My house is perched on the top of a hill overlooking St. George’s Harbour, a body of water at the eastern end of Bermuda that’s surrounded by and dotted with little islands. There may be an actual term for what I see from my dining-room window – someone casually referred to Bermuda as an archipelago the other day, and that got me wondering what could have been if I hadn’t dropped high-school geography – but, either way, the view is gorgeous. I often sit and watch the clouds, darkening and moving toward me with a sudden downpour or, in the evening, turning a peachy red that reflects off the rippling water, like all the elements have met for an impromptu dance party.
When I need to focus, I find myself working at this table. Last year, after more than a decade working in the non-profit sector and a slew of side hustles – operating a small bookshop, tourism consulting, even voicing radio commercials – I became a full-time entrepreneur and expanded my shop into a larger space that also offers history tours and travel services around the island. Writing and emcee gigs round out my patchwork quilt of self-employment, and I’m obsessed with the gorgeous chaos of it all.
Although my shop is only a five-minute walk away, trying to get any deep-thinking work done there is virtually impossible. If someone sees my bicycle outside, they come in to say hello, which turns into chit-chat and maybe lunch and possibly an impromptu trip to Tobacco Bay and then a Swizzle – the sweet national drink that contains a copious amount of rum – which means very little gets checked off my to-do list. I tell myself that working in tourism means I need to “experience the island,” but that’s just a fabulous excuse for procrastination.
Instagram sometimes has me longing for a sunny desk decorated with a vase of monstera leaves, a Diptyque candle and perfectly manicured nails against a bamboo pen. After all, there’s so much advice out there that says if you work from home, you have to get dressed in the morning and make your way to a defined spot. But the freedom of not wearing a bra and letting my energy decide where I should work calls to me instead.
Sometimes I prop my legs up on the porch wall so the sun can find the soles of my feet, laptop balanced precariously on my thighs. Sometimes I follow my pup, Brandi, outside to feel the grass prickle my legs a bit, pick some cherries and lounge in the yard while answering emails on my phone. Sometimes I sit up in my bed because my husband installed one of those old-people remote controls that raises the mattress head, and even though I wasn’t a fan at first, it truly is a back-saving marvel.
I understand that there is value in creating a purposeful space that inspires – one of my friends, a fashion blogger, has transformed her spare bedroom into a walk-in-closet-slash-office, “the cloffice,” and it truly enthralls me – but with no two workdays ever being the same, my environment changes frequently, and I want to keep myself open to the possibilities of what each moment will bring.
So I make space to work on wobbly café tables, at my kitchen island, at a co-working office in the city and sometimes even in a hammock at the beach. (That only happened once, but it was truly the best day ever.)
I’ve stopped worrying that lacking a dedicated space might suggest that I’m lacking dedication; I’ve realized that I am able to make space for purpose in any of these unorthodox “offices.” And as I make big plans and dreams beyond this beloved tiny island, my hope is that the world makes space for me.
This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of ELLE Canada. Subscribe here.
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