How Was Your Weekend? (The Digital Nomad Edition)

“How was your weekend?”, asks every king and queen of Small Talk who happens to engage me in a conversation on a Sunday night or Monday.

Weekends have meant nothing to me since I left the corporate world 1.5 years ago, so I don’t know how to answer this question anymore. In my mind, weekends are the two days of the week where my favorite cafes and beaches get packed with people who can’t enjoy them during the week like I can. I’d rather hibernate and get my work done on the weekend, then venture out again during the week when I don’t have to wait for a table or sit on a bus in traffic.

So yeah. What weekend? My life is no longer broken up week by week; It is one continuous string of days that I have the freedom to design myself. I need to remind myself of how freaking amazing this is whenever I’m feeling completely exasperated by this digital nomad lifestyle.

barossa wine tour
Casual Thursday. Who needs the weekend?

Like this weekend (yes, WEEKEND). I actually have some things to say about my so-called weekend, and to answer the aforementioned FAQ: My weekend was a gigantic pain in the arse, void of comfort or fun – and I can’t freaking wait for Monday morning.

While the majority of the world was likely doing things like sleeping in, going to brunch, and straight up relaxing this weekend, here’s what I had to endure.

Friday

I’m strangely proud of my packing routine. I moved to Australia 18 months ago with a massive suitcase, massive backpack, massive camera bag, and tent; this lineup has since expanded to also include a yoga mat and one more small bag (to fit toiletries, hiking items, and maybe a few extra clothing items I’ve acquired). If I’m transporting all of these things at once, I’ll need a cab. But more often than not, I’ll either move everything in parts or store a few unneeded items elsewhere (with a friend, recent flatmate or house sitting client). It’s not pretty, but it works and allows me to take my luggage on public transport and save a ton of cash. I’m not above spending money when I feel I get great value out of it, but most of the time I feel like I’m just pissing money away whenever I take a cab – so I only do it when it’s absolutely necessary.

With all the house sits and traveling I do, I’m constantly re-packing and rearranging all of my belongings across my various bags. In this case, I was getting ready to move out of my Lane Cove house sit on Saturday and prepare for a 12 day trip to Thailand starting on Monday. I packed my big backpack with everything I’d need for Thailand plus the next 2 days in Sydney, and left that at the house with my big camera bag.

packing for travel
This is what my suitcase has looks like when I’m living out of it. I haven’t used a closet or drawers in 18 months!

Everything else that I wouldn’t need in the next 2 weeks I packed up and transported to Camperdown, where it would be waiting for me when I returned from Thailand to begin my next house sit. The plan was to catch the hourly bus that stops right outside the house, then switch to another bus in the city. Sounds heinous, but it involved easy connections with minimal schlepping. I felt pretty good about it.

As I was leaving the house and oh-so-gracefully moving all of my items through the doorway, I saw the bus pass by. “NOOOOOOOOO!” I bellowed, frantically waving my hands in the air. It was 4 minutes early! I couldn’t wait another hour for the next bus because I’d agreed to drop off my bags at 4:00, so I resigned myself to the alternative: schlepping everything uphill for 20 minutes to the main bus terminal in town.

People of the interwebz, please picture this: a scrappy and foolish girl with various bags strapped to her body, bent over near-perpendicular to the ground as she labors to push a ginormous red suitcase up the endless hills of Sydney suburbia. To add insult to injury, the elevator at the terminal wasn’t working, which meant I had to cross 5 different crosswalks in a roundabout way of reaching the bus stop on the other side of this very busy street.

I’m exhausted again just thinking about what I put myself through. But hey, the rest of the commute went smoothly (minus the whole sitting-in-rush-hour-traffic bit on my way back).

Newtown Sydney street art
It’s ok, soon I’ll be living in a suburb with lots of STREET ART!

Saturday

On Saturday, the sky opened up to begin a 48 hour rain-bonanza. I relocated from the Lane Cove house to a hostel in the center of Sydney, staying reasonably shielded from the rain. The hostel lounge was absolutely packed with people who seemingly didn’t want to venture out into the weather, comically watching The Kardashians on TV at 11am. I stifled a giggle and took that as my cue to head elsewhere to get some work done.

One of my favorite Sydney cafes, Paramount Coffee Project, was just a quick walk from the hostel. Unfortunately it was packed with the weekend brunch crowd, which meant I couldn’t really take out my laptop and set up shop for a few hours there. But dammit I really wanted their flat white (they use Five Senses beans + their baristas are ace = they brew some of Sydney’s best coffee). I settled for coffee and a bit of reading on my Kindle as I sat smack-dab in the middle of a communal table, the only solo diner.

