Our series of coliving and coworking community profiles continues with Nomad House. We spoke with co-founder Arthur Itey, who creates 10-day retreats where his clients can grow, live, and learn with like-minded people.
Tell us about Nomad House. What is it? What inspired you to start it?
I’m glad we are doing this interview after this last week. It’s been an incredible week. We wrote down the core values and manifesto of Nomad House. The simple version of our pitch would be “we are organizing 10-day retreats for like-minded people.” Today Nomad House is a bigger concept than this. We create the perfect environment where people can grow – whether it’s professionally or personally. Imagine an incubator with lights, food, and water provided to make plants grow. You can also think about a hive without hierarchy.
My first travel was in Montreal for a year in 2013. I started my first business and I dreamt about having offices around the world. My employees would be able to change location on a monthly basis. Guess what? I didn’t get any employees and then I failed. I learned and started traveling in Southeast Asia for 6 months. I met Pieter Levels who pushed me to launch this idea. This is the beauty of being surrounded by like-minded people, it spurred me on to create this. Without that environment, this might not have happened. Thanks Pieter!
Why do you think coliving and coworking programs are so popular?
I feel coworking is all about reproducing an office atmosphere for solo workers. But having the opportunity to create synergy with other like-minded people is a huge deal. That’s why I believe coliving is the next big revolution.
When I started there were only three coliving programs, and today there are 49. It is becoming easier to work remotely and the remote worker community is growing. Country borders seem to disappear. Airfare is getting cheaper. WiFi is getting faster (Bali went from 1 Mbps to 25 Mbps). When you combine these factors, it makes long-term travel much easier.
Who do these programs most appeal to?
I would say digital nomads or remote workers.
We don’t focus on a particular demographic. We figured out most of our customers are in a transitional phase of their life. They want to get inspired and learn from like-minded people. So the demographic is wide.
How do you persuade people on the fence that they will really be productive while living this lifestyle?
I’m starting to jump on Skype calls with anyone who has any concerns about our program. This is something I’ve started doing more often.
We also have previous experiences (four retreats). So it’s 32 customers with 100% satisfaction.
What makes Nomad House different than other coliving and coworking programs?
We are cooler 🙂
To be honest, it’s a combination of experiences, social skills, dedication, and listening. Rebecca and I been traveling for 3 years on our own. We know where to find the right information to make a great trip. Nomad House is in our blood, it’s an extension of our personalities.
We both know how to make everyone feel comfortable by producing a creative environment.
I was a trip leader in Montreal. Every weekend, I went on a trip with 60 people across America. So I had to make sure that everything went well.
What is the most unique/strange request you’ve received from a traveler or host?
That’s an interesting question. I would say we have a couple of unique stories rather than requests.
One of our customers was willing to buy land and build a house in Bali after the retreat. We actually spent a whole day viewing different pieces of land in Bali, jumping in and out of a minibus around rice paddies. It was a great day!
What else would you like us to know about Nomad House?
We are working on committing to 12 retreats in 12 months. This year has been amazing, we’ve learned a lot and we want to take those learnings into 2017. We have so much good content coming in the next few months – partnerships, new retreats, and meetups. We send a monthly newsletter to everyone registered on nomadhouse.io – it’s the best place to get direct information from us.