firmly on standby, almost like an athlete waiting for a starting gun. Until then, he has to make do with the pristine beaches of Queensland and a fast-approaching summer — he knows it’s not a bad place to be.
If you head over to any online marketplace or classifieds website right now and search for used surfboards, the bulk of the results will have you shaking your head in disbelief.
There are boards that’ve been turned ten shades of brown by the sun, dinged by what looks like every conceivable rigid surface on earth and otherwise held together by the saving grace of a scuzzy one-inch-thick wax job. All listed for a premium price that makes me wonder whether people know that surfboards are on parr with Soviet-era vehicles when it comes to holding their value.
But I get it. After so many memorable sessions, so many glorious moments with your trusted foam or fiberglass companion, it’s hard not to add an ‘emotional tax’ to the sale price of the board. The issue is that most of us still think we can get top dollar of our sleds without first treating them to some tender loving care. After all, we clean our cars, give the house a fresh lick of paint or tune up our instruments before palming them off. So why should we expect to sell a surfboard for mucho dinero that looks like it’s been flogged by a pillowcase filled with cricket balls, complete with cracked rails and half-peeled stickers? If we’re being honest with ourselves, let’s just admit that nobody has any idea what their surfboard is worth. All we have to go off is our own assumptions of its value, the listing price of other surfboards plus the affirmations of our mates, which can sometimes do more harm than good. The real price is what someone is willing to pay for it, because at the end of the day the person who thinks it's worth the most is probably you, the person who already owns it.
You might get lucky, you might be able to convince a less-informed individual that your board will give them super surfing powers. Go for it. Caveat emptor and all that. Heck, you might even find that after taking your blade from beast to beauty courtesy of a loving tidy up that you don’t even want to part with it. If you still decide to sell it for anywhere near to what you imagine it's worth, don’t be naive and think you can simply take a few shotty snaps and post it online. Instead, follow the 10 steps below and turn your grubby board into an irresistible glamour. 1. Leave your board in the sun to soften the wax then strip it using a wax comb 2. Patch up any dings, cracks or chips using a Solarez kit 3. Clean the tail/deck pad 4. Wipe down the board with a warm rag once again to remove excess wax 5. Leave the rail saver in the board 6. Decide whether to sell with or without fins 7. Place the board outside in good lighting and take photos of both the back and front 8. Write a description online that includes the dimensions plus make/model if applicable 9. Post to multiple Facebook groups or online classified websites 10. Invite anyone who is interested in your surfboard to view it before making an offer As an added tip, make sure to time the sale of your surfboard with the season (see: predominant type of waves) that it’s normally suited to. Selling a longboard, fish or small-wave groveller during the autumn or winter months could take a bit longer, as will selling a step-up or gun during summer. Most importantly though, never forget that presentation is everything when it comes to selling your secondhand surfboard for more, so from one surfer to another… remove the bloody wax.
One of surfing’s biggest appeals for me is the fact that it’s a relatively simple pursuit. At its core it’s just you, your surfboard and the ocean. No price of admission, no need for a licence and no limits to how long you can stay out for.
Of course, it becomes more complicated when we factor in the myriad of ever changing conditions to consider, differences in wetsuit technology and transport to and from the beach. But my favourite places to surf are always those that allow you to catch and ride waves with little to no frills. Southwest France is one of these places. More specifically though, southwest France during that magical time of the year when seasons collide in September.
The water is still warm enough that you can get away without wearing any neoprene. The heat of the sun can be felt on your skin but you’re never in danger of being fried. Dormant banks come to life as more and more powerful swells arrive, showing flashes of what’s to come in winter.
For the travelling surfer there are plenty of waterborne and earthly delights to sample, such as the smell of croissants as you sprint down the beach for a dawnie or the fact that everywhere is within cycling distance. But we’ll start with the many beaches in and around Hossegor, Capbreton and Seignosse.
La Graviere seems to get better with every new pulse. Soon enough this sleeping giant will be punishing many and rewarding a select few with stand tall kegs that detonate only metres from the shore. And while you wait patiently, hoping to be one of these few, you can fine tune your skills at Plage des Estagnots, Les Culs Nuls and Santocha. Each of which offer gentler, much more manageable rides for the everyman or everywoman surfer.
Then when you’re sick of jostling for waves or you’ve racked up an admirable tally and can paddle no more, you can rinse off, dry off and take off in search of a post-shred feed. French bakeries are a famously good option, with warm flan, freshly made baguettes and decadent pastries that are guaranteed to fill you to the gills. But there’s also places such as Le Surfing, Chez Minus (for clams by the bucket) and Makai Beach Food & Bar when it comes to sit-down options.
Need to knock over some work before a late arvo dip and rip? You’ve got Wojo Spot at Jo&Joe Hossegor or Capworking in Capbreton. If excellent coffee is high on your list of priorities when it comes to finding the perfect office-away-from-home, you could also try café Volt. Located in The Zone – an area rife with food trucks plus outlet stores and surfboard manufacturers looking to hock their wares at discounted prices – it’s the go-to spot for digital nomads in the know.
For accommodation you can’t go past Southwest Surf House in Seignosse. It’s spacious, well-stocked with boards, wetsuits and bikes and defined by a kind of vibe that makes you feel like you’re hanging at a mate’s beach house. Easy to love, hard to replicate, it’s a lively joint in a serene residential setting. The healthy all you can eat breakfasts and dinners, which are prepared fresh daily by a professional chef, only enhance what’s already an epic little spot. It nearly goes without saying that Hossegor and the surrounding areas tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people. And even though the WSL will no longer be holding any major surf events there, surfing and by default surf culture will never die in this part of the world. Do yourself a favour and start planning your French surf trip itinerary for next year. And remember that even if the waves let you down, the bakeries will never break your heart.
Update 12 September: Wahyu Tarfiq, initiator of the Digital Nomad Visa for Bali and the whole of Indonesia, is currently in Jakarta to meet with parliament, and hopefully with President Joko Widodo himself.
Since international travel suddenly stopped, the Balinese are having a tough time. Many shops and accommodation are closed. I interviewed the creators of Bali's Digital Nomad Visa proposal. How could it help the Indonesian people who have previously relied on tourism so much? Watch the full interview here.
Current visa options:
Visa on Arrival (VOA) - over 160 countries can just rock up to the border here and buy a visa for 30 days on the spot. This is exclusively for leisure. If you buy the extension for $30, you can stay for 60 days. After the 60 days are over and you want to stay longer, you will have to do a visa run. That means you'll have to fly out of the country so you can re-enter and buy the visa on arrival and the extension again.
Social Visa - This is created to help the local economy. You can stay in Bali and Indonesia for 6 months with this visa. You have to renew it every 6 months.
Business Visa - On this visa you can come for business trips. You are allowed to attend conferences and events, but you're not allowed to work.
KITAS - If you're hired by a local company, created your own company in Indonesia, or are sponsored by a university, you can get a KITAS visa, which allows you to stay in Indonesia for 6 months and work.
Digital Nomad Visa - 12 month visa that allows you to both run your own digital business(es) from Indonesia, and to set up new digital businesses with locals. The goal is to allow more international collaboration so Bali can shift out of its dependancy on tourism. Hopefully it can take a place as the tropical Silicon valley.
In my opinion the remote workers visa for Bali is the single best step they can take as a country, and I wholeheartedly hope they see that too.
I just want the best for all the amazing locals here :)
How to turn your Airbnb into a remote work friendly ‘Coliving space’
Due to the pandemic, remote work development that we expected would take an absolute decade, happened in a week. All companies were forced to stay at home and figure out how to organise themselves remotely and stay productive while working from their houses.
