When I first met Coworking Bansko co-founder Matthias at Coworking Africa in 2015, I must admit I’d never heard of Bansko, Bulgaria. Back then, being focused on primarily the US market, I was curious as to how or why there’d be a coworking space in a remote Bulgarian ski resort town. Along with another co-founder, Uwe, they are frequent attendees at coworking events around the world. Often the life of the party, they are hard to miss, always wearing orange, their space’s signature color.
I’ve learned quite a bit about community building from Matthias at events that we’ve both attended and that I’ve organized. He’s the guy that always comes with games, encourages thoughtful discussion over meals and is sure to introduce new comers to the group. It’s not surprising, as he ran Coworking Camp for several years, a 6-7 week coworking retreat that would provide attendees with a warm escape from cold winters.
You’re Going Where?
As I’ve become friends with both of them on adventures such as our Coworking Retreat and the Grand Opening of NESTdubai, I’ve been looking for an excuse to visit. Upon hearing where I was headed to, most folks I knew all said the same thing: “You’re going where?!” However, now that I’ve spent a few days here, I can say that within this little sleepy town lies one of the most active and engaging digital nomad communities I’ve ever seen.
Located in the heart of the town, Coworking Bansko is within walking distance of all the best shops, restaurants and guest houses around. Besides the location and having a bright and inspiring workspace with great internet, fun and quirky design elements, the real magic about this space is the community cultivation the founders and their community manager pride themselves on.
You also can’t beat the price. Starting at only €99/mo, their membership is too good to pass up when you consider all the added benefits of being a part of such an engaging community. They also offer add ons such as rental bikes, storage and easy landing packages that include coliving or other housing options for as little as €475/mo.
Events, Meetups and Outings, Oh My!
There’s literally an event every single day. Not in town more than an hour I joined the members for their weekly trip to the hot springs (more on that to come…). They encourage all members to participate in leading lunch and learn events and host a variety of programs such as Toastmasters, game and movie nights, blogger meetups and the list goes on… If you are a member of this community, there is no excuse for you to feel isolated or alone, emotions nomads or remote workers often struggle to over come.
There’s also an awesome blend of members. While yes, digital nomad communities tend to be predominately young or caucasian, Coworking Bansko’s community is made up of people from all different walks of life. There’s millennials and baby boomers alike from Asia, Europe, North America and even New Zealand. They’re also not all digital marketers or coders. Members include teachers, artists and even the owner of what will be Bansko’s first brewery!
More Than Just Great Skiing
Ok, so my visit here has been shorter than the typical member’s experience and much to Matthias’ urging I have yet to get a chance to go up the mountain. That said, with Coworking Bansko here, I see why Bansko is an ideal location for nomads who might be looking for a home base, and not just a ski vacation. The town hosts a jazz festival in the summer time, film festival in the fall and sure in the winter there is a ton of skiing.
The cost of living and beautiful balance of work and life that Coworking Bansko promotes makes it a perfect choice for any nomad or remote worker looking for a new place to visit, and to perhaps even settle down. Rents are incredibly affordable as are the delicious restaurants. The town has a sense of culture, history and offers all the great benefits of country living, just two hours away from Sofia.
What I like the most about Bansko is the fact that (while on the off season) it’s not really over crowded. There’s so many “top” digital nomad destinations that now have issues with overpriced housing, traffic and losing their culture, identity and authenticity. That hasn’t happened here…for now. The time I’ve spent here has been relaxing, inspiring and productive. While I’m known for not spending more than a few days in one place, I can easily see myself returning for a few weeks in the summer to enjoy community, nature and of course, some jazz.
The post Review: Coworking Bansko – Bansko, Bulgaria was first published on Coworkaholic.