This month, as part of our Globe Hopper Guides venture, my boyfriend and I have been fortunate enough to spend a fair bit of time in Spain, networking and co-working with a group of other remote and freelance professionals who have all come to Valencia for this adventure. My twin sister and her husband also live in Spain, so I’ve filled my boots with family days out during this month, too!
As somebody who works as a consultant and travel in the UK and abroad, as well as a trainer for the amazing Enhance the UK, I’ve had a fair bit of experience with networking events, presentation evenings and such-like, but I’ve never co-worked with the same group for a month before. The premise is simple: hire out an office or desk space, usually in a building set up with great wifi connectivity, staff on hand to advise and collaborate, and a café full of delicious drinks and snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Access-wise, it’s been great for me as a wheelchair user, as I’ve had familiarity with the area around me from the start, and my boyfriend has had a break from constantly having to discover inclusive restaurants and bars with me! But the people we’ve met here have also really made a difference to how we see and present ourselves, both professionally and personally.
When you learn about someone’s work and passions, I believe you learn a lot about them very quickly indeed. There have been people in the group who are wonderfully content with their lot. They have their dream jobs, great relationships and feel very secure in their home life and towns. Others have been at difficult but exciting crossroads in their lives: working out where to go and what to do for the next couple of years, and even whether to start that passion project that they’ve always yearned after, but have been unsure as to whether others would believe in. Better than anything, we’ve all been there to support each other, and offer tips, advice and collaborations when needed. It’s been different to moaning to your friends over whatsapp about your troubles; these guys in Spain didn’t know us a few weeks ago so are still very objective (and sometimes cut-throat) with their advice and musings!
We’ve eaten great tapas, worked hard, and even been lucky enough to have a professional photoshoot led by two travel photographers, who are also part of the group. Ultimately, though, it’s been an eye-opening adventure for us as two people who are trying to nurture a start-up and create a living for ourselves, whilst living our own dream. If you’re looking for an opportunity to work and travel in harmony, whilst learning with a group of others in similar positions, then co-working abroad may just be the next trip for you!