Show us Your Working View During these Strange, Pandemic days
By Max Hartshorne
We are all in this together, doing this strange new thing called Shelter in Place. But where are those places? What is the view?
We asked a few dozen of our favorite travel bloggers to share photos of their new work at home set-ups, and especially, their views.
Here are what some of our compatriots are looking at for the next few months…
My old friend Bruce just wrote a great new story for GoNOMAD about a trip to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. He is splitting his time between his apartment in far lower Manhattan and his girlfriend’s house in Brooklyn. His view is above.
“The view from my Lower East Side Manhattan apartment includes the East River, Williamsburg Bridge (behind it, the historic Domino Sugar Refinery), and a generous swath of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
I’ve seen every watercraft imaginable navigating this drowned valley (a salt-water tidal estuary which is actually not a river despite its name) from kayaks and jet skis to supertankers. As the seasons progress, epic sunrises span the full length of the bridge. My immediate view of Manhattan (below) includes Corlears Hook Park (origin of the word hooker), East River Park, and the cross atop Sacred Heart Convent, which frequently becomes a roost for patient red-tail hawks Bruce Northam * NYC Walking Tours * Talks * American Detour
Max Hartshorne enjoys a more rural view in his girlfriend’s condo in Greenfield Massachusetts. “I prefer to look out the view from my co-working space,” he said. “When I can, I drive to downtown Greenfield, Mass and work there, usually there are only a few people. If it gets crowded, I’ll stick to the home office.”
Caz and Craig Makepeace
This is the view from our home office in Cary, North Carolina. Craig and I converted our front living space into our office. We love living on a corner block as we get so much light coming in from outside and beautiful views of our tree-shaded neighborhood.
Our travel photos and memories surround us to keep us inspired and connected to our dreams!
Johnny Jet, JohnnyJet.com
Here’s a pic of me at my desk which is downstairs in the basement away from the craziness of our three-year old’s playroom. This is where I do my interviews and some of my work. (I like Johnny’s map, everyone needs to see the world we are all missing!)
Sue Collins, Lifestyle Publications
I am an editor of five monthly lifestyle magazines and a travel contributor to a few other national publications. I have worked from home for nine years and have my happy little routine and space carved out nicely to be productive.
Well, now I have two kids home from college and my husband has been working from home for two long weeks. We meet for coffee in the morning and convene in the kitchen for lunch, snacks, and water cooler chat.
They are all gifted conversationalists, interested in current events, music and cynical humor. So, we have lots to talk about. And, that’s the problem. I’m used to being home alone.
Working alone. In any room, but especially my office. While I was happy to give it up to my husband since he spends more time on the phone than I do (“and nobody needs to hear that,” according to my daughter), I miss my stuff.
But, today, a sweet new writing desk is being delivered (ordered a few weeks ago) and I’ll make a corner of our bedroom all my own. It will be fine. We will all be fine.
Jan Schroder, the Travel 100
I’m working from my home office in Atlanta. I love it and enjoy working here so that’s no big adjustment. Just being at home so much is as I’m usually on the road several weeks a month.
Things in my office that bring me comfort: my childhood Teddy bear, candles from my travels, photos of my kids and my view of the liquor store up the street.
I also have a hula hoop and a rowing machine you can’t see to try to keep me from wasting too much time on Facebook and stay in shape while our gym is closed. (Full disclosure: I moved the messy piles to the side.)
I’m staying at home in the heart of Midtown Manhattan–except when I have to venture to Queens on the subway to make sure my mother has food and other supplies.
Normally, the sounds of Second Avenue filter up to my apartment. These days, it is largely silent–like a summer Sunday morning when the wealthy have fled to their Hamptons homes.
The quiet is interrupted only by the regular bleating of ambulance sirens, or our clapping sessions for essential workers at 7 pm every night. This being Midtown, it is not always easy to see where the applause and hollers of gratitude are coming from, but it’s a comfort to know I am not alone. The clapping gets louder every day.
My office in Florida opens onto my front porch with French doors so I see this view every day and often, I will just abandon my desk and take my laptop out onto the porch where I can listen to the chatter of the wild parrots or say hello to our neighborhood egret, Shrimpy—so named because one of the neighbors feeds him leftover crustaceans.
Usually, the sky is a cerulean blue, but it’s a bit overcast today. My German Shepherd, Lola, prefers lounging on the sofa, while my cat, Gizmo, seeks out the bathroom sink to escape the heat.
That is, when he’s not walking across my keyboard or attacking papers coming out of the printer.
Stay at home orders mean that so many parents are pulling double duty: trying to work and also take care of their children full-time. While I am loving all this family time, balancing the two does come with its challenges.
So instead of fighting it, I am currently working in the kids’ playroom haha Yep, that’s my laptop on a toddler-sized play table. So … this is my view at the moment, complete with the dulcet tones of Team Umizoomi in the background. And if you don’t know what Team Umizoomi is, count yourself lucky lol.
Jackie Sheckler Finch
In solitary quarantine, I don’t feel alone at all. Outside my window, an acrobatic woodpecker tries to nibble at my suet holder. I’m writing about a local artist who creates miniature marble works of art. His patience and attention to detail amaze me.
