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Freedom of Location

An Editorial Narrative for Karma

Story by Wesley Verhoeve September 8th, 2015
For the past two years or so, after a bit of a career shift, I’ve been on the move. I started a project called One of Many, for which I’ve been traveling between twelve creative cities across the United States. In each city, I spend a week capturing the local creative community in portrait and writing. This period of transient life and work, has been invigorating and inspiring, but it’s not been without it’s challenges. From big organizational stuff like lodging and financing, to the little things like finding a good place to work in each city. The latter also includes reliable WiFi so I can be the best possible collaborator with my partners and clients.

A couple of years ago, a few fellow Dutchies upped and moved their startup Karma to NYC with a big dream of changing the way people use WiFi. They were accepted into the prestigious Techstars accelerator program and started plugging away. The creative and tech communities in New York City are very entwined and it didn’t take long before I ended up befriending Karma’s founders and becoming one of their earliest Beta testers. I’ve been proudly watching the company grow and make an increasing impact ever since. They just launched their new Karma Go LTE device and I was excited take it on a trip to California to photograph it in the wild for the Karma marketing team. A few shots below.

San Francisco, CA

Amrit Richmond is the director of strategy for Creative Mornings, and Sarah Judd Welch founded community development studio Loyal. Both were visiting SF from NYC for unrelated projects, and met up at one of the gorgeous Sightglass Coffee locations. Real estate is always a topic of interest for New Yorkers, and here Amrit used her iPad to look through some apartments and get Sarah’s take.

A little later, Amrit popped over to the equally charming Four Barrel Coffee to get some work done. Four Barrel doesn’t happen to have customer WiFi, but that wasn’t a problem with the Karma Go. We ended up sharing our WiFi with a few other customers, paying it forward.



The following Saturday, I met my friend Meg for breakfast in Oakland. It was my first time using the BART train system, which inevitably led to me taking the wrong train and Meg having to come pick me up across town. It was all worth it once I got to take in the beautiful sight that is the historic W.C. Morse building which houses the Blue Bottle flag ship coffee shop. The light was gorgeous, and I snapped a few photos of Meg doing some planning for the week upcoming.

After we finished our coffee, tea and snacks, we took advantage of the beautiful weather by posting up on a campus across the street to get a little bit more work done together.

Big Sur, My Word

Since it can’t be all work and no play, a Big Sur visit was in order after a crazy week of deadlines and client jobs. Together with my good friends Patrick Michael Chin, Tim Lampe, and Ryan Carl we packed up the car and headed south to the fabled area famously favored by Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller and many other greats.

As is custom with us freelancers, we did mix in a little work once we got there. There is something to be said for putting the camera away and just be in the moment surrounded by natural beauty, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Always working, always hustling. In between capturing some gorgeous scenery, we found a little tucked away spot in the shade that was perfect for a wine-powered break once the sun got too harsh for us to shoot.

The Creative Worker On The Move

One of my favorite parts of being a self-employed photographer and writer is the freedom of location that it allows. These days, all I really need to be able to do my work are my laptop, my camera, and my phone. Once I arrive in a new city, I’ll find myself a favorite local coffee shop and make that my office for the time being. Kudu in Charleston, Four Barrel in SF, Huckleberry in Denver, and the list keeps growing.

Many of these do not have WiFi, or it might be too sluggish for me to be able to upload large photos. This used to put some limits on my freedom of location, but ever since I started carrying around my trusty little Karma device these limits have been lifted. It’s felt a little bit like unlocking a secret weapon in the action video game that is the life of the traveling freelancer.

Many thanks to Karma for helping make this trip possible. Proud of you guys for realizing your vision and helping me do my work from many more places than I could have before.

Follow along with my travels through my Instagram: @wesleyverhoeve.

San Francisco, CA, United States