Beyond the 9-5: A Millennial's Flat-Swap Adventure

Recently, I found myself presented with an opportunity. For a few weeks, The Nursery was going fully remote whilst we moved offices. I decided to take advantage of this flexibility and explore the millennial cliché - becoming a "digital nomad”.

However, traveling with a millennials disposable income has become a riddle to solve amidst student loans, London rent, and the ever-looming spectre of Cosy Livs. Keen to make the most of the shut office, I decided to channel my inner "The Holiday" and investigate flat swapping.

Enter Live Kindred, a platform started by two friends post-COVID that markets itself as a “members home exchange network, powered by close community”. No money is exchanged between host and guest, and so no profits are turned. Whilst a referral from a fellow member is needed, you then simply apply via the platform to stay at a home you like the look of. Browsing the thousands of listings from across the globe is a testament to the power of community facilitated by the digital age.

Millennials are a generation that feel comfortable online. As teenagers who spent hours chatting to friends on MSN at the inception of online social networks, arguably, we walked so teens today could run. Maybe that’s why trusting a stranger from an app and booking a flight a thousand miles away to stay in their home, whilst leaving mine open to them, seemed like a plausible thing to do.

And that is how I became the resident of a grand apartment in the heart of old town Palermo, Sicily. Whilst my travelling partner was sceptical that it was “too good to be true”, we arrived at our immaculate temporary home. With walls and bookshelves adorned with the stories of our hosts life, I felt acutely aware of how much she had also trusted us, two strangers from the internet, to stay in her home. We therefore operated with a sense of having to protect the place as if it belonged to a dear friend. Arriving back in London, it was clear that our flat was given the same treatment.

This trip showed me first hand how the old five x 9-to-5 office routine is well on its way out. With remote work now a new norm, the line between office and home is getting fuzzy. For millennials like me, who prefer experiences over things, the flexibility is priceless. Beyond the experience gained from remote work lies a deeper resonance with the ethos of the sharing economy. In a world often characterised by scepticism and division, initiatives like Kindred remind us of our capacity for empathy and collaboration.

The much-maligned avocado toast revealed to us millennials that we are expected to not enjoy nice things but to reserve our dwindling disposable income for the house we may never buy, in a stable economy that may never come. Yet as I reflect on my experience, I'm filled with hope. There is a joy that comes from finding innovative ways to stretch our budgets and foster a sense of global camaraderie. The possibilities are boundless. So here's to embracing the unknown, trusting in technology, and redefining the way we live, work, and travel in the 21st century.

Molly Marshall, Marketing Executive

The Nursery's fascination with the topic of personal identity has led to us to create The Identity Series, where each year we explore an aspect of life that touches on people’s identity.

If you want to know more about our Identity Series, including a deep dive on Millennials from our Generations Study, please get in touch