Intern Profile: Grace Arel

Intern Profile: Grace Arel
My name is Grace Arel and I am a third-year undergraduate student studying abroad in Prague. My home university, Bethel University, is in St.  Paul Minnesota. This semester I am taking communication and history classes at Charles University as well as interning at Locus. During the few weeks I have been in Prague, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Czech culture. Prague is beautiful and I love the rhythm here. I look forward to getting to know the Locus community better this semester. Here’s a little info about me.
Hometown: Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, United States
Fun Fact about Hometown: There are 11,186 lakes in Minnesota, so its nickname is “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Being active and enjoying nature has always been an important part of my life.
Occupation: Intern / Student
Field of Study: Relational Communication, Digital Humanities, and Graphic Design

Why did you decide to study Communication, Digital Humanities, and Graphic Design?

After graduation, I want to work in the Museum field as an exhibition designer or curator. The fields of study I chose equip me with a wide range of skills. Relational Communication examines human behavior in a practical way, while Digital Humanities and Graphic Design give me important “hard” skills to take with me into the workforce. The combination of these fields gives me a variety of options to decide what I want to do with my career.

Why did you decide to intern at Locus?

During my first visit to Locus, I was impressed with the space and the atmosphere. The members seemed very friendly. I was excited to learn that community is one of Locus’ core values- creating relationships is part of the job description! All these factors made me excited to join the team here.

What are some of your goals for this internship?

My internship goals for the semester were to intern at a creatively-minded, cross-cultural, collaboration-based organization that provides me the opportunity to jump in and do hands on designing and event planning as well as practice intercultural communication. Locus gives me the opportunity to do all of the above.

What kind of responsibilities do you have as Digital Marketing Specialist?

As the Digital Marketing Specialist, I will be developing, implementing, and managing marketing campaigns, using web analytics to measure and optimize social media, working on updating the website as well as creating a promotional video for Locus.

Did you already have an idea of what a coworking space was before you joined Locus?

I have friends who I began coworking with this last fall. My friends and I found that we are more efficient and productive when we are surrounded others who are also focused on getting stuff done. When I heard that Locus was a whole workspace dedicated to coworking, I was excited to experience coworking on a larger scale in a cross-cultural setting.

What is a fun fact about you?
As a teenager, I lived in the Amazon jungle for a month teaching English.

Making Dreams Reality with NaNoWriMo

Making Dreams Reality with NaNoWriMo

by Beth Green

Today is Halloween, so it’s an appropriate day to ask: What are you afraid of? What specific dread creeps up on you in the dark, when you’re alone?

Many Locus members, I suspect, share one of my fears: The fear of leaving a dream unrealized.

That one project you’ve always wanted to dive into; a pool of potential that only you recognize. Whether that’s a side business you know would be a hit, a spec project that could have real damn legs if only you could take the time to tinker with it, or a creative oeuvre no one is paying for (yet) but you just know deserves to be made real.

A few months ago, Locus Workspace owner Will Bennis sent out a survey asking us about these types of projects. As he called them, “the ones that stay in your mind for years.”  Exactly half of the respondents confessed that they had nurtured a project idea for years that they had not yet managed to complete.

It is for this half of the population that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was created. And is this group within Locus Workspace that I would like to invite to the NaNoWriMo Write-Ins that I’ll be hosting on November 4th and 25th in the big conference room. (OK, I lied. All Locus members are invited!)

What is NaNoWriMo?

In case you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, a quick explanation: It’s a 30-day event, held in November, in which participants challenge themselves to write the first, hilariously messy draft of a 50,000-word novel. In other words, it’s an opportunity and a blueprint for setting aside time to get one of these big projects out of your head and into the real world.

For most NaNoWriMo participants, this is a novel, but NaNoRebels may choose to write a series of poems, or essays, or work on a thesis, or storyboard an indie film, or whatever their beautiful, messy minds come up with. In the past 15 years, I’ve personally used NaNoWriMo for momentum to edit existing drafts and do a series of travel memoir essays in addition to novel first drafts.

Now do every one of the projects that the estimated 400,000 participants (last year’s numbers) take on turn into a masterpiece? Maybe not. But many do. NaNoWriMo projects that ended up as published novels include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (later a movie), The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Wool by Hugh Howey.

Much like you might join the gym to help you get ready to run a marathon, or take salsa lessons to make sure that you don’t embarrass yourself at your cousin’s wedding next year, or any other kind of small incremental goal that leads up to something more significant, NaNoWriMo encourages you to think of novel writing as something that you practice a little bit each day to work towards one giant goal.

And that’s a takeaway for all of us.

OK, What’s a Write-in?

Though the NaNoWriMo founders maintained that everyone could write a novel with just the scraps of free time that we have when waiting for the tram, for rice to boil, for the conference call to be over, most of us find it helpful during the month to set aside longer chunks of time to write.