Since the borders have started opening up again in Europe, we’ve seen a massive increase in bookings. Now, things have changed. People who are new to remote work due to the pandemic, want to combine work with travel. Our partner space in Ericeira who used to get 5% of their booking requests from remote workers - gets 100% remote worker bookings right now.
Here’s how you can (prepare to) host remote workers in your Airbnb:
Desks in rooms As people go after different types of experiences, there are different kind of coliving spaces. Some are more community focused with lots of events and a tight, family style community, and in others, the guests prefer a little more privacy. In either case, people will need to be able to work to feel productive. It can be intense to live with a bunch of other people, so next to having a desk in your room to get more work done, it’s also a good way for people to charge their social battery and have some quiet and private alone work.
Bright rooms - Good lighting Some of your guests will have to make calls in the middle of the night to other parts of the world. They will really appreciate it if you provide them with enough lighting options so they’re nicely visible on camera, feel comfortable in a nicely lit room, and won’t be working in the dark.
Wifi You already know, but unstable wifi will be shooting yourself in the foot. People need wifi to ultimately pay you, so be sure you get it stable and with good speeds. Think about a minimum of 50 mbps download and upload.
Community This is a whole topic on itself. I’ve stayed in and created a whole bunch of coliving spaces. In the end, if you’re hosting your space and community, the community is going to be a reflection of you. As the ‘leader’, you set the culture and rules, even if you’re unaware of it. Those can be anything - whatever is most sustainable and pleasant for you.
In the previous space I organised, I really wanted to create a group of friends - a family - with tight relationships. That worked out super well, and it were amazing months. Now however, we all moved out and started new chapters and I feel like I need to just be in my room and work. I’m slowly starting to create another community around me with creatives (musicians, designers, tattoo artists, etc) but this time i’ll do it differently. More calm. Only people who stay in Bali long term staying people (6 month+) so they have a slower life and less of an urge to explore everything before their time runs out, which can become tiring.
All in all, your community is a reflection of you. This might seem intimidating, but it’s also wonderful. If you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with, who do you want to have around you? What are you curious about? What do you want to learn? You can create your space around everything; from surfing to music, to rock climbing to drawing, design or writing.
Whatsapp group. This is just the easiest way to help the community host themselves. Let people connect with each other easily so you don’t have to be there (of have the feeling you have to) be there all the time.
Monthly pricing This is a bit of a different pricing strategy than hosting short stay guests. There might be a golden ratio for you. Also depends how much time you want to spend on hosting the community. If you’re ok with a lower profit, but people staying for months and months on average and are fine with buying their own furniture, that works, or you might want to have a higher turnover and higher profit margins. The average stay is a month, so keep that in mind. In general, it’s cheaper to have a returning customer than to have to market again to find a new one. Would you rather have one person to stay for 6 months, or 6 guests who all stay for one?
Digital nomad jobs: How to stay for free at any surf camp or Airbnb in the world
Short version: Find the perfect spot near surf that needs marketing help Offer to build a coliving community Create a page on Coworksurf Help to create and host the community - this is where you create the added value and what you can get paid for! Give it some time, love and fun :)
With the bookings you get, you can either have the owner pay you for every booking / give you a discount on your room, or you can pay the owner the price he / she wants per room per month, and keep the rest yourself.
More detailed version:
We all know it’s hard to attract people for your accommodation now. In most places, the only people who are left are either living on their savings, in someone’s debt, or they have somehow managed to pull money out of the internet.Places are struggling, and many business owners don’t see the remote work world and it’s massive potential, nor what’s needed to attract those people and turn them into long term staying customers that will help them stay afloat.Especially in places where remote workers are the only ones around, your knowledge about remote work, how to scout the right location, and how to host a community is worth gold.Here’s how you’re going to get that gold out of your mind and into your pocket. Or rather, in the space owner’s pocket so you can stay there for free.
Scout the right space. You’re probably already living there at the moment, because it should be a place you actually want to live at. Not a place where you think other people will want to live at.
If most rooms are empty and you’re keen to live with some like-valued peeps, have a chat with the owner. Explain how the accommodation that manages to create an inspiring and homey community, facilitates fast, reliable internet and desks in the rooms wins the guests who are still left in the area. It's not hard to see that this plan might be worth the investment.
We're not going to put anyone in trouble that is already financially struggling. We're going to help. Don't overpromise anything or make any big financial investments just yet. It's time to be realistic, strategic, safe and present. We don't want to risk anyone's dinner for the next couple months. Instead, let's add some bangin icecream for desert.
Here’s how I'm adding icecream for the people I'm currently staying at.
Make your price a ‘wow’ factor that people share.
Prices were too high. 6 million IDR a month. 5 if you're a good negotiator. They were understandably trying to get the most out of every potential customer, but that’s a strategy for a market where you can take a risk. All the accommodation in the area has amazing offers. The place I'm at had no guests for the last 4 months. I was the only one. It's an amazing place, the family that runs it is the best, and it was hard to see how they were struggling to get guests.
You need to stand out. In this case, it’s better to make your price part of your marketing.
The story that your current guests should share is: ‘Yo I’m staying in this amazing place. It’s beautiful, close to the beach, has big bright rooms and fast wifi, and is only $200 a month.’The $200 a month point is worth sharing. It's actionable. It increases the chances of people wanting to make a visit.
And you might be thinking: ‘Wow, but that’s so cheap!’ Yes, it is, and that’s exactly the point.
For some places it may not be worth it and they've closed. But if you have no choice other than to stay open, it’s better to make $2000 dollars per month out of your 10 rooms, than $400 out of one room and the rest sitting empty. Once the community is strong and you get more requests than you have rooms, you can start raising your prices again. On top of that, a lower monthly price allows people to stay there for a loooong time. Saves you marketing, time and energy each month. Hopefully they use a bit of the money they save to invest into making their room cosy and homey so they'll stay even longer.
Make your price a ‘wow’ factor that people share.
At the moment, we are now staying here with 5 people. That's 20 million IDR per month with pretty much the same running costs as for one. Much better than one person that might pay 5 million for one month, and 6 if you're lucky and don't scare them off. Alright, you did it. Great. What’s next?
People need to get their work done.
It would be fantastic to add nice and big desks and good chairs in the rooms so people can (imagine themselves) working there comfortably. You don’t have to buy everything at once, you can start with one room, rent it out, and react to the demand as you get the bookings. It’s fine if there’s no table for the first two days, as long as you’re communicating with your guest that you’re working on it. Wifi is just a non negotiable. If people can’t work, they can’t pay you. Simple as that. Get super fast internet. Just add the costs into your monthly pricing.Ok, now you’re sweet. So here’s what you’re going to do next.Build a page on Coworksurf and share it in some groups. You can definitely start there.
Fun marketing tips:
Join the local facebook community for remote workers, or create one if there isn't one yet. Here’s the ones we made for Canggu and Uluwatu in Bali.
Add value to the community. Don't think about money. Just help people and have fun. Something that helps people get out of their rooms is to create Coworking days. Just pick a good cafe / restaurant where people naturally want to be and can get their work done, and create a consistently scheduled coworking day there. E.g. 'Every Thursday, 11am till 4pm @ Drifters'.
I’m a 33-year-old English guy that happens to live in Australia. Born in the 80s to a working-class family — home was a fairly rural and somewhat gritty area. Our 20-inch TV, which resembled a small cabinet along with our trusty VHS player, was, well the cornerstone of my childhood. Fast forward 25 years or so years and here we are.
Technology has well and truly advanced. Perhaps Skynet and Judgement Day doesn’t seem so silly anymore, does it?
