I’ll keep on going to cafes

A lot of people, as you might have noticed, like to go to a cafe to work. Writers, artists, students, bloggers… even businessmen. Almost everyone loves going to a cafe to work. People have also expressed why they like working in a cafe instead in home (favorite reasons: here & here).

I’m going to agree. I like going to a cafe to work.

When I was a student in Madrid, Spain, one of my favorite things to do was cafe-hopping. After class, I like to stroll around the Malasaña district (not only that district, but mainly Malasaña) to look at cafes.

First thing I’d look at was the cafe design. The entrance of the cafe must look nice to be able to catch my attention. It has to have something unique or, at the very least, good typography. Then, I continue to look at the menu and see if it’s around my budget. If the price & food offered seems good, then we’re all good to go.

I’d usually pick a table with only 2 chairs (preferably by the window) & I’d order a café con leche or a can of Coke with whatever dessert they offer that looks good. Then, I’d take out my sketchbook & start to sketch ideas.

My favorite cafes in Madrid:

In Jakarta, Indonesia, I go to cafes less than I did in Madrid because I was unemployed so I preferred not to splurge too much money on coffee shops. At that time, I would rather sit home & go through job listings to find a job.

However, I did go on a few dates to different cafes &, as in Madrid, I would sometimes just take out my sketchbook & start to draw. Unlike in Madrid, going to cafes in Jakarta was purely for drinking & eating, instead of working.

My favorite cafes in Jakarta:

When I got accepted to work as an aircraft interior designer in Bandung, Indonesia, I got to live alone & earn my own wage. I wasn’t the only person who didn’t come from Bandung, so naturally I searched for a friend who also liked hanging out & trying out new places.

As I finish work around 5 PM, it was natural that if I went out, I would have to return to my place quite late, at least around 8 to 9 PM. As a girl, I guess those weren’t safe hours, so I naturally needed to have my own ride. Luckily, my friend has a bike & both of us would go cafe-hopping. Along the way, I met more friends who also loved cafe-hopping.

Most of the times, I went cafe-hopping to try out the food & ambiance. But, as I recently started out a greeting card business, I needed a place where I can brainstorm & sketch out my ideas to be turned into stationery. This pushed me to find more comfortable cafes, instead of trying out new cafes that always seem to pop up around Bandung.

In the end, I now go to cafes (not restaurants, mind you) to work rather than to eat. I’d eat a light dinner home before heading out. It suits me better because in the cafe, I’d be able to work without being distracted to eat.

My favorite cafes in Bandung:

So, why will I keep on going to cafes? Why do I like going to cafes to work?

You see, the ambiance that a cafe serves is what I look for in a space to work. I like to work in a place where there are enough people but not too much. I’d rather sit alone & have strangers all around me, working or chatting (not too loud, please). That type of environment gives me the energy, passion, & urge to continue to work instead of to procrastinate.

In a good cafe, where it isn’t too crowded, the interior design is nice, the music played is nice, & the crowd is okay, I tend to be able to concentrate more. The existence of strangers around me push me to work, because, as I’m an anxious person, I always have this in mind: “When they look/glance at me, will they see a girl browsing Facebook or a girl working with her creative mind?”.

Opinions matter a lot to me, though I usually ignore negative opinions spoken out loud, so it matters a lot to me that they see me as a creative working instead of a girl with no activity just browsing around the internet.

Besides, good coffee shops provide drinks that are way better than the drinks I have home. If I feel like having an ice blended mocha, then I can order one. If I feel like having a nice warm cup of tea, then I can order one.

(that’s why the pricelist matters. I can’t just go crashing into a cafe, sit down, open my sketchbooks, & start working; only to order a drink & find out that it’s expensive, upon paying)

I don’t think it’s a myth that people tend to focus more in cafes. The ambiance provides the best atmosphere to work in. You know, good drinks, good food, warm lighting, an active crowd (that’s not too loud), & your own space (table) where you can work silently with no one bothering you.

Now, I feel like having a mocha frappe.

But I’m home, hahaha!

-Sandra

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