Finding the Freelance Hub – great for the solo traveler.
As a freelance writer, I probably know better than some solo travelers how to find a warm, convivial atmosphere in a new city.
When I arrive in a new town I look for the freelance hubs. I look for independent coffee shops that are used as alternative offices. These are places of community. They have a good vibe. The don’t rush customers out the door and they usually have free wifi. They are great places to catch up with friends at home online and to meet new friends while on the road.
I found a few such freelance hubs on my recent solo travels around Lake Ontario.
Who’s Miss Lily? She’s the overweight cat who lives in the book story attached to the coffee shop.
Miss Lily’s is a cafe on the main street of Picton, Ontario. It has great food, free wifi, no pressure about how long you stay (I was there from about 8:30am to 1:30pm) and free parking out back. Picton is a small town in a largely rural community that boasts wineries, organic farms and a vibrant arts community. Miss Lily’s is not just a hub for freelancers but for the outlying community as a whole.
Kingston – a Workers’ Cooperative that Works for Freelancers
On Princess Street, Kingston’s main drag, I tripped over the freelancers’ hub. One look at the sign and I knew what it was. Inside there were lots of people, vibrant discussions and lap tops open for work. The food looked great but I couldn’t stay as I was heading out to cycle Wolfe’s Island.
I misinterpreted the meaning of the Sleepless Goat’s sign at first. I thought it was about the freelancers working inside – then I got the history. About a decade after establishing the Sleepless Goat, the owner wanted out. Rather than lose their jobs, the people working there bought the business and have been running it on a cooperative basis ever since.
Java’s Cafe in Rochester
Located in downtown Rochester across from the Eastman School of Music is Java’s Cafe, a buzzing coffee shop for students, artists and freelancers.
While I was locking my bike outside Java’s I met Herb who teaches trumpet at the music school and plays in the Rochester Philharmonic. He joined me inside and gave me the scoop on where to cycle in Rochester. Not the best city for cycling but not the worst either.
What about Toronto?
When at home, I head out to local hubs at least a couple of times a week. My two faves are the Remarkable Bean in the Beach and the Tango Palace in Leslieville.