The kid once sprawled on a pink shag pile rug wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pyjamas back in 1992 is sometimes at a loss to it all. Especially when it comes to our new era of online dating. (Or specifically, Tinder.).
I’m currently in a very happy relationship but around 4 years ago I became single when my then partner left me. Hard times followed and I well and truly had my own little ‘pity party’. At this time a roommate observed this debacle and suggested I download and set up a Tinder profile. My initial reaction was to dislike his suggestion. However, after 2 more drinks, I was downloading the app and my friend was helping me source suitable profile photos. He showed me how it worked, we swiped right, and I then forgot the whole episode and went to bed. The following day upon opening the app again low and behold I had acquired 12 matches and 5 women had sent me greetings. ‘Wow,’ I thought, somebody out there still must find me attractive and may or may not want to sleep with me.
My first arranged ‘date’ was an odd affair. Lucy came across as a fun-loving cool chick that had a nice sense of humour, her photos depicted her as a gym-loving brunette with a couple of tattoos, a fluffy dog and youthful glow. We arranged to meet one night and go for a drink in my local neighbourhood. To cut a long story short we met and well, Lucy was not as I imagined or anything like her pictures either. It is still a little mystery to me but all I can say is that Lucy’s online profile was a great work of fiction. She was not like the girl I had been messaging.
To put into context, imagine ordering the fish chowder next time you are out and having the waiter then bring you a rare blood dripped T-bone steak.
Our conversation was slow and quite one-sided, mostly about her little dog, Timmy. Yes, I remembered its name.
For some time later I was quite put off by the whole episode, but within a couple of weeks or so I had decided to give it another go. This time I experienced another harsh aspect: the fun game of messaging back and forth and then completely out of the blue…nothing. No reply. Nada. This isn’t really cool now, is it? You believe you are building rapport and then it just ends. Abruptly. You send a few messages to entice a reply but the more you do the more you die inside.
One example was a girl I was messaging, and she suddenly does this. I am then out one night and I see her and she sees me. I act cool and decide that I won’t ignore her, but I won’t initiate a face-to-face conversation unless she approaches me. She doesn’t. The following day though she messages me.
“Oh, hey sorry I don’t look at this much”, hmmm right. “Would you like to catch up for some wine next week”.
The girl has got me, as I am quite the lover of fermented grape juice especially anything French. I message back and we arrange a Wednesday night date the following week with an undefined time. And guess what. POOF. She has disappeared, again.
The Shakespearean 'Super Like'
So, where does this leave a ‘Xennial’ like me? Fully embracing social media but still half remembering a time when it wasn’t there. If you wanted to contact someone you either went and found them or rang their house and asked their mum if they were in. I am still a little lost when it comes to finding romance, and definitely not a romantic in any sense. Yet surely this level of interaction isn’t healthy as a society? I remember often a Sherlock Holmes quote,
“No man burdens his mind with matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so”
And I didn’t have one. I certainly didn’t cry myself to sleep over the ‘wine girl’ or seek counselling for my encounter with Lucy, but it did leave me feeling a tad deflated and jaded — ultimately with romance in the modern-day.
Since then I have decided words and face-to-face encounters are the way I want to play it. If I see someone in the flesh that looks and sounds of interest then I will put my best foot forward, more than often aided by a beer or two. With this new attitude, I have had more frank and real conversations with girls who don’t flake or simply disappear like Harold Houdini’s handcuffs. It’s also how I met my fantastic partner — who I now get to wake up next to every day.
Once upon a time your typical surfer fit a relatively rigid mould. Physically they were lean and bronzed with an athlete’s silhouette, and in earlier days they rocked short shorts and sported seemingly ruffle-resistance hair.
As times progressed, surfers became wilder, more unruly. And their looks followed. No matter what but, they were always marked as perennial beach bums or outcasts whose life revolved around chasing waves and hanging out by the ocean. You could pick a surfer out of a crowd with absolute certainty.
These days though, surfing is a pursuit enjoyed by a lolly bag of participants who come in all shapes and sizes and from different backgrounds and religions. Don’t get us wrong, it still has a long way to go before it can be considered as diverse as other sports. And it’s all that accessible due to the cost of equipment compared to soccer or basketball (don’t even get us started on travelling with boards… yuk).
But as this same equipment becomes more affordable and surf camps, surf hostels and surf retreats become more competitive to keep up with the growing “learn to surf” trend, increasing numbers of people will be able to take to the waves, which means there will be more people touched by this potentially life-changing pastime.
Alas, knowing how to surf doesn’t necessarily make you a surfer in the same way that knowing how to drive a car makes you a formula one driver or owning golf clubs makes you a golfer. This brings us to the interesting and often character revealing question that many of us ask ourselves at least once in our life – what type of surfer am I?
The Weekend Warrior
The Weekend Warrior spends most of their time in the inner city, but while your body is in the office your mind is elsewhere. You spend all week dreaming of empty waves and sunny days between tedious meetings and boring business lunches.
Once Friday rolls around you hit the highway, checking every little spot on your way down or up the coast. Your business attire is swapped for boardies and a singlet. The only suit you wear for the next few days is made from neoprene. You’re on a mission to make the most of your weekend and nothing that can stop you now.
Well… nothing except maybe a call from your boss asking you to explain why the company credit card has been billed for something called a “Magic Seaweed annual subscription”. Other than that though, the Weekend Warrior will surf just about anything that looks like a wave… because even the worst day surfing is better than the best day at work.
The Dawn Patroller
An early riser by nature, the Dawn Patroller loves waking up before the sun and slipping into the water for a few quick waves at dawn. Whether the waves are worth getting out of bed for is somewhat inconsequential.
You prefer to avoid crowds and the sight of a stacked carpark makes you sweat behind the knees. Happy to surf with mates but also just as content to paddle out solo, you’re used to surfing on your own schedule. Often the first one to sneak off during late night parties.
If the Dawn Patroller isn’t the first one in the water their day is ruined. Somewhat similar to the Eternal Frother when it comes to keenness.
The Core Lord
A boardrider-level ripper, the Core Lord has been surfing since before they could walk. Dropping everything to chase swell is normal, as is blowing off work at the slightest whiff of a wave.
The Core Lord doesn’t care about the latest trends or wearing surf-brand clothing. All they need is petrol money, a swell chart and a great excuse to feed the boss. You may never know your local Core Lord’s name and you’ll always be too afraid to ask, but whispers of their feats in the water are passed amongst other mere mortals in a tone that borders on reverence. As their name suggests, the Core Lord is a surfer in the truest sense of the word, addicted to the thrill that only wrangling a big wave spot or throwing themselves over the ledge on a mutant slab can provide. Could be accused of taking surfing too seriously, but that’s hard to argue if they absolutely rip.
The Socialiser of your crew is the one who surfs just because everyone else is doing it. They admit that they’re not the best in the water, but their form when it comes to on-land antics is legendary. The first to shout a round, the loudest of the bunch.
They’re an integral part of any crew and they do their best work when organising the accommodation or sorting out where to have drinks post-surf. There is, however, a dark side to the Socialiser’s presence, and it comes in the form of incessant requests for selfies. A selfie in the car, a selfie in your wetsuit, a selfie as they wax the wrong side of their board. The Socialiser never misses an opportunity to whip the phone out for a shot. Totally harmless though… as long as they’re not snapping selfies with a secret spot in the background.
The Over-Enthusiastic Learner
Kelly Slater is your favourite surfer, you’ve got the lingo down pat and after a few lessons in crumbly knee-high waves, you’re ready to purchase a brand spanking new Channel Islands epoxy. Perhaps your skills don’t exactly match your ambitions, but what the heck. You can stand up all by yourself and you once rode a wave all the way to the shore, which means it’s only a matter of time before you’re charging Chopes. Believes that the best surfer “is the one having the most fun” and probably has a sticker on their van that says just that.
