The story behind Anceu Coliving – a rural escape with strong community

In the beautiful rural Galicia, you will stumble upon a peaceful oasis called Anceu coliving.

Inspired by life-work balance and giving back to nature, Anceu invites you to embrace what they call a “slowmad” lifestyle – and that is to travel, work and live slow and mindfully towards yourself and the nature around you.

Fascinated by their values, we spoke to Anceu coliving’s founder Agustin about how they started, what they offer, and the story behind the Anceu coliving.

How it all started

The most powerful thing we can do is get involved locally. Help our local community and become community activists in our own smaller circle.

Gavin Creel

1. When and why did you decide to open a coliving space of your own?

I‘m from a region in Spain, Galicia, where people are leaving because of lack of opportunities, so I thought that creating a coliving space would help to give visibility to my region, and even make people want to move to it.

Also establishing a company in the region would create new opportunities for people living in the area.

Anceu coliving
Anceu Coliving isolated from the city hassle

Besides, after more than 6 years working remotely I wanted to have a home base in the region where I’m from, so I started to look for rural villages where I could establish the coliving space until I found Anceu.

2. Have you ever stayed in some other coliving space or any shared accommodation before you decided to open your own?

I hadn’t visited any coliving space when I decided that I wanted to open one. I knew about this kind of model, and in fact, with some people from my company, we had lived together while working remotely for a few years, so I kind of lived the coliving life before opening the coliving space or even thinking about opening one.

On the other hand, when I already had the place to open Anceu, I went and visited two coliving spaces (Cloud Citadel and Nine Coliving) where I learned a lot about how these kinds of spaces work.

3. Do you remember beginnings and what was the most difficult for you when you started your coliving?

Well, I opened in July 2020, just after the big lockdown of covid, so the biggest difficulty for me was COVID-related stuff.

Anceu property
Anceu Coliving property

That, and all legal stuff when you sign up a property in rural Galicia, where most of the properties are not 100% registered and there is so much paperwork involved in it.

4. Is there something that you wished you knew when you started with coliving?

I’ve learned a lot in this year and a half of Anceu coliving, so even though there is some stuff I would have liked to know, everything is a learning process, so we are where we are because of what we didn’t know.

5. Have you had the opportunity to visit other coliving places since you opened yours?

Yes, since Anceu coliving opened, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Quinta da Quinha in Viana do Castelo, Portugal. I’ve been invited in the following weeks to visit iSlow before their opening, and next month I’ll be traveling to Italy to visit Tertulia Farm.

6. What is the story behind you choosing Spain as the location for opening your coliving space?

Basically, it is where I’m from. I know the language and how everything (more or less) works.

7. What are the advantages of having coliving at a remote rural place, and are there any disadvantages?

I’d say the biggest advantage is that the community grows faster and stronger because people spend more time together.

For example, in Anceu coliving, all dinners during weekdays are communal, we randomize groups every week, and each group is in charge of cooking dinner and cleaning. This may look trivial but creates huge bonds between people.

Anceu coliving kitchen
Vibrant cooking area at Anceu

Also, the fact that everyone knows that after a working day you’ll be seated at the table with all the colivers simplifies everything. This kind of activity would be harder in a non-rural place, where there are restaurants, bars, museums, etc., all around.

About the disadvantages, I wouldn’t know what to say, because even though Anceu is super rural, in 30 minutes by car, there is a mid-size city of 80,000 people where you can find everything, so we are pretty much close to both worlds.

Our community

I remind myself that I’m always more satisfied by human interaction than by a digital connection.

Maulik Pancholy

Anceu Coliving community
Anceu community taking a break in fresh air

8. What is the profile of people who are most likely to stay at your place?

People who work remotely; love nature; and are looking for a stable community.

9. What is the average age of people who are visiting your accommodation?

People in their 30s.

Remote work at Anceu
Chilling and working at Anceu

10. How long do people usually stay at your place?

The average stay during 2021 has been six weeks. For 2022, with the current bookings we have, that average stay is toping up to 11 weeks.

11. Do your visitors have the tendency to return back to your place?

So far, 80% of the bookings for 2022 are returnees. So I’d say yes.

Anceu room
One of the bedroom options at Anceu

12. Is there some trend where people from specific countries come to your place?

Not really. Until today most of the colivers are European, but we are living in weird times now travel-wise because of restrictions, so I couldn’t tell.

13. What additional activities are included for people who stay at your coliving?

Communal dinners and the skillshare/sharing sessions are the main things that Anceu coliving offers as activities. We also set weekly or biweekly visits to different projects in the area (music association, dog shelter, flea market nearby, etc.)

Anceu Coliving communal space
Communal area for gatherings at Anceu

Apart from that, we like to say that activity-wise, we are facilitators of our colivers.

We show to the surfers where the good waves are, to the hikers the most famous hikes in the area, and to the ones who like to experiment with Galician gastronomy, the places to visit.

About the Coliving Movement

The spirit of co-working always you to find coworkers who are worth working with.

Cynthia Chaim

Anceu Coworking
Colivers working together at Anceu

14. Do you think that coliving is only dedicated to a specific group of people such as freelancers, digital nomads, and startups, or do you think there is a possibility to gain popularity beyond that group of people?

The short answer is yes.

The long one, I think there is that possibility, as long as they can work remotely. In my opinion, a digital nomad and a remote worker are not exactly the same. I’ve seen that there are more and more people who can work remotely but they don’t want to travel very often. So what they are looking for is a community where they can do their work while being with like-minded people.

15. Do you think that coliving cannot exist without coworking?

Nowadays, I think a coliving space needs a coworking because people need to have a way to pay the expenses of being in a coliving space. So, they have to work.

Coworking area at Anceu coliving
Coworking area at Anceu coliving

If the model is different, as cohousing, where people have already bought their piece of the land, and the expenses are lower, maybe that case allows not to have a coworking.

Disclaimer, I’m just speculating here. I’m no expert in this in any way.

16. One of the main selling points for coliving is the possibility to meet new people, share experiences and maybe even develop new partnerships. Is that really the situation?

That’s a big part of the situation, meeting like-minded people to share time, conversations, and who knows, even new partnerships.

Secure yourself the best coliving experience

  • italki – Why not learn some Spanish before your trip and make your coliving even better? italki is the perfect platform for that, where more than 3500 native speakers are waiting to help you with your Spanish.

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