UNCONVENTIONAL LIVING

Co-working and co-living by the Burning Man principles

Smena Station — Creating the new way of working and living
By popular demand, we wanted to follow up on our article about the Burning Man principles and share with you a story about two Burners who follow the community's principles in real life.

Nastya and Nikita believe that money just can't buy the most meaningful things in life. These things are meant to be given and received in the form of gifts. That's why they created "Smena Station" — a space where people can share the most meaningful expiriences together.
Nastya and Nikita are the kind of people for whom home is not a city or a country, but the whole world. They have spent the last 7 years traveling, staying from a month to half a year in each country getting to know the traditions, people, and nature.
Nikita Kuimov and Nastya Klimova-Kuimov — the founders of the "Smena" project
How did it all start?
—  At first we just wanted to travel more, break out of the daily grind. We revised our approach to work, started a seasonal business and decided to volunteer and do work exchange.

As a result, we no longer had to spend time on commuting and paying rent. When traveling, 90% of the time we don’t spend money on accommodation. And we invest all the money we earn into new projects. This way of living helped us see traveling in a whole different way.
Work means nothing
if you don't enjoy life.
What is wrong with tourism?
— These days, tourism tends to be reminiscent of fast food: people don’t have enough time, so they trade quality experiences in favor of short trips, superficial impressions and cheap souvenirs, which destroy local cultures and the environment.

To experience a different kind of traveling, we decided to stay away from tourist attractions or follow the well-travelled paths. We wanted to travel without upsetting the natural balance, assimilate with the locals without interfering in their culture and daily life. It didn’t matter where exactly we went, what mattered was how and why we went there.
Creating the new way of working and living
—  Technology is already advanced enough to effectively work remotely without settling down to one place. If you’re happy and you have like-minded people around, all your goals can be achieved.

However, moving around is not conducive to productivity in work. That’s why we decided to create co-working and co-living, where we connect all the interesting and single-minded people who are ready to give without expecting to get something in return. Burning Man taught us that a society based on the laws of kindness and beauty can be real. We have been working hard and have invested some profits back into the community.
Smena is a new lifestyle for those who work remotely.
It is for the people who share our values: collective art, authentic experiences, open-mindedness, preference for experiences over possessions, and productivity that is not dependent on a location.

We don't obsessively discuss abstract notions like the meaning of life, and instead focus on making goals, achieving them, and turning dreams into reality.
A happy person works better
What did come out of it?
Every session of Smena is unique, reflecting on the unique contribution of the participants. It may include yoga classes, lectures on productivity, or right brain drawing master classes. The most important thing is that each participant's contribution should turn others into healthier and happier versions of themselves. Importantly, we do not invite guest speakers: all everyone contributes their own share and every person it treated as equal.

Every session provides us with feedback, which helps improve the experience and make each new program more engaging and impactful.

So far, we have started our programs in Sri Lanka, Malta, Thailand, and the U.S. A few additional ones are expected to be launched in the nearest future, and we are looking for like-minded people, who want to join us on our exciting journey.
You get from Smena exactly what you give to it
How to participate in Smena
To become a part of Smena you need to fill out an application on their website. The team is going to review it and reach out to you to discuss your goals to determine which group will suit you the best.

Main selection criteria are: you must be 18+ y.o., have your own project or a remote job, have enough money to support yourself, and be ready to actively participate in the project.

Each participant of Smena is expected to create a project on their own during their stay. It could be starting a new remote job or building a product they always wanted to build, but never had the time. It could also be a lecture, seminar, or workshop for their Smena peers.
Text: Nikita Kuimov
Photo: Sasha Brown
See also:
The 10 Principles of Burning Man
Life at the legendary event in the desert