If it’s not Rip Curl, Billabong, Quiksilver or Hurley, you don’t wear it. Doesn’t have a problem dropping some serious cash on flights and accommodation and flying all the way to Bali just to surf the lumpy burger at Old Man's.
The Eternal Frother
You live to surf and everything in your life revolves around the waves. You may be married or in a committed relationship, but whoever your partner is, they know that surfing is and always will be your first love. You learned to surf with mates as a kid and family holidays were always to surf spots. Your dad taught you how to ride your first wave, just as his dad taught him. Perhaps you entered a few contests when you were younger, but they always proved too regimented, too limiting. You prefer to surf when you want, where you want, which could be anywhere within a few hours’ drive on any given day depending on the conditions.
You surf because you love it, not because its seen as cool or trendy. You fish, you dive, you spend as much time as possible in the water. When you’re old and slow you’ll still hit the waves, albeit on a 9-foot plank. Why? Because the Eternal Frother never dies… they just gets a little greyer.
Surf culture has always had relatively firm roots in conservation, hinged on awareness of the natural environment and the effect we humans have on it. Our arenas where we choose to engage in wave riding are important to us — we want to look after them. But, did you know it’s likely most of the equipment that you have lovingly garnered enabling you to ride those pristine sheets of water are not always sustainable - or made with environmentally conscious practices?
Big surf brands may appear to have environmentalism on their agenda, but most of the time chasing sales targets and profit margins make it inherently difficult for greener practises to take place. It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially if doing ‘your bit’ is something you take seriously, and you feel strongly about.
But, fear not – there are solutions. We take a look through the essential gear for surfing and how eco-friendly alternatives are out there enabling you to hit the water with a clearer conscience.
Let’s talk about neoprene. How do you feel about that admirable coiled up pile of black material sitting in the boot of your car or the bottom of your wardrobe? Nothing but warm feelings — quite literally I’d imagine. However, could you feel the same after learning how much energy and human cost goes into producing this petroleum-based material? The emitted gases from making neoprene are incredibly dangerous, chloroprene being the biggest concern. The town of LaPlace in Louisiana sits in the shadow of one such plant in the USA and has shocking air quality statistics as well as an obscene number of residents developing cancer.
Moving away from petroleum-based neoprene is the necessary first step. Looking at natural rubber and how an ethically sourced and environmentally made alternative will replace it is the second. Yulex is an American corporation making huge changes in the wetsuit industry, albeit at a slow pace. By using sustainably sourced natural rubber in place of energy-intensive neoprene means up to 80% less climate-altering CO2 is emitted — and a resulting material which actually outperforms conventional neoprene.
Patagonia leads the pack in this field and have some great products and innovative methodologies. There are though a small number of other brands using Yulex in their wetsuits - if you look hard enough you will find them.
courtesy of Notox Australia
Producing conventional high-performance fibreglass (polyurethane blank) surfboards is bad for the environment. Period. There are no two ways about it. Put simply, fibreglass uses intense amounts of energy to be made and polyester resin releases Volatile Organic Compounds capable of causing serious damage to the environment and humans alike. And once you’ve had your fun and your board is done- what then? Well, being unrecyclable its either going in the bin or destine to the back of your shed/garage to gather dust
Have you ever heard of flax linen? Don’t worry if you haven’t, because not too many people have. This versatile and robust material is, in fact, one of the world’s oldest cultivated fabrics. Grown and harvested with little human interaction, the raw product requires no water, heat or chemicals in the refining process— it is simply blended in sophisticated high-tech machinery. Under the microscope flax is very similar to fibreglass, being close cell and with good dexterity in thermal and acoustic insulation. It takes an impressive 20% of the energy to produce in comparison AND is half the weight. No brainer? There are a handful of small surfboard manufacturers that integrate flax into their shapes with varying degrees. Notoxwho have factories in France and Australia take this material and sustainable board making to another level —definitely worth a look.
Surfing is a love affair with nature. Unfortunately, with the abundance of chemicals, synthetic dyes, and fragrances in irresponsibly manufactured products that we are bombarded with daily— we approach this relationship in a false manner most of the time. Let’s not forget other sundry items like surf wax and sunscreen either, these too are part of the bigger picture.
But there is hope.
Next time you find yourself looking at a new wetsuit, surfboard or needing to grab a block of wax on the way to the beach —Take the time to look at your options. You’ll be surprised that green alternatives are out there and more accessible than you’ve perhaps been lead to believe.
The life of a location independent freelancer and that of a surfer go hand in hand. Not only does the freedom afforded to you as a freelance contractor allow you to surf whenever the waves are good, but being location independent also means you can post up at an exotic surf destination for days, weeks or even months at a time, with one eye on the swell forecast and the other on your email inbox. Of course these are just a couple of reasons why the freelance lifestyle works so well with the lifestyle of a surfer. In reality though there are actually a whole bunch of reasons that prove being a digital nomad who surfs is like living life in a waking dream. Check them out below and let us know in the comments section what you love most about being a digital nomad who surfs.
1. Strike missions become much easier to pull off Convincing your boss to let you hightail it towards the horizon on the hunt for swell rarely goes the way you would like it to when you’re fixed to an office chair… but you’ve got options. Option one is that you sub in a mannequin to sit at your desk and pray to Huey that your employer doesn’t notice you’ve skipped town for the day. Option two is that you rock up early with a bottle of Epicac and take a couple of swigs shortly before intercepting your boss on his or her way to their office, with the hope that your violent upchuck of stomach contents is enough to get you sent home.
Neither of these options are fool proof. In fact, they're far from it. As a freelancer who answers to no one though, strike missions are much, much easier to coordinate. Simply book those flights or load up your car and point your nose in the direction of where that swells gonna hit.
After all, what's the point of being your own boss if you're not going to take advantage of your freedom.
2. Flat days on surf trips don't seem so bad It’s day 3 of your 7-day surf strip to an exotic island chain in the Pacific and you’re yet to see a wave break over 30 centimetres. Your best mate has taken to drinking away his or her misery and has nearly consumed a weeks worth of beer within the first few days. Your other friend has been refreshing multiple swell forecasting websites simultaneously every 5 seconds in the hope that something, anything, will materialise. You on the other hand, while also ruing the lack of surf, have been somewhat productive with your downtime.
Emails are being answered, new projects are being started and you’ve even managed to fire off some info to your accountant. But the best thing is that you’re doing this all in a beautiful setting and actually making use of your time.
3. There are plenty of coworking spaces that cater to freelancers who surf When I first started freelancing, coworking spaces most definitely existed, but they were generally located in cities or other major population hubs. With the boom of the #digitalnomad lifestyle, there’s been a massive uptick coworking spaces opening up in surf communities all over the world. Take our very own Coworksurf for example; a coworking and coliving booking site, community and ethos that offers more and more spaces to hit the keys and the pillow at night with numerous locations around the world.
Here you can kick back, connect with likeminded individuals and surf your brains out in some of the hottest surf destinations on the planet.
Oh… and you’ll even have plenty of opportunity to work, given the fact that most locations offer comfortable workspaces with solid Wi-Fi and ergonomic chairs in a productive environment.
4. You don't need to don business attire post-surf
Once upon a time I was a real estate agent. During this time I wheeled and dealed with the best of them, only to be chewed up and spat out like a wad of well-dressed gum.
It was fun and exciting until it wasn’t. I blame an industry that’s so hell bent on appearing like they’re honest, they forget that being honest involves telling the truth.
