The rise of the gig economy and a growing global cohort of freelancers has resulted in an explosion of co-working spaces all over the world. Digital nomads, or workers and entrepreneurs who are "location-independent" and can work from anywhere in the world -- as long as there's decent wifi -- are an emerging phenomenon at these co-working spaces in cities like Berlin, Buenos Aires and Amsterdam.
Co-living spaces catering to these digital nomads are also popping up. Now, a startup called Roam is piloting an interesting new model where participants can sign a lease to live in various co-living spaces around the world. The idea is to foster a global community of digital nomads, while giving them a network of places to call home. Here are some photos of their Madrid location:
Founder Bruno Haid says on Co.Exist that the company arose from his own hassles in navigating the logistics behind the location-independent lifestyle:
Just managing my stuff and going back and forth between Airbnbs and housesitting became more cumbersome over time. At the same time, I was involved in a couple of early co-living communities in San Francisco, and saw the cultural value of something like that.
There's also the isolation and disorientation that one can feel when landing in a new place; but with travelling professionals, this can occur more frequently, says Haid:
If you go from location to location, it always takes a couple of weeks to feel at home. That's something that we want to make sure is done in a very short time frame. You can literally show up in Bali and you live with people who have been there for a long time, means you have everything you need to navigate the local community, to know what's where, what can I connect to.
The company, which already has locations in Miami, Madrid and Bali, recently garnered another $3.4 million in funding to develop new locations in London and Buenos Aires; they are aiming for eight to ten co-living hubs by 2017. Roam's co-living spaces -- which will provide private beds and bathrooms in addition to communal kitchen and working spaces -- are targeted at people of all ages, not just the young, single freelancer.
Living at a Roam space isn't necessarily as cheap as finding digs on your own: one week in any of their locations will cost USD $500, and one month $1,800, up to a maximum of two people. But utilities, and of course a "battle-tested" Internet connection are included -- certainly an advantage. Not to sidestep the inevitable considerations of how increased travel translates to a bigger carbon footprint, but it's an intriguing concept to have a 'home' and community of sorts in any of these locations, not to mention the possibility of trading in your conventional static-location lease for a location-independent one, while getting some work done in an exciting new locale. For more information, visit Roam.