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Coworking and Coliving: A Christian Traveler's Guide to Remote Living

So you're thinking about traveling full-time, but you still have a job and you're trying to figure out what places have good Wi-Fi, what can I do to, and my stuck-in coffee shops all the time, how do I have community and still get my job done?


These are some fundamental questions, and by the end of this article, we will be covering them all so that you can know what your options are as a digital nomad or someone working remotely and wanting to travel at the same time.





Things You Need


We need stable Wi-Fi and we also need an amazing community to spend time with. So we're looking for options and we've stumbled across two different terms that are important to know.


The first one is co-working and the other one is called co-living.


Co-working is a shared workspace with internet, desks, sometimes social activities are planned, but the focus of this space is on working.

They may have separate meeting rooms or you might just get to pick a random desk in the space. Oftentimes, there are monthly or yearly memberships, sometimes as little as a day pass is possible for choice and you pay to work in the space. Many remote jobs or employers that allow you to work or moat can even pay for these memberships for you so you aren't responsible for the cost.


Co-living is where you have a shared community space, usually a kitchen, a living room, some kind of shared area for everyone to gather, but then you are paying rent for that dorm-styled sharing or an apartment that you have to yourself or just a single room.

And this doesn't require that it has a workspace or all these other necessities for working, but it does give you a place to sleep at night and a place to gather with people. And each of these co-living places can be very different.


Some of them are multi-generational, some of them have a specific focus. Like, we're all here to learn about entrepreneurship or we're all here to grow in our faith or we're all here for XY and Z purpose. And some of them are hostels, some of them are more luxurious.

It can range drastically depending on what you're looking for. Now let's take a moment and consider the history of co-living.


At first glance, honestly, it sounds a little cringe worthy. I love having my own apartment. I love having my own space, my own kitchen, etc. But I also want to cut down on costs while traveling. If you can relate to that, then this history may help you better understand what you're getting into.


History of Co-Living

So we can trace nomadic life way, way back.

  • Adam and Eve were roaming the world. God gave us the command to go and multiply.

  • We can see throughout the Bible that Israelites, many times, were traveling around the world, mainly from Egypt to Israel and anywhere else in between. But they were roaming because God gave them a purpose and a mission and a story to tell. And as they're roaming, they often would stop and stay in a clustered group. So you'd be sharing resources and community space. You'd be with all these other people all the time.

  • We can also see this when we have the Oregon Trail and the covered wagons as they progressed across the country to some unknown destination, hoping to strike it rich with gold. They would often circle up at night, not only to keep them safe, but also to have that community-styled conversation and dinners and then kind of segregate off to families, which might include grandparents and aunts and uncles for their separate wagons.

  • But in America, within the Industrial Revolution's struck, we saw a huge transition from everybody living under the same roof to more of just the nuclear family. There are still different populations, like Hispanic families that may still practice the multigenerational style, but it's more common here in the states anyway for it to just be parents and their kids.

  • But this hasn't been the conclusion of the story. Today, you see, there is this transition happening, in part because of the economy and part due to social media and in part due to technological advancement, where we're switching from this love of possession of owning a house, of owning X, Y and C, to more of let's have experiences. Let's get an RV in travel full time. Let's go and see as many places around the world as possible and to do that at a less expensive cost, there are an increase of co-living options where collectively you're sharing a space so that you can cut back on costs. This really started in Berlin and Denmark and has blown up around the world, but it has traced its roots through time and we can see that co-living is something that maybe isn't quite as intimidating as it first seems.



coworking and coliving for christian travelers


Co-Working History

No, we're not all working for the same business or corporation. Some of us may be self-employed or working for an employer remotely.


When did this idea of gathering in the same place with a bunch of strangers come about?

  • We can trace it back to 1995 in Berlin when a group of hackers decided to get together and brainstorm about codes together and just have this communal setting. Over time they began to add social events and later the term was coined as co-working.

  • Bernard de Coven was the one to be credited with this term, but his idea wasn't so much co-working as being a physical space where you all meet. It was much more of an idea of being connected with people, of sharing of ideas and less about the space they were in.

  • Many spaces began to pop up around the world and in 2005 Brad Newberg started a co-working space in San Francisco. He is credited as being the one to really help coworking take off. He added things like free Wi-Fi, shared lunches, bike rides, meditation massage, and then the building was strictly closed at 5.45 pm because the work day had ended.

  • This idea blew up and over the next several years there became thousands of co-working places and then we reached 2020 where there is suddenly a full business shutdown across the globe and you would think that this would maybe hurt co-working places but it actually has helped long-term. You see many businesses have realized they don't need four walls and to pay for utilities because people can work remote. So they've started to create the opportunity for people to work from anywhere. Now many people choose for coffee shops and places with internet and food but if you're also wanting community these co-working places around the world have just been blowing up as an alternative option.