That being said, I didn’t like a lot of things about the job. One of which was the fact I had to wear a suit and tie, which means whenever I ducked off for a surf at lunch or stayed out a little too long in the morning, I’d have to rinse off and change straight into a suit.
I’m happy to report though that as a freelancer, I don't wear a suit, shoes, tie, collared shirt or freshly pressed pants.
And if I was to ever wear one again, say to meet a client at my office or conduct an interview, I would remain in board shorts and pluggers and just throw a blazer and shirt on for a business up top, ready to surf down below kinda look.
5. There are opportunities to turn surf trips into paid pressers
This is flat out the dream scenario for anyone who writes copy for surf camps, surf lodges, surf hostels and surf schools around the world.
An all expenses paid trip to an exotic surf destination where all you need to worry about is meeting deadlines and not overdosing on fresh juice while sampling quality waves from a buffet of world-class breaks.
It’s something only a select few of us will be offered during our freelancing career, and it's an opportunity that you should seize with both salt encrusted hands.
Being paid to write, film or photograph surfing whilst also surfing?
The current population of the USA stands at over 328 million people and every day all of those people must eat — it’s a fact of life. Agriculture though along with meat and dairy production has come to be the third biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions around the globe. It is calculated that approximately 150,000 tonnes of food are discarded across the nation daily.
It appears sustainability regarding food is often overshadowed; the more obvious greenhouse/carbon emissions issue we are forced to see in our everyday lives is that of burning fossil fuels for electricity and the overabundance of cars on our roads. These sectors are naturally the first and second biggest contributors to harmful greenhouse gasses accordingly. But, were you even aware that agriculture fits into third place?
In Australia, Dianne McGrath is amongst a long list of experts that offers guidance and consultancy on the subject of sustainably sourced food. As such there is no real formal definition of what sustainably sourced food encompasses, instead she states that it can be labelled as,
“the sourcing and provision of food that satisfies our needs today while allowing our future generations to have similar access".
An obvious environmental impact of meat production is the overwhelming C02 being produced by the immense numbers of cattle there are around the globe. However, alongside this aspect, you also have the social and economic issues that are raised with mass production of meat and processed foods. Farmers and food producers being unfairly treated by the bigger corporations, and this is happening right before us. Australian dairy farmers are currently doing it tough, often having to sell their produce at an extremely thin profit margin. Yet the demand for milk is as high as ever: think about how many flat whites and lattes are being poured every morning around the country, and indeed the world.
The very connection we have with our food is also being lost it would appear; we often see it clean and shiny in a plastic packet under a bright supermarket light, not as the soil crusted, rustic nutrient-rich mineral that it is. 'Food miles' as McGrath explains is an obscene procedure of moving food from one area of growth to another for processing, after it is then moved to an area to be sold — which can often be where it was originally grown.
So how does somebody take on the task of mitigating their environmental impact, whilst also getting what they want on their fork? Greg Howell director of Climate Wave Enterprises, a sustainable events consultancy on the Gold Coast, Australia muses this, “our local food markets are worthy places to buy our food, rather than supporting multi-national conglomerates. Whether local food reduces our environmental impacts, it should be furthermost reducing food miles.“ When asked about the local farming scene and the surrounding region's vast potential in producing good quality food he replies, “I think we benefit from good nutritious soil and the hard-working farmers who believe in what they do and put in the hard yards!”
He certainly isn’t wrong either. The several local farmer’s markets every week showcasing excellent and delicious in the city speak for themselves. Organic food has seen a huge demand and therefore sector increase, at present Australia has the largest area of certified organic growing land than any other country, a gigantic twenty-two million hectares.
No other country comes close — both the USA and China currently has less than 3 Million hectares each.
‘Popping to the shops’ is, of course, fast and convenient. Yet, for the discerning shopper who actively chooses to acknowledge the moral responsibility of their food choices, they are surely rewarded with something greater than just good tasting fare?
Before the novel covid-19 brought the world to its knees, Australians were dealing with a much older and arguably more visceral enemy.
Fire. One of the worst hit areas was the South Coast of New South Wales, which encompasses cities, towns and hamlets from Gerringong in the north to the Victorian border to the south. Much of this area is enclosed by native bushland, which when combined with a lack of rainfall and dense layers of parched undergrowth created ideal conditions for these fires to take hold. Homes were cooked, entire towns destroyed and many lives regrettably lost. What’s more, these fires tore through the South Coast just when many small businesses were getting primed for peak tourism season, so that on top of losing valuables, property and stock to the bushfires, they also missed out on much-needed tourist dollars that would normally sustain them for the rest of the year.
A few months down the track though and despite global turmoil due to the coronavirus, the same locals who were forced to abandon the region are welcoming tourists back with open arms. And given the quality of waves in the area, a lack of domestic travel options and a delayed ski season, now would seem the perfect time for a South Coast surf trip.
Assuming you’re coming from Wollongong, Sydney or even further north, the first port of call should be a beach break at Minnamurra by the name of Mystics. With a rivermouth at one end and a headland at the other, it’s flush with wedgy lefts and rights that would make even the most hardened wave rider giddy with excitement. It doesn’t hurt to mention that the spot itself is also absolutely stunning.
After surfing to the point of exhaustion, you can then cruise further south and grab a meal at the Perfect Break Café in Gerringong. Located under the same roof as Natural Necessity Surf Shop, this is the place to be if you love healthy, wholesome, freshly prepared vegetarian food that’s guaranteed to fill you up.
A quick trip down south isn’t complete without a stop off in Jervis Bay. While the swell needs to be at least double overhead for the waves here to work, it’s worth a visit just to check out the whale watching tours, have a beer at the Jervis Bay brewery or take a guided walk through Booderee Botanic Gardens, Australia’s only Aboriginal-owned botanic gardens.
Once you’ve dusted off the cobwebs, had some tucker and toured the Bay, it’s onto the more bushfire affected areas of the South Coast, beginning with the popular coastal hamlet of Bendalong. More a smattering of fibro holiday homes than an actual township, Bendalong has long since been a popular surf spot for travelling shredders. There are a bunch of waves around the area but the most consistent is Back Beach, which has been known to absolutely fire under the right conditions. Side note: the fishing and diving ain’t half bad either. If Bendalong is too crowded or the banks aren’t living up to their reputation, Lake Conjola and the famous left hander at Green Island is less than 20 minutes down the road. Lake Conjola was one of the most fire-ravaged communities in the area with1 in 3 homes destroyed. David Ford’s was but one of the many houses that succumbed to the flames, losingnearly 300 priceless vintage surfboards in the process.
The next destination is Bawley Point, which is home to a ledgy reef break. If you’re keen to get coned and love a righthander, this spot is not to be missed. Before you get there though, make the obligatory stop at Hayden’s Pies in Ulladulla to try the best pies on god’s green earth. Original, handmade and stuffed with local ingredients, we guarantee that you’ll love every pastry on their menu, although the butter chicken pie is particularly outstanding. To round off your South Coast surf trip we have the towns of Durras, which is in the picturesque Murramurrang National Park, and Broulee, located about 30 minutes’ drive further along the highway. Like Lake Conjola, these towns have suffered greatly due to bushfires. Consequently, a visit to either one of them will ensure you score some pretty decent waves and inject a bit of cash into the local communities.
Of course, beyond just surfing and stuffing your face with good food, there are many other tourism-dependent businesses that could do with a little help. Choose to stay in local accommodation or caravan parks rather than just camp out in a carpark. Don’t feel like buying a few souvenirs or shopping for items that you might be able to get your hands on back home is beneath you.
