Since the advent of the internet, people have been finding ways to use the relatively new technology to better their lives. Whether by foregoing the costs of brick-and-mortar commercial establishments for online retail, or consolidating their entertainment to a few small devices – it has shaped the way we live in ways both big and small. The same goes for the way we work. Around 1997, Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners attached a name to the growing phenomenon of remote, globetrotting workers using the internet as their office – they called them “digital nomads”.
The concept took off in a big way. Since creating , we’ve met countless digital nomads with a similar story: tired of the mundanes of workaday life at home, and pulled by a desire to see the world and create new experiences, they packed their bags (partly with our clothes) and took off to work remotely abroad. And now, the concept has been taken a step further. , a global network of co-living and co-working communities, digital nomadism has gained a solid infrastructure, and has been streamlined to make the lifestyle easier.
Roam basically works like this: the company has set up co-living and co-working spaces in a number of different international locations, and you pay a weekly or monthly rate (starting at $1800/mo.) to gain access to any of the facilities. They’re nice and comfortable, and always kept clean. The price isn’t fantastic, and one could easily strike off on their own and rent a place – in Bali, for instance – for half the price, but Roam is all about ease. Say you got tired of Bali and all of a sudden wished to go work in Tokyo – all you’d have to do was pack up your and hop a plane. You know that there’s a room and working space waiting there for you, for the same price.
The company was started by a man named Bruno Haid, whose initial idea was to offer a sense of community to the disjointed network of digital nomads abroad. In an interview with designboom, Haid noted that, “Ultimately the world will become a smaller place. We will all live more transient lives, with a couple months here and a couple months there”, observing, also, “a huge cultural shift from possessions to experiences”. Then, in , he put a little more bluntly: “It’s all people who want to work on something, whatever that is… They want to get their shit done, and they want to have other people they can lead an interesting life with.”
And that’s about it. You want to work and make money, but you don’t want to do it at the expense of leading an interesting life. If you’re interested in becoming a digital nomad, do your research; maybe the streamlined, Roam model is for you, but maybe it isn’t. Maybe you’d prefer being more immersed in the local activity, and working from coffee shops in a bustling part of town.
Whatever path you choose, remember that it’s important to stay comfortable out there, something that we put a lot of thought into. It could be as simple as picking up a to last you through the week, or a Merino wool shirt to wick away sweat in the humid Bali heat. When you’re working remotely, those small comforts can make a world of difference.