Listen to: the Economadia Podcast with some of our participants in the Economadia Coworking Farm.


If you have never heard of Barcelos in Portugal before there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. They say that the only thing of interest here is the two highways going to Porto and to Braga from there. Well this is of course not everything when you have a closer look. Some pilgrims pass by here because of the Camino de Santiago, and the famous rooster which is a symbol for Portugal is deriving from here.

After 2017 Barcelos will stand for one more landmark: the humble Economadia Coworking Farm found its first manifestation here. I was lucky enough having been part of the Nomad Farm in August this year; and I was even more lucky to have the chance to rent this place together with Ana after the owner made his way to Southeast Asia to try ourselves in a project that we were envisioning since quite a while: combining location-independency with living closer to nature, more economical than paying high rents in places such as Paris, Milano or San Francisco; yet having all the advantages of a modern life and, most important of all, having interesting and like-minded people around. People who already are or at least interested in being location-independent, people who wish to learn and improve, people who enjoy sharing knowledge, stories and food.

 

The Economadia Coworking Farm was the opportunity to combine location-independency with living closer to nature in a like-minded community.

We currently live in a time where we have more questions than answers out there, this is especially valid for those of us who all of a sudden find themselves, intended or not, in the comfortable position of being location-independent. And no, these are not only coders or online poker players. Take my case; I work for a socially responsible and ethical tour operator in Tanzania called Fair Travel Tanzania – remotely. But then what? What exactly are you doing with the new won freedom? What do you do all of a sudden when this high-aimed goal has come: you can live wherever, with whomever and however you want to. And now what?

 

We currently live in a time where we have more questions than answers out there, this is especially valid for those of us who all of a sudden find themselves, intended or not, in the comfortable position of being location-independent.

But then what?

Some go traveling without anything else left than the backpack on their back where their whole life fits in. Some stay at home and do home officing with occasional attendance of a coworking space – if there is one around in the area. In terms of the ideas of Economadia, being location-independent gives us the great opportunity to be in places where we can live and share ideas together with others in a real life community (in contrast to an online community). On one hand, we can create ourselves a setting where we can be involved in the global sphere like earning money online; and on the other hand we interact locally by just stepping out of the door and being surrounded by nature, being part of a bigger project such as our Coworking/Co-living Farm where one is embedded in an everyday life on a solid platform to live healthier, more socially connected and more sustainable – doesn’t sound all too bad, right? (Let’s have the discussion about what “sustainable” could actually mean in another post 🙂 )

We were curious. We wanted to know how this would look like in reality. We wanted to get in touch with those who think in the same way. We wanted to find out how other people feel about those kind of communities, and if there is a way to have that on a bigger scale.

A shallow warm wind goes through the co-living place, some tranquil Brazilian beats are in the background, and people sit on their laptops and work. For many hours. Sometimes it’s hard to believe when I look up from my screen and see five other people in the room, all in their twenties and thirties, and I hear – nothing! Everybody is in their world of bits and bytes.

But such a place inherently has this “advantage” that it gets you off at some point doing something else than being lost in the global world of evermore websites. The dog outside needs to be looked after now and then and is grateful when someone plays with him for a little while, lunch needs to be made, someone calls for having a sporty activity or playing a game together and the general facilities needs to be cleaned from time to time, sometimes the outside area needs to be swept, too. It offers you the great balance to not get lost for all day long behind your screen. Something that happens so easily when being freelancer where no higher instance tells you when to stop working.

 


Listen to: the Economadia Podcast with some of our participants in the Economadia Coworking Farm.


 

For me personally it’s been a while that I was in a place for such a long time so that I actually started to become kind of local already. And yes, it feels really good when the neighbors start to greet you, recognize you when they randomly come across you in the city center and the bar owner of your chosen favorite bar in town welcomes you with a smile and asks you how it is going.

 

It feels really good when the neighbors start to greet you.

 

Yes, due to the circumstances and ephemerality of this project limited to three months there was hardly any chance to build up something longer lasting. We were still far away from planting some vegetables, creating deeper bonds with the local community or hosting an event at this place. Too short was the time, too busy were we keeping this place running.

 

From the experiences and insights that we’ve gained so far we wonder in which way we could best continue and bring the project to a new level based on all the learning and challenges we found. Such a project relies on commitment, friendship, acceptance, understanding, bringing people together and a clear awareness of a variety of needs and behaviors – and we are totally up for it. The increasing number of location-independent workers comes hand in hand with the necessity to improve their own livelihood by stepping out of a lonely single city apartment chaotic life, reconnect to others face-to-face and ultimately feeling more energized and motivated by the exchanges that such a community and place make possible.

If you wish to stay updated about our activities feel free to subscribe to our Economadia news channel. Our next project is in the making!

 

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