For my first foray into location independent work, I chose to join a meetup group by the name of ‘Codino’ (COmmunity of Digital NOmads) who had planned 6 days of coworking in Fuerteventura. With plans to explore coliving/coworking locations over the coming 12 months the trip to ‘Hub Fuerteventura - Hub & Hackspace’ seemed like a great place to start. Fuerteventura—complete with Sun, sand, and surf—was promising that opportunity, so I headed off for a six day sample of the location independence lifestyle.
The start of the journey was slightly stressful because of the Southern Rail strike has led to chaos, confusion, and immensely frustrating delays for myself and thousands of other commuters. It doesn't feel like the most auspicious start to the journey, as the stress of uncertainty about making the flight is something I could do without.
Having arrived at Gatwick in just the nick of time and slept through the four hour flight, stepping out of the plane into the sunshine at Fuerteventura, all that stress and worry just melts away instantly. Feeling immensely optimistic, I can't wait to arrive at the Hub Fuerteventura, which is where I'll be working and staying in Fuerteventura for the next six days.
It's really easy to find a direct bus to Corralejo, which is where the 'Hub' is located. The journey from the airport takes 45 minutes, and I'm treated to glorious coastal sunset views; such a contrast to my train journey to Gatwick airport just a few hours earlier.
Stepping out of the bus, I find the wind has picked up a bit and I head towards the 'Hub' where I am due to meet Sebastian who owns the coworking/coliving space. Entering the coworking space for the first time very much felt like walking into the classroom on your first day of school. I'm met by Sebastian, who introduces me to the others working at the coworking space for the moment and the desk allocation. Sebastian was extremely friendly and I was made to feel like I was an old friend coming over to stay for a few days.
Pleasantries out the way Sebastian then shows me the coliving accommodation which is a short walk away. There is no WiFi connection in the private room, which is a bit surprising at first, but the logic behind it is to encourage you to mingle in the spacious living room and chill out area spread over two floors.
Everyone is very friendly and accommodating, though it's my first time working with such an international team, which includes German, Dutch, Austrian, and Spanish nationals. One of those I met was Jon, who works at a coworking space in Javea called ‘Sun and Co’, and is also attending the Codino cowork event 'Mastermind'.
Once everyone has arrived from the Codino Meetup we spend the next few hours a very short walk down the road at a great little Argentinian restaurant (Zoko) getting to know each other better in preparation for our first full days work at the 'Hub'. It was great getting to know everyone, and I feel that this is going to be a positive experience.
This is it: the acid test. Today is the day I find out whether my productivity is increased or decreased by the fact of working in a great location with my new associates, would it be possible to get to distracted and enjoy the Spanish sun too much?
The 'Hub' is a spacious, clean, bright working space, where there's a certain vibe of energy that's hard to describe, but simply being there makes you feel focused and productive. I can work my way through the items on my "to do list" one-by-one, taking short breaks every now and then to walk along the edge of the sea and sneak another Empanada from the Argentine up the road.
It's so far from a normal work day, and yet I can get through the same amount of work in one day that would normally take me two or three days at home. The hub has a lot of energy, with people coming and going as they please, but it's not a distraction. The positivity is contagious.
After a long day's work, the Codino group headed out to experience some Spanish culture and settled into a nearby restaurant to watch Barca vs Bilbao. It's a Traditional Spanish restaurant with the old boys at the bar drinking their canas and watching the football. As Fuerteventura is an island part of the Canaries, there is an abundance of fish shown outside every restaurant and is a great way to work and experience the Spanish lifestyle.
With solid progress made on my first day working in the 'Hub' I looked forward to the second day and really cracking on with the many tasks on hand. Again a steady flow of people visit and take their space at a desk to get some work done. On day Three, Theo had scheduled for the ‘Mastermind’ session to begin for the Codino group and I looked forward to experiencing this.
It is a great concept, and how it works is like this: Each person in the group has 15 minutes dedicated to discussion of a particular problem they may be dealing with, and others in the group can offer suggestions, advice, or anecdotes from personal experience that they think could be helpful in solving the problem. It's a great way to gain perspective from a different angle as it is all to common to seek advice from family members or friends and their advice is not always the most ‘honest’.
During this session is was great to learn about Luis, a fellow developer based in Barcelona and similar issues which we both encounter within the web design and marketing industry.
The ‘Mastermind’ experience was extremely productive and it was great to hear people’s different concepts and the different stages they are in, in life and business.
Day Four in Fuerteventura and the 'Hub' and I am feeling positive for the day ahead with my added productivity in tow. One thing I've noticed is that lunch feels more relaxing in this environment, because the time spent working is so much more efficient. Back home, lunch is usually rushed, because there's a feeling of pressure and not having enough time. Here everything works at a different pace, but the productivity has been higher as a result.
Saturdays are always a lot calmer when working due to most clients not working over the weekend. This normally provides ample time to concentrate on personal projects. Having this luxury of extra time, I could concentrate on the two new concepts for ‘Cude Design’ which we hope to launch in the coming months.
Day Six: Day of Rest
I'd had such a productive week, I found myself way ahead of schedule and decided to give myself a day off for Sunday. I spend a lazy morning on the sand dunes of Corralejo watching the kite surfers, and get my thoughts in order for returning to London.
Setting off for the experience I had no real expectations other than hoping to be tested. I had no nerves upon leaving for Fuerteventura, but once I arrived I did become nervous, having to socialise with people I'd never met before, it very much felt like the first few days of school. This took me out of my comfort zone, but the feeling soon passed once it was clear how accepting and friendly everyone was.
While working in the hub I was extremely efficient and worked my way through my to-do list in methodical fashion. The efficiency of the workflow allowed more time to have breaks throughout the day. This made me calmer, able to work smarter, and remain focused throughout. I would say it is an intelligent way of working.
I met some really good people and it was great to hear how they manage their business and work life. Overall it was a valuable experience and I am looking forward to experiencing new co-living/co-working experiences in the coming months.
Want to try working smarter, not harder? Visit Hub Fuerteventura: Coworking & Hackspace!
Best places to eatRestaurant Baifo
Jon - Sun and Co: Sun and Co. is the first coliving and coworking community in the whole Mediterranean Coast. A place for freelancers, entrepreneurs, location independent workers, digital nomads and anyone looking for a great work and leisure balance. Sun and Co. is formed by like-minded people sharing living and working space, ideas and fun.
Theo - codino.co: I am Theodor Berghausen and set up a community for digital nomads in Barcelona. Besides of organizing meetups, workshops and events in town, we also go on so called workations where we combine focused work and lots of productivity in the mornings with spending a good time in the afternoons. This time we came to Fuerteventura to discover the island, enjoy the mild winter sun, do lots of actvivites together with like minded freelancers and entrepreneurs. Hope to see you soon on one of our next workations or in Barcelona! more info about our community on www.codino.co
Luis - luiszarza.com: I help companies grow and expand their businesses on the Internet. If you got a digital challenge? I guarantee you a solution or your money back. No BS. I am a WordPress developer, but with a great marketing mindset.