The Adventure Office Reveals an Awesome, Inspiring World

In explore, work by lauranoll Comments

Wrapping up the first 365 days of full-time self employment, I’ve been doing plenty of thinking about the changes I’ve seen in the last year. One of my favorites is the physical evolution of where I work.

Since 2005, I’d been sitting at desks in crammed offices and dark cube spaces. Just out of college, I had decided that it was perfectly fine if I had to “pay my dues” at the center of the office for a few years to slowly earn seniority and a desk closer to the sunlight. But, with a few job hops, that never quite happened as expected. I was sentenced to the lands of beige – even lucked into a few open concepts here and there – but ultimately, found overwhelming joy in the seclusion of my headphones. Generally, it was all pretty uninspiring and certainly took its toll on the quality of my work and the happiness factor that accompanied it.

Leaving the corporate world immediately opened up one wild question. The first thing everyone would ask: where do you work?

Early on, I was working from the sofa in my living room. To be perfectly honest, when I can’t sleep or am feeling super productive, this is still where a lot of the nerdy magic happens.

Yet, within a few days of leaving my desk job, I was hopping on a flight to Italy. That leap alone dramatically changed the face of what I was doing. I worked from my friends’ dining room tables, took calls from the docks of Torcello, wrapped up deadlines from a cliff overlooking the Amalfi Coast, interviewed new clients from an apartment in Sorrento, listened to cheers from the Vatican while working from a desk in my flat in Rome. My trusty laptop tagged along in my all-time favorite travel bag while slipping out to wrap up work in a London coffee shop, airport or train.

Back in the states, it stowed away for long road trips, weekend trips and quick drives to visit family. I worked from the back of my grandparents’ truck while driving between national parks. I’d check in with clients over hotel waffles each morning and wrap up deadlines in the evenings before heading to bed. I developed websites with nothing but a cell phone hotspot to keep me sane. I tackled client emergencies from my hotel in Nashville and lead brainstorming video conferences from Branson.

I hauled everything with me for a week with friends and clients in Brooklyn. I wrapped photo shoots, worked in more coffee shops, finished projects over salad, laughed while we tackled late-night deadlines at the kitchen table and soaked up an amazing coworking space – all while enjoying the city. And when I got word that my newborn nephew was about to arrive – everything was stashed in the bag and I was on a plane back to Kansas in a flash.

And, when I’m home? Those early days included a lot of coffee shops. Sometimes, they still do – mostly for the change of pace. But, more often than not, I “go into the office” just like everyone else.

It wasn’t long after wrapping up last summer’s travels that I happened into some space with a wonderful crew at the heart of KC. I’m so fortunate to have amazing friends and clients – who are basically family – sitting next to me through this wild ride. Even while working for myself and, often, by myself – I spend every day surrounded by fantastically talented people that are changing their industry. I’m humbled to get to help them. I could not be more lucky to spend my days brainstorming around whiteboards, making lunch runs or celebrating launches with an early happy hour while doing tons of what I’ve always dreamed of doing in my career.

It’s all still a bit “pinch me.” When I made the leap, I told several friends that “this decision is so much cooler than I am.” It’s still so true. Looking back on the year – looking back on my desks – I’m in awe.

Let’s do it again.

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