How Does Remote Work - Work With Travel?

Now remote workers can have what are called asynchronous and synchronous jobs.


are ones that you don't have to be in the same time zone. In fact you may never have meetings together at all because you have people 12 hours apart around the globe and they're not even awake during the same hours.


As long as you're meeting your deadlines and getting things done that's all that matters.


Whereas synchronous jobs require you to be available during certain hours of the day therefore your time zones must overlap at least in part to be available for those meetings. So depending on what your current remote situation is it affects what your options are as a remote worker.


How Does This Change Travel?

The biggest way that this impacts your travel is that there is availability in places around the world that have stable internet, have community and have options for you to continue your work while still traveling.


And what I think is one of the more sought after is more of a combination of the two, a co-working and co-living options. So that's what we're going to focus on in this segment.


Co-Working and Co-Living Combo

So co-working and co-living is an option where they offer some kind of style of dormitory or apartment style living but in addition to the communal area (kitchen and your living space) they may also have a communal office.


Now depending on the place there are some things to keep in mind here.


Some places have the workspace but the people there are more interested in travel and partying than work.


We need to be mindful when reading reviews and choosing places that we're going to. If our work is what's paying for the travel we need to have an environment that is encouraging our work.

So keep that in mind but we have some places to consider or businesses that offer different co-working and co-living options.


  • So the first one is called "Outsite". It's based on the idea of slow travel where you stay anywhere from a week to a month at that location and they have destinations around the world with internet, Wi-Fi and a working desk and communal activities. (I've heard good and bad reviews from these so keep that in mind.)

  • Others are Selena, Sun and Co, Nomadico, Her Expat Life, Nomad Stays, Co-Worksurf, and Co-Living Compass.


One thing I do want to note about these places, is that I really liked -at least on the website -Nomad Stays and Co-Worksurf, because it outright said what you could expect for upload and download speeds and that just seemed like a really important piece for me to know before walking into my travels.


Now many of these have many different destinations. Sun and Co I think is the only exception - but many of these have destinations either in a region (like multiple places in Mexico or throughout most of Europe) or they're fully global as well.


But keep in mind that say you're really wanting to go to Denmark or really wanting to go to Germany. You can look for more Ma and Pa run ones that aren't so globally spread.


One of the drawbacks maybe of the global ones is they often require a membership. So in addition to paying your rent (which usually includes everything including your utilities) it also tacks on them the membership fee to be able to book any of their places in the first place -so additional costs.


But you also may have a better expectation across the board (though not always true) of what the experience will be like.



coworking spaces for christian travelers


Remote Work Travel Groups

I would be remiss to talk about this without also mentioning that some groups are organized for travelers who are remote workers. Essentially it is this package that includes your destination in different places, you get to travel with the same community for the whole time, and go from place to place knowing that you're going to have Wi-Fi a community that wants to work from nine to five and then travel and enjoy the destination on the weekends.


These tend to be more costly.


Many of them have annual membership to book with through their programs some kind of fee to travel to on their trips and then they can have different amounts of things included.


Often these things aren't included in the price:
  • Flights to get there are not included.

  • Your excursions on the weekend are an additional fee.


Programs:

All of these offer different things, and I've looked most closely at Remote Year. It's probably the most well-renowned one but my husband and I aren't really leaning towards it because it's costly they leave you stranded for a week without a real plan which is a nice break I think for the community leaders and things but there's just a lot of things that aren't included in the fee but you do have guaranteed Wi-Fi and a guaranteed place to sleep at night.


Important things to keep in mind:
  • I think it's really important again to read reviews

  • Know what your employer is actually expecting of you ahead of time

  • Be cognizant of what kind of extracurriculars or things that are going to be your additional fees

  • Be aware of what are you looking for - is it okay to get an Airbnb and find a local co-working place? Or are you looking for more of the co-living situation and the internet isn't needed to be a stable because you don't have to be on Wi-Fi constantly?


Christian Perspective

Be mindful of what the group is focused on...

  • Are they really there more for partying and living at large?

  • Are others there to work?

  • Do they offer co-ed style or gender separated dorm rooms?

  • Understand that as a Christian we have to be flexible. This is an opportunity to live with other people and people are sinful -us included- and we need to be aware that part of reshaping and living in a community that's different from living on our own is that we're going to be faced with some of those selfish tendencies that we have that others have and we have to come alongside others have accountability and encouragement


If you're looking for Christian travel community

If you want to move from feeling disconnected and isolated to connected, supported, and spiritually encouraged in your travels - then join our global family and help us build a platform dedicated to connecting Christian travelers!


If you feel like learning more about full time travel - this would be a great article for you: The Nomadic Christian Packer's Essential Gear Guide: Lightweight, Versatile, Faith-Fueled

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