In the heart of Valencia, there’s a coliving for urban changers and creatives that want to connect with other like-minded people and grow in a community. It’s called Vivarium, and as the name suggests, it can be your home for the next few months while exploring Valencia, but also yourself.
Cities like Valencia that are rich in cultural events and opportunities have always attracted those who seek experimentation with urban culture, exploration through art and music, and those looking for liberating growth.
However, coming to a big city, especially not in your home country, can be scary at first, and figuring it out might take a lot of time. With daily events all over the city, it might be hard to know what is worth it and what isn’t at first, and connecting with people might not seem that easy.
Busy streets give the impression of busy lives, so it can be intimidating to start making acquaintances from day one.
That’s why Vivarium exists, to act as a starting point and a center of community building for those who are beginning their curious exploration journey in Valencia.
Vivarium acts as a safe nest for those who are on a verge of a personal or a professional change and are looking to stay for a few months in Valencia and connect with others like themselves. In a busy street, you never know who is in a similar phase of life like you, but in Vivarium, you know people came for the same reason.
Being in a living community in the center of Valencia run by a true Valencian can help you explore the city in the right way and connect with people that share your interests.
For these reasons, we chose Vivarium as our third stop in Coliving Spain 2022 project and are bringing you our experience. Hope you enjoy it!
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Table of Contents Hide
- Inspiration behind Vivarium
- Why is Valencia the perfect place for a coliving community?
- How to get to Vivarium?
- The neighborhood
- The flat
- What can you expect while staying in Vivarium?
- Who we met in Vivarium
Inspiration behind Vivarium
As creatives themselves, and led by previous experience of working and living together, Pablo and Mar wanted to create a coliving and coworking space that would inspire ambitious and innovative people to share their ideas and grow together.
We only have a few easy options in life to make these kinds of connections – through school, university, and sometimes work. But even work can sometimes be more a salary resource than inspiration, so we often find ourselves not being surrounded by people that share our passions.
The idea behind Vivarium was to make a space where people can surround themselves with others that can bring them value and make these types of connections. Of course, to do so, and like in most colivings, the stays should really not be shorter than a few weeks at least, but even better for a few months.
The idea was not only to share their lives as roommates but to share knowledge and skills and actively engage in learning activities with others. Creating a network of people that, moving onwards, could share ideas and advice, work on each other’s projects and be a support in each other’s professional and personal lives.
Just like people, Vivarium is also changing and growing with every new experience. Collecting insights and exploring the dynamics, Pablo and Mar try to stay innovative in order to bring more value to colivers every time.
An idea for the near future is to build a collaborative learning community where people can actively work on common goals like resolving certain issues or helping one another take on some professional challenges.
Why is Valencia the perfect place for a coliving community?
Valencia is a very popular place for digital nomads. It’s not too big and doesn’t have as many tourists as Barcelona or Madrid. On the other hand, it’s urban, and it is a metropolitan, so there are so many options for everyone’s taste.
Valencia is a city with young and vibrant energy, an amazing “food and drink” culture, and loads of cultural events and opportunities for sports, leisure, and just recharging your batteries.
Having so many digital nomads, it also has a strong nomad community. This means a lot of events directed toward expats and foreigners coming to Valencia, like language exchange sessions, live international music concerts, free dance classes, etc.
