Trash Can Desk

“It’s hard to know, when you’re in such a jam, which is worse—not having a place to sleep or not having a place to work. One can sleep almost anywhere, but one must have a place to work. Even if it’s not a masterpiece you’re doing. Even a bad novel requires a chair to sit on and a bit of privacy.”
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

One of the hardest things about traveling is finding a decent place to work. A lot of countries don’t have that lingering coffee shop culture that we have, with comfortable work spaces and a staff that leaves you alone. In South America it’s too much to ask for wireless internet, electrical outlets, a bathroom that is less than a quarter mile away, and a large selection of artisanal teas.

Most of the time I had to work from home (or hostel), but unfortunately I wasn’t nearly as productive. In the States I’ve had peak days of cranking out five hours of honest-to-goodness work, but I rarely got above two hours in South America. For my latest trip I took some pictures of my work spaces, which I believe you will find fascinating.

Bogota, Colombia

Finding a table and chair was sometimes challenging, so for my first city I used a trash can as my working platform. It’s here that I put the finishing touches on A Dead Bat In Paraguay. On a trash can. When the maid came by I had to remove everything so she could empty it.

Medellin, Colombia

My first Medellin apartment had a pretty decent work area. I started the trip drinking water out of bottles but eventually drank straight from the tap. I never got sick from it. My stomach was actually healthiest in Colombia (it got worse in Brazil and then fell apart in Argentina where my “Days Without Diarrhea” counter never got into the double digits). I’m okay now, thanks.

The desk in my second apartment was considerably smaller, but I lived near a McCafe where I could hang for a couple hours at a time. Note the kitty calendar hanging on the wall (thanks sis).

Fortaleza, Brazil

I stayed in this hotel for a couple days and converted the nightstand into a desk. My Portuguese books are stored at the bottom.

Pipa, Brazil

The desk was a little low so I’d have to hunch over to see the screen. There was a massive ant colony nearby that was drawn to the warmth of my laptop. Brazil has a lot of ants.

Vitoria, Brazil

This is the niciest and most expensive hotel I stayed in during the trip ($70/night). Ironically, it was the only place that charged extra for internet and breakfast.

Vila Velha, Brazil

I moved to an apartment in a neighboring city, owned by a guy who worked at the expensive hotel. He had no furniture here so I went to a mattress store and bought a $40 foam thing that barely held up for my week stay. I didn’t get any work done here.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This was my home for the first two weeks in Rio until I found my favela shack. I had to revisit the trash can desk. I actually got a lot of work done here because the room was usually empty with my gringo dormmates sightseeing or visiting the beach. I’m sure they thought I was loser since I didn’t do much during the day.

Cordoba, Argentina

For the first time in my life I lived alone. The apartment came furnished and set me back about $700 for the month (it was expensive because I was on a month-to-month contract). I dreamed of living alone for a long time, but it was surprisingly boring, probably because I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I had a lot more fun living in my Rio shithole with my dreamy Danish roommate.

In Cordoba I finished my third book. It’s about Colombia, and should be out in a month.


  1. TruNinja May 21, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Glamorous. The solo wine drinking is a nice touch.

    You got ripped off at 700 per month, you should have had a local friend arrange things for you, or networked over the internet.

    Considering a doctor makes 1000 a month or less in Buenos Aires, you could have gotten a place much cheaper in Cordoba.

  2. CG May 21, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Man you have hairy arms…

  3. DB May 21, 2010 at 8:50 am

    1: How little do you think i could get an apartment (studio or 1br) for in nueva cordoba for a 6 month period? If I used locals to check the place out, negotiate a price etc. What about a room?

  4. DB May 21, 2010 at 8:53 am

    When I go to india I will just have a small desk made (making sure it can easily be taken apart and put in the garbage). Then I’ll pay like 6 bucks as a bribe to be able to put it in my room..

  5. TruNinja May 21, 2010 at 9:39 am


    Do you speak Spanish? If not, this will be more difficult, but not impossible.

    In Latin countries, the easiest ways to get good deals are often word of mouth rather than internet postings.

