This is part of an ongoing series on happiness. I’m going to continue sharing everyday moments, experiences, and activities where I feel most happy. Since I believe the pursuit of happiness is something that binds humanity, and since one of the major reasons to attain financial freedom in the first place is to improve one’s happiness, I find it important to share aspects of my life where I feel like the pursuit of happiness is most successful. I hope to show through these regular insights that not only does it not take much (or any) money to improve one’s happiness, but also that financial freedom provides additional opportunities (via more time) to boost happiness.
If you’re not familiar with what a coworking space is, it’s essentially a shared work environment. It allows like-minded people who work independently to come together, under one roof, and ply their craft.
Wikipedia has a great article on all things coworking, if you’re interested in learning more about it.
A good coworking space effectively takes everything I love about working in a coffee shop to the nth degree. It allows for the community aspect, the avoidance of the isolation/distraction of working at home, and the access to high-quality food and beverages to keep the creative juices flowing.
But it kicks it up a notch or ten.
Whereas the coffee shops I’d work at in America were frequented by retirees, active moms running in for a coffee, or just people hanging out on a day off, a coworking space is often filled with serious entrepreneurs and digital nomads who have a like-minded approach to life, work, and money. They typically have various online businesses (blogs, vlogs, coding, freelance, etc.), which they built by adopting a lot of the principles I espouse. There’s a certain kinship there that can add value, inspiration, and synergy to one’s life and work.
There’s a coworking space here in Chiang Mai that I’ve been visiting almost daily. It’s called C.A.M.P. (Creative And Meeting Place).
The place is truly global inside. I’m surrounded by people all over the world.
I was just having a conversation the other day with a vlogger from Bulgaria, upon which time I introduced him to a local coffee club run by and for digital nomads and online entrepreneurs. We had a conversation about online work, geographical arbitrage, visas, and the beauty of living in Chiang Mai.
There’s a certain amount of happiness that one feels when they’re surrounded by like-minded people. Conversations can skip right past the whole explanation phase (you do what?) and get right into the meat of what it is to live this way. There’s a mutual understanding that has a lot of value. And there’s validation there that inspires you in a way that’s hard to describe.
And while coffee shops in America might offer a $5 large iced coffee or $7 cold sandwiches, C.A.M.P. offers an array of cheap and delicious food and drinks.
For example, a 20-ounce iced caramel macchiato costs $3.00 (all in). Pad Thai (which tastes amazing) costs around $2.70. So on and so forth.
These prices are admittedly a premium to what coffee or food costs elsewhere in Chiang Mai, but you’re also getting that premium experience/atmosphere. Plus, you’re getting the Wi-Fi: every 50 baht ($1.50) spent gets you two hours of Wi-Fi. This is a much better structure to what a lot of other coworking spaces offer, whereby there’s usually a rather expensive membership (daily, weekly, monthly) that one has to pay for in order to gain access to the space. C.A.M.P. is basically free, because I was going to buy food and/or coffee anyway.
There are coworking spaces all over Thailand. It’s a popular concept across the world, but it’s perhaps especially popular in SE Asia due to the number of digital nomads that come to this area to work online.
In fact, there’s even a coworking space literally right on the beach down in Koh Pha Ngan, called Beachub.
Coffee shops were my “happy place” in America. And to a large degree, they still are: I really enjoy the vast number of coffee shops that dot the streets pretty much everywhere over here in Chiang Mai. But I’d say an excellent coworking space is even more of a “happy place” for me.
I’m writing this very article from C.A.M.P. And I couldn’t be happier with my office. It has an amazing view. And I’m inspired by the like-minded people who surround me, doing their little part to live differently and, just maybe, change the world.
Ever been to a coworking space? Enjoy it?
Thanks for reading.