From the outset I should declare a bias: I LOVE coliving. I think it’s a wonderful way to travel, work, meet new people, and level up. That doesn’t mean it’s for everybody. But if you are one of those people on the fence who thinks it might be for them, this article is for you.
First of All — WTF Is "Coliving"?
Fair question. It’s a modern living situation — could be a house, apartment, or even a cool compound — in which like-minded people live, work, and socialize together. Everything about the situation, from the rooms, to the design of the living and working spaces, to the after-hours and weekend activities, is engineered towards fun, leveling up, and productivity (in whatever order you prefer!).
Destination or Community?
One of the hacks of traveling a fair amount is you start to realize that even the best destinations won’t matter if there’s not a great community and vice versa. Two very memorable coliving experiences for me were in middle-of-nowhere spots. More on that in a bit. My point is, have both whenever possible, but if you have to choose, it’s community every time and twice on Sundays.
Where to Find Them?
As with 99% of life these days, Google is your friend. You can try “coliving Barcelona” or “coliving London” etc. You can also ask questions in location independent/digital nomad Facebook groups which might lead you to coliving Facebook groups. There’s even a website called Coliving.com. Once you’ve got a few candidates do the following:
- Check out their website (if they can’t deal with the details of a website, they probably don’t care about the details of every day living either)
- Look at their Google reviews (quality AND quantity matter)
- Look at their Instagram and any videos they may have posted (look for more than one or two promo-style professional videos - Vega, a new place in Honduras, definitely has their game together on this front)
Sign that you are looking at a solid place: an application process. Smart coliving places curate, so they don’t just want anyone parachuting in. No application process is a red flag, but not a deal breaker.
Sign that you should definitely stop looking at this place: simultaneous listing on Airbnb. Look I love Airbnb. Airbnb hosts are part of my MaidThis customer base. But if a place is being listed for transient travel, it’s missing one of the major pluses of coliving: a community of like-minded entrepreneurs/remote workers. Sure, you might, by coincidence, snag those people through Airbnb, but for how long? Definitely a deal-breaker for me.
Day in the Life
Coliving occupies this wonderful space between your own private Airbnb and the fun and spontaneity of hostel life. I’m not a morning person, so by the time I’m up and coming into common areas there are already people working or in the middle of their morning routines. Those routines could involve walks, yoga, or even just time reading (not scrolling!).
Coliving spaces are designed for work so you’re going to find ultrafast wifi, quiet pods to take/make private calls, large (and clean!) open spaces, and a focus on work. There are no parties during the day. Everyone is working during the day and people are tremendously respectful of personal space and boundaries on that front.
At the end of the day people obviously might do their own things, but at the best spots (I’m looking at you, Sun and Co) your community manager will have had a house meeting at the top of the week to organize activities and skillshares (where people share their expertise). And honestly, this is something my business partner David Lahav loves about coliving. He says that he basically outsources the socializing and networking component of travel when he’s in a coliving space. He has a great place to live and work, and on top of that, there’s a fantastic community right there.
“So, I’m going to live like a college student, is that it, Neel? And at what price?” Fair questions. Let’s start with the second question first: while sometimes coliving costs around the same as what you would pay for your own private space, sometimes it’s significantly more. But you’re not just paying for a place to live. You’ve also got a dedicated place to work and access to amazing, like-minded people. As for “living like a college student” you’re generally going to have your own private room, so you don’t have to be in a bunk bed unless you want to/if it’s even available. And if “living like a college student” means “have tremendous personal growth and meet some wonderful people” then yes, sign me up please.
“But Neel, what if I’m old, or am in a relationship?” I’ve seen all kinds of ages and relationships statuses in coliving situations. What everyone of any age and any relationship status has in common in coliving is a real mindfulness of enjoying the journey, however long or short their stays may be at a coworking space.
“But I’m not sure…” Well the only way you’re going to know is if you find out. You may have gotten to this part in the article and wonder where my next coliving spot is. Let me first give another shout out, this time to swiss escape, where I spent three months, but no, I won’t be coliving there or anywhere else in the near future because I’m at a stage of my life (and at a stage of the pandemic) where I’m enjoying being based in LA in my own place for the moment. I’m not ruling out a return to coliving in the future, and the entire reason I wrote this was to encourage you to give it a shot. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t wait for things to go “back to normal.” Define your own normal.
This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.