    To make local contacts, I suggest using Facebook or couchsurfing.

    On facebook, find groups for the city you are going to, university, the city fan page, anything…join, and just start messaging people.

    On couchsurfing, do a similar thing…find some cool people, make a polite email saying that wow, you love nueva cordoba and all, and you want to find a place to stay for longer than a week or a few days…the person on couchsurfing might be willing to rent you a room if they have one, or they might have a cousin/friend/etc that does.

  6. TruNinja May 21, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Facebook is also a goldmine for pussy.

    I made a dummy account before going to Brazil last year, and joined some university groups and such for the cities I was going to, and just started adding and messaging tons of girls, and had 3 lined up before I got there.

  7. Sam Spade May 21, 2010 at 9:56 am


    That must be the Ibis hotel in downtown Buenos Aires that cost you $70. Clean and modern but no character.

  8. Omega Man May 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

    The crappy foam mattresses might be the worst thing about Latin America.

    Omega Man’s last blog post: A Foray Into Pop Culture.

  9. Willy Wonka May 21, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I like the trash can desks, nice touch.

    I agree with the quote at the beginning, it is definitely harder to find a good place to do work than it is a place to sleep.

    Willy Wonka’s last blog post: I Prefer An Entourage.

  10. Giovonny May 21, 2010 at 10:38 am

    A hustler always finds a way.

    Looking forward to the Colombia book.

  11. Shaman May 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

    “In Cordoba I finished my third book. Itâ��s about Colombia, and should be out in a month.”


    Also, second the “holy shit hairy arms” guy–you need to check out laser hair removal, it’s permanent (no going back to get waxed every 4 weeks).

  12. nathan May 21, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I found those pictures fascinating! Curious about the Colombia book but I’ll probably just wait for the movie (starring Russell Brand as Roosh).

  13. speakeasy May 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I’m surprised the water in Argentina fucked you up. I’d have thought their’s would be the cleanest of the three.

  14. Carl Sagan May 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Your pad in Vitoria looked pretty baller.

    Too bad it was $70 a night.

  15. TruNinja May 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Yeah, I thought it was a tattoo or he was partially covered in mud.

    I think before laser would be an option, he would have to trim it down with a weedwhacker.

  16. The Rookie May 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    who knew that good things could come from working with trash (cans)

    The Rookie’s last blog post: Unfazed.

  17. Anonymous May 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Man, you are really running out of material for the blog :(( But thanks for the pics, especially of your arms!

  18. ElGuapo May 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I can relate to “I dreamed of living alone for a long time, but it was surprisingly boring, probably because I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I had a lot more fun living in my Rio shithole with my dreamy”

    I always wanted to be alone, but my quality of life improved 100x when I moved into a house with 3 other guys and 3 other personalities. Pretty much one of the reasons I ended up staying so long in Rio.

    ElGuapo’s last blog post: My (Brazilian) Portuguese Cheat Sheet.

  19. Roosh May 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I agree that in the picture it looks like I’m wearing a gorilla hair arm sleeve. Thankfully the girl who took the picture didn’t mind.

    speakeasy: I don’t think it was the water. It couldve just been my stomach got worn down after a couple little illnesses. I started taking probiotics in the states and it’s back to how it was before I left.

  20. West LA May 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Good post, enjoyed the topic, pix…
    I see you’re a fan of Henry Miller — great choice for you. What’s your favorite of his books?
    Have you read much Hemingway? You might like his non-fiction (also), published in a book called ‘By-Line: Ernest Hemingway'(especially the middle period, in Key West, Africa, Cuba).
    Also I recommend to you the short stories of Thom Jones, in his first two books, The Pugilist at Rest, and Cold Snap.

  21. speakeasy May 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Hey Guapo, how did you go about finding roommates? And what was your living situation like? As far as the apartment goes, did everyone have enough space of their own? I remember that day I checked out out a few apartments with you in Copa, I was surprised how small Rio apartments are. Having 4 guys in one would seem pretty crazy if you’re used to having lots of space and privacy.

