In search of the ultimate temporary office

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To me, the ultimate office is a balance of contradictory qualities. On the one hand, I'd like a super-fast Internet connection, ergonomic workspace, perfectly reliable electricity and Internet connectivity, and access to the people and resources that can help me get my work done.

On the other hand, the ultimate office is in the middle of nowhere -- deep within nature, with peace and quiet so I can get work done. The ultimate office is located in a place where time off is immensely satisfying, so I can unplug and unwind.

Unfortunately, and to the best of my knowledge, these two extremes never go together.

Adding to the challenge: You don't want to pay a fortune for whatever temporary office space you end up with.
First, let's take a look at two offices I think represent the extremes.

Gran Cyber Cafe, Tokyo

A chain of cyber-cafes called Gran Cyber Cafe, dot the Tokyo landscape. These cafes offer central, public areas where you can work, buy drinks and browse through Japanese comic books. But they also specialize in personal cubicles. Costing less than $5 per hour, these booths offer a super high-speed Internet connection (faster than just about anything in the US), plus a Sony PlayStation (with huge selection of games), TV set and other amenities. They're open 24 hours a day, so if you have time-difference issues, and have to participate in one of those location-independent, middle-of-the-night conference calls, this is a good place to do it. Tokyo itself provides everything you might need as a business person. Best of all, Gran Cyber Cafe offers a few things that are hard to come by in Tokyo, namely privacy and a low-cost place to work. Because this is Tokyo, all electronics, Internet connectivity and electricity are perfectly reliable, despite frequent earthquakes.

CocoVivo, Panama

The absolute polar opposite of Gran Cyber Cafe in Tokyo is the CocoVivo digital nomad retreat on the island of Bocas del Toro in Panama. CocoVivo is a tropical island retreat in Panama for digital nomad types. This isn't a resort, but a non-profit entity set up by the landowner (a digital nomad originally from San Francisco) to provide a place and a community for like-minded people who want to live in paradise and still make a living. The site offers an open-air house, with rooms separated by cloth, as well as a shack on a pier at the end of a dock. Guests take turns sleeping in the shack. The whole site feels utterly remote. It's in a rain forest and sits on top of a coral reef.

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