Travel writer and founder of Nowhere Travel Stories, Porter Fox, spoke with Deskmag about his own experience traveling the world while using coworking spaces. In fact, Fox likes coworking so much he has recently launched his own space in New York City.
Deskmag: As a travel writer, you have to embrace uncertainties while on the road. In many ways this can benefit one's writing. What are some of the challenges you face as a writer while on the road?
Porter Fox: I would say that uncertainty is one of the most exciting parts of travel. There are always challenges…where to sleep, where to eat, where to work. You get out of your world and into a foreign one. It is great for your writing because it's always easier to describe something foreign rather than something familiar. It is much easier to describe a place you've never been than the house you grew up in.
DM: Before you set off on a trip, do you contact coworking spaces in your specific destination beforehand?
PF: I actually don't. I like to run into them as I go. I usually do so through friends, contacts, and strangers. Sometimes it is something informal; sometimes it's more structured. Predictability breeds tedium.
DM: As a professional travel writer what does a coworking space give you that a coffee shop can't?
PF: People go to coworking spaces to get things done. It's always good to be around folks who are productive. In a coffee shop people can be catching, listening to music, anything… folks in a workspace are there in order to accomplish something. In the same way, if there are people in the space who are not working, they can also affect your productivity. The best scenario is to be around folks whose work you admire.
DM: Do you have any specific examples of positive (or negative) experiences that you have had while coworking while traveling?
PF: I worked in one space with a wealthy guy who was in between jobs. He texted on his phone all day long, went out to a fancy lunch, came back and texted some more. His paintings were terrible, mostly because he never worked on them. He sat right behind me and it was like a giant black hole sucking creativity out of me.
DM: I would think that coworking might turn off some travel writers, because they might find it takes away from spontaneity. Do you agree with that?
PF: Not really, because when you are a travel writer your work is walking around through the country. You simply need a place to sit down, be quiet and write at the end of the day. They say they you forget 80% of most detail within 48 hours so you need to get it down quickly...
DM: Today, I think many find professional writing a daunting prospect. As things are changing drastically, I think people are afraid that journalism is no longer a lucrative field. Do you think that coworking can help aspiring bloggers and writers find a stable community, and ultimately succeed?
PF: It helps because it's not just a coworking space, but also a collaborative space. Like-minded people are typically brought together there and you can benefit from that. I've worked for several folks that I shared space with it always goes very well.
DM:Tell us bit about why you decided to open your own space?
PF: I've worked at coworking spaces in NYC for almost 15 years. I had a lot of ideas while I was working there so I decided to design exactly what I wanted. Outdoor workspace, garden plots, flex project space, kitchen/living room, event/teaching space, large communal area, wood-burning stove. It's going great...