Then I hope to update about 20 pages of my guidebook Florida Off the Beaten Path before I quit for the day. The Book is due May 1 so I can’t dilly dally. Dinner will be one of my Dad’s favorite comfort foods – potato soup with wedges of bread-and-butter pickles, followed by a slice of fresh-baked apple pie with caramel ice cream.
My daughter and grandchildren are safe in their homes on the other side of town. I feel blessed.
Here’s the view from one of my work tables, which doubles as a puzzle table. I’m used to working from home with fellow traveler Charles McCool, though we usually get more breaks from each other.
Our twins graduated from college last year, so we are empty-nesters and there is plenty of room for the two of us to spread out. Happily, the view is getting more colorful every day now that warm spring days have returned to Virginia.
I continue working from the exact place I have worked the last few years, my home office in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Immediate across from my window there’s this typical NYC fire escape that casts the coolest shadows which of course as the day goes on the shadows move around changing its shape its design, like an abstract Sundial.
After returning home to Baltimore March 15th from an awesome trip to Denver I figured it would be wise to self-quarantine for 14 days. My wife would be working at the local hospital Monday through Friday leaving me at home with my dog Sophie and Maine Coon cat Zeus.
The first day of self-quarantine I heard on the radio that Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan had ordered restaurants and bars to close by 5 p.m. that same day! At that point, it started to set in that we were in deep shit.
Within days I would cancel trips for March, April, and May to Paso Robles, Flagstaff, Las Vegas, and Dallas. It was clear that there wouldn’t be much need for my usual two stories per week that I write for various publications. I settled into a routine of reading lots.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” was my favorite of six books I read in two weeks, while cooking three meals per day for my wife and me, watching a funny movie almost every day, taking walks with Sophie to clear the cobwebs, indoor gardening under grow lights in preparation of spring planting in May, and watching our stock investments evaporate like the need for travel writing.
As my dear departed mother used to say, “This too will pass” but I hope it passes soon so all of us can start rebuilding together.
Kurt’s GoNOMAD stories
I’m working from my home in Montana as a travel writer/photographer. I consider all of Montana as my back yard, so this week, I did something that has been on my bucket list for years. Every year thousands of snow geese and tundra swans migrate in March-April from Mexico to Canada (roughly 2000 miles).
En route, they stop at the Freezout Lake complex in central Montana to rest. A two-hour drive found me sitting at lake’s edge listening to the noisy honking of the geese, and quietly observing their movements. It was a beautiful spring day with bluebird skies and for that short span of time, the coronavirus was the last thing on my mind. Great photo ops for sure.
On Easter Sunday it was two weeks of self-enforced isolation. But I’m
hardly isolated. My husband and I, because of our age and pre-existing health conditions, are in the high-risk group. He’s teaching piano and music history from his music studio via Zoom to his SUNY college students.
The once feral cat spends his days sleeping in front of the woodstove or in the kitchen begging for food, and I am alternately at the kitchen table writing or driving seven miles to my office to access
my workstation and mail to see if any orders came in for my publishing company.
I love to cook, and certainly had enough early warning to further stock an already well-stocked pantry – and sharing cocktails during dinner prep while we go over the day’s events is the day’s highlight. We live in the country, so being cooped up indoors is not an issue.
Outside, Spring is growing on a landscape that needs daily attention, and there is acreage to roam in good weather. We are fortunate.
I am holed up in my house in Guanajuato, Mexico, at 6,500 feet altitude in the sunny Spanish colonial center of Mexico. Like nearly everywhere, our city is locked down and most commercial businesses are closed. Thankfully we’re surrounded by mountains and if we just walk uphill 10 minutes we can avoid people and get some fresh air in nature on a socially distanced walk.
My wife Donna and I are hunkered down together, working as we did before, just less busy with nobody traveling. So there is more cooking at home and lots of virtual happy hours in the mix these days. Having a nice view out our windows certainly helps in this time of isolation!
During the COVID Pandemic, I’m writing from my living room in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal.
My travel site, TravelingQueen.com focuses on ex-pat adventures in and around Portugal, as well as tips and tricks to travel like a Queen (or King) without the “Royal” budget. I travel alone or with whoever I can grab to go along my adventures with me.
I’ve been in self-imposed exile in Lydd, southeast England, since early March and loving it. I’m a bit of a recluse and enjoy my own company and that of my two rescue cats. Yeah, okay, I’m the crazy cat lady with purple hair who speaks Afrikaans to her felines.
It’s my mother tongue, what other language should I speak to them? They understand Afrikaans, it forms naturally in the brain.
In these 6 weeks, I’ve had my garden landscaped and had decorators paint the outside of my house.
I also got delivery of a new car, and prepared two month’s issues of the magazine edit. In 2021 I’m planning a trip to Ethiopia, as well as Mongolia, and South Africa’s Mpumalanga (driving a Rolls-Royce). Between now and then I’ll be selling my house in England and moving lock-stock-and-barrel to rural France.
Share your view in the comments if we missed you! We wish you travels and health after the pandemic passes us all by.