At the write-ins on Nov. 4 and 25, we’ll have a quiet, welcoming space (and coffee and donuts! And official NaNoWriMo swag!) for anyone who wants to come and work on their writing project. Often, we use Pomodoro sessions to help focus, and sometimes we set group goals or talk over plot problems. (For more info, check out my blog post from last year’s write-ins)

You are welcome to come to our write-ins, even if you’re not participating in the full NaNoWriMo event. The more, the merrier!

Happy writing!

RSVP links

Sun, Nov. 4th, 10:00-4:30
Sun, Nov. 25th, 10:00-4:30
http://meetu.ps/c/LTHg/jl88s/f

Other Opportunities to Write at Locus

Interested in other opportunities to work on a big project with the moral support of other writers? The Prague Writers’ group holds weekly critique-free writing sessions on Saturdays at Locus. Learn more at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/263394070348958/

Member Profile: Cory Benson

Member Profile: Cory Benson

Check out Cory’s website: bikerumor.com

Where are you from?
I am from a small city near Washington, D.C. called Frederick, Maryland. It’s the first city outside
Washington, D.C. that’s not a suburb.
What’s a fun or interesting fact about where you’re from?
The region is very closely tied to Chesapeake Bay and seafood and it’s basically the only thing I miss from growing up: fresh crabs, oysters…

What do you do?
I am a cycling journalist. I report on new bikes, test them, and travel around Europe riding and reporting about new bikes.

What are you currently working on that you’re most excited about?
I am looking forward to riding in new places with friends I meet a few times a year. The next project is called “Rapha Prestige Bohemia” and is a team competition along the German/Czech border. The region is called “Saxon Switzerland” [on the German side] and across the border [on the Czech side] it’s “Bohemian Switzerland”.

Why did you choose to work from Prague?
I married a Czech woman in the USA, it was a good opportunity to return to Czech Republic.
It’s good to work in a lower stress environment. Having kids and raising them is easier and more
relaxed here.
 
Why did you choose to work from a coworking space?
I am not productive at home. I need peer pressure to be motivated. I also needed a place to bring
professional meetings. When I started to work in Locus I had a very different job, I was an architect so
I needed a more professional environment both to attract and maintain developer client relationships.
 
Why did you choose Locus in particular?
The location was a big deal. I started in the former Locus location and I really needed a professional environment and it worked well for the needs I had at that time.
What describes the kind of location-independent work you do?
I work for a company based in the US and I manage a group of remote freelancers in Europe. I am a remote manager. I am definitely based in Prague but I travel out of Prague 30 or 40 times a year both for work and for fun.
Before you joined a coworking space, what were the biggest challenges of doing that kind of work?
One is trying to strike a balance between work and play. Traveling is tiring, I need to recover but don’t
have time for it. Work traveling can be very entertaining but time consuming. Before joining a coworking
space, the biggest challenge was separating the work and play: riding a bike for fun or riding a bike as a job.
 
How have you overcome those challenges?
By separating work and home physically. Commuting to the office by bike gives me the chance to move
away from the home life and be ready for the work day.
 
What is the main benefit you’ve gotten working from Locus (not already mentioned above)?
Having a place that is reliable. Here, I don’t have to worry about it when I come back from traveling
or from the weekend. I can just come to Locus, sit down, and start working.
What’s the best thing about living and working in Prague from the perspective of being a location-independent professional?
It’s a city which is central in Europe and it’s really easy to drive to the Alps or Belgium. The airport is
good and it takes me few hours by plane to go anywhere in Europe, which is good for my work. I can
get on my bike and be completely out of the city within half an hour, Prague ends relatively quickly.
 
Any other interesting projects you’re working on that you haven’t mentioned already?
I have an upcoming trip to Mallorca, then a road trip to Switzerland, then I’ll be in Tenerife in November.
These are all work trips.
 
What is a fun fact about you?
I don’t have only one job: I was a stonemason first, now I am a journalist, I am also a licensed architect. I was the first green building LEED accredited professional in the Czech Republic and I teach building technologies at International Architecture University in Prague.

FOCUS on Digital Nomads: Kevin Ohashi

FOCUS on Digital Nomads: Kevin Ohashi

Check out Kevin’s website: reviewsignal.com

Name: Kevin Ohashi

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Academic background: Bachelor degree in Economis, minor in computer science.
2 Master’s degrees in Entrepreneurship and International Marketing and Brand management.
 
Without talking about work, tell us a bit about who you are and what you value.
I’m an introvert but everybody thinks I’m an extrovert. I’m the kind of guy who plays video games in the coworking space.

What do you do that allows you to be location independent?
I run a company called “Review Signal” which does web posting reviews based on analyzing social media posts. I also do consulting. I have worked with individuals up to big companies solving a variety of problems related to big data, web marketing or software development.

How would you say that being location independent has changed your life?
I don’t think it has changed my life. I feel like travelling has always been a part of my life. My family worked in international development and they traveled around my entire life so travelling is in my DNA. I started my first location-independent business at the age of 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Travelling has always been my life.

