As I plunged into my breakfast, breathless at the divine threesome that is crème fraîche, avocado and poached eggs, I nursed a growing anxiety about meeting that day’s deadline. My dreadful hangover wasn’t helping, and on any other day, this would be a fairly normal state for me.
But I wasn’t working from home like I usually do in Singapore. I was at a café in Melbourne, where I was supposed to be on holiday. Next to me sat my quietly fuming partner, who was picking at her fried chicken and waffles after being told that I would not be accompanying her to the State Library of Victoria – because I had to catch up on work.
Across the road, at a trendy café sporting whitewashed walls and canary yellow chairs, an impossible queue snaked out of and up the cobblestoned alley. This was the heart of winter, but we were warm, comfortable and fed. All the same, we were miserable.
We were three days into a weeklong trip, and every day so far had devolved into the same mundane routine. We’d sleep in a little, then I’d work on a story before we headed out for a late breakfast. After some sightseeing, we’d settle into one of Melbourne’s many coffee shops where I would work some more. Dinner was always followed by one too many drinks, and by the third day, I was struggling to meet deadlines.