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The world’s best WFH destination nobody is talking about


You’ve finally accepted, eyes fully rolled, the word “workation” as part of the common parlance.

So now the coast is safely clear to review listicles from, say, British travel site Holidu who ranked the Top 10 places around the world from which to do so (via CNBC).

Annnnnnnnd it looks to be a game of spin the globe and randomly plunk down a fidgety finger:

1. Bangkok, Thailand
2. New Delhi, India
3. Lisbon, Portugal
4. Barcelona, Spain
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina (tie)
5. Budapest, Hungary (tie)
7. Mumbai, India
8. Istanbul, Turkey

9. Bucharest, Romania
10. Phuket, Thailand

(A tie at #5, really? Let’s not get too cute.)

So lovely Chattanooga, Tennessee — larger metro area pop. 528K — must’ve come in at No. 11, am I right or am I right?

Mmm, nope, don’t think it quite cracked the top billion. Which is so very, very wrong.

On the downside, nonstop flights from NYC are (temporarily?) RIP amid the pandemic, so, “Why the Dickens,” you ask, “would I suffer a 7-hour travel day of horror, with unavoidable layovers in DC or the like, just to wind up in East Tennessee?” In that amount of time you could’ve visited Europe. Canada. The West Coast. Mexico. The tropics. Just about any other place in the Occident that isn’t Chattanooga.

To that we say: Quit being so ask-y.

Just embrace the Scenic City (yes, that’s its real nickname) as being worth it. The mysterious whies start now.

Step 1: Don’t be homeless

An aerial shot of Chattanooga.
You could be Chattanooga metro’s newest resident, lucky No. 528,001.
Matt McLelland

It’s not so mind-blowing that the housing costs are 82% cheaper in Chattanooga than in Manhattan, according to their handy calculator.

Zillow likes. PC Mag likes. MakeMyMove likes, whoever that is.

But where/how, exactly? Depends on what you want: hotel, cabin, urban-style apartment, communal hostel space, tree-house. The metro area has it all. The best place to start is on the Chattanooga Tourism Co. x the Chamber of Commerce website and just whittle things down with a fun wittle quiz until you find a perfect fit (not to mention job opportunities if you’re looking for a total reset).

Or, if you’re for real, for real about living here for the long haul, NOOGAToday would like to gently remind you that home prices are 27.5% below the national average, which certain surrounding cities that hog all the attention cannot boast.

Gig economy

An external shot of the Electric Power Board building.
Is Chattanooga’s internet actually faster than the White House’s? The CIA’s? South Korea’s? Book a trip and find out, Curious George.
Alamy

When your nearest competition is made up of the “world’s best barbecue and/or music” claimants (Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville), you gotta play up whatever sloppy seconds God graced you with.

In Chattanooga’s case, it’s the “world’s fastest internet.”

It’s a dangerous game, building one’s identity around something as mundane and infrastructurish as broadband, but it beats flaunting your city’s, I don’t know, shower pressure … sort of?

To the layman, Chatt’s mythic 10 gigabit-per-second speed, courtesy of local public utility colossus Electric Power Board (EPB to friends), is nearly imperceptible. But to those who stream on Twitch, play Among Us and binge-watch “Invincible” — oh, and work from home, too — all at once, aka the real ones, we get it.

And one such hostel — a new-build with reclaimed materials as its meat and bones called the Crash Pad — happily offers it to prospective and thrifty workationers (from $51/night).

Moving the needle

A medical professional prepares a COVID shot.
To mask or not to mask, that is the annoying question. Best answer: read the room, carry one in your pocket JIC you get some stink eyes, but you likely won’t need one unless this Mu character has other sinister plans.
Shutterstock

Facts: When it comes to the vax, Tennessee is a li’l lax. But not nearly as bad as its problem-child neighbors like ‘Bama, Mississip and Arkansas. While the state as a whole hovers around the 42% mark for the fully vaxxed, Hamilton County (Chattanooga’s home sweet home) enjoys a jabbier 47+% and has a very NYC-esque maskless and happy and healthy approach to life.

October (and beyond) fests

Someone test for Adderall in the tap water, because Chattanoogans are addicted to doing things, especially if it involves transportation.

In the 10th month alone, there’s the Chattanooga MotorCar Festival Oct. 15 to 17 and the like-minded collector car Mecum Auctions, running Oct. 15 to 16.

Then, running Nov. 8 to 10, the F3: Future of Freight Festival, celebrating the industry the town is built on, will go down in 30 different locales around the city (it’s more exciting than it should be).

Use protection

Outdoor enthusiasts enjoying Chattanooga's rocky and treed geography.
Chattanooga is the darling of the outdoorsy glossies.
The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

As the Beavs go, so goes the world.

Oregon State released a study suggesting “living near protected areas can have positive impacts on human well-being.”

Boom. Chattanooga is protected AF.

Workationing in Chattanooga translates to having a once metropolitan-only job (wink, wink, New Yorkers), but with the added bonus of rural wilderness at your disposal. Sitting purty at the foothills of the Appalachians near both state and national parks, and known for some of the rockingest rock climbing in the country, Chattanooga was crowned Outside magazine’s “Best Town Ever” not once, but twice.

Curate what ails you

Customers enjoy coffee at the Frothy Monkey.
Looking for discounts at the Frothy Monkey? There’s a non-app for that!
Flint Chaney

Don’t you dare call it an app. Sign up for Chattanooga’s “Business/Causual pass” and the city’s gods will send you curated texts and/or emails for discounts, news and whatever other flotsam and jetsam you need to know about Chatt’s co-working spaces, restaurants, the aquarium, the zoo, the Frothy Monkey coffeehouse, all the things.


The author was a guest of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.



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