If you’re on Instagram, we’re sure you’ve seen photos of #vanlife or #digitalnomad life. Photos of twenty-somethings posing in yoga gear on a mountain cliff or working on a laptop from a beach hammock or poolside.
No complaints here, we both lean into the Digital Nomad life ourselves, but there can be an assumption that the remote work lifestyle is only for the young and rootless.
But guess what? Our very own Ali Greene shattered that stereotype last summer, co-hosting the Parea Pop-Up: Remote Work Family & Friends Gathering in Normandy, France, last July, and August. Not only was it located in a castle (yes, a real-life castle!), but it was affordable (starting at 250 euros per week), and best of all, it was family-friendly with the youngest guest under two years old and the oldest coworker a semi-retired consultant with his own grown children.
Let’s take a closer look at a week in the life of co-living / co-working…
The essence of Parea Pop-up was to create a shared experience with a curated group of like-minded people to celebrate the simple things in life. Stemming from Parea, an untranslatable greek word, for the gathering of a close-knit community. The Parea Pop-up used to travel as a way to explore not only the world but also the idea of community.
Together, we spent time as friends and family, enjoying the great outdoors and sharing meals while living and working (if you choose) in an idyllic castle situated in the heart of a natural regional park in Isle Marie.
Each community member had access to a quiet workspace, organized weekly social events, community building and the option to share meals, such as daily breakfasts included and twice-weekly dinner events organized by the group.
We are creatures of habit. Therefore, Ali developed a consistent schedule of activities for the community, while also encouraging people to go out and explore on their own (or together).
Other activities in the vicinity included visiting medieval churches, museums, and a murder mystery dinner.
If you’re a parent, you might be wondering… What about the kids?
They found that kids entertain themselves a lot more together. The castle was private and mostly secure, but the kids remained under the responsibility of their parents. Let’s say Dad wanted to work and Mum wanted to go to a yoga session at 2 pm the same day. They could ask on the group chat whether someone could watch their kids. And if later on, they were playing hide and seek with their kids, they could post it on the chat and offer to watch a couple of extra kids if someone wanted to go grocery shopping for dinner in the evening.
As they say, a picture tells a thousand words, so rather than describing the vibe, take a look for yourself.
While taking the summer to work in France might not fit your lifestyle, we encourage you to find ways to encapsulate the same spirit.
How can you informally gather to remote work with friends and family?
Have you ever thought of taking a workcation? Where would you go?
If you have children, how might you incorporate them into your remote work schedule?