Building A Community for Nomadic Families
Based in the tropical paradise of Phuket, Thailand, Vasily and his wife, Jane, run a co-working space focused on providing a productive and friendly environment for digital nomads and travelers alike. Vasily is from Russia while Jane is from the Philippines. The two met in Phuket through Couchsurfing, the popular travel community that connects travelers to local hosts. Both enjoy traveling immensely and meeting people from all over the world.
They also have two cute, energetic kids. But this doesn’t hold them back from enjoying an international lifestyle. In fact, their goal is to raise their kids in as much of a multicultural upbringing as possible.
I sat down with Vasily at their co-working space and residence, Phuket Stash, to learn more about how they are trying to make the digital nomad revolution more accessible to individuals and families
How long have you been working remotely and traveling?
I started to travel about 5 years ago and started to work remotely maybe 10-11 years ago. At first, it was just small gigs but then I made it more of a full time focus.
Why did you start traveling?
I started to travel because I didn’t like living in Russia when I was younger. Being overseas has changed my perspective on Russia. I like it more now, but not enough to necessarily move back. I think this is common with a lot of people: most desire something more exotic than the surroundings they are brought up in.
What is your brand?
My current project is Phuket STASH, located here in Thailand. We are a co-working and co-living space located in one of the most beautiful parts of the country 😃 We provide accommodation and workspaces for digital nomads on the road. Purposely situated a short distance away from the craziness of downtown Phuket, STASH is a quiet, relaxing space for visitors to work and socialize. We provide scooter rentals for our guests and allow them to have full access of our appliances and kitchen. We basically provide a home away from home for anyone living and working abroad. Eventually, I’d like to expand to other countries and make a network of STASH locations all over the world!
Why did you decide to start a co-working space?
The idea of Phuket STASH came up as a mix of a Time Cafe (a ‘pay per minute’ cafe model that is popular in Russia) and a coworking space. The idea of a Time Cafe is that everything in the cafe is “free” except the time you spend there. In other words, there is complimentary coffee, tea, and snacks. A client pays for the amount of time they choose to work or lounge in the cafe. As a digital nomad myself, I recognized the lack of workspaces in Asia. Phuket was even more scarce so I saw an opportunity to be the first of its kind here. Later on I realized that a "time cafe” concept would not be the best fit for Thailand. However, Phuket has a high demand for reasonably priced accommodations. So I shifted our model to a co-living/coworking environment with accommodations and work desks under the same roof.
Walk me through your day. How do you prioritize your tasks?
My day is nothing special and often different from week to week. There are times when I work at night and sleep until late afternoon, sometimes it’s another way around. I have To-Do lists in Google tasks and prioritize those tasks by importance. My biggest problem is a trying to do to many projects at once. Time management when working independently can be a big challenge for digital nomads. Make sure to set yourself up in a productive work environment and shut out unnecessary distractions. Always try to accomplish your most challenging task first!
What's the best way to get started with remote work?
The best way to get started with remote work is to just jump in! It’s not more difficult than normal office work, you simply have to learn as you go along. Start with a small project, and build your portfolio from there.
How did you get your start as a digital nomad?
I got tired of the poor air quality in big cities (this is especially true in Moscow where I lived). I became eager to live in beautiful, clean surroundings. Once I learned that I could make money anywhere I wanted to go, I booked a one-way ticket to Thailand to try living in paradise for a while 😃
What excites you the most about traveling?
I find meeting new people to be the most exciting thing in the world. I enjoy networking and socializing with people in similar lifestyles. This obviously becomes more difficult once you have a family and kids though. Luckily, running a co-living space makes it easy to meet many like-minded people without having to even leave home! That’s why we don’t travel as much these days and are focused on building an extended community in Phuket.
What is your 1, 3, 5 year plan?
My plans for next 1 - 5 years will set the foundations for the rest of my life. My long-term goal is to be a happy and fulfilled grandpa. That’s why I’m beginning to build a network of coliving spaces for nomadic families. My goal would be to expand STASH to several other cities over the world. The goal will be to make it a home base for families living abroad. Each location will have a spa, garden, coworking offices, accommodation, day-care, etc. It would also be great to have a learning center for children and adults to teach language, coding, and other relevant skills.
What has been your favorite country so far?
My favorite country is Thailand, but my favorite destination so far has been Da Lat (Vietnam).
Advice for other digital nomads?
Travel as much as you can and enjoy every minute! But, don’t forget to think about the future from time to time :)
Vasily and Jane run a co-working/co-living guesthouse in Phuket, Thailand, called Phuket STASH. If you are in the area, check them out!