Remote Working: Coliving Communities vs. DIY experiences while traveling

Coliving: Do it yourself :) From the beaches of Southeast Asia to the mountains of Patagonia, we’re lucky to have the freedom to work, travel and play anywhere in the world. The never-ending list of choices – while exciting – can also feel incredibly overwhelming.

As remote workers, in addition to choosing a location, transportation, length of stay, budget and extra curricular activities, we have to choose how we want to work and live while we travel.

Let’s talk a bit about coliving vs. DIY experiences while traveling. During my most recent travels, I tested out two different types of remote working experiences:

1. Coliving

Live and work in a space with other remote workers. Workspace, amenities and often social activities and workshops are included in your booking.

My coliving experience: I visited Swiss Escape for snowboarding in the Swiss Alps and Sun and Co. in Javea, Spain to soak in some Spanish culture and enjoy the sunshine.

Both were well-equipped with friendly, accommodating hosts, reliable internet, comfortable workspaces and clean, modern living quarters. I spent a bit more than I would have if I had just rented a room or stayed at a hostel, but that does not include a designated office space. In most cases, coliving is more cost effective than renting both a room and an office space (in a local coworking place, for example).

I enjoyed the social culture, camaraderie and diversity of coliving. The ease of booking a room and knowing everything was taken care of was priceless, my hosts helped me find the right busses and booked fun activities like surfing, hikes and group dinners.

2. DIY Remote Working

AKA What we did before coliving & coworking were a thing. Find your own reliable place to live and work, assuring you have accurate resources to do your job. Build your own social network, community and itinerary.

My DIY experience: With the goal to snowboard and work around the world, I was faced with the challenge of finding remoter-friendly locations on my own. Unfortunately, there are only a couple of mountain towns that have even the slightest “digital nomad” community.

So, I built my own itinerary for trips to Nozawa, Japan (one month) and Morzine, France (two months). In Japan, I relied heavily on seeking out quiet times at the ski lodge and the rare wi-fi-equipped coffee shop for working. In the mountains of Japan, the coffee shop and coworking culture is non-existent, which posed a challenge. In France, I booked an affordable private quarters through Air BnB in a chalet in the alps.

With the savings from scoring a cheap room, I was able to book two months at Buro Morzine – a coworking place a few steps from the Morzine ski gondola. I discovered a few gaps in my planning such as distance and transportation between my chalet and office and lack of resources and social scene for like-minded young professionals in my village.

Before my departure, I spent a lot of time building out the logistics for my trip, including figuring out my own transportation, researching places to eat and play, finding reliable, comfortable spots to work, searching for the right opportunities to meet people and make friends.

Both experiences can be fulfilling and worthwhile, but each option has pros and cons that are worth considering before booking your next remote working trip. Only you know your personality type and travel style, so it’s important to research and use your resources to figure out which route is best for you.

Margo Stoney Remoter

Guest post by Margo Stoney, Graphic Design in her own agency High Mountain Creative.

Margo Stone is a graphic designer; she quit her job some years ago and started her own company: High Mountain Creative. You can read more about Margo in her Remoters’ Interview.

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