Paramount Coffee in Sydney
Paramount, I love you!! <3

Understandably not in any mood to continue the search for a ‘coffice’ in the midst of a torrential downpour, I retreated to the Haymarket library and got a touch of work done on my laptop while the guy sitting directly behind me had clearly come to the library with the intention of napping. Both of us shamelessly took up space at the computer terminals, not using the desktop PCs at all – but in my defense, there was NOWHERE ELSE TO SIT.

{Insert joyous interlude in which I went indoor rock climbing for the first time in a few years, but not before getting completely drenched on the rainy walk to the gym}

I scrapped my original plan to go out and shoot Vivid Sydney tonight and instead stayed dry inside. I set up camp at one of the tables in the hostel lounge, ate my dinner, and worked on my laptop some more. Over the course of the evening, a group of Asians gradually took over the table, all but crowding me out. That’s fine, everyone’s entitled to some table space. What’s NOT fine, though, is one of them emptying the scraps from her plate onto mine without any word. I immediately shot her a death stare that more or less translated to: WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?! “You’re done with this plate?” she inquired after she was done. Uh, yes, but that’s not the issue here! In what world is it ok to dump your fish scraps onto a stranger’s plate without asking?

Utterly defeated, I retreated to my dorm room and lie awake as the person sleeping across from me coughed all through the night.

Vivid Sydney
Very sad that I didn’t get to check out more of Vivid Sydney this weekend!

Sunday

Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain. I haven’t seen rain like this since I was in Perth about a year ago, but at least I had a house to cozy up in while enduring the storm then. This time I’m in a stuffy hostel that just isn’t suitable for working, and I’ve got errands to run – which means venturing out into the rain again.

I picked up a red filter for my new GoPro (so I can take bomb-ass pictures while diving in Thailand) and a replacement charger for my laptop at the Apple store (my original charger just died, and it looks like my backup charger will soon follow suit). Feeling pretty good about my morning, I strategically decided to skip the search for today’s workplace and head straight to North Sydney to one of my go-to cafes, Bay Ten Espresso. The wind was there to greet me when I stepped off the train at Milsons Point, making for a highly unpleasant walk to the cafe.

Imagine my reaction when I saw the note taped to the door that said something along the lines of “Sorry chumps, we be closed slash flooded today!”. {Cue a slew of anguished emojis}


Any chance I get to reference The Hills!

Fresh out of options, I schlepped back to the train station and waited 20 minutes for the next train back into the city. Milsons Point Station is above ground and highly exposed. Waiting on the platform there was highly uncomfortable to say the least. I tried to plot my next move whilst feebly attempting to shield myself from the rain. Where to now? What coffee shops in the city would be open and uncrowded at noon on a very soggy Sunday? This would totally be a non-issue if I were still in Melbourne, cafe mecca of the southern hemisphere.

I figured the State Library of New South Wales was a safer bet: plenty of space, wifi, and unlikely to close due to inclement weather. Was it worth trekking 10 minutes across town from Wynyard Station straight into heavy wind and rain? If I’m honest, I probably would have been happier heading back to the hostel, stripping off my wet clothes, and laying in bed for the rest of the day. But, you know: work. On a Sunday. Because my weekends aren’t normal weekends anymore. And my Monday morning this week has me catching a flight to Phuket.

sydney library
Oh, the glamorous life of a digital nomad. My eventual workspace at the SLNSW.

This time tomorrow, I’ll be in the tropics with my very own room in a nice hotel that will only cost me $10. The following day, I’ll be kayaking amongst the limestone karsts and caves of Phang Nga Bay. And after that, I’ll be diving and beach-ing to my heart’s content on an island for 8 days straight, the antics of this god-awful weekend a distant memory.

This is why I’m willing to endure the nonsense that sometimes accompanies the digital nomad lifestyle. It may be a constant struggle to move around and find suitable places to live or work, but it’s worth it to have the freedom that I enjoy outside of the Corporate American life I abandoned.

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

Where in the World is This?


  • LOLOLOLOL you poor thing. you should have come to watch waves at Bronte!

  • I only spent a month in Australia, but I can sympathize with the constant packing and unpacking and struggle to find good personal space! Ugh. So jealous of your trip to Thailand, have SO much fun — can’t wait to see your pictures!

    • Aw thanks, girl! ’twas fantastic :) But I’m very happy to be back in Sydney and on a break from the packing game for at least 2 months! :D

  • Yup this sounds familiar! It can be rather tiring to pack and repack after settling down in a nice place, so I try not to move around too quickly. How is Paramount Coffee Project for digital nomads, do they have plugs? I’m thinking of adding the cafe to Women Digital Nomads Sydney guide.

    • What a great idea for a guide!! :D Paramount is amazing for everything but working, unfortunately :( It gets crowded on weekends and I haven’t spotted any plugs. But I love the space and the coffee, so I’ll usually go there for an hour or two and write until my laptop battery runs out!

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