  22. V May 21, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Question, why not put it on your lap? The laptop I mean.

    V’s last blog post: Game in Poetry.

  23. Lumiere May 22, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Lol @ seeing my old room in medellin again

  24. Lugo May 22, 2010 at 5:18 am

    What did you do to keep your laptop secure?

  25. Steve Johnson May 22, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Sam Spade is a fucking kike!

  26. Anonymous May 22, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Strong hairy arms brah. Should weekly wax them and get a hair cut.

    1. Roosh May 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      You non-hairy men don’t understand… you can’t just wax one area of the body and not the others because it will look strange. All the hair is connected and you either do all or nothing. I’m a fan of targeted trims. Since I don’t do beach game, there is no need to wax.

  27. ElGuapo May 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    The Scandinavians I met in Rio dressed well, etc, but I actually have not met any with mid/strong game. They’re not aggressive enough for Brazilian chicks.

    After hanging out with many nationalities, the guys with the best game were generally: Argentinian and Israeli, although their own game was rather different. Latin (Mexican, Peruvian) guys did generally well with that comfort level game (more direct). Guys with little/no game: Americans, Germans, Northern Europeans, etc.

    I just have not seen many solid cases of situations where non-aggressive guys did well consistently. I was friends with a decently looking Brazilian guy, but since he wasn’t really a ‘hunter’, he really did not pickup at all. He wasn’t really living to his potential.

    You gotta be a hunter to score consistently in Brazil, and about 20x more so in Argentina.

    ElGuapo’s last blog post: 9 Must Have Gear For The High Tech Nomad.

  28. Chris May 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm


    you’ve got a couple of books that you (assumably) make decent income from on this site. Why don’t you try to leverage your following here into getting a mass market publisher to publish your Colombia book?

    Look at it as a cash flow experiment. A mass market book on amazon might not only lead to more cash for you due to sales volume on that book (maybe), but will almost certainly draw more people to this site to buy your other higher profit per unit books. Just an idea.

    Your goal isn’t to sell a lot of books, but to make the most profit. Whether you do this selling 2 books or 3 books is irrelevant. The Colombia book on amazon may make a nice loss leader, that is if it doesn’t take off. Give it the right title, and it might. Look at that stupid “Beer in Hell” fellow.

    Another argument for this is that you might not see a great increase in sales due to the fact that people tend to buy less when they have more choice. Selling 3 books through this site might lead to some paralysis by analysis. Just a thought.

    Cant wait for the Colombia book.

  29. J May 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Fuck yea, pumped for the third book.

  30. WXnX May 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm


    A couple problems with that. First Tucker Max is a retard, and anyone who emulates him deserves a running kick to the genitalia.
    Second, getting published by a major publishing house requires time, patience, and a lot of perseverance. Roosh is proud of being lazy, and as long as he makes just enough from his website, he is unlikely to invest the time and energy into a low probability venture.

  31. Vincent Ignatius May 24, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I tend to get a lot more work done when I travel to Central America. Same here in Cyprus where I have no internet in my house. Without the internet, I have nothing to do but work. I got more work done in 3 weeks in El Salvador than I did in the 3 months before I went there.

    I’m in a Starbucks right now because it’s the closest place to get wifi, and instead of working I’m commenting here, chatting to friends around the world and I have that story you linked about the Australian reporter opened in another tab.

    Vincent Ignatius’s last blog post: Happy Draw Muhammad Day!.

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  33. choichoi May 24, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    the trash can desk is awesome, haha. I just finished reading A Dead Bat in Paraguay today, while at boring ass work. Couldnt put it down…i mean close it, out gotta love pdf book heheh. A great read indeed looking forward to your newest work!

  34. dream puppy November 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    You look like a handsomer version of Rasputin. This post was interesting, although I am not sure why. It made me miss Peru. Did you notice the bar soap smells different (better) in South America?

  35. dream puppy November 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Sorry, but now that I mentioned Peru I must clarify q no tengo nada de cholla. Ok gracias.