Lauren Razavi goes to Bali for The Guardian on what can only be described as an interesting, if not that relaxing break:
Shoes off is the first rule as I step inside Hubud, a co-working space in the laidback town of Ubud, Bali. Surrounded by rice paddies and tropical rainforest, the three-storey building is full of MacBook-wielding expats, bamboo furniture and ceiling fans that are already struggling to cool the place at 8am on a Monday. I’m about to begin a week here with Hacker Paradise, a travelling community of “digital nomads” who are set to co-work through three countries this spring.
The co-working retreat is a growing trend for a new generation of workers, especially among citizens of western countries where job markets are failing to offer attractive prospects. An increasing number are ditching the traditional office entirely, opting to combine travel with remote work, developing a startup or freelancing instead.
This particular community of location-independent workers is the brainchild of Casey Rosengren, 23, and Alexey Komissarouk, 28, who met through the tech scene as graduates in Pennsylvania. “We had three Skype conversations before moving into an apartment together for three months during the first Hacker Paradise. We’d actually never met in person before that,” Rosengren says.
Last year, prompted by Komissarouk’s expiring US visa, they worked with a hotel in Costa Rica to organise their first co-working retreat. “We wanted to be able to travel, work and hang out in a community of people that we enjoyed spending time with. So the motivation behind starting Hacker Paradise was pretty selfish,” says Komissarouk. “We wanted to build something with that feeling of working in a job with people you really like, or sharing ideas and trying things out at college.”
Others have joined the community to rediscover their work-life balance. Phillip Gourley, a web developer from Cheshire, England, saw Hacker Paradise as an opportunity to take the leap into freelance work and dedicate more time to his PPS web hosting startup.
“For six months before I left, I was regularly working 85 hours a week. My work-life balance was seriously messed up,” he explains. “Coming here, it’s easier to be balanced and quantify the effort you’re putting in – you can see exactly what you’re working towards. A tropical drink by the infinity pool feels like the right reward for a hard day’s work.”