Jess with Colin the Donkey in the Basque Country, northern Spain

This is a post by guest blogger Jessica Grace Coleman – writer, podcast host, and founder of The Travel Transformation Company. We met back in May 2023 when we were both staying at the Sun & Co Pop Up Coliving in the Basque Country, Spain. It was really cool to see how much we have in common, both being from the UK, being writers, loving colivings (especially Sun & Co!), being introverts and making our forays into the world of travel content creation. It was clear that we had to collaborate, so here we are! In this guest blog post, Jessica shares a lot of benefits of staying in coliving spaces and how they can enhance your confidence. I agree with a lot of her thoughts on this topic, so it fits perfectly into this blog!

As a quiet introvert with social anxiety, you might think that staying in a coliving house (with many other digital nomads from all over the world) would be the last thing I’d want to do. Over the last few years, however, I’ve stayed in coliving houses in Asia, Europe, and Africa, and they have been some of the best experiences of my life.

Some people just go there to work, socialise, and party with their new-found global citizen friends – which is great. Others, however… others like me… actually go to coliving houses with the intention of completely transforming themselves: to step outside their comfort zone, to boost their confidence, and to do things they never thought they were capable of.

Photo credit: Jessica Grace Coleman

The Sun and Co. Ethos

This is particularly true for my preferred coliving house, Sun and Co. I’ve been to their main house in Javea, Spain and their pop-up villa in the beautiful Basque Country, and every single time, it’s been a transformative experience – but only because I’ve gone in with the intention of making it so.

With Sun and Co.’s focus on community, connection, self-development, and personal growth, their coliving houses are the perfect training ground for anyone who is looking to try something new, come out of their shell, and become the person they’ve always wanted to be – whatever that looks like for them.

For me? That meant overcoming my social anxiety and conquering my fear of public speaking – which I’ve done, and continue to do, during my coliving experiences. I did this by giving workshops and presentations (my actual worst nightmare!), and throwing myself into every social and professional event that came my way.

So, with solo travel being the ultimate confidence booster on its own, how can coliving houses add to this already incredible experience, transforming both the way you look at the world and the way you look at yourself? How can you use these types of accommodations and communities as a tool to step outside your comfort zone and increase your confidence?

Here are a few things I’ve learnt over the past few years; hopefully they’ll help you too.

Photo credit: Jessica Grace Coleman

You can connect with people on a far deeper level

As a quiet, shy person with social anxiety, meeting new people can be pretty awkward for me. In fact, it can be downright nerve-racking. But guess what? You soon get over that when you’re meeting new people all the time, and from all over the world too. Having conversations with people from different backgrounds and different cultures, and who had totally different upbringings from you, is incredibly eye-opening.

I’m also an introvert, and while attending a party with a large group of people can drain me physically and mentally, I find that having deep one-on-one conversations with individuals – about more than just surface-level stuff – can give me energy. I hate small talk and always want to get to ‘the good stuff’ in conversations, and coliving houses are the perfect place to do this.

I’ve had deeper, more meaningful conversations with colivers I’ve just met than I’ve had with friends and family members I’ve known my whole life. There’s just something about being with people from different cultures, in an environment that fosters and encourages curiosity, learning, and self-development, that lends itself to those D&M-type conversations – deep and meaningful.

By their very nature, the people who stay in colivings are more self-aware, more open-minded, and far less likely to be bigoted, sexist, racist, xenophobic, or anything else. When people travel and connect with people all over the world, they see our similarities far more than they see any differences we may have. And having conversations with people like this can be incredibly rewarding.

Photo credit: Jessica Grace Coleman

You can gain skills and teach others what you know

I’ve learnt so much by staying in coliving houses – about the world, about specific countries and cultures, about mindset and self-development, about building a business, about social media and websites and AI… and about myself. This just happens naturally when you’re living with so many knowledgeable people and simply hanging out and talking.

It also happens through the skillshares, workshops, masterminds, round tables, sharing circles, and any other kind of professional or personal development events and sessions your coliving organises. As I said, Sun and Co. are all about sharing knowledge and giving back, so they do a load of these.

I learnt a lot by talking to people and attending these events, but I learnt the most by holding my own skillshare. As I said, I had a massive fear of public speaking, and even just talking to ten of my housemates in a workshop setting filled me with dread. (Even doing it with one or two would have been bad enough; I was that terrified). But, I forced myself to do it. I held a skillshare on ‘Life Purpose & Legacy’ – one of my passions – and even though I was physically shaking, I did it.

That was at the start of my first coliving experience with Sun and Co. in the Basque Country. I stayed there for a month, and I held my skillshare a couple of days after we got there. I then spent the rest of that month pushing myself and stepping outside my comfort zone as much as humanly possible, and by the end of the month, I felt like a completely different person. I voluntarily wrote a poem about our time there and then read it out to the group on our last night – and I actually enjoyed it. (And there was no shaking this time!).

I simply would not have got there without the coliving. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity or the ‘safe space’ to hold my first-ever workshop, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the environment I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone for an entire month. This truly can be life-changing – if you allow it to be.

Photo credit: Jessica Grace Coleman

You can try new things – things you wouldn’t normally do

Similarly, you can use your time at the coliving to try new things, whether that be personally, professionally, or anything else. With so many people living under one roof who are all from so many different backgrounds and who have so many different skills and hobbies and interests, you’ll have no choice but to ditch your mundane routine and shake things up by trying something new.

For instance, as part of my stays at colivings, I have…

  • Learnt how to play poker (and so many other card games)
  • Taken part in guided meditations
  • Gone hiking and exploring in places I might not have gone (or known about) on my own
  • Been on boat trips and visited amazing new places
  • Learnt (parts of) different languages… usually the swear words!
  • Taken part in all kinds of personal growth and self-development exercises that were way outside my comfort zone
  • Cooked and eaten delicious meals inspired by countries all over the world
  • Danced through the streets of Bilbao with my housemates and had a #bridgeparty, with random people joining in
  • Had life coaching sessions (that made me cry so much – but in a good way!)
  • Tried different sports and ways to exercise
  • Watched amazing TV shows and films I otherwise wouldn’t have heard about
  • Received incredible book and podcast recommendations
  • Learnt how to do a wine tasting
  • Taken part in all kinds of workshops
  • Learnt traditional and cultural dances from all over the world

And so much more. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often have these kinds of experiences when I’m at home, going about my daily life. And you never know, you might find a new hobby or passion that you absolutely love.

Photo credit: Jessica Grace Coleman

You can become part of an inspiring global community

Finally, when you start staying in coliving houses, you automatically enter into this amazing worldwide community of global citizens – and while the scope of this community may seem huge, it can actually feel very small, very accessible, and very welcoming.

I now have really good friends who live all over the world, whom I’ve visited and travelled with and whom I know I’ll keep in touch with for years to come. Knowing you have people who will welcome you into their homes in Australia or Canada or Thailand makes the world seem a lot smaller – and makes those faraway countries seem a lot more reachable.

Besides, when you start staying in a few coliving houses, you’ll no doubt run into so many digital nomads you’ve either met before or that you’ve heard of from your other coliving buddies. Like I say, although the community spans the entire globe, it can really feel quite tiny. And who wouldn’t want to be part of such an amazing community of inspiring global citizens?!

Photo credit: Jessica Grace Coleman

Book that coliving today!

So, if this sounds like the kind of environment you want to be a part of – or need to be a part of, as was the case with me – I would highly recommend booking into a coliving today. Since the pandemic, more and more coliving houses and communities are popping up all over the world, so it’s now easier than ever to join this exciting movement.

Just remember – if you’re looking to transform yourself during your coliving stay, go into the experience with these three solid intentions in mind:

  1. To try as many new things as you possibly can
  2. To push yourself outside your comfort zone at every opportunity
  3. To overcome the limiting beliefs you have about yourself – to examine them, re-evaluate them, and see if they’re still true for you (if they ever were).

If you do these things, you can’t help but have an incredible, transformative experience that will boost your confidence and make you level up in your career – and in your life in general.

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Jessica Grace Coleman – also known as The Travel Transformation Coach – is a writer, host of The Travel Transformation Podcast, and founder of The Travel Transformation Company.

She is the author of the books Write Your Life: The Ultimate Life Hack For Achieving Your Dreams and Intentional Travel Transformation: Boost Your Confidence, Conquer Your Fears & Finally Become The Person You’ve Always Wanted To Be.

Jessica completely flipped the script on her life using intentional travel, and now it’s her mission to help others do the same – through her books, her podcast, and her online Travel Transformation Academy.

You can find out more about Jessica Grace Coleman at www.traveltransformationcoach.com, on Instagram @traveltransformationcoach or on TikTok @traveltransformation.

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