What it’s like to stay at a coliving space in Bali for 5 weeks.

The last 5 weeks I stayed at roam.co in Bali, a new and aspiring coliving startup from New York. I was so blown away by the experience and fascinated by the whole concept that I decided to write a quick post about my time there to share the experience with everybody. My stay there also brought up many thoughts about the future of living.

I got first contacted by roam while I was still traveling Australia in December last year. The lovely team reached out to me and invited me over to stay for a couple of weeks at their first location in Ubud, Bali. They apparently were ready to launch. I myself knew one of the founders from back in the days in my coworking space. I was super surprised that they had raised money so fast and were actually close to opening their first location. I decided to integrate it into my travel plans. I wanted to stay in Bali for a few weeks anyways. There I was on January 18th checking into roam, room number 7 at Jalan Penestanan Klod No.75,Ubud, Bali.

The whole concept of roam in my words is to provide a worldwide network of living spaces for a membership of 1.600 $ US including an awesome community of “co-roamers” in each location. It also offers a communal kitchen and neat events on site as part of the package pretty much like those of a coworking space would be. In a perfect world you would have a roam location everywhere you ever want to go so that having your own flat somewhere becomes obsolete.

When I arrived there I was one of the first people to stay there. I had the whole place to myself during the first week. The place itself was a well designed luxury boutique hotel with 24 rooms that the guys from roam had taken over and transformed it into an awesome coliving space. On the rooftop there would be a coffee shop which quickly became everybodies favorite coworking location. On the other rooftop (!) there was a set of activities scheduled during the week, both self organized and community stuff like yoga classes, sushi workshops or reiki sessions. It was a pretty good mix of local things for example a workshop on how to diy balinese offerings for the temple ceremonies. We had pecha kucha nights hosted by a fellow roamer Dave from “say yes more” or capoeira lessons every sunday morning and many more.

I was pretty amazed by the diversity of people that had come to this beautiful place and I had a pretty good time getting to know the other roamers. We organised trips through the island together or just were hanging out by the pool. At some point in the third week things just went full circle and we all were moving from birthday breakfast to workshop to trip-to-the-beach to bbq evening to surf lesson to welcome and good buy dinners. People were checking in and leaving, coming back from a trip, catching up with each other and moving out again. Some would stay some would be floating around bali like butterflies. I think I will never forget this feeling of belonging to one easygoing lovely and spririted tribe. I also feel during those 5 weeks friendships for life were made and I am looking forward to see everybody again in other places of the world.

While I was at roam.co I also started to realize how broken and static „living“ actually is the way we do live in global metropoles. We are used to own or rent flats in appartemt complexes without any connection or sense for community in our direct surrounding e.g. the building we live in. Well, we sometimes know people but who lives together in one building is basically a coincidence. In most places I lived so far I barely knew my neighbors and very rarely we had „social“ events in our building. The more I think about this I cannot believe anybody would actually like that.

Being back in Berlin in my old flat, I remember the roam experience and I’d love to get up in the morning, go to the communal kitchen and meet some old or new friends at the breakfast table but there is none. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have my own room/flat. But if I like to have some private time in the morning, for sure the latest in the afternoon I’d love to catch up with somebody. I like discuss work or spin some ideas or just watch a movie with somebody. Having discussed this with a friend I actually don’t think this kind of living together is reserved to young people or singles. I totally can see families or grandparents live together like that. Furthermore it is not so much different from how 2–3 generations of a family would live together in one house in the past. The more I think about it, the more I got the feeling that when we started to move and agglomerate in huge metropoles 50–100 years ago we were a little bit too busy to get the social aspect right at the first shot. This is going to change now I think.

Also we all tend to have many homes these days: the place we were born, the place we went to university, the place we work for a while or the place we like to stay at for 3 months while there is winter in our regular home. In a way I feel what happens to our jobs (changing job and/or profession every 3–5 years) also happens to the place we call home. It gets more flexible and fluid in a way and scattered all over the place and we tend to change more often than in the past. I know a bunch of people in my circle of friends that get as uncomfortable imagining they would live in the same place for 30 years as we they would feel when thinking about working for a corporate for 30 years until they retire.

I myself feel I have to find a better place to live for myself right now. Regarding roam I think the team behind it created a visionary product / concept that is leading the bleeding edge way when it comes to the future of living and after staying in one of the locations for 5 weeks I feel I need more of it at some point in my life. I feel part of a tribe now and I need to make time to return to this tribe. The next place to be opened is Miami. Maybe see you there. ;)