Monday I decide to start building my new routine. I feel more comfortable — actually, I think everyone does — when I have a predictable schedule: get up, go to the office, play 6 hours of Scarab of Ra, have lunch, go home.

(I don’t actually play Scarab of Ra for 6 hours.)

My company being what it is, I can’t actually afford a private office, with a door and fax machine and everything. Of course, my company being what it is, I don’t actually need one. As long as I have my laptop and wifi, I can work anywhere.

However, I don’t want to spend 8 or 9 hours a day in a coffee shop either. My business partner, Paul, and I tried that for a few months one year, spending our rent money on coffee house squatting. I constantly smelled like freshly ground coffee.

On the other hand, I met a lot of nice people who have since become good friends. I haven’t completely ruled this strategy out.

After some initial research, I decide to check out Colab, a co-working space in downtown Orlando. It’s on North Orange Avenue, which I suspect is sort of like finding Peachtree Street in Atlanta.

The Colab Lounge. There are also work stations and desks. Photo by Colab USA
The Colab Lounge. There are also work stations and desks. Photo by Colab USA

I park a block away for $5/day; monthly parking is $75. Not bad. I don’t know if there’s free parking nearby, but I don’t want to spend time trying to find it. In Indianapolis, when I crashed Doug Karr’s office, I would park about a mile away and walk in.

In 90 degree weather in the middle of summer. I flash back to that time, as it’s 90 degrees out and I’m wearing jeans. Who the hell wears jeans in summer?

I do, if I want to make a good impression on the kids at school!

I head up to the 9th floor of Colab’s building — they occupy several floors in this building! — and find the co-working space. Dante greets me, signs me in, and says I can grab any desk. I can even test drive the dedicated desk since no one is actually renting it at the time. It puts my back to the room, but when am I ever going to get to sit at the dedicated desk again?! (At $300 a month, not any time soon.)

Just in case my new co-workers glance over my shoulder, I avoid Facebook and Scarab of Ra, and get straight to work. It’s a light crowd today. There are only four of us. The other three people leave, as they are switching over the wifi system.

I chat with Don, an electrical engineer, before he leaves. He went to Rose Hulman in the early 90s, and remembers Carmel, Indiana, but had never heard of Fishers. Of course, that’s before we exploded with growth. The town was around 2,000 people when he was in Indiana, now it’s nearly 80,000 people, and it became a city in 2014.

Barnie's Coffee Kitchen, Orlando. Photo by BarniesCoffeeKitchen.com
Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen, Orlando. Photo by BarniesCoffeeKitchen.com
I stick it out for a while, since I’m just editing client posts. I eventually break down and head to Barnie’s coffee shop a block north. Their iced Turkish latte is delicious, and I manage to restrain myself and only finish it in 10 minutes.

I grab a burger at a nearby restaurant, but am not impressed. My friend Dick Davis, owner of the Great Burger Quest blog, might not think too highly of this place. I’ll give it another try later, in case they were off today.

Back to Colab, and the Internet is working again. I manage to get more work done, especially with no one else there. In fact, for a while I was the only one in the room. I felt like running with scissors.

Later, a couple guys show up and start chatting, which is distracting. In my old office, everyone kept themselves to themselves, so hearing conversations at work is a bit distracting. But that’s the joy and hassle of co-working spaces. I pop in my earbuds and keep working.

At 5:30, I leave, dreading the I-4 traffic. Everyone has warned me about how terrible it is. I discover that it’s horrible if you’re heading north from downtown, but heading south to Kissimmee is not that bad. We hit about a mile of bumper-to-bumper, but it lightens up as people peel off to take SR 600.

I breeze back to Kissimmee, and get home about 45 minutes after I left downtown. I’ll have to try that again tomorrow and see if I have similar luck.

It was a productive day in terms of getting work done, but not a lot of networking, other than Don and Dante. Still, baby steps, baby steps.

I have one more day in Orlando before I fly to — of all places — Indiana, to give talks at Anderson University, Purdue University, and to the East Central Indiana SBDC. After that, it’s back to Orlando and more networking and exploring.

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