San Francisco I’m leaving you and become a digital nomad. My 1st Nomadic Trip: Co-living and Co-working in LA.
After all the preparation, now it was the moment of truth for become a digital nomad. I woke up from my place in San Francisco one last time, returned my keys to the leasing office and headed to my office in the morning. I ate breakfast there, was working for a couple hours, said goodbye to my colleagues, and went straight to SFO.
I had been tired from the final preparation that led to this day. I knew I had overpacked my stuff because my shoulders were sort of hurt. A lot of thoughts came through my head, playing out different scenarios like I was trying to live in a parallel universe. It was the first time I no longer had a physical home-base, but I always identified myself as being from San Francisco. I felt a sense of freedom and worries. Anyway, there was no turning back. My journey was ahead of me.
Finally, I arrived at my first destination.
Co-living: PodShare at Hollywood
I landed at LAX later that evening. I checked in and was staying at PodShare (http://podshare.co/) in Hollywood area for six days. It is a co-living and co-working space. Basically, it is a dedicated co-working space with beds for staying overnight or think of it as a hostel with a working space. Its location is central and closed to public transportation (MetroRail Hollywood/Vine station is just 2 blocks away) and it’s walkable to pretty much everything I’d like to see in Hollywood.
Why Co-Living Space?
While co-living is not a prerequisite for become a digital nomad, learning how to co-live with others would definitely help cutting down a nomadic living cost — shared room is usually cheaper and it definitely provides opportunities for getting to know and interact with new people.
Most people I’ve shared the space with at this place, both co-living and co-working, were nice and considerate. There was a split of half locals and half tourists. I met people from Australia, Germany, Spain, New York, Colorado, and Los Angeles.
Secure my belongings
Podshare has lockers for store belongings (bring your own lock). This gave me a piece of mind. However, it wouldn’t fit my big backpack. Therefore, I had to take some of my stuff out from my backpack and place them on my loft’s bed so I could fit it in the locker. Although there is a staff staying at PodShare most of the time, my rule of thumb is all the bags in a plain sight need to be secured by a lock. Therefore, I’d suggest lock every thing up.
Safety in the area
Podshare’s located in Cosmo street, which is a small alley. It’s next to a valet parking and the back of clubs and bars. The alley certainly did not look pretty. Its entrance is usually locked down after 11pm and you’ll need to an access code to get in. I do not suggest exploring area or walk alone after 11pm during weekdays when there is no tourist or bar activity going on. Other than that, the area is usually safe.
Living in any city will surely encounter noise and it is challenging to stay asleep. I am usually ok with an outside noise (i.e. cars muffler, train, street traffic) because at least I can wear a pair of ear plugs. I’d suggest having at least two to three pairs with you just in case. The worst and most disruptive noise at late night I couldn’t stand is usually caused by people within or less than ten feet away. While I was living at Podshare, there was only one incident of that on my last day of staying. One guy woke up in the middle of the night, around to 1am, talked on a phone very loud like he was the only one for hours. Basically, that ruined everyone’s sleep (people tried to give him a clue and gesture) but he wasn’t budged. I had to get up from a bed and asked him politely to quiet down. I guess some people just did not have any sense of common courtesy.
Time to work! Co-working space
Podshare comes with a working space: desk, chair, outlet, internet and an external monitor. I’ve spent most of my weekdays working there. It was mostly peaceful and I was able to focus and get my works done.
I’ve also explored other places that I could possibly work if somehow the current environment becomes not workable.
- Santa Monica public library. It’s located within a walking distance to downtown Santa Monica MetroRail station. It’s located on 6th and Santa Monica Blvd. It is very quiet and you can ask for or reserve a study-room or conference room if you need to do a video conference call.
- Hollywood Highland plaza area. Top floor of Dolby theatre has tables and chairs where you can sit and work plus enjoying scenery of tourists taking selfie and photos on Hollywood walk of fame. However, Wifi Internet may not be available. If you have your own hotspot device, this would do the trick.
- Starbucks or coffee shops along Hollywood Blvd. This would do the trick, but not my personal preference.
Keep It Routine!
I was keeping everything as a routine during my working days.
Here is my weekday was usually like:
- 8am Woke up and took a shower before everyone else.
- 9am Waited for staff to pack up all beds and set up working space and had a breakfast. Short walk in the area.
- 10am Setup my working laptop with the provided external monitor and got myself online.
- 11am I had a brief video conference (SCRUM) meeting and started working.
- 12pm Lunch. I usually walked to PopEyes or just grabbed a microwave-able food from Walgreen or CVS nearby and ate there.
- 1pm to 6pm Continued working.
- 7pm Wrapped up work, wrote down what I finished and what need to be done the next day, put my working laptop and equipment back to the locker.
- 7.30pm Walked along Hollywood Blvd to Hollywood/Highland and had a dinner somewhere along the way (i.e. food truck, McDonald, PopEyes, local restaurants, and etc).
- 10.30pm Back at Pod Share, brushed my teeth, did my own thing (i.e. writing an article, surf webs) and be ready for bed.
Each day after work I would go out and walk along Hollywood Blvd from Cosmo street to Hollywood and Highland or Vine. It was a great way to explore area and exercise since I didn’t have a gym membership and I would easily accumulate more than 10,000 steps, according to my Fitbit tracker device.
Essentials shopping and foods
Although Podshare has provided essentials/toiletries (i.e. towels, body wash, shampoo), the selection might not be suitable. There are Walgreen, CVS, and Traders Joe nearby.
For lunch, I usually grabbed a sandwich or Asian plate (i.e. microwave-able orange chicken with rice) from Walgreen. For dinner, it varied. Sometimes I just grabbed a fast food (McDonald/Pop Eyes) or if I craved for something fancier, I’d walk alongHollywood/Highland. For instance, I found Build-Your-Own-Ramen type restaurant and it was located on top of Dolby Theatre.
Getting around Los Angeles
Despite everyone said “you need a car to get around in LA”, LA has one of the largest public transportations in the country and it is quite good actually. I can get around major area just like when I was living in San Francisco.
Getting around with public transportation is easy, convenient, and cheap. Take MetroRail if you’d like to travel to downtown Los Angeles, downtown Santa Monica or Universal Studio. It costs $1.75 per one-way trip and comes with a transfer to a different Metro line within 90 minutes. A day pass is $8, which is unlimited and including Metro card you can refill later.
Here is how to get around with Metro-line starting from Hollywood/Vine station:
- Downtown Los Angeles: Take a red line train to Union station, exit at 7th street station.
- Downtown Santa Monica: Take a red line train to Union station, exit at 7th street station to transfer to a light blue (express) line and exit at the last station, downtown Santa Monica.
- Universal Studio: Take a red line train to North Hollywood, exit at Universal City and then use a pedestrian bridge to walk to Universal Studio shuttle stop.
- Chinese Theater, Dolby Theatre, Jimmy Kimmel studio, etc: Take a red line train to North Hollywood, exit at Hollywood/Highland or you can walk for about ten to fifteen minutes west of Cosmo street.
Within Hollywood area, I usually walk and my location, PodShare, is less than a minute walk to Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood walk of fame.
Here is some of the points of interests:
- Two blocks east of Cosmo street: W hotel and Hollywood/Vine Metro rail station.
- Two blocks south of Cosmo street: Amoeba records store.
- Right around the west corner: Pop eyes Louisiana chicken
- One block east of Cosmo street: Starbucks and local restaurants
- One block east and up north: Capital records building
Once the weekend arrived, it was an exploration time and that’s a perk of being a digital nomad. Read my next article for what you can do in one weekend exploring LA (coming soon).
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