Being a freelancer can be isolating. Being a mobile freelancer, who’s generally never in one place more than a week, can become a sort of solitary confinement. Getting out in the world helps a lot, so I frequently do my work over a cup of coffee (or tea) at a place with free Wi-Fi. Starbucks and McDonald’s are always reliable options. The hustle and bustle is energizing, and catching snippets of conversation makes you feel a bit like you’re in on the office gossip. But their homogeny strips a town of its uniqueness.
Our stays are so short that I don’t have much of an opportunity to get the flavor of the communities we’re in. So I seek out local coffee shops as much as possible. At these small businesses, it will likely be the owner that’s taking your order and handing over your latte. Patronizing these kinds of places means my dollars are helping that community thrive while I’m getting my work done. The other customers and their conversation, sometimes their accents, gives me a sense of the character of the area.
Even the coffee selections are representative, like the Maple Latte at Black Cap Coffee in Stowe, Vermont. The steamy drink is made with real Vermont maple syrup along with espresso and milk, and it’s delicious. So is the broccoli and cheese quiche – with the most broccoli and the least cheese I’ve had yet – and the spicy black bean soup. Working at Black Cap was one of my favorite parts of our visit to Vermont, and I’m looking forward to finding other local treasures like it as we continue on our motorhoming escapade.