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This Could Be Your Best Shot to Live and Work Abroad

By Matt Villano

Jul 1, 2016

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Bali: Your new home?

Photo by Bryan Kitch

Bali: Your new home?

A new program by ROAM makes it insanely easy.

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A startup company has launched a new program to make it easier to pack up your life, work remotely, and see the world.

The company, dubbed ROAM, kicked off its Explorer program this week, an addition to an existing program that enables you to sign a lease to live around the world for $500 a week and $1,800 per month. The new initiative is designed to give travelers the opportunity to live and work abroad in one of three places—Miami, Florida; Ubud, Bali; or Madrid, Spain. Travelers can pony up for six weeks ($3,000) or three months ($6,000); all participants will be given first dibs to re-up and continue the program when they are finished with their sessions. As of now the application-based program is open to 20 people, and all spots will be filled by July 11.

Those who make the cut will stay in ROAM-branded boutique hotels featuring individual rooms with private bathrooms, communal work spaces (including Wi-Fi and printing services), and cooperative kitchens. According to co-founder Bruno Haid, these setups are designed to facilitate conversation and collaboration among guests, and to help travelers discover new cities and cultures with others.

Haid says they also are arranged to make the process of moving, living, and working abroad easier. 

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“If you want to move to Bali for a few months, you can plan and book the whole thing yourself, or you can sign up for this program and let us make the plans,” he said. “We’re trying to remove all the friction of remote living, and just put people in a position where they can make the decision and go.”

The Explorer program certainly comes with perks. In addition to these unique living and working arrangements, ROAM provides confirmed participants with 24/7 concierge services, which include arranging dinner reservations, tickets to cultural activities and destinations, transportation services, and dedicated travel agents.

The company also leverages partnerships with local and international vendors to serve up additional benefits. Before departure, for instance, these perks include helping travelers put their apartments or homes on sharing or listing services, line up pet-sitters (when applicable), navigate visa procedures, and purchase discount airplane tickets. Upon arrival, all Explore participants receive local SIM cards and access to ground transportation. 

Above-and-beyond service continues throughout the duration of a traveler’s stay, too. Some managers at certain properties will lead outings and events for Explorer participants. Others will host readings or shows during which participants are encouraged to share their work. 

“We definitely aim to cultivate a creative community,” says Haid.

These communities certainly are primed to expand. Down the road, there likely will be more ROAM hotels from which to choose. Haid says the company is rebranding hotels in London and Buenos Aires, and notes that it hopes to add a few more properties in U.S. cities before the end of next year.

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Admittedly, this program isn’t for everyone. If you’re staunchly independent and you’ve always liked booking, planning, and executing your own adventures, buying in for such a hand-holding approach may not be the best idea. We like to think of the ROAM Explorer program as remote-living-in-a-box. Whether or not you’re up for that life-change is up to you.

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com

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