I’m a writer. There are things I do, like managing a clients social media marketing, that divert my attention to others, but for the most part, the work I do is my own.
I use my computer, several hundred Moleskins and counting, and the electricity, internet connection and websites I write for. Though I don’t need the level of internet speed and bandwidth that Jon needs, I still need to hook into the the digital online world daily.
For us, travel is always dictated by desire to visit the country, affordability and of course… is that country wired for our needs in a way that we can access it easily.
Cuba is NOT wired for our needs, and accessing internet can be a bit challenging if you’re not near or staying at a major hotel. It’s also running about $2-$4 CUC which translates into $2-$4 USD per hour. It’s affordable if you need to be online for an hour, not affordable if you need to be online for quite a few more each day.
Being a digital nomad in Cuba isn’t convenient unless you have found yourself some sort of hook up that bypasses having to pay for each block of time you used. Working online all day long can get crazy costly, and inconvenient in that it’s the high end hotels that provide this service, which is another high expense.
For me, as a writer, it’s a bit easier. I can limit my time online, write from wherever I’m staying and upload content to the internet in the set aside time I find for logging on.
With that said, I need to also point out that not all writers are tied to loading their work onto the internet. If you’re an author and writing books that don’t need to be sent digitally anywhere until it’s time to send a draft to an editor, Cuba’s lack of internet connection shouldn’t be a problem and can help limit distractions.
But here’s what I look for in a place to live for a while while Jon and I are being the Digital Nomads we are:
1. Cafes with good coffee. The truth is, that even though I work hard at finding places to stay through AirBnB that have fully set up kitchens and lovely comfortable spaces to lounge in all day, I really love sitting in cafes and drinking really good coffee. Since I was a little girl, this was one of the cultural necessities of a writer’s life. The comfort of a good chair, lovely table, ideally with a lone but pretty flower in a glass jar, and copious amounts of Cappuccino served throughout the day, all while sitting near the soft light of a window? THIS is the necessity of a good afternoon’s worth of writing.
2. That Cafe needs to have free and reasonably fast Wifi, or Weefee as it is pronounced in latin countries. I don’t need to be on the internet when writing, but if I’m working on one of my websites, I need it. And these days, I’m working and publishing content daily. I need to be wired in.
3. A home base where I can sit at home in PJs, write all day and feed myself when I remember to eat, by cooking something in a fully stocked kitchen. This has nothing to do with Technology, but in a way it does. I find places like this to live in through AirBnB. And though Cuba has started to really take to the AirBnB experience, it’s a bit sketchy booking places that not only don’t have reviews yet, but also require several extra steps to actually pay for because Cuba still isn’t set up to take American Bank based credit cards.
With all that said, the intention of going to Cuba was actually to take advantage of the fact that we wouldn’t really be able to use the internet as much as we normally do. This was suppose to be our honeymoon, and as such, we wanted to spend time together and enjoying the country and time with family.
However, because part of this lifestyle and sharing it with you all here focuses on how to live this kind of life, I need to say this. Cuba is definitely a place where you can hole up and write a novel or even write for online publications. It is not for the highly internet and high bandwidth use dependent. But there is a romance to it all… living in a colonial building, going down the street to have your morning cafecito before writing for the day is absolutely possible.
If you are an American, there may be issues with doing this, because you cannot simply go to Cuba to hang out for an indeterminate amount of time. You must fit into the 12 visa categories that are still in affect. You can read about that here. However, if you’re from other countries with no issues with travel into Cuba, it can be a lovely experience.
If you’re a writer and also a digital nomad, let me know what you look for in a place where you can work. I’d love to hear from you all.