Most of all though, remember that the people on the South Coast are still healing. Be cool in the lineup and support small businesses in the area. You’ll get a kick out of exploring such a beautiful part of the world and the locals will no doubt be thankful for your decision to visit.
A while back I was sauntering back up the sand on New South Wales’ northernmost beach break. It was a wild and stormy day, with squalls and biting rain, yet semi clean 4ft peaks were ensuring the line-up was fairly full. I noticed up towards the bush-line a familiar sight, an umbrella and perched beneath it a cameraman and a kneeling surfer, both scanning the horizon. They were deep in conversation it seemed, as I got closer, I then saw the cameraman begin to gesticulate with hand motions to his audience of one. A spitting barrel with one hand and the 2-finger swoop of his other hand indicating a bottom turn and an off the lip snap. How did I know this? Because I’ve seen it literally dozens of times. From a sunrise lit car park on the beach in England, to a sweaty Bintang soaked back street bar in Bali, these gestures as a surfer are very much universal.
Our phones and media tell us constantly that the world is dangerous and on the brink of destruction, you would be mad to talk to somebody you don’t know
It got me thinking, that as a sport and leisure activity surfing actually has a very special and individual communication style between participants. Take for example the openness we have to talk to a complete stranger. You know the one, you’re stood scanning a spot, coffee in hand and analysing the wave quality: is there any girls out there in bikinis? Do I need to visit the toilet before I paddle out? A fellow wave rider might be doing exactly the same and you exchange some small talk about how good it was yesterday, the banks have never been the same since (insert year) and that the tide turned half an hour ago and it should pick up. A complete unknown person to you. Could be anyone. Our phones and media tell us constantly that the world is dangerous and on the brink of destruction, you would be mad to talk to somebody you don’t know. But, like you they decide to step into the ocean and ride waves, this unknown human shares the same passion.
This individual has merely been squeezed through a slightly different social and physiological mould to you, and subconsciously you decide that’s ok.
A recent experience of this camaraderie involved myself in the lineup and a set wave being missed by everyone. The guy next to me peered over his shoulder and through squinted eyes exclaimed, “it’s still going mate, look!” I turned to look and my new middle aged kneeboarding friend was correct, everyone had indeed missed a great wave. The thing was this; he wasn’t irate because he didn’t catch the wave, he was genuinely irate that nobody had caught it.
Shakas, hooting and calling your best mate into the wave of the day are fairly normal occurrences for surfers. Don’t get me wrong though, I doubt the hardy surfers of the Netherlands or other cold regions are throwing out too many shakas as they paddle out into wind blown frigid water, but they still share that fire and stoke. We feed on that energy in the water, it’s that energy that will have you giving, (again a complete stranger) a smile and nod as they make a ridiculous drop right before you, the shout of “GO” to someone as you realise you won’t claw your way onto that wave - the list really does go on. Where else does this happen? it’s hard to pin down another outdoor pursuit. Certainly not on the golf course that’s for sure.
depending on the surf spot and how the offence goes down behaviour can range from dirty looks to full blown fist fights in and out of the water
With all said and done, surfing can be a confrontational affair. It really is a double-edged sword. That stranger who you had every chance of exchanging pleasantries with has just been dropped in on, and is not happy about it. The aggression can reach boiling point and physical altercations are a real thing, depending on the surf spot and how the offence goes down behaviour can range from dirty looks to full blown fist fights in and out of the water. The switch can flick and that sudden atypical friendliness can just as quickly go the complete opposite way. For those around these affairs they either come off as comical or quite awkward, thankfully most people will leave their egos on the sand and surf for the pure enjoyment. However, you are always going to come across that ‘one guy’ who is out to ruin everyone’s day and thrash around the line-up, trying to catch every wave. These people ultimately attempt (albeit most of the time unconsciously) to kill the vibe in the water. One occasion I witnessed this, a few older guys with a few simple looks at one another and muttered words began working their magic to block the perpetrator, even snaking him on a couple of waves and before you knew it our gate crasher had enough and was heading in. It isn’t every day or session our angry friend and his ilk paddle out beside you, so I can live with that.
The genuine connection you can have with somebody you don’t even know or even better still a close friend in the water is priceless though. The excitement and exhilaration you share in the whole experience from the early morning phone calls, spraying your mate off the back of a wave to the post surf dehydrated beers is truly a one off. I fondly hold onto a memory of surfing a little reef break in Indonesia with two close friends, just us, no one else out. As our little taxi boat and its endlessly smoking driver sat bobbing in the channel, we exchanged wave after wave. The last light of that afternoon sent incredible colours across the sky the like I hadn’t really seen before or in fact since, and those hoots and yells we shared echo in my ears still to this day.
Let’s get things straight coliving and coworking spaces, like all spaces, hotels and homes can have their physical ecological disadvantages and each one along with the supply and travel chains connecting it should be considered and encouraged to transition individually. Coliving and coworking spaces might use more power in regards to laptops and wifi, but they may also save and offset and encourage positive change in even more intangible but equally significant ways. Let’s discuss…
A community feeling can help with loneliness and social anxieties vs. solo living that's been glorified for the past few decades. A group setting can help to increase life satisfaction and rewarding experiences. Harvard conducted the longest ever study to determine what leads to a joyful and rewarding life and the answer was surprisingly simple.
Meaningful relationships and community are key then. Of course coliving doesn't necessarily equate to meaningful relationships or a community if you haven’t given yourself time to also establish a meaningful relationship with yourself it can also be a way of avoiding that task so a balance unique to every individual needs to be struck here.
Why is community and happiness important for the planet?
Well, when we’re happier and more engaged we’re less likely to consume our way out of anxiety or boredom. We’re more likely to live a more minimal lifestyle and put a priority on relationships with other people. We’re also more likely to be aware and open to being influenced to changing our lifestyles and habits as we have the base level satisfaction, peace and happiness to be able to understand there is more to life than just us. That almost inevitably leads to more conversations about important topics in society and contributing towards those in a meaningful way.
How shared spaces can reduce impacts on the environment.
Reduction in energy required for cooling and heating vs the same number of people living in separate properties.
No need to do a daily commute to work, just a walk up and down the stairs or to another room, so we save there.
It reduces our load on the environment as shared living encourages housing to be more efficient rather than large individual homes or our own flats with their own appliances and heating/cooling systems.
It can help connect us to nature if we work mindfully and determine our own hours and routines. We are more likely to go out and enjoy nature for a surf or a walk or hike or run or an explore if we don't have to be sat in an office for the majority of the day. We can work more efficiently, live cheaply and enjoy nature and each other.
What can individuals using coliving spaces do to reduce their impact on the environment?
Be vocal and offer tips on how locations could improve sustainability practices along with offering a helping hand to set up a program if they notice something that could be improved.
Why it’s ok to confess to all our unsustainable imperfections. Get them off our chests and move along in a more conscious way.
Disclaimer: Sustainability is a big topic and one I’m still just learning about as a human. I feel I still have a long, long way to go in terms of a better understanding. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and personal confessions in the comments.
Also I left my beard trimmer outside of lockdown in another "social isolation bubble" and haven't bought another one since as I look to reduce my consumption habits if you're offended by the ginger fuzz it's for the good of the planet.
To get started here’s my own personal laundry list of the ways I’ve been having a non-sustainable impact on the environment over the past few years. This is probably just the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg of my unsustainable behaviours. Friends and family feel free to call me up on ones I’ve forgotten:
I was and still am actively encouraging thousands of people to stay at destinations across the world fully knowing they will probably fly to get there.
I have bought many surfboards during my life and snapped quite a few along the way too.
I was previously doing freelance marketing work for companies who had 0 interest in sustainability.
