What's the Heart of Co-Living? It's the Kitchen!
What's the heart of co-living? It's very simple.
Sure, there are many different factors that go into a successful co-living facility like Roam Miami, where Brent and I are currently living with a group of fellow digital nomads.
Comfortable beds. A good location. (There's a reason most co-living places are in warm cities and not, say, Norway!) An interesting mix of people.
But after that, it all comes down to a large, well-appointed kitchen. It's the one communal place almost everyone uses multiple times a day. And as such, it's a great place to meet and interact with your fellow digital nomads.
And ice breakers are sooo easy.
"Gosh, that smells incredible! What is it?"or "I love to make my own hummus, too! What's your recipe?"
And it's amazing how quickly sharing a kitchen leads to cooking and eating meals together. And as you cook, you swap stories, get to know each other better, and start becoming friends with these folks who were strangers only days before.
Here at Roam, every Wednesday is a communal meal, usually built around a theme. One evening, our Cuban housekeepers helped us make Cubanos. Another evening, a visiting chef from Italy made homemade pasta.
But that one weekly meal is simply the beginning. A long-term resident has to go home? Let's have a goodbye dinner! It's Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, or Easter? Time for a potluck!
Honestly, almost anything can be an excuse for a potluck.
And even if you don't actually cook together, 90% of the time you end up sitting down and eating your own food with someone else. And, if life here at Roam is at all typical, sharing a bottle of wine. Or two!
Before you know it, you really do feel like one big, extended family (of choice).
My favorite example of a spontaneous group meal happened a week ago. Laura decided she wanted to make soup: Did anyone else want to contribute? A quick message on WhatsApp (which is how we do community-wide communication) resulted in a soup teeming with chicken and almost every kind of fresh vegetable and herb imaginable. Talk about your Stone Soup! Or maybe the Parable of the Loaves and Fishes. Either way, we had two massive pots for dinner that night.
I think once I leave Roam, some of my favorite memories will be everyone gathered in the kitchen, washing and chopping vegetables, whipping up side-dishes, marinating beef or chicken while everyone drinks wine, and laughs as we tell stories.
Yup, if home is where the heart is, then Roam's heart is definitely in the kitchen.
P.S. One thing we've noticed? People almost always cook fabulous, healthy meals in the kitchen. But whenever we peek in side their actual rooms, we spot at least some junk food. Brent and I do it too! No one wants to admit they sometimes pig out.