Hey everyone. Normally I write about my books, what I'm reading, what I'm researching. I'm going to pause briefly and do something different. For the past year or so I've been a 'digital nomad'--traveling around the world, staying in a city or a country for a couple of months before moving on to the next. It's an increasingly popular lifestyle and part of what makes it work is word of mouth. Nomads meet, tell each other where the good spots are, and then travel on to a place that someone probably recommended to them a few months earlier.
So I'm going to keep a running tally of the co-living and co-working spaces that I've tried, with a brief description of my thoughts.
Roam. Ubud, Bali.
Roam offers co-living and co-working. It's probably my favorite of all the places I've tried, but it's also the most expensive. The rooms aren't just comfortable, they're luxurious. The working space was convenient, I could take a break during the middle of the day to do yoga at a studio a short walk away, and the shared spaces really facilitated social interaction. At the time I was there, the internet was on the slow side.
KoHub, Ko Lanta, Thailand
I really disliked this place. The bundles sounded good but weren't--I tired of the limited options from the kitchen really fast & generally wished I hadn't pre-paid for meals because I would rather have eaten anywhere else. No one liked the KoHub housing--I ended up in a cute cabana a 10 minute walk from the co-working space which was lovely & there are plenty of alternative options. Mostly, the bathroom at the coworking space was perpetually disgusting; clogged and puddled and repulsive.
Ko Lanta is a beautiful island and relatively peaceful, but I wouldn't return here until I was confident they'd made some major changes. I heard some were in the works & I was there in spring of 2017, so who knows what lies in the future.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
I usually worked from CAMP, the work/study space in the mall. I liked it a lot but getting a desk could be a challenge. Still, if I timed my day right, I could spend the day working and then hop across the hall to the movie theater, which got a lot of new releases and often played the original English. Punspace is the more established co-working space but I almost never went there; it was a lot more expensive, I didn't like the vibe as much, and I didn't need the faster internet.
I found an apartment just by walking from one complex to another in the Niemman area, asking about apartments and comparing prices. It took a whole day and I was exhausted by the end, but I found a nice one bedroom for myself in a perfect location and ended up staying for four months.
Hub Hoi An, Hoi An, Vietnam
A really excellent co-working space. I found a room within walking distance on AirBnB and biked to the co-working space every morning. Hoi An is a really charming city with great atmosphere, great restaurants, nice souvenir shops, and a beautiful beach. It's spread out enough that ideally, you'd rent a scooter to get around. I am not comfortable on a scooter, which really limited my activities. And yet I'd happily return to Hoi An, partly because the co-working space was so welcoming and friendly. The daily communal lunches were a highlight.
I spent a month with the Wifi Tribe in Changgu and I was not a fan. This is doubtless a matter of personal taste but I'm nearing forty and I'm really focused on work. The tribe, during my month in Bali, was mostly in their 20s and spent a lot of time drinking/partying. The organizer told me that the dynamics change with every new group so YMMV. I won't be back.
Plus, they rented a beautiful villa for everyone to live in... but it was really far away from all the amenities. Far from the coworking, from the restaurants, from the beach, etc. Because I didn't drive a scooter, getting around was really hard. The end result was that I felt really managed, with less personal freedom than I'd like, and was generally unhappy.
Dojo, Changgu, Bali
A really lovely co-working space in Changgu. I loved it here. It was quiet and peaceful and close to great restaurants, with an attached cafe that brought food and drinks right to your desk while you worked. Very chill place to spend time. They organize a lot of social events and workshops but I didn't participate.
Sundesk, Taghazout, Morocco
Marvelous beachside co-working and co-living in Morocco. Taghazout is a tiny town and there's not much to it--which is perfect if you want to keep your nose to the grindstone. The communal breakfast included in the price of the stay is always a highlight of the day and while I was here I really enjoyed floating between the indoor and outdoor office spaces. Well organized, nicely run, friendly. Taghazout is a hotspot for surfing, which I do not do, but there are some yoga studios around and I made full use of them.
Coworking Bansko, Bulgaria
The best co-working community I've found so far. Bansko is a little mountain town in Bulgaria, a ski town with some summer sports activity as well. I'm not sure how the co-owners of Coworking Bansko, Matthias and Uwe, have managed to work such magic but they do. The month and a half I spent here were packed with events, mostly organized by other members--more than I could really participate in, which meant I got to pick and choose. I did weekly yoga classes, hiking trips, a kayaking trip to Macedonia, plus assorted talks, workshops, dinners and other outings. The cost of living is very low, which means that most members feel free to live a little larger, and the town is walkable, with a decent variety of restaurants. Really hope to return here.
That's it... so far.