I helped during the early days of digital currency to create and grow interest in an industry that is now a heavy user of electricity.
I would often buy clothes new without really caring about the source.
I still buy fruits and vegetables from all over the world in plastic packaging.
I’ve consumed a lot of meat in my life (now down to once or twice a month)
I’ve never bought a bamboo toothbrush
I lost the nice quality Patagonia jacket I bought on a night out and have since purchased cheaper alternatives probably made out of unsustainable materials in china.
I owned a van in Portugal that had a large engine and would often do solo trips.
I bought a bus which to be fair I converted into an office, but that process required a lot of new materials and now it’s sitting in Portugal waiting to be used.
We set up pop up coworking spaces which required new chairs to be bought and construction works to take place.
We encourage more tourism to places like Sri Lanka, Bali where overdevelopment and building on natural forests is a massive issue.
I released lots of helium balloons in Hyde Park as a marketing stunt
Ok Jesus... that was pretty hard to write and for sure it’s non exhaustive and doesn’t include the plethora of stupid stuff I’ve done throughout my life. I have stopped or reduced a lot of the above behaviours now but not all of them and not completely.
So why is it ok to confess to all this stuff if I'm advocating for change?
Step one: Be kind. If I’ve learned anything from self development is for us to be kind to ourselves first. There’s no point carrying or attaching stress or guilt to something we have done, but we can gradually address and improve our own behaviours. Step two: Awareness. The more we talk about the stuff we’re not doing in a collective shared way the more aware we become of it. Step three: Learn, adapt and change: Here’s an incredible in-depth discussion on the circular economy a nice bit of learning for anyone who might be interested in making systemic changes.
Oh... and that next toothbrush will be bamboo!
Let me know your unsustainable confessions and plans for change in the comments. I promise this is a safe space.
Let's face it. Flying is a common way for many of us remote workers and surfers to get around. But what's the impact of all that? And more importantly what can we learn from this and adapt into our daily lives? Here are some statistics for forms of transport. The numbers below are for grams of CO2 emissions, per passenger kilometre.
In terms of getting around then flying is not beneficial for the environment. We'd be better off driving across the planet in our own car refuelling hundreds of times. As a side note, cruise ships surprisingly are also pretty horrendous because the amount of fuel needed by a big cruise ship to cover a distance is remarkably large, even though they transport more people.
Flying as a trend though is becoming more and more popular. As a business we are actively encouraging people to move around by displaying properties all around the world in all these incredible spots. We don't stipulate how you travel to our partner locations but there's an assumption the majority of it often involves some flights.
"First don’t fly, second fly with the most efficient airline (always in economy) and lastly offset. "
How does that translate to easy takeaways for our lives as digital nomads who love to surf, follow swells, friends and seasons?
Stay somewhere longer
Look for alternative transportation options, and consider traveling more slowly if you can go overland, via train, bus, bicycle, walking, car or on a sailing boat then do that.
Fly less within those countries or locations you are staying. Always avoid local flights where alternatives are possible.
Plan to stay in places that don't force you to take flights for visas and visa extensions
Choose direct flights where possible, take off and landings use a lot of fuel, so the cost reductions on multiple lay overs are not good for the planet.
Research the most efficient airlines and book with them
Where you do have to fly, offset your flights by choosing schemes that help protect current rainforests. The biodiversity and carbon sequestration withheld in a protected old growth rainforest is way larger than that of a newly planted forest. There has been a lot of confusion around this topic in recent years but the latest research shows just how important it is to protect our current rainforests first and foremost, followed by planting of new forests.
Lastly, Coworksurf will assume the worst, assume you haven't read this or need to still fly. We will automatically offset your travel carbon with every booking through our new platform. This will be done through a number of schemes like offset.earth, and our own documentaries to raise awareness around these issues. Please also follow https://www.instagram.com/treehumans/ and for added viewing we recommend this documentary below: Fools and Dreamers. I had the pleasure to spend time with Hugh and visit the Hinewai reserve. It's an incredible space with a wonderful energy. It shows what's possible when we simply allow nature some space.
Much love to you all. Don't be hard on yourselves for having flown a lot. The last thing we need is another thing to feel guilty about, but we can grow from this. We're all learning and we're learning together. Please comment below and start the discussion. What have you been doing, what else should we be thinking about?
The ultimate guide to running and planning a team retreat for your company.
Decelerate to accelerate. Ideal for remote teams and corporate get aways.
Photo by Annie Spratt
How should you plan or structure your team retreat to make it successful? Here's 8 simple steps. Step 1. PLAN, PLAN and PLAN. It doesn’t need to be over the top but getting clear on your goals, vision and objectives is vital before you start looking at where this thing is going to take place. An example of a goal might be to improve the team culture or those human relationships that are not possible whilst working fully remotely. So make sure your retreat will allow for a lot of human interactions.
Step 2. Budget Once you’ve nailed your goals. Set a budget. Per person per night. This can be a simple way to figure out what you're going to cover. Are you going to assist with travel if your team is remote? Are you going to feed everyone and take them partying? Take all of these things into consideration.
Step 3. Start to research the perfect location Find and decide on the location. How easy is it to get to? How much travel will be required? Where are people coming from?
Step 4. The venue Is it just a meeting space for a day? Are you staying somewhere for a week? A month? Think about what's important for the length of stay at your location. How does the architecture of a place facilitate interactions?
Step 5. Feed yourselves How are you guys going to eat and drink. Are you near restaurants? Is a private chef an option?
Step 6. Build the team and bond A team retreat is designed to bring people closer. What activities can you do to connect people? Surfing is an epic one. Just sayin'
Step 7. Get some work done. Whether it’s daily tasks or the new vision for the future. Plan your workspace and work sessions and make sure this is all going to fly.
Step 8. Communicate effectively Set up a group Whatsapp or slack channel. Things change people drop out, flights get delayed. Keep everything in a nicely organized spot. Invite the location owner into this chat so you can ask questions directly and save everyone time.
The ultimate guide to hosting a retreat - for the venues.
How should you host a retreat successfully?
Photo by Kilarov Zaneit
Step 1. Align with your passions, priorities and motivations. Be honest about what inspires you and your location. People love people. People love honest people living their best most aligned lives. Know what you love. What kind of retreat setting can you offer? How involved do you want to be? Do you love cooking and want to share that with everyone? Do you run yoga, surfing or meditation classes that people would enjoy? Do you want a hands off approach and to be purely a logistical facilitator? Get clear about your intentions, this will influence what kind of retreats you should host and how you should position yourself.
Step 2. Communicate well and rapidly. Communicate answer questions pre-emptively. When they have a question. Listen. Take on feedback. Make them feel like you've got this covered. Create a mini preview video for teams. Describe what teams can expect at the location. Offer a way to get in touch immediately for a video call if they want. People are often in a rush when they organize these things and it’s one of their 7 tasks at work. How can they get in touch with you quickly and easily? Organize a time with them for a video call if they want. Set up a calendly.
Step 3. Prepare and be ready Be ready for a team retreat. Can your venue and staff cope with 20, 50, 100, 1000 people all arriving at once? How are you going to get everything in place? Can you extend capacity into surrounding accommodations? Are there any larger nearby spaces that might come in handy? Is this a regular occurrence that you're used to handling for things like weddings or is this all new to you?
Step 4. Set your availability Are you open for team bookings all year? What do you want to offer and what is a no no?
Step 5. Clear and simple pricing and availability We know it's a challenge to quote for teams and team sizes but have a think about how you can provide ball park figures. Be upfront about pricing. Save every motherfucker some time. You got group deals? Great display them. You got availability? Great. Plot it into the availability calendar. Are you only receptive to team bookings in certain months. Great be clear about that.
