In today’s digital world, where everything is at your fingertips—knowledge, necessities, food, fun, entertainment, even new friends or relationships—everything you need or want is no more than one click away from its attainment. Right now, sitting at your computer or phone, you are connected to millions of people the world over, and you do not have to leave your seat to get anything you are able to afford. You might be working from home right now, ordering tandoori for delivery, researching where you’re going to take online grad school courses, connecting with your friends on Instagram, and flirting with your newest Bumble crush, all at the same time. It’s amazing.
Yet, ironically, this instantly-connected world has spawned a world of loneliness and isolation. A recent statistic found that 40% of millennials are chronically lonely. So, maybe it’s no surprise that people today are reaching out for actual face-to-face connection, right in the midst of this digital connection. People are opening up their lives, their cars, their homes to each other, replacing what was once the domain of bigger business: Uber, Lyft, Couchsurfing, Airbnb. Coworking. And the newest phase of this revamped face-to-face-connected world: coliving.
What is coliving?
Coliving is sort of like hosteling, sort of like coworking, and sort of like living in an intentional community, all wrapped up in one. The package is refined, though: like hosteling, it’s for those who wish to travel the world at their own pace, a day or a week or many months at a time, and in various places. Like coworking, it’s for professionals, creatives, entrepreneurs, and work-at-homers who wish to be around other like-minded individuals. And the intention of the coliving community is to live separately in nice, stylish abodes, but together in common spaces as well as in collaboration and connection. Depending on where you look, you’ll see a slightly different definition: one coliving website describes coliving as “shared housing designed to support a purpose-driven life.” Another site says coliving is a “modern form of housing where residents share living space and a set of interests, values, and/or intentions.” The common denominator is that it’s stylish, private yet communal living for days or weeks or months at a time with other creatives and professionals in cities all over the world.
What is coliving like?
Every coliving company, building, house, or apartment is run a little differently, but there are certain commonalities among them. Typical of coliving situations are the following:
- Cost-effective living
- Flexible contracts
- All-inclusive bills
- Private, fully furnished bedrooms, possibly bathrooms, or even apartments
- Shared kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms
- Amenities such as pools, gyms, laundry facilities, work spaces, communal spaces, entertainment spaces
- Housekeeping and linen services
- Superfast broadband
- Community Managers and events programs
This last point is of particular interest. The Community Manager in coliving spaces arranges daily or weekly events to encourage social connection. It could be an exercise class, live music event, or house dinner; or it could be something more creative or intellectual, like a mastermind or brainstorming session. Whatever the event, the goal is to encourage community, creativity, and collaboration amongst traveling professionals.
Where and how does it work?
Coliving is best suited for digital nomads, adventurous work-from-homers, and entrepreneurs and creatives with wanderlust, and who yet share one thing in common: the desire for connection.
Once you get the coliving itch, it’s simple: check out one of the coliving companies such as Ollie, Roam, The Collective, or Outsite, or visit coliving.com to find out more, including all of the possible destinations you can go. There are thousands of coliving spaces around the world in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Maybe you love the idea of coliving, but want to stay in NYC. Citi Habitats has an exceptionally beautiful coliving building in LIC: Alta+. Alta+ is complete with every amenity one could want, including pet services, stunning coworking spaces, exercise and wellness centers, entertainment centers and lounges, dining, and much more. Figure out where you want to go, what type of environment you’d like to be in for a while—whether it’s a city, near a beach, on a farm, at a vineyard—and what type of coliving space you’d like—from shared bathrooms to your own private apartment—then apply, book your room and your flight, and set off for the adventure of a lifetime.
Coliving is about travel and exploration. It’s about creative and professional pursuits. It’s about collaboration and connection with like-minded people from all over the world. When digital connection isn’t enough anymore, the only thing that will suffice is the simple face-to-face connection that is essential to every human’s basic needs. In this digitally connected world, coliving is the newest answer to the ever-more elusive question of real connection, collaboration, adventure, and friendship.