This is a bit off an odd post, I actually decided to not write about my experience in California and Outsite Venice Beach, at the time it seemed pretty uneventful but having let the dust settle, retrospectively I am writing this post 8 months from the date of publish.
Having experienced my first coworking/coliving trip in Fuerteventura, I was really keen to leave the continent and experience one elsewhere. I swiftly paid my deposit for the Coworkation trip to Bali in the coming October of 2017 and also found Outsite, based in the US. Outsite had a variety of places available down the West coast of California as well as a couple overseas. With family close by in L.A, I chose the Venice Beach location over San Diego and Santa Cruz as I believed it would provide me with the opportunity to network, the eccentricity of Venice Beach and close enough to visit L.A.
With 7 days booked at the Venice Beach location, my stay swiftly arrived and before I knew it, I was visiting my first coworking/coliving space outside of Europe. The living spacing is an extremely nice coliving space with a large kitchen and comfortable living space which provides enough room to work and socialise if you wish to do so. The dining area which includes a long table could be deemed a bit small if the place was busy, however the living room and outdoor area easily makes available space to work from while enjoying the good weather.
With the beach only a 5 – 10 minute walk, Venice Beach easily came through with eccentricity with the loud and buzzing promenade. If you walked inland 5 – 10 minutes you are at the top of Abbot Kinney which provides a nice array of restaurants and bars to unwind having worked during the day. Location wise and the living arrangements certainly exceeded my expectations and is a great spot to work, people watch, relax on the beach and have a few beers in the evening.
One of the most interesting aspects of the trip was the difference of culture compared to my experiences in Spain. I believe writing this 8 months since I stayed in Venice Beach has confirmed that my experience was not a one off due to the people I have met since this trip. Whereas the Europeans I have met during coworking trips enjoy a beer or wine over a long meal which may run into the early hours, compare this to the Friday night in Venice Beach which was spent baking Kale and a glass of Red wine. I have experienced similar scenarios on European shores with North American coworkers.
I am not saying the difference is how much Europeans drink compared to Americans but I never felt the house was relaxed or anyone was there to particularly socialise, network or gain anything further than just a place to stay.
I found it difficult on this particular trip to network and bond. With no activities planned for the group, large portions of my day were spent in the house by myself working. In part I believe this is due to the place being advertised on AirBnB which meant 90% of the household actually had jobs and were in California due to work commitments. I was a tad disappointed at this, for me personally, I have no trouble finding the motivation to work, my aim for these trips is to find like minded individuals to network and socialise with as working by yourself does become lonely. Unfortunately it didn’t work out this time.
Start networking via Meetup, spend time living in cities with a large community of nomads such as Lisbon, Barcelona etc and just network. Join Facebook nomad groups, whenever you need a skill set, send out a message. I can assure you, you will build a network, save money and still have a great opportunity to travel.
– Wes Cude
Having got back to the UK and reflected on my trip, there was no doubt I was disappointed. It is a long way to go to spend long stretches of the day working by yourself when the whole point of coliving/coworking, is partly the interaction. I contacted Emmanuelle and he did explain this is a new location and I probably would have been better suited in San Diego.
Outsite and I think coworking/coliving spaces as a whole are a relatively new idea and to balance the books, it only makes sense to rent out any spare space via AirBnB, after all they need to make money. I think this is where the concept of coliving/coworking for digital nomads clash and for me, personally, I don’t think it can work solely on this premise. These spaces appeal to me, the concept appeals to me, however meeting entrepreneurs are a rarity from my experience and the cost is far to high in most instances. To pay close to $2,000 for a month stay is completely unfathomable for someone with a start up or even for me with an established company. I could pay it but the money can be better spent elsewhere.
I would most certainly consider giving Outsite another visit in one of their other locations, either in San Diego or in one of their new additional locations.