Step 6. ADD VALUE Be helpful, organised and add value. What local connections and services can you easily arrange or organise for these teams. Create a FAQ of the most common questions people will have. Getting here, transport, food, drink, activities etc. Lean in and listen to their custom requirements, accommodate where possible but be clear and upfront about what is not possible and what will need a separate price or quote.
Step 7. Enjoy We all only have one life. Time is the only thing we can't generate more of. Make their experience as special as possible and try to enjoy it yourself.
Uhhmmm... Yes. We're going next level. And you will love it.
We want to create a world of connected spaces and people where everyone can make the most out of life by genuinly connecting to each other, do meaningful work together and surf until mother nature feels flattered.
We have expanded the team a bit to help us on that mission - welcome to Alyssa who will cook up your monthly email, and Guro, our new Insty legend!
'High five for life' - @guroo
'Endless gratitude.' - @lysssanicole
We want to be the best curated selection of coworking and coliving spaces near surf, and to prepare for a big launch pretty soon we got a whole lot of cool stuff in the pipeline. Keep an eye out for us!! :))
Know a space we should add to our selection? Please let us know here!
We want to be the cutting edge newsletter magazine around community, (remote) work and surf.
Got cool remote work & surf videos, articles, podcasts or other tips that are happening? Share them with us by replying to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org) + your preferred social media account for a feature :)
10. Outsite Haleiwa - Coliving near surf 🌏 North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
This is a fully-equipped villa with 5 bedrooms, 7 beds, 3 bathrooms and everything you need to experience a beautifully balanced beach lifestyle, including: comfortable beds and luxury linens in a private or shared rooms, spacious workspace with high-speed Wifi, a large kitchen and open air shaded workspace, as well as information and access to fun local activities. - Outsite
💰 $2010 US per month for a single private room 🏡 7 people 💻 134 mbps
9. Coworkite - Coliving near surf 🌍 Cape Town, South Africa
CoworKite offers a unique opportunity to combine coworking and coliving with a lifestyle connected to the beach and the ocean. Our mission is to make co-working inspiring, good for your soul, place where you can network with like-minded people and feel like you belong. Deep and focused work is absolutely exhausting. We believe that people are not only happier, but also more productive when they can release some stress with a bit of kitesurfing after work. - Coworkite
💰 €960,-per month for a single private room 🏡 4 people 💻 100 mbps 🏖 On the beach
8. Selina - Coliving near surf 🌏 Bocas del Toro, Panama
Wondering where to stay in Bocas del Toro? Selina Bocas del Toro is at the epicenter of Isla Colon, Panama in the heart of Bocas Town. Hotels can’t compete with our friendly group of global travelers and locals. Fall in love with our community and share the good vibes by volunteering with Selina Gives Back. Come by for our super-popular happy hour every afternoon (especially fun on Friday!), the perfect introduction to our Selina family. - Selina
💰 €1440,- per month for a double 👥 private room with shared bathroom 🏡 50 rooms 💻 High (exact speed unknown) 🏖 On the beach
7. Coworking in the Sun - Coworking near surf 🌍 Tenerife, Spain
After work, the dream island of Tenerife is yours to explore and enjoy. The year-round spring-feel of the island will give you that holiday vibe and, apart from having the opportunity to make the most of the Spanish way of life, you will be able to go diving, surfing, climbing, hiking, paragliding…or just watch the sun sink slowly below the horizon with an ice-cold drink in hand. - Coworking in the Sun
💰 €160,- per month for a fixed desk 🏡 20 fully equipped desks 💻 600 mbps 📆 Full weekly group activities calendar 🏖 15 minutes from the beach
Dojo is located one minute walk from Echo Beach, Canggu on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia.Our vision is to create a thriving, collaborative community of conscious co-workers that believe in work-life balance, shared knowledge, productivity and positive social and environmental change. - Dojo
💰 €85,- per month for 50 hrs of coworking 💰€940,- per month for a queen room (unlimited coworking and surf lessons included) 🏡 100+ people coworking, 12 coliving rooms 💻 300 mbps 📆 Full weekly activities calendar 🏖 1 minute from the beach
5. The Stoke Works - Coliving near surf 🌏 Aljezur, Portugal
The spacious coworking & coliving villa is located in a lovely, laid back location just two kilometers from the ocean. It has a super relaxed, welcoming vibe. Surrounded by the Costa Vicentina Natural Park it is embedded in a beautiful coastal landscape. Your dip in the pool is just an arm’s length from your coworking space! - The Stoke Works
💰€824,- per month for a 2-bed shared room 🏡 8 people 💻 100 mbps 🏖 5 minutes from the beach 🌊 2 high class surf spots within a 5 minute drive 🌊 20 surf spots accessible within a 40 minute drive
4. Surfing Nomads - Coliving near surf 🌏 Canggu, Bali
Come and stay at our beautiful villa located 300m from some great surf spots here in Canggu, Bali! We cater towards remote workers, freelancers and nomads of all types with coworking areas and a mixture of private and dorm rooms within our coliving villa. Morning yoga surfing lessons, family dinners, events & activities are just a few thing that are included with your stay, so what are you waiting for? - Made from Surfing Nomads
💰€460,- per month for a neat 4-bed dorm 🏡 12 people 💻 50 mbps 🏖 300 meters from the beach 🌊 5 surf spots accessible within a 10 minute drive
3. SunDesk - Coliving near surf 🌏 Taghazout, Marocco
SunDesk is founded with the aim to give students, entrepreneurs, and professionals the opportunity to travel and work. Whether you’re a seasoned digital nomad or just someone looking for a focused getaway, we provide a quiet space and the facilities for you to be at your most productive. Keep in touch with your clients, maintain your sales and meet fellow coworkers from all over the world. - SunDesk
💰€768,- per month for a single private room (Daily breakfast and workspace included) 🏡 15 people 💻 200 mbps 🏖 5 minutes from the beach 🌊 10+ surf spots accessible within a 20 minute drive
2. PipeDream - Coliving near surf 🌏 Peniche, Portugal
Just a short stroll from the beautiful beaches of Baleal, near the Portuguese fishing town of Peniche, we have the perfect coworking + coliving space for you. This is one of Portugal's top surfing locations with a thriving surf community, only 1 hour drive from Lisbon.
The space consists of a four bedroom property with private rooms and two annexed apartments joined by a sunny spacious courtyard with hammocks, palm trees and a shaded chill out area. The property has a very sociable layout, but provides privacy and space when needed. Our black cat Neo (straight out of the Matrix) is also great company when he puts his cat mind to it :)
The main coworking space consists of a long wooden table with ergonomic office chairs and hammock for taking that much deserved nap in between work and surf! We also have a standing desk and a few other more secluded spots around the house for your private phone or video calls. We are so close to the ocean, you can hear it when you close your eyes and listen out! You will feel its energy calling all your senses as soon as you arrive. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it. - Paul from PipeDream
💰€1250,- per month for a private double 👥 room 🏡 10 people 💻 100 mbps 🏖 A stroll from the beach 🌊 5 surf spots accessible within a 10 minute drive
1. The Arctic Coworking Lodge - Coliving near surf 🌏 Lofoten, Norway
Come check out our coliving/coworking space in Lofoten, Norway! Surrounded by Norway´s most awesome nature, we´re located 5 minutes away from the world-class arctic surf spot of Unstad. If you are seeking community/coworking, surf and awe-inspiring nature experiences - there is no where better! Come get inspired in our beautiful playground. - Rolf and Stian from the ACL
💰€1720,- per month for a private double 👥 room 🏡 12 people 💻 100 mbps 🏖 5 minutes from the beach