How many countries have you visited and which one did you prefer?
I have visited 44 countries. I spent more time in Thailand than anywhere else because I like it there. I was raised with Thai housekeepers in the family, one of whom has been longer in the family than my little brother and sister! I grew up with the food, the culture, and I have been there many times.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced living a nomadic lifestyle?
The biggest challenge is the routine. Every time you are in a new city, you have no pattern and finding discipline and routine can be difficult. And also having “normal” relationships with friends, I mean both maintaining existing friendships and making new ones.

What advice would you give someone who wants to run their own business and travel often?
I see a lot of young people who want to live remotely with little experience and connections or network and it’s difficult to build those when travelling. Especially when going from high-paying countries to cheap or poor ones. It’s better to know when you’re going to make your money from before you leave. I think missing out on that local experience and connections can be harmful in the long run. Some places are much better than others to make business, like Europe.

Why did you choose Locus Workspace to work when you first came to Prague?
I first came to Locus in 2016, I was living nearby. I was looking for a coworking space so I decided to check it out and had a free day.

Why do you think Locus Workspace is a good place for digital nomads?
Prague in general is a nice city for digital nomads. I like it for the community aspect, I get to meet people and hang out. Meeting people and making friends is the most difficult part so this coworking space facilitates creating a community and getting people included in that community.

What is the best thing about working and living in Prague from a digital nomad’s point of view?
The cheaper cost of living and Prague is a beautiful, small and easy city. It does not take more than 20 minutes to go anywhere. I also like all the weird bars and enjoy the lack of fashion which feels very liberating!

Imagine that you had one month to travel anywhere in the world (money not being an issue), where would you go and why?
That’s the question I ask myself every day! I definitely want to go scuba diving in the Galapagos.

What is a fun fact about you?
I was once bitten in the butt by a tiger. I won’t give any further information!

Prague as a digital nomad destination

Prague as a digital nomad destination
“Prague Castle, a castle complex in Prague, Czech republic” in travelercorner.com

The first question is: “What makes a great digital nomad destination?”

There are some characteristics that make a destination ideal for digital nomads and their lifestyle. Here is a list of some of the most important characteristics: affordable cost of living, high-speed and secure Internet connection, a community of other digital nomads, good places to work from, good living conditions (safety, freedom of speech, tolerance, etc.). 
 
For several years, Southeast Asian cities (Chiang Mai, Bali, Ho Chi Minh City…) have been very popular among digital nomads and seem to be ideal places for their nomadic lifestyle. But EU cities are gaining ground, especially Central European cities such as Prague and Budapest.
“How to travel as a digital nomad” in retireby45.com

Now let’s explore the reasons why Prague has been a hotspot for digital nomads

  • A global phenomenon

Digital nomadism is exploding around the world. Prague has been one of the popular spots since the beginning and has benefitted from the global growth of this phenomenon.

  • Affordable cost of living
Prague is one of the most affordable cities in Europe and it’s a big reason why location-independent professionals make it a hub. According to the website Expatistan.com the cost of living there is around 50% cheaper than in Paris and 34% cheaper than in Berlin. In some restaurants or pubs, beer is even cheaper than water!
  • Architecture and History
“Food tour in the Czech Republic, Prague” in tourily.com

Prague is in the heart of Europe and many people say it is the most beautiful city in Europe!

  • High-quality infrastructure

You will find very modern infrastructure next to very old buildings and bridges, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice work efficiency or quality of life for your taste of history.

  • Great geographical location

Prague is in the heart of Europe. The country is surrounded by Austria, Slovakia, Poland and Germany, with almost the same distance from the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. Thus it’s quite easy to travel Europe with Prague as a base.

  • English speakers abound

Many Czechs (especially the younger ones) speak English well, making it an easy city to navigate if you don’t speak the local language (Czech!). You can also meet other foreigners and travelers. There are many of them! (Vinohrady is one of the neighborhoods favored by English-speaking expats).

Locus Workspace
  • Good places for productive work
Depending on your preferences, you can work either from lovely cafés or modern coworking spaces. Locus Workspaces is one of the favorites for digital nomads as we are an English-language space with members from nearly 30 countries. But there are many great cafés and coworking spaces in Prague that help make it a great spot for location-independent professionals.
  • Vibrant (night) life
Lots of events are taking place every day in Prague: concerts, festivals, markets, exhibitions… At night, the city centre in even more bustling due to the huge number of bars and clubs. Prague is a great European city for living it up.
“Prague Farmers’ markts and Flea-markets” in prague.eu – “Cross Club, nighlife in Prague” in likealocalguide.com
Prague is currently ranked as the 7th best cities in the world for digital nomads, according to Nomadlist.com, the premier web-portal for digital nomads (though this number changes daily). Check out the whole report about Prague here.