My story - my working place in the Azores

After more than 20 years working in the IT sector, I have come to really appreciate living and working in a quiet and peaceful environment surrounded by Nature, even if that means not earning so much money at the end of the month, or not being able to work for Big Name Companies, there are things no amount of money can buy ;-)

For example, this is the house where I actually live and work from, it's a traditional azorean house fully restored in 2017:

The house of Nacho in Santa Maria island, Azores, Portugal

I think this kind of houses have a special harmony that makes you feel well inside and around them, they are made of stones and have wooden windows, doors and roof, they are really cozy inside, and the best of it is that all the noise you hear are the birds and the wind.

It may look a silly or romantic thing, but when you have to solve some complex problems regarding computers, it really helps to take a break, have a look through your window, admire a beautiful landscape, or even go outside to your garden for a few minutes to take care of your plants; then you come back and the problem's solution pops up like magic.

campo, mar y cielo vistos a través de una ventana tradicional de madera

I remember my last job in the IT sector for a big consulting company in Spain, it was in a government building where the IT department and data center were located in a -3 floor, not very well ventilated by the way, going down there was like descending into Hell every day, during winter months we would come into and go out at night, missing most of the Sun light, sometimes for several weeks in a row... which amount of money can pay for that "way of life"?

So, since 2004 I have worked from home, for many years even from a small sailing boat, but that's another story, now (June 2018) my working place looks like this: Developer working place inside a typical Malbuscan house

Of course it's still far from perfect, have to bring my office chair from the last island I was living in, and most likely will change that table for a bigger L-shaped one, but I feel happy working there.

The environment remembers me of Northern Spain, full of green mountains, I even have a traditional oven with a big chimney, but these days most people here prefer to cook with a gas or electric oven, in the past the whole island was deforested by their inhabitants to be able to power their wood-based ovens, now the mountains have been reforested and most of the electricity is generated by renewable means.

typical chimney of traditional portuguese house

Inside the house there is plenty of Cryptomeria Japonica wood everywhere: the inside of the roof, all of the attic, the windows, doors, furniture... I love it, it really makes me feel comfortable to be surrounded by wood.

To tell the truth, I was very lucky finding this house for renting, it was restored for renting to tourists, then due to some paperwork issues the owner rented it to me for the whole year, but as it was meant for tourists, the decoration is really nice, this patchwork handicraft you can see in the following photo is typical from the Azores, it really makes me feel happy each time I look at it:

typical azorean patchwork handicraft

Those are not cheap things at all, they are made of different small pieces of cloth stitched together by hand, there could be several hundred hours of work behind each of those pieces, and they are very very beautiful, when looking closely at them you can appreciate the quality with which they were made by my landlady:

close look at some patchwork handicraft

Another very valuable thing we have here that money can't buy is "SILENCE", the first days living in this house I couldn't believe how unreal it felt to be in complete silence, some nights are so quiet a single drop falling in the sink will sound like a bell all around the house.

I hadn't slept so well in all my life, and that makes me work much more efficiently the next day.

typical azorean bedroom

And last but no least, I have a beautiful garden... the first time in my life that I live in a house with garden, and it feels so well! specially because of working with computers all the day, I find very satisfying to work with plants from time and time, it's like a much needed contrast, somewhat I think it's not natural to occupy yourself all the time with a keyboard and a computer, my impression is that our body and mind need to do a much wider variety of things at the end of the day to stay healthy in the long run.


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