How co-living spaces are redefining the concept of a 'home'

Co-living offers professionals and digital nomads a new way to live an exciting yet affordable life.

Co-living is a term that you may have heard, but if you’re like a lot of people, you might not be entirely clear on what it actually means. Basically, this is a modern housing option that gives residents an opportunity to not only share their living space with one another, but also share similar intentions, values, and interests. It’s all about collaboration and openness in the 21st century. 

The sharing economy, along with an increased interest in living more sustainably and being part of a community, have inspired the birth of businesses such as coliving.com and Roam, making it easy to find flexible, affordable housing that’s centrally located in top locations across the globe.  

To discover more about this new trend, we chatted with Daisy Onubogu from Roam, a co-living network with locations in Bali, San Francisco, Miami and Tokyo. As Global Head of Community, she has unique insight into the world of common living and working spaces and the people who join these communities. Below we uncover what co-living is really about, debunk some common misconceptions, and learn how Roam has created an option for a new breed of global citizens. 
Community

Co-living: For those seeking community and change

Redefining the concept of what a home could be, you can find co-living arrangements in both urban and rural areas. Several tenants live under the same roof, with a host who brings everyone together and gives them what they need to feel comfortable. 

According to coliving.com, co-living is all about community, but it also supports individuality. It’s about sharing rather than consumption, and collaboration rather than competition. 

Residents of co-living spaces come from all walks of life and range in age from the 20-something to the retiree. However, they’ll typically include hardworking professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, and artists who seek an environment where they can be empowered and inspired. 

Co-living encourages sustainable lifestyles by making it easy to share resources. It’s a great strategy for changing your routine if you’re tired of the usual 9 to 5 work schedule, you crave more face-to-face interaction, or you simply want more out of daily life.

Coliving in Bali

Finding your place in the world

For people who can’t afford to buy or rent real estate on their own, who wish to see the world, or who just aren’t quite ready to settle down in a single place, co-living offers an incredible opportunity to find fulfillment. As one of the top networks of co-living spaces around the world, Roam is designed for a variety of people with unique needs.

“We cater to people who are entirely location independent because of the nature of their work, who can live and work anywhere they choose to. And then there are people who are primarily based in a particular city but have reason to split their time between multiple cities. For example, they live in New York, but work will have them in Miami a certain amount of time. We also get people who are moving to a large metropolis like London or New York and are worried about isolation or they’re trying to build a new social circle while also trying to keep up with a new job. 

“Roam is sitting in an intersection of flexible living spaces that aren't necessarily just for traditional travelers or nomadic individuals, but also for different kinds of people who are latching onto that community aspect and are interested in sharing uniquely designed spaces with interesting people while having a roster of events set up for them.”

Roam around the world

Community when you want it, privacy when you need it

Even the most outgoing people sometimes need a little time alone, and with co-living spaces, you can certainly have the best of both. So, even though co-living fosters a sense of community and of being around others and collaborating with them, you can still enjoy some much-needed quiet time.

At Roam, the goal is to combine design aesthetics and quality with privacy in an environment where there are also shared resources in a communal space. They cater to all kinds of travelers and professionals, including those who are older, so they understand that different people have different expectations and needs. But while features like Saké bars, chef’s grade kitchens and large en suite bedrooms place Roam at the higher end of the luxury spectrum, what really sets them apart from hotels or a traditional residential setting is the community aspect.

Communal spaces are high quality

“What differentiates co-living is the fact that you can land into a really interesting, rich, and diverse group of people who share a common thread. There will be an element of like-mindedness in the group, but at the same time, there will be variety. It won’t just be young professionals, older corporate individuals, retired individuals, creatives, or students. It'll be all of these different kinds of people bringing in their own stories and backgrounds."
 
“There's a commonality there in terms of everyone having that same desire to connect, or having something to bring to the table, or something to teach others. That diversity becomes an asset. You don't know exactly who you will meet, but you suspect that you might like them. Plus, our community managers organize great dinners and internal events, and act as a host to bring people together, so it takes the pressure off and you can make friends quickly.”

"You don't know exactly who you will meet, but you suspect that you might like them."

The community aspect of co-living is what really differentiates it from other living arrangements. 
Afternoon drinks

Flexible living…and it’s not just for millennials!

There’s a myth surrounding co-living, and it makes people think that this lifestyle is mainly for millennials. But it turns out that people of various age groups are taking advantage of this trend. The average age of Roam’s older demographic is 38-40, but they also have customers who are in their 50s. 

“People really do think of this trend as being for millennials, so we spend a lot of time thinking about how to counter that misconception. Not because there's anything wrong with it, but just because it's an inaccurate belief. As human beings, we tend to assume some things are not for us until we see evidence of the contrary. So the more people presume it's only millennials who live this way, the less they consider it. We get the same story every time someone stays with us and says, ‘I never thought this could be me, never thought this sort of thing was aimed at me, and then I saw that article, or that Instagram post, and realised that this was for older people too.’" 

“We work pretty hard to try to counteract that misconception, but it's tough because, like most things that are a bit different than the norm, at the start, it’s aimed at young people because they tend to be the ones most ripe to be attracted to something different from the norm. Then it makes sense for a lot of other people, and it just takes them some time to click into that realization. So, the more that we can highlight Roam's diversity of offering, the sooner we start to clear that narrative.”

Coliving communal spaces

Take the plunge into co-living

So, there you have it: regardless of age or budget, there’s a co-living arrangement out there for you.

And if you’re planning on living abroad for the first time but you’re worried about how you’ll handle confusing currency conversions and international payments, an online service like OFX can help. A modern way to pay that fits in perfectly with the co-living lifestyle, you can easily cover your rent and myriad other expenses, as well as transfer your savings and submit payments across borders, without getting hit with excessive bank margins and fees—which means you’ll have more money left over for exploring with your new friends.   


Co-living offers everyone from the working professional to the digital nomad a new way to live an exciting and freedom-filled, yet budget-friendly, life focused on community and creativity. Are you ready to give it a try and see where your next adventure takes you? With a simple online search on the right co-living network, your co-living journey can begin with surprising ease. 


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