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Culture & Religion

The Company Roam Wants to Change How We Work and Travel

Roam is one of a new subset of companies aimed at cultivating the coworking and coliving movements. Only now the horizon is abroad.

Self-enrichment is a fun hobby. There are a lot of ways to pick up new skills and learn new things from the comfort of your own living room and computer these days. But what about the things you can’t experience without leaving your house, like travel?

Many people love the idea of picking up and living in different parts of the world for a few months at a time, but it’s a pretty big hassle. Now the company Roam has jumped in, saying that it can help make a world of difference when it comes to travel plans.

Roam allows members of its community to live together in various locations abroad in an environment that resembles part upscale hostel and part coworking space. There’s a guaranteed wifi connection so that people can work remotely from abroad, as well as a nice communal kitchen for meal preparation. It seems as though the company is looking to become an attractive housing option for adventurous and location-independent young professions.

One question that springs to mind when hearing about Roam’s plans is whether the idea is simply too niche to take off in a big way. Yes, there are more people with flexible jobs these days than there used to be. But not even that whole subset of workers can take off for weeks or months at a time to go live in Bali. It seems as though Roam has in mind a larger population however. They are also interested in serving empty-nesters and people in other in-between phases of life to help build their community.

Not everyone is impressed however. Some wonder at the cost of the service ($1800 a month) for a private room, bathroom, and wifi. Presumably in some locations you could find the same level of accommodations for cheaper. On a deeper level, there are questions about what these types of popular coworking and coliving arrangements mean for the future of neighborhoods. Have cities gotten so expensive in the U.S. that the millennial generation will look to temporary living situations as the new normal?

Additionally, what about the local economies of the places where Roam and similar companies set up? It may take more time to see how host countries respond to this new wave of competition with local hotels and hostels. But it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to assume that local workers and companies would be better off if travelers used the existing tourist infrastructure.

So. Would you try it out?


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