Coworking Villa in Hanoi, Vietnam

What’s in Your Backpack (with Riley Waugh)

What’s in Your Backpack features members and guests of ClickSpace. Within our breezy cafe a creative energy inspires passionate, unique people from around the world. Often arriving with just a backpack, they’re letting us tell their stories.

Riley is cozied into a corner reading on his phone. From Seattle, Washington USA, he’s a hiking fanatic, self-taught coder, and educator.

I greet him, take the opposite seat at the table, and flip open my notepad. He doesn’t seem fazed about being interviewed.

“I don’t think I’m that interesting” he says.

“Everyone is interesting. Tell me about your free time” I respond.

“All I ever want to do is be on a hike. I also weight-lift, but I’m nerdy. I listen to too many podcasts and get inspired. I like learning from other people, doing what they do, even if it isn’t what you would expect of me” he answered.

Riley goes on to explain his passion for the outdoors. He’s hiked Ham Long, BaVi, Tam Dao and next up is Ha Giang.

Riley is especially excited to hike in New Zealand this summer, right where Lord of the Rings was shot. He’ll also do marketing for a yoga studio and farm work.

When he’s not trekking or teaching, Riley is learning to code.

“I appreciate what I did as a teenager. Every summer I’d teach myself something, just photoshop or just coding. I’m training myself with all the computer skills I can.”

Outdoors enthusiast, avid podcast listener, and computer guru. An interesting person indeed. I ask him, “What’s in your backpack?”

Riley takes my question literally. He starts rifling through the black backpack next to his chair. I rephrase the question.

“What do you take from place to place?”

He laughs, pauses a moment, then begins to explain.

  1. Laptop: Named amethyst because it kind of sparkles.
  2. Headphones: Transports him into a state of flow
  3. Phone: Holds all of his memories, including photos from his first ever cell phone.

“I’m a good minimalist. I also go nuts on research when I first come into a new town. I explore by motorbike to find places to do my hobbies. The first month is insanity trying to figure everything out.”

Riley mentions that cafes are among the things he finds first. Internet speed is a must for him.

“The most pleasure I can derive in a day is working in a cafe. ClickSpace was the first cafe I found in Hanoi. I love coffee, good food, and here I don’t have to worry about my teaching job. There’s a community aspect. Cong is incredibly helpful. I’m also getting better at coding, it’s a place to develop.”