Coffee Machines, Nomadic Life & Avoiding Drudgery

I’m writing this from a comfortable yellow couch in a rather large and loud breakfast hall at a (self-proclaimed) four-star hotel in central Bangkok. Both Airpods have noise-cancelling switched on, and my go-to channel, Groove Salad, is effectively drowning out most of the chatter around me.

Through the nearest window, I can see how a small palm tree is bending to the will of gusty winds currently blowing through this part of the capital. The wind gives the illusion that it’s not nearly as steaming hot as it actually is. There’s a forecast of heavy rain for most of the day, but so far, nothing.

I’ve come to like the heat much more than when I was younger. It’s still sweaty, but, today, the insane heat here helps my limbs and joints ache a lot less. As I type this post, my cranky, creaky fingers, in particular, are thankful for me having transplanted them to this wonderfully warmer climate. Not to mention how grateful my soul is…

While I can certainly appreciate the comfort and predictability of everyday life, at least during Sweden’s precious few summer months, at 60, I know for sure now that if I allow it to enwreathe me for too long after the Scandinavian sun has gone into hibernation, I will descend physically and mentally into some pretty deep depths of dreariness.

Yes, I am, of course, thankful for being able to escape the forthcoming half-year of insipid sunlessness so symptomatic of southern Sweden. Not to mention the painfully elongated winter season’s notorious societal frigidity. And I honestly don’t think I could have managed to stay on the wagon for very long if I was once again shackled to such a gray, cold, and formulaically lackluster existence. No big mystery why alcohol and drug abuse are so prevalent along the notorious ‘vodka belt.’

We’ll be in Bangkok for less than a week this time, just enough to absorb many friendly smiles, enjoy plenty of delicious meals, and appreciate the exquisite privilege of once again being digital nomads, something we started doing regularly way back in 2002, long before remote working was even a thing.

As I continue to remind myself, we’ve once again essentially replaced our life in Malmö for a more pleasurable existence in Southeast Asia. Effectively extending the summer for a few months and ultimately leaving behind the drudgery that we both find harder to cope with as we get older when yet another dark, cold, and windy winter arrives. Alas, we’ve become snowbirds!

Our hotel’s coffee machine has about a dozen options, but only one that provides a decent cup of java, the irreplaceable Americano. This is my 22 hotel for the year and so far, the coffee machine that made offered the best brew was the one at Hermitage Resort on the beautiful Italian island of Iscia. While the machine performed sluggishly, it did churn out an amazing cup of coffee!

Just read that the Americano is believed to have originated in Italy during World War II when American soldiers found espresso too strong and added hot water to create a milder, more familiar coffee.

I photographed these coffee beans at our friend Buddha’s Coffee Roastery in Lycksle. Or, was it possibly during a shoot for Bar Italia in Malmö.

I’m impressed by the increasing abundance of artisan coffee places in Bangkok. These often tiny shops seem only outnumbered by those selling variants of hemp. Two plants that when consumed, largely offer contradictory results but yet are not entirely incompatible.

Slow Coffee & Drip Life

I shot this one morning while we were living on the outskirts of Hoi An in central Vietnam. We continue to make our coffee this way, but man, that trip feels super distant right now. Not just because of the time lapsed from October until now. The whole world was different back then. Nobody had any concerns about spreading or being infected by a virus. No hidden suspicious or irrational fears. A time when handshakes and hugs were abundant and generously shared. We shopped at open-air markets, enjoyed street food and didn’t wash our hands more than before meals and after toilet visits.

I doubt there has ever been a time in the history of our species where humans have been more preoccupied with self-negotiating and micromanaging our lives. Here in Sweden, where there is no lockdown, shelter in place or judicially enforced restrictions, we are admittedly more or less free to go wherever we want and socialize, albeit in small groups.

Unfortunately, I don’t think everyone is concerned about making decisions that could either be potentially life-saving or life-threatening. From what I have seen in Ängelholm, Malmö and Lund, few people, particularly younger folk, seem to take much notice of what’s going on in Spain, Italy and the US.

I totally get that the younglings feel invincible and that life seems blissfully eternal. They should absolutely feel this way – it’s like a prerequisite for their age and enables them to reach further, jump higher and instantly bounce back when they inevitably fail and fall. And I like to think that to a degree, I still have that mentality in place. But, being a middle-aged man with a mild case of asthma and a father that definitely wants to experience what it’s like being a grandfather, I am one of those paranoid dudes that constantly self-negotiates and weighs pros and cons of many of my most rudimentary daily decisions. Perhaps not so much while being fairly isolated here in Vejbystrand. But I am super-conscious of how I am feeling and even the slightest hint of a headache, sniffle, cough, or, really any strange feeling that occurs in my body, puts me in a state of hyperawareness. Oh, did I mention that I have a mild case of Hypochondria?


I didn’t start drinking coffee regularly until I was about 25. There’s a likelihood that the habit began around the time when the infamous “Galliano Hotshot” swept the planet’s bars and restaurants. Up until then, I didn’t think coffee was much more than a bitter beverage for grownups.

Swedes are one of the leading coffee consumers in the world and today, there are more cafés and more kinds of coffee than ever before. Last year, I paid a visit to my old friends Katti and Budha’s Kaffe och Rosteri – a gorgeous café waaaaay up north in Lycksele where coffee is the drink du jour. Budha is undisputably one of the country’s formost roasting experts and has a plethora of knowledge on how to uncover and enjoy all the aromas and tastes available – if you’re sincere and serious about roasting, brewing and serving coffee. Short video from the cafe can be viewed here.

Several years ago, I visited a coffee plantation in Antigua, Guatemala called Filadelfia which is now a full-fledged coffee resort. The beans above, however, are from a shoot I had yesterday afternoon right here in Malmö.