coffee shops + the third place

i have a new tradition of doing “coffee tours” with friends, where we traverse coffee shops together over the course of a weekend morning. people drop in as they please, they bring their friends, and we learn about each others' lives and create + renew friendships over coffee. it's about as magical as it sounds.

over the weekend, i did exactly this with some new friends, as a coffee + bike tour through Brooklyn. i actually almost talked myself out of biking. i was terrified of cycling in New York City, but it turned out to be one of my favourite experiences to-date. it was delightful to discover how much more of Brooklyn i could experience while cycling; certainly more than i would have seen while taking transit or walking. we were very lucky that one of us knew how to navigate new york bike lanes. i wish it were less intimidating to start cycling in cities.

i also discovered that my favourite coffee shop in the whole wide world is a shared favourite with a new friend from London—Sightglass Coffee is in San Francisco, a place where neither of us have ever lived. this sparked the realization that what i truly love the most about coffee shops is their role as the third place to connect people in a way that is about so much more than the physical space it occupies. no matter where you come from or where you are going, in that moment, you are there, and your experience contributes to shared consciousness. even after you've physically left, the coffee shop will forever be the place where you had that excellent conversation with a stranger, made the connection that would become a lifelong friendship, wrote the poem—the keeper of your secrets and moments of shared, finite, fleeting existence. and it will be that place to other people, who you may or may not meet in this lifetime.

these days, what i'm living and learning is that the best people in life are free.

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