“Without going to school, you can learn so much by staying in a coliving space. You live with people who are specialized in their own field. It’s an alternative way to learn.”
I interviewed Maria Kinoshita, a global citizen and the founder of Octo D, an edTech startup, and Nomad Coliving. She shares her story below.
A fully remote life
I’m half Japanese, half African. I was born in France and grew up living in France and Canada. I traveled a lot and have family and friends around the world. I’ve been traveling since I was a kid, and I guess I just didn’t stop.
I’m in edTech. My company, Octo D, creates educational modules for corporations and nonprofit organizations like McDonalds and The Red Cross. The entire team travels around the world remotely, and many of us are bilingual.
Alternative learning through coliving
Because I’ve been traveling so much, I saw a need to bring remote workers together and make it easier to live and work around the world.
I’ve been studying different models of coliving while traveling and decided to launch a coliving space in Montreal called Nomad Coliving.
Nomad Coliving will focus on community and events like other spaces – but we’ll specialize in learning and workshops. We want to create a place where locals and international entrepreneurs can meet.
I think Montreal is a great hub because many locals have the money to live in a coliving space. That’s not the case in other areas of the world like parts of Southeast Asia, where locals can’t afford to live in a space that’s priced for travelers.
Learnings and social collisions become much more interesting when nomads and locals come together.
Choosing Active income over passive income
I also speak at conferences. I’m in Las Palmas this week for the Nomad City conference, speaking on a cruise next week, then in Asia in February. Because of my background in edTech, we have the resources to easily launch new workshops for conferences.
I realized I could make a good living out of my edTech business. I invest the revenue from my business into social projects, like coliving. We’ll buy the coliving building – it could be my retirement plan! Other than that, I’m not really saving for retirement.
My edTech company, speaking engagements, and coliving space all blend well and support each other. This lifestyle is not very costly for me. It’s sustainable.
Nomads are all about making passive income, but I’m the complete opposite.
I’m not looking for passive income because I have this active income that is fun.
“Unschooling” over homeschooling
Going to university can be interesting, but it’s not a fit for everyone.
My partner in my edTech business has two kids who are ‘unschooled’. They don’t go to school. Their mom doesn’t even homeschool them, and she’s a professional in educational training. They’re from France and have lived in New Zealand, Singapore, and Montreal.
They don’t learn the subjects we don’t really use anymore, like complex math. They know many languages, they know how to do video editing – and they’re still so young! They can do whatever they want. She’s always bringing them to different cultural activities.
Universities like Harvard now accept, and welcome, the unschoolers because they realize they can bring a set of knowledge that is different to the community. They realize they’re not less intelligent.
coliving Off The Beaten path
I think coliving is the next big thing in the real estate industry. We’re the first ones to be aware of the shift. Rent is going up, families are more isolated, and people stay single longer in life. There’s fewer people to pay for higher rents. And there’s a shift where younger generations care more about having experiences than a nice car.
This shift is happening slowly now, but it’s gaining momentum. It will completely shock the real estate and working industries.
I want to find hidden gems in different countries around the world and work on developing them into coliving ecosystems. Starting with Montreal, I want to go off the beaten path. In Japan, I was thinking about Okinawa because people are all about Tokyo – but Okinawa can open you up to a whole new experience of Japan.
Once I’ve tasted this remote lifestyle, I could never see myself wanting to go back!