What is Coliving?

coliving girl in bed
haven coliving bedroom
coliving space pod

For the last 7 months, I’ve been living in a Coliving space in LA called HAVEN Coliving.

What is Coliving? Well, good question. I didn’t really know until I moved in. But I can tell you right now, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

I really believe that Coliving is something that, if they can, then everybody should try. It’s life-changing.

I’d heard a little bit about Coliving before I moved to LA. I’d come across it in Bali, where people would “co-live” as well as “co-work” at some of the co-working spaces. To me, that just seemed like a way to make things easier for people who were travelling somewhere and wanted an easy solution to find somewhere to stay and people to talk to if they were travelling solo.

It wasn’t until I found HAVEN that I realised what long term coliving is really like. Where you really live in the place rather than just travelling through. It’s a community like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

And that was exactly why I moved into HAVEN. When I moved to LA, I wanted to find a community of like-minded friends and be able to build a life here, rather than just feeling like I was passing through. 

Especially for people travelling solo, moving to a new country (or state – most of my housemates were Americans who had moved cross-country), or starting a new career, Coliving is an amazing way to settle into a new place and makes it way easier to meet people than if you just moved into a regular apartment in a new city (or country!)

In a nutshell, Coliving means living in a shared space with a group of other people. At HAVEN, this means living with 95 other people across 4 houses, with outdoor courtyard space, rooftops, a yoga room, gym, theatre and coworking space all on-site. The amenities are amazing, they also run classes hosted by community members (I taught yoga 3 times a week in the studio) and it’s basically like living with all your friends, all the time. Oh, and you get to live only 7 blocks away from the beach without paying crazy expensive rent!

All your living space is shared, and – in a lot of cases – so is your bedroom. There are different options at different Coliving spaces. In some you can get your own studio apartment within a Coliving space, in some places you live in shared rooms. 

coliving space girl in pod

In HAVEN everything is shared. Beds are Japanese-style “pods” – essentially your own curtained-off boxy bunk-bed (take a look at the photos in this post to see it in action!). It might sound crazy, but they’re actually super cosy. You get a full-size bed and storage space within your pod, and it is surprisingly private compared to what you’d think.

Everything else is provided for you – there’s towel and linen service, daily cleaning, and the kitchens are stocked with all appliances and utensils (although I’ll be honest, things do get pinched by people living in the other 3 houses quite often so it’s normal to have a silverware shortage!). High speed wifi, Netflix, and all your utilities are included and taken care of. There are a lot of perks that make it feel very hassle-free. Basically your only job is to show up and be a part of the community.

And if it sounds kind of like an adult summer camp, well in some ways it is. There’s always something going on, someone planning an activity or a day trip, or a group of friends to hang out with. I won’t lie, it takes some work to stay productive in that kind of environment at times. But I think that’s one of the beneficial learning curves of Coliving. You get to practice your boundaries, letting go of fomo, and being more intentional about how you spend your time and who you spend it with. There can be sort of a “neverland” feel to it, a group of adults all living together in a place where we all take care of each other (and some things really are just taken care of for us) and having the time and space to act like kids in the best, getting-in-touch-with-your-inner-child kind of a way! 

haven rooftop yoga class

But it’s different for everyone, and there are plenty of people who aren’t busy in the community having fun all the time. And that’s another thing I love about it – it’s inspiring to be living around people who are all just doing their things. Totally differently. There was definitely a lot of people I never even met because we were on totally different schedules (and a fair percentage of people who would be out of the house all day, and hidden away in their pod at night. And that’s fine to do, too.) There are people working regular jobs, people working late shifts by night and pursuing their actor/musician/model dreams by day, there are successful start-up entrepreneurs who just want to live somewhere cheap and surrounded by people, there are students, there are world travellers who are visiting for 6 months, there are plenty of content creators and yoga teachers and personal trainers and “multi-hyphenates”.

Coliving is like living in a melting pot of talent and creativity and inspiration, and that’s amazing to come by, let alone have around you 24/7!

There’s always the opportunity to be inspired by someone’s story, learn something new, or find someone to collaborate with or get help from – whether you need to learn how to fix your bike, or you’re trying to find someone to work with on a new project idea! And that’s an incredible thing to have right in your own home. 

And the best part is – living in Coliving I was still very aware that it’s just in the first stages of it’s infancy. We were all slowly realising how much potential there really was in a place like HAVEN when it came to ways for us to live and work collabratively. The amount of different skills that were available to us in one place, the amount of ways we could all club together to live better in community than we would be able to live in the outside world. 

I promise this all isn’t as cult-y as it sounds, although my parents definitely thought I was moving into a hippie commune…

I actually heard about HAVEN through a chance meeting with someone in a cafe who I followed on instagram, and then saw they were running a workshop there. I clicked through to see where the place was, and as soon as I discovered this “health & wellness coliving space” I knew I’d found my home. 

And boy, did I! The greatest thing about Coliving has got to be the amazing connections I made. The chance to meet people from all walks of life, with so many different stories, that I never would have met otherwise.

And the type of connections you can have in Coliving just seemed so much more to me than in the regular world. We’d all found this place because we’d rejected the “regular” way of doing things for whatever reason, and what struck me the most when I first arrived was just how open everyone was, and how you could sit down with someone you’d only just met and have the most amazing deep insightful conversations. It was such a breath of fresh air!

girls friends sunrise los angeles

And the deeper friendships I’ve made really feel like more than just normal friendships. Because you spend so much time with each other, you get close really quickly, and you are also there to witness the ups and downs, and be there for each other when one of you is going through a hard time. The friendships I’ve made with my closest group here are so strong, because we’ve all already supported each other through so much and seen each other at our most raw and vulnerable. When you live with that many people, you can’t hide. But that openness is what means you can create the strongest connections.

So – in short – any of the difficulties, or weirdness, about living in a shared Coliving space are massively outweighed by the positives and all the amazing things you get out of it. I would recommend Coliving to anyone. And I genuinely believe that it’s the future of living! After all, why are we all making ourselves live in boxy apartments in concrete cities and wondering why we struggle with loneliness? We don’t need nearly as much as space as we think, and we need human connection way more. I really don’t think it will be long until Coliving solutions are much more common, and hopefully open up to more groups of people too – families, older people, empty-nesters who want a new lease of life. If you get the chance to try it, even as a short-term experiment when you’re next travelling somewhere – I couldn’t recommend it more! And as for me, I’m struggling to imagine living any other way. I’ve moved out of HAVEN for a month but I’m already planning my return, and from there – who knows?!

To know more, read my full HAVEN review here, or visit their website. Read about my favourite Coliving spaces, or check out a list of Coliving spaces around the world that I want to try!

If you have more questions about coliving, please follow me on instagram and ask away!

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