The coffee shop office


OK vagabonds. Let’s look at our offices!

I moved into a motorhome in 2007.

My first rig was actually a chevy van. Not much room for an office there but I did build a little table that I could sit on the end of the “bed” and use my computer on. I had one of those all in one things. Where the flat screen monitor housed the whole machine with a separate keyboard and mouse.

It was so modern it had wifi and I had figured out how to run linux on it.

Back then no one protected their wifi and it seemed like everyone was getting it, so I could just drive around until I found an open router and get to work. Right in front of a big apartment building was usually a sure thing.

When I got my first real rig, I tore the dinette out right away and made a desk there. I had a super nice rolling office chair so I figured out how to secure it to the desk with a bungie while I was driving. This worked great. After a while I even got one of the original 3E “laptops” so I did not have to run the generator to charge the computer hardly at all. Those all in ones were real power hogs.

After a few years on the road I moved onto a sailboat. It had a very nice dinette with an oak table. There are wear patterns where the feet on my macbook pro contacted the varnish.

These offices inside worked in a pinch but I always tried to find a coffee shop if I could. It doesn’t matter that I make better coffee than the vast majority of shops. It is nice to sit down, plug in, and get to work without thinking about bandwidth or power.

And it fits in nicely with the Monk Mode Morning hack.

“The execution of the monk mode morning is straightforward. Between when you wake up and noon: no meetings, no calls, no texts, no email, no Slack, no Internet. You instead work deeply on something (or some things) that matter.” morning/

This way, I never look back at a day and think I did not get anything done. This approach goes well with cafes. Get up in the morning, take the dinghy to shore, walk to a coffee shop and set up. Order coffee. Get to work. Get a refill and order some food. Get back to work. By the time I am done with breakfast and my second cup of coffee, I have four solid hours of work in. Basically uninterrupted, focused work done. No matter what I do for the rest of the day, I have accomplished something.

Dan over at Tropical MBA makes this comment,

“These are the spaces, outside of perhaps only our beds, where many of us spend the most time. And for all their importance to our small subculture, I rarely see them talked about.”

In this article he talks about establishments all over the world that seem to cater to the vagabond business person, location independent entrepreneur. I have not spent much time in developing economies so I have not experienced these establishments myself, yet. I am interested in your experiences.

Then there is the hotel lobby. Many financial and self help advisors recommend spending time in a high end hotel lobby as a method to increase a mental equivalent and demystify the opulent lifestyle. Generally they make good coffee, albeit dearly valued. And the service is always excellent. I found that if I felt I may not be welcome to hang out there, simply asking “is it OK to hang out here” cleared that up right away every time. It’s amazing what simply asking the questions can do.

In all of these scenarios there is the inevitable issue of finding a power outlet within reach. A good long charging cable is a necessity. For my phone, which I use as a full blown workstation quite a bit, I have one of these:

Asking to plug in to the only outlet around when it is on the other side of your neighbor is a great way to get started with a new friend.

If they are already plugged in with a laptop out, asking “how’s the internet here” can get the conversation going.

And there is the value of finding a coffee shop in a new port or town. When you got up this morning and made coffee in your kitchen it was nice. But you’ve done it before. You’ve done it before so many times you don’t remember doing it today. But if I get up in a new town, find a coffee shop and hang out all morning, often there is an experience that sets the day apart.

How much time do you spend in a coffee shop state side? How much time have you spent in establishments abroad? Leave a comment below!


Four Ideas To Up Your Game In The Hot Tub At The Festival


There is a pdf of this document here for you to download.
It does not have the amazon affiliate links so you will be on your own finding this cool stuff!

Settle in, get comfortable, have a snack, and meet new friends. Here are Five Quick Tips from for maximizing your enjoyment in the hot tubs at the festivals.

First, you can test the water!

A quick search of the internet will find dozens of tales of horror about unclean hot tubs. Nasty rashes and other problems if pools are not cared for properly. It is unlikely you will find any problems at a festival hot tub. It is very important to the festival and the hot tub owners that you are safe. They invest heavily in you enjoying your visit. How would it look if anyone went home sick? However, change is easy in the life of a hot tub; sunscreen, makeup, kids, all have an effect. There are a couple things you can do, too. You can test the water and stay extra clean yourself while helping out at the same time. Take a shower before you get in the tub. Use a nice anti-bacterial soap like Hibiclens or African Black Soap. Hibiclens is made of Chlorhexidine.

“Chlorhexidine came into medical use in the 1950s. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.” –

Some naturopathic sites recommend African Black Soap.

And pick up some decent pool test strips. It doesn’t take long, will give you some reassurance, and may avoid a problem. You need to find out which chemistry the hot tub uses. There are three basic types. The familiar chlorine, the less smelly bromine, and “salt water.” The salt water system uses regular salt to make chlorine, so the end result is the same. It’s just easier to maintain.

Second, Managing your clothes!

If it’s “clothing optional,” co-ed with clothes, or same sex, where do you put your clothes and shoes so they won’t get wet or buried under everyone else’s or worse, mistaken as someone else’s and go missing? If there are lockers, great, problem solved. Usually there are not enough hooks, railings with a crowd, ocean, or other black hole on the other side, or just the ground and some benches. Of course the easiest way is to change in your room or tent and wear a sarong or swim suit, and flip flops to the pool. But sometimes you don’t want to hike all the way back to camp.

There are two problems: if you need to change clothes, how? And once you have a hand full of loose clothes, where to put them? If there is no separate space for changing, women can do something like this: the changing room dress.

and men can just change to shorts under a towel.

If all the hooks are taken and the ground is wet or covered in snow? You could bring a folding chair and hang your clothes from it. There is a good chance others will use it too. You could use your trekking poles and a carabiner to make a leaning clothes rack. Bring an empty stuff sack or one of those nice laundry bags to hang from it or a hook or set in a safe corner. Probably the best solution would be to bring a dry bag. Then you are prepared for the worst and guaranteed clean dry clothes after your dip. Most of the outdoor gear players make nice ultralight dry bags that roll into a little bag of their own.

Third, snacks and drinks!

It is important to stay hydrated and who doesn’t love a tasty snack and cold beverage when hanging out with their tribe? Bring “hot tub safe” snacks, like fresh veggies, olives and other goodies that you can easily retrieve in case they fall into the water. Avoid snacks like crackers or potato chips, these type of snacks crumble and can easily fall into the water and cause a nightmare to clean up. For a real festive vibe, how about a floating bar? Bring one of those inflatable snack and drink holders. Here is my favorite:


Forth, new friends!

You have found your tribe or maybe a soul mate. You are in a hot tub with a bunch of strangers who share your love for music and lifestyle. It is no surprise you hit it off with them and want to stay in touch after the show. Perhaps meet up at another show. Maybe go out for coffee and see what happens. Where do you put his phone number? You don’t have dry paper and you don’t want to risk getting your phone soaked. It won’t be long until all our phones are waterproof. The iPhone 7 and Galaxy 7 already are! I love the 21st century! No more making new friends in the hot tub only to never see them again because you could not capture their contact information. Just put them in your contacts on your phone. Be sure to share those crazy pictures of your cat while you have it out. Until then, a ziploc bag has been proven to protect a phone long enough for a hot tub soak.

If you don’t have or won’t be seen dead with an iPhone in the pool, try a waterproof notepad. Scuba shops have nice underwater notepads and there are Write In The Rain notebooks at a local bookstore.

Bonus, Fun!

And for extra credit, bring your own light show! There are some cool, floating, LED toys that turn the tub into a crazy disco dance scene! And finally, if there is not hot tub at the festival, bring your own. There are some nice portable hot tubs out there. There is even a hot tub hammock.



“True contentment depends not upon what we have; a tub was large enough for Diogenes, but a world was too little for Alexander.” – Charles Caleb Colton

There is a pdf of this document here for you to download.
It does not have the amazon affiliate links so you will be on your own finding this cool stuff!

Tell God Your Plan. That’ll get her going.

Plan, plan, plan.
I could do this, I could do that.
I WILL do this and that.
All dutifully ordered and alotted on a calendar, online or paper and pencil, never pen. A page of commitments written in pen and scratched out a very full calendar makes quickly.

You want to give god a good laugh?
Tell her your plan. That’ll get her going.

I’m not saying don’t ever plan. Just know your plan has very little to do with what is actually going to happen. At best it provides a sense of steerage. At most likely, a reminder in retrospect of how many forces outside your control are actually at work here.

Planning is how we start. And it is so very important to start. Nothing will get done if we don’t start.

The big stuff is never clear from the beginning. Start anyway. “All will be revealed.” All the science, all the philosophy, all the evidence indicates that making a start opens doors to opportunity and inspiration that otherwise and previously was not visible or even available.

We were working on an art project. There was a part we did not know how to do. I said, “one of us will figure this out and when you do, it will be obvious. Then come tell the rest of us. Let’s work on what we know how to do untill then.” Sure enough, the next day, David showed up with a drawing on a napkin. As soon as we saw it, it was obvious. It accommodated our available resources and skills while accomplishing our goals. We did it that way.

Seek inspiration and guidance, not to order and arrange.
Seek clarity of purpose and accept happenstance and serendipity. Chose to believe in a greater purpose and try to discern it from the noise.

Also, planning helps us avoid pitfalls.

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”

― Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit

It is good to have contingencies. To have methods thought out and communicated on how to deal with a situation if it occurs. It is best if everyone on board knows where the life jackets and fire extinguishers are. It is folly to think knowing these prepares us for every possibility.

I run with a crowd that says “do the next indicated thing.” They say that a lot. Sometimes we add, “if you don’t know what the next indicated thing is, do the dishes.”

And let go of the outcome.

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results”

Dennis Wholey

It really is all about getting up, breathing all day, and laying down with a sense of accomplishment. And steps count as accomplishments. So get started. Plan all you want, just know it has little real effect. Marvel in the opportunities that seem to just show up.

And breathe.

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”

Thomas Alva Edison

Do you have plans for the winter?


August is over. September. October. Cold. I can not be here for November. It starts raining in September. When I left in 2007 it was raining constantly all the way to San Francisco for my birthday. So I need to be gone by my birthday or leave after my dentist appointment the day after my birthday.
Do I have plans for the winter?
I have a departure date. Other than that, not really.

I was having breakfast with an old friend and he asked me a legitimate question. “So, Lonn, now that you’ve gotten rid of all your stuff and have the simple life, how does it feel?”

I told him “right now, it feels terrifying.” I am at a jumping off point.

So now that I have a departure date, how do I answer this question “do you have plans for the winter?”
Yes! I am going south.
What will you do?
The same thing I am doing now, only in the sun surrounded by bikinis.

I am a vagabond, with no visible means of support. I have amazing friends, but one must provide for oneself in the long run. I know I can leverage couch surfing, airbnb, state parks, and bridges, but I can not plan it all ahead so this leaves a huge mystery. A mystery story tellers, the media, and a lot of my friends want to backdrop with fear. There is no security in stepping off an aircraft with just a backpack.

But I trust the rewards are worth it. They always have been. I have never gone for a walk around the block, let alone a drive all the way around Nevada, without learning or realizing or finding gratitude for something.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” The Complete Travel Writings of Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad + Roughing It + A Tramp Abroad + Following the Equator + Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion

Do you have plans for the winter? Do they include travel? Why? Leave a comment below.