Goodbye, Miami. Hello, World
When Brent and I left Seattle in January to start our lives as digital nomads, we really had no idea what to expect from co-living. Would there be a lack of privacy? How would we like sharing a kitchen and being around people all the time? Could we adapt to the Miami sunshine after the constant Pacific Northwest rain?
Okay, maybe we weren't so worried about that last one.
But we really didn't know how we’d react to this new way of living. Which is why we both agreed to give it a year, and then reevaluate.
After one month, we were eating breakfast outside under the palm trees when we looked at each other and simultaneously said, "I don't ever want to go back.”
Now we’re about to head off on the next leg of our adventure – Hello, Spain, Italy, Malta, and Bulgaria! – and looking back at our first co-living experience, we’re both struck by a number of things.
First, neither of us can believe how emotionally attached we became to Roam Miami, the co-living facility where we're currently staying. Yes, the location is beautiful, but it's mostly due to all the kind, generous, funny, and fascinating people we’ve met from all over the world.
I’ve met more interesting people in the past three months than I did in the past three years living in Seattle. The former male model who sings opera and now works as a photographer? A woman who rode alone across South Africa on a motorcycle? A fitness and yoga instructor who’s dedicated her life to fighting single-use plastic?
Oh, and we also met our first billionaire.
We’ve met at least a hundred people in our time here, and as hard as it is to believe, I'm hard-pressed to think of a single jerk. No, we didn’t like everyone equally well, and some folks simply didn’t fit in. (They usually realized it pretty fast and split.)
But on the whole, these are some of the best people I’ve ever met. Need an egg for breakfast? Gregg will make you an omelet. Want advice on where to go out to dinner? Jonny will make a perfect recommendation based on his personality profile of you. Laura is going to Key Largo and has room for two more. Who wants to come along? And you can’t ever get to the bottom of your wine glass here, because someone is always opening another bottle to share.
I honestly didn’t realize how generous people could be until we got here.
What else strikes us about co-living? Well, we've learned some interesting things about ourselves.
Neither of us is what you would call an extrovert. We're not shy exactly, but hanging out with other people usually takes a bit of effort for both us. Yet here at Roam we’ve been incredibly social. We’ve spent hours cooking, drinking, eating, and talking. We've gotten up for brisk sunrise runs, and enjoyed more than a few lingering sunsets.
Once I even went to a midnight Full Moon Celebration with thousands of other people, grooving out to bongo drumbeats on the beach. Trust me, that is not something I ever imagined myself doing. Yet, I'm so glad I did.
We never saw ourselves as materialistic, and it turns out we were right. We love the simplicity of living out of suitcases! I can’t think of a single thing I missed since we put most of our stuff into storage. Life is about experiences, baby, not things, and hopefully my brain will never run out of room to store my memories of those.
Miami was the first of what will hopefully be a long string of positive co-living memories. It’s the place that showed us how amazing this lifestyle can be, and also how well suited we are to it. It showed us how full a life can be if you were willing to step a bit beyond your front yard.
That’s also why it’s going to be so hard to leave. Goodbyes suck.
But every goodbye is followed by another hello.
We're saying goodbye to Miami, and that's sad. But we're also saying hello to the world.
(Photo credit for first image: @ajstetson)