I sat down with Nomad House cofounders Arthur Yeti and Rebecca Males to hear their thoughts on the future of coliving, creating amazing social collisions in a group, and redefining success for remote workers.
Nomad House is a group coworking and coliving community that hosts trips around the world. I just had an amazing two weeks on their Lisbon trip to kick off my remote consulting career. You can read about my experience here.
What is your vision for Nomad House?
We believe in a world where people of similar values and lifestyles can connect. We host coliving retreats around the world, bringing together remote workers and entrepreneurs in shared accommodations and workspaces.
Coworking and coliving is all about increasing the amount of social collisions on a day-to-day basis. Going on a trip together increases those collisions, whether it’s through organized masterminds or sharing doner kebabs at 1am. It breaks down boundaries and makes it easier to connect on so many levels, personally and professionally.
We launched our first 10-day, 10-person retreat in Portugal in the winter of 2016. Since then, we’ve extended our trips to 15 and even 30 days to foster deeper connections. We want people to focus on their own personal projects and goals as well as have time to get to know the city and each other.
Any awesome examples of these social collisions?
On our Budapest trip, we hosted 16 people from all over the world. Two people met and started a company together called FriendFund. They’d both been working on different projects on opposite coasts – Rick was a UX designer from San Francisco and Julia was the head of marketing of a travel agency in Miami. They just launched in beta a year later.
Living with someone in a foreign country lets you see how they react to all sorts of situations: when they’re panicked, stressed, happy, or relaxed. You see them at their best and worst, which is really valuable when looking for a great cofounder.
On a more personal level, we have a couple that met in Lisbon in 2016 and are still together today, traveling the world.
What are your thoughts on coliving and coworking?
Coliving is still a new movement. WeWork is paving the way with WeLive in New York and making it more mainstream, but it’s still early. Give it 5, 10 years and it’ll be more recognized than it is now.
When you book a coliving space, you want to know there’s a good community waiting for you there. That’s the value over booking an Airbnb. An organized trip helps guarantee you’ll have that curated community when you arrive.
We don’t believe in short-term coliving. Longer retreats help build deeper connections, and you can’t create that if new people are going in and out every few days. In the future, we see people extending their stay to 3, even 6 months.
How do you CREATE THE BEST GROUP DYNAMIC?
We bring together people with similar values and life priorities. There’s no strict demographic – your age and background don’t matter. We’ve hosted a wide spectrum of men and women from around the world, from 55 years old to 20 years old.
But, the majority of people who apply tend to have similar interests, values, and drives. We attract a specific niche of people who want to branch out of their social circles to find others who are pursuing a similar lifestyle.
What are the common ingredients? People who want to pursue their passions and make money doing what they love. You have to earn money, so why not do something you really love, sustainably? A lot of people are inherently motivated. You just can’t help it once you have that goal in mind.
It’s difficult to break out of your mold if you’re coming from a place where people expect you to act in a certain way. Changing your surroundings helps free you to new possibilities. You might realize you can be a morning person or start a side project.
How has this journey changed you?
Arthur: I’ve always thought of myself as a lone wolf who can do everything by myself without help. But at some point, you realize being alone isn’t cool. It’s not natural. I don’t care about being accepted by society – it’s not about that. But alone, you can’t get feedback on your projects or inspiration from others.
Becca: As an introvert, I can spend a lot of time solo. But the past 2 years have shown me that I do get as much value in groups, surrounded by people who energize and motivate me. Before, the reason I thought I was happy alone was probably because I wasn’t around the same sort of people. When you find your tribe, you discover the types of people that help you become your best self. I now have friends who invite me to travel or go on day trips but also want to block off time to get work done. And I think, that’s exactly what I want to do! You’re like me!
What does the future of work look like?
There will be much more work for freelancers and specialized consultants in the future. By 2020, over 50% of the US workforce alone will be freelance. With the breakdown of the traditional office, we lose some of our professional and social structures. We’ll need more groups to create a place of belonging for remote workers, and hopefully we can be one of those communities.
Our community gives remote workers a home and structure. You come to learn from other people’s experiences and contribute to this collective brain – anyone can add ideas and pick around for knowledge.
Two weeks ago on the Lisbon 2017 trip, we met a 20-year-old guy from Mexico who was already making a living with his online business while traveling. At 20 years old. Imagine all the younger generations who will be pursuing this path and opening so many doors.
While easier for some people, it’s hard to make the switch from being an employee to becoming a freelancer, startup founder, or remote worker. We want Nomad House to help make the transition easier.
How has your idea of what success looks like changed?
When you start working remotely, you have to overturn your previous ideas of what success or leadership looks like.
Becca: I struggle with redefining what success looks like for me. Traditionally, it’s having an incredible job, a mortgage, and settling down. Now, it might be juggling multiple jobs and projects while traveling, and settling down later in life.
Arthur: I’ve had to realize that instead of stretching for success, or what a “successful CEO” looks like, I’m already successful. I’m living the life of my dreams, connecting with others, and being myself. People feel pressured to be like others or put themselves in a box to believe that they’re successful. But you’re already successful, just by being yourself.
There aren’t enough people out there who feel free to be themselves. We hope Nomad House can help show you that you don’t need social acceptance. You’ll find your tribe as long as you stick to who you are.
Photo credit: Brooke Hurford