Is Roam Co-Living The Work/Travel Balance You’ve Been Craving?

Increasingly untethered and unencumbered by conventional ways of living and working, our integrated lives allow us to dictate how and where we exist. There need not be a societal structure or division to our days, weeks, or months. The transition between work and play can be seamless, irregular, and at times unrecognizable. Whereas once it seemed the two general paths of early adulthood would diverge into choosing either a full time career or opting to travel for an indefinite amount of time before settling down, those choices have quickly and easily merged. 

Roam is a company that looks to provide the most ideal opportunity for achieving this lifestyle of the digital nomad — the traveling freelancer, the work-and-play artist who doesn’t crave a home base. Founded in 2015 by Bruno Haid, an Austrian hospitality industry veteran and himself a confident nomad, Roam is an organization that has ventured to create live/work spaces around the world, offering places that serve both as a hotel and office — a place to live, sleep, and work. Or get mail delivered by hand, if that’s still a thing.

Who It’s For

The millennial generation, for all the flack it gets, is both the catalyst and the target for such an endeavour. More and more people work from home, work for themselves, or work on contracts that allow them various freedoms outside of the commonplace nine to five, five-day-a-week commuting job. While many young people flock to major cities around the world to embrace a metropolitan lifestyle, increasing rent prices and costs of living make it particularly hard, even for those who don’t have university debt (some), cars (more), or mortgages (mostall?).

Travelling around the world offers firsthand life experience and unforgettable memories, but it can delay starting a career or finding a job. On the other hand, jumping straight from schooling into an entry level gig puts you on a work path from which escape may prove difficult or detrimental. This of course isn’t new, and for years now, the professional nomads of the world — those freelancers and contract workers and wandering artists among us — have struck a balance and found success on the road while (likely) possessing a home base.

Roam, however, offers several home bases around the world to visit as you please. It appeals to those who disdain traditional work schedules and seek instead the ability to create one’s own itinerary, dedicating time and energy to work whenever and wherever one desires. (Far more productive, one would think.) What’s more, if you are in fact an extroverted being already working at home or on the road, the lack of social interaction can be problematic. Roam can, in part, alleviate that.

How It Works

Essentially, you enlist by signing a lease and paying $500 a week, a fee that more or less serves as rent. Then you can make your way to one of the available cities, come and go as you please, and enjoy all that Roam has to offer. No one is going to tell you how to work and live, and you have at your disposal high speed internet and your imagination — and with those toolsyou can do anything.

Indeed, the company stresses the durability and effectiveness of the internet, because really, without it, you’ve got nothing. It’s the the most frustrating of first world problems to have a slow connection, and really makes you question everything that humanity has been able to accomplish that is smart and positive. A scrutinized and well-tested high-speed hookup is central for this company to survive, so you know they’re going to have you covered.

Rooms come furnished with access to a private bathroom and the comfiest of linens. They are functional and minimalist while still trying to be cozy. There are communal work spaces and a communal kitchen, as working, cooking, and eating together with fellow so-called roamies seems to be an assumed part of the experience. There are also swimming pools, patios, yoga, and art studios, and all the comforts and necessities the younger generation embraces.

Where

At the moment, the number of cities with established sites is rather limited, but available destinations still afford the necessary vacation/retreat aspect of the experience. Miami is Roam’s hub, while on the other side of the world, Bali offers a popular escape. The latter makes for a great option, as Southeast Asia has long been the place where millennials seek cheap rent and a beautiful setting in which to (try to) work and (definitely) play.

Currently, the other two cities with live/work opportunities are San Francisco and Tokyo, for those seeking more temperate climates and a bustling metropolis experience — and, in the case of San Fran, great sports teams and excellent sourdough bread.

Coming soon, attests Roam, are more expensive, highly sought-after urban destinations in London and New York City, as well as Berlin. It’s hard to scoff at $500 a week in those cities with all the furnishings and amenities they come with, especially considering you don’t need to be locked into a lease.

What’s Next

It’s hard not to imagine more companies popping up like this as Roam expands. We live in a  world with a gig economy, instant access to information, and the opportunity to do a lot of things remotely. There are plenty of fascinating and exciting places in the world to visit, and surely some fun people to meet. There is also a lot of work to be done. So let’s do it together.

 

 

Photos via Roam.

Anthony Marcusa
Anthony Marcusa is a Toronto-based freelance journalist whose writing dabbles in film, TV, music, sports, and relationships – though not necessarily in that order. He’s simultaneously youthfully idealistic and curmudgeonly cynical. But he’s always curious.