My review of Outsite Lisbon
I've been travelling on and off for 16 years, mixing up my travel writing with freelance design work. Way back in 2002 (when I took my first ever trip to South-East Asia), there was no such thing as a co-living space for digital nomads, or at least not that I'm aware of. There were backpacker hostels and internet cafes but back then, being a digital nomad wasn't really a thing.
Fast-forward to 2018 and the question I find myself asking now, is why wouldn't you want a more flexible work/life balance? Whether it's travelling the world and supporting your lifestyle whilst you're on the road, or simply a working parent who wants more of a flexible working arrangement. Reliable, fast internet, lighter laptops and a whole raft of online support and working options have made this realistic option for many.
I went to stay in Outsite's beautiful Lisbon space in late September. Outsite is a co working / living space, with locations around the globe, from Hawaii to New York, and Bali to Lisbon, with new spaces opening all the time. Each house is set up with everything a regular house has; laundry, a fully equipped kitchen, plenty of space to work, and super fast wifi. In Lisbon, these facilities were on each floor (along with 4 or 5 rooms with ensuite bathrooms). On the ground floor, there is a large airy working space (where you can watch local life go by) plus tea, coffee, water, toilets and meeting rooms (which you can book in advance).
I was excited to try it out, and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. Possibly a hostel feel but with a professional undertone? Would I (at 39) be the oldest person there? Does everyone hang out together every night?
Before you arrive, the folks at Outsite email you details on how to check in (this is a house, not a hotel, so there is no front desk). Access codes, your room number and house rules (such as a strict no noise after 10pm rule - which I'm totally on board with!) You also get invited to join the buildings WhatsApp group chat. This was such a great way of getting a feel for your fellow house mates before you arrive.
As a voyeur, a few days prior to departure, I would read messages such as 'hey we're at this gorgeous bar for sunset if anyone wants to join!' To 'I'm on calls this evening but have fun!' - a social vibe mixed with professionalism and respect.
Outsite's Lisbon space is a pretty town house in Cais do Sodre (in the centre of the city), covered in blue and white azulejos - patterned tiles, typical of Lisbon. Formally a red-light district, these days Cais do Sodre is a stylish hub of street art, hipster cafes, and bohemian bars.
In fact, right next door is one of the most beautiful cafes (and breakfasts) I've ever seen! Comoba is a must visit when you stay at Outsite.
In fact, if you’re ever in need of some quick inspiration, the blackboards on each floor of the house list some great neighbourhood spots for eating and drinking. There’s also a list of ‘who’s here?’ - where you add your name - this was such a nice touch, and a lovely way of instantly feeling at home. You can also see the contact details of the house manager, so help (should you ever need it) is just a text message away.
I arrived hot and sweaty - overdressed in jeans and a tshirt, given it was 31 degrees out (in late September!). I was a little too early to check in to my room but I dropped off my bags in the living room, then changed so I could get out and explore. Before I left, I got chatting to Aussie nomads Sussan and Eric, travelling for a few months whilst working remotely in digital marketing. They were so warm and welcoming and so helpful too. As I headed out to explore the area, they popped in to their room for a Skype call. I loved the mix of friendliness and dedication to work.
After a pomegranate and mint cooler next door, my room was ready. A bright and airy stylish room overlooking the Tagus river. I loved the thoughtful touches too, complimentary shampoo and conditioner, multiple plug sockets and a desk to work at. The bed was way bigger than mine at home, and super comfy too. Bliss.
Throughout the course of my stay, regular messages pinged up on my phone, with invites to Miradouro de Santa Catarina at sunset, or drinks at Pensao Amor (another great local spot!).
I felt I could be as social as I fancied. There was always somebody to chat too, all passing through with their own unique story. My housemates hailed from Brazil, Texas, Australia and the UK.
And as for my worry about being the oldest person there? That was quashed within minutes of arriving. I met an American guy in his 40s who had been on the road for ten years (ten!). I think he must be one of the most content people I’ve ever met.
So all in all, I would say that check in was easy, the atmosphere was social, yet professional, and the space itself was spotless, stylish and very well equipped. I would definitely recommend you try it out, whether it’s in Lisbon or San Francisco.
Have you ever tried a co-living space? I’d love to hear about your experiences - tell me in the comments section below!
PS want $50 off your first Outsite booking? Sign up with my code here!