Let’s Talk About Millennials: Digital Nomads, Adult Dorm Rooms, and the Pursuit of Happiness

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on November 10, 2017. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

Much of our time at Escape Artist is focused on world travelers who are looking to spend their retirement exploring the globe, finding the best mountains to hike, or the best beaches to lounge on. We also guide those looking to make foreign investments, diversifying their growing portfolio. Sometimes, however, we forget to address a group of people who are beginning their journey and changing what the world of travel is like.

In this week’s roundup we dive into the world of millennial expats. What we are finding isn’t young people just traveling the world and spending all of their money. Instead, these young professionals are casting away their belongings and finding a way to live in the world inexpensively, while growing their careers.

You may be curious as to why the young travelers are trying to get out in the first place. Are they unhappy with their home country? Also, how are they able to do so? Isn’t travel expensive? Who is paying for all of this? These questions and more will be answered below.

Why are Millennials Moving?

According to MoveHub’s Global Moving Trends Report of 2017, 60% of 18-to-35-year-olds have considered moving abroad. It begs the question: Why are they so eager to expatriate?

There are several reasons why a young person may want to live outside of their home country. These range from wanting to explore a new culture to seeking job opportunities.

One reason they found for the emigration is simply because they can. Today’s young professionals don’t have much holding them back anymore. Because they have much less spending power than their parents, millennials aren’t buying houses at an early age. It’s very unlikely a young person can buy a house without financial assistance, so they are seeking a comfortable lifestyle where they can buy or rent a home on their budget – with a higher standard of living than they’d be able to achieve in big cities of their home country, like New York or Los Angeles.

Millennials are also looking for better jobs overseas. 20,000 millennials who took the MoveHub survey stated they wanted a better job with an increased salary, thus leading them abroad. In fact, 80% of young people around the world have said they would move overseas to advance their careers.

25,000 people under the age of 35 took the Global Shapers Annual Survey, which found that salary was the most important factor when looking for a new job, followed by sense of purpose and career advancement.

Technology is a huge factor in job creation today, and some people are finding that tech is creating opportunities for young people to work and live anywhere. Freelance writing, marketing, photography, media influencing, and more are opening doors for young people all over the world.

Over the past couple years, I have heard the term “Digital Nomad” floating around. I feel it fits perfectly in describing what is happening with young professionals these days, who are seeking experiences rather than possessions. Millennials have begun to seek meaning in surrounding themselves with like-minded people.

What is Co-Living and Why are Millennials Loving it?

As young professionals are flocking to other countries, a new living trend is increasing in popularity as affordable living spaces seem impossible to find. As a result, many millennials are thriving with change rather than sameness.

I can personally attest to this. As you all know, I relocated to Lisbon several months ago. To be honest, getting a lease on an apartment here can be nearly impossible, unless you have a substantial amount of cash you are willing to part with. The market is overrun with real estate owners who only want to rent out to Airbnb. This is a growing trend in most large cities worldwide. If you do want a lease, most landlords will ask for 3-5 months of rent upfront, which is pretty unheard of in the U.S. For more information on the current real estate situation in Lisbon, click here.

Fueled by innovative developments such as co-working spaces, or ride-sharing companies like Uber, the new burgeoning trend for millennial expats is co-living.


Co-living is the new trend where millennials are living in boutique-hotel-like atmospheres with like-minded individuals, sharing a kitchen, laundry room, and common areas. The social aspect of co-living is drawing the residents in. The spaces are short-term accommodations that sometimes house regular events. It’s like a dorm room for grown-ups.

Many who choose to co-live really enjoy their experiences, finding a great deal of happiness sharing their space, ideas, and lives with others. Many of the residents of these spaces are young professionals, artists, and creatives, eager to share their ideas and make a difference in the world.

This concept is gaining popularity all across the globe, and it is combatting the rising price of living. Many are finding co-living more practical and economical.

Internationally, millennial travelers are spending more than $200 billion a year and are on track to being the largest-spending travel demographic by 2020. As a response, co-living spaces are popping up everywhere. One example is the Singapore tech company Hmlet that rents out rooms for a minimum of three months at $900.

One Chinese developer in Shanghai has taken advantage of the co-living trend, investing around HK $600 million (around $77 million USD) this year in two residential projects each. The projects will be turned into co-living spaces for college students and young professionals.

Co-living is making living and working abroad for millennials very easy.

Where are the Millennials Going?

Digitally-nomadic young people are finding new homes all over the world. Many seek European cities in France, Spain, or Portugal, which can often offer a high standard of living for inexpensive prices, especially in shared living spaces.

One beach village in Bali is finding itself filled with young American expats exploring the beach verandas, scooting around the towns, and enjoying the surf all year long. The area is called Canggu and has been called the “Brooklyn of Bali,” with a rustic SoCal vibe but “less obnoxious.”Consumer Resource Guide

Social media influencers, artists, and filmmakers make up the bulk of the expats enjoying the sun. Bali has been a refuge for artsy expats since the 70s, and there has been a second wave seen in the past 5 years.

Canggu is basically Neverland for the young expats who make ends meet by working freelance marketing, tech, or e-commerce – a true community of digital nomads. They are taking advantage of co-working spaces, such as Dojo Bali, a 24-hour coworking space that offers reliable WiFi, a swimming pool, hot showers, and surfboard racks. For just $51 a week or $146 a month, members get unlimited access to the Skype booths, conference rooms, and high-speed internet.

The fun in the sun and enthralling nightlife aren’t the only things drawing people in. The cost of living is pretty low. For those with the means, a furnished two-bedroom villa ranges from $600-$900 a month. $300 a month can get you a room in a larger shared villa with a swimming pool and terrace. So, if you thought that this beachside paradise was out of reach, you may find that you would do well in Bali, compared to your lifestyle back home.


If you are a millennial finding yourself ready to get out into the world, we can guide you. Escape Artist is equipped to help you start your journey abroad.

We are also here to help anyone who is ready to work, live, retire, and invest abroad. Exploring the globe can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Make it enjoyable and let us do the hard work.

To see what’s going on around the world, check out some of this week’s newest articles below, including my recent piece on one of the biggest mistakes people make when moving abroad!

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This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on November 10, 2017. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

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