We really didn’t (don’t) know how long we’d be in Florida. We came here from South America (Colombia to be more precise) when lockdowns and travel restrictions stretched into their 2nd month and we didn’t know how much longer they’d go on for. Our plan was to be in Danang, Vietnam or Chang Mai, Thailand by the time my PhD programme started on October 1. When those countries didn’t open, we thought about others: Turkey, Mexico, Barbados (they offered a 1 year remote work visa, but ooof pricey). Eventually we decided to stay in New Smyrna Beach with my wife’s family until Thailand or Vietnam did open (and afaik they still haven’t).

Lockdown measures in Santa Marta Colombia. The numbers indicate which days you can shop based on your ID.

This all meant I needed a studio, working from the bed or breakfast nook only went so far. My in laws have been amazingly accommodating but I need space to be messy, to not be interrupted, to be mine only. Problem is, this is a mix of tourists and retired people. There is a great arts studio/residency program, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, but they seem to only really cater to out of area residents or renting to large organizations. There is an art space downtown, but that didn’t exactly work out.

Atlantic Center for the Arts

I looked at so many weird options like offices, storefronts…

I seriously considered buying an RV or sailboat, but didn’t know where I could park them! I finally found a couple of storage units with electricity. One had AC so I signed the contract the next day. Craigslist, thrift stores, and FB marketplace filled me up with furniture. I bought a bike and trailer to get there and back (today was my fastest commute, 22 minutes 1 way).  Note to future self: don’t sell this bike, put it in covered storage, too much money and time to fix up a “new” bike every few years).


My bike and trailer in my studio

My bike and trailer in my studio


I got my tools from storage, found a big free monitor, bought a 3D printer and extra data for my phone (NO wifi is the biggest downside). I even invested in a gamer’s chair because it is much more comfortable for a variety of tasks such as computing, reading for hours, and studio work.

I’m still figuring out organization, but I feel like the space is working out well for me. I get a lot done in there! The below pictures are still not the final (as of now) setup.


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