Me working in my favourite café!

Ritual, If You Want to be Productive: Cafés plus Magazines


HELLO! Today I’m very happy to talk about my travel ritual! No, this is not my ritual before/during a trip, but rather what I did after my very first trip. I did it once and it kind of became a ritual for me and I’m happy that I did it. I’m also happy every time I do it. If I want to be productive, inspired, or motivated, I do this and I hope you can get ideas here for general happiness, productivity, or travel inspiration! It involves cafés (usually a specific one for me) and some magazines. Usually I do this every saturday morning.


First, why am I so happy to write and share this? My favourite café, Second Cup, close to my place has been renovated! LOOK LOOK LOOK!

This is perfect since part of the topic today is interior design! The place was nice to begin with. I had no complaints. But then they did this and it’s awesome! I’m even more motivated to do this ritual more now!

I’ve always had fascination for interior design. It’s something I’m not good at. It’s not something I deal with (it’s not a software on a screen) yet I’ve always wanted to be part of it. Like most people, eventually I’d want to design my own home. Not only is it extremely pleasing to the eyes when done properly, it also affects mood, disposition, decisions, etc. Remember this are the physical objects that people go into “to get inspired” right? What great credit would it be that you were part of someone’s life/inspiration?

How/Where Did You Get This Ritual?

The first country I travelled to–with the intention of leisure travel–was Stockholm, Sweden. I love design (digital or interior) and then when I got there, I got introduced to the “Scandinavian Design” or more commonly correlated as “Minimalist Design”.

What do you know, this IS my style of design ever since and I love it! So that’s another point for Sweden (as if there aren’t many points already)! Anyways, I had my beautiful trip and all and then it was time for me to leave. As I was in the Arlanda airport waiting for my boarding, I thought of having my last hoorah; to get a souvenir. This would be a piece of Sweden that I’ll always treasure.

I bought some fridge magnets (that’s another story–I collect those) and then I glanced upon the magazine stand and I saw lots of these interior design magazines! I quickly scanned and looked on as much as I could and I was impressed.

What I was even more amazed by is that…these are not just a show-and-tell, a visual spectacle to admire. Interior design shows how this group of people or this culture think. It shows you what they classify as important, what do they center their ideas from, why, how they organize living, how do they present it, how they find balance, why; why why why, so many why’s.

For me this is extremely fascinating. To think they live a different world yet I had similarity with them (minimalist design) when I’m from a different world. This isn’t Sweden-specific btw. This is in general. I find resonance with french and Spanish-speaking countries too. It’s the fascination that matters at this point.

Going back, I bought three magazines, I remember. I brought them home and I remember I was being honest to myself: “I’m probably just going to forget about these and never read them”. I was never a paper reader. (look at me now, reading and also writing lol)

So What’s This Ritual?

After my first week back, I was just desperate to replicate my own Fika experience. I was also jetlagged and so I was awake soooo early for a saturday morning.

“You know what, fuck it, let’s just go to the cafe and let’s see what happens. I bought magazines, alright fine, let’s do that too, gotta keep myself awake anyways”.

I then got to my favourite cafe, got myself a coffee (remember, trying not to spend on those lattés he) and then I just sat in a nice nook there. You can see everyone inside and outside with the large glass walls/window. It’s in an intersection too so it’s in a nice little place in Sauga.

It’s my place. Go get your own. kidding!…or am I?

I had a great time and I finished one magazine. The rest of the time you would’ve found me enjoying my coffee, people watching, and just…~just that general appreciation and gratitude of life you know? Just be thankful and

“Be humble”

kendrick lamar

The following week I wanted to finish another magazine and so what better way, and what better place to go to for that. It relives my Fika and Sweden experience anyways!

I did it again the following week, and again, and again, then yup. I do it regularly now.

Why Interior Design or Travel Magazines?

Well my criteria even before I committed to this ritual is that the content I’m consuming should stimulate me (so something creative and aesthetically-pleasing works) but at the same time you don’t want it brain-intensive (deep physics or complex financial structures) because that’s my weekdays. Both of them fit the bill. The added extra for me with interior design is it is fascinating for me since I’ve only dealt with digital/visual design and never textile or industrial. I don’t want to create those types of design but it’s still something tangible for me to use and manage later.

Rules of the Ritual

Yup, there are rules set by me, for me. Like rituals, there are steps to do in other to complete the ritual. Here are some that I can remember:

  • The location has to be ideally this café that I frequent in. It’s a big deal for me.
  • It has to be coffee. It can’t be latte, can’t be any other drink. I can get something small like a biscuit or muffin, but it can’t be something heavy.
  • I have to be (as much as possible) close to that corner I was telling you about.
  • The magazines ideally have to have been acquired from a different country; even better if it’s in a different language (even if I don’t speak it). I don’t travel every week so sure, I can purchase one from here, but
  • It has to be either an interior design magazine or something about travelling (sometimes personal development).
  • Ideally it would be talking about places in other countries.
  • I can’t force myself to go. I don’t have to do it every week. If I had a crazy Friday and hungover, I’m not going to force myself.
  • I also can’t bring bad vibes in: I’m not going here to mend myself during/after bad times.

Effects on Me

Every time I do this, I just feel happy, refreshed, re-energized, appreciative, and motivated.

Mental State

When I do this, first thing in a Saturday morning, everything’s just reset already for me. If I had a stressful week, I would’ve had a good and uninterrupted sleep upon waking up. Since it’s the start of the day, I haven’t thought/planned/dedicated brain power to anything just yet.

Ideas and “Vibes”

When I get there, the main source of value is the magazine sure, but that’s not always the case. People watching helps. It’s nice to see a thriving neighbourhood outside and people going at it with their own morning routines in the café. I don’t know…I can’t explain it right now, but you know what I mean right? We do it too when travelling yes?

Planning and Action

Doing this greatly motivates me to do a various of things. To start, this was brought upon the need to reminisce about my previous trips. It started out like that and sure it’s nice to think of the good times every now and then. What usually happens though is…………….I’m probably planning on the next trip and my screen would be in Kayak or Google Flights HA.

It doesn’t have to be a big action like that every time. Some/most of the time, I’m motivated to attend to the urgent/important/easy-to-accomplish things. Sometimes I’m organizing my finances, sometimes I’m reading books, sometimes I’m just so energized that it’s guaranteed I’ll cook something healthy and/or work out after the coffee.

That’s my ritual. It brings a lot of good things every time I do it. I do it regularly and sometimes it becomes a reset button for my week. Hopefully you get some ideas out of this? It’s nice to be able to define a tangible procedure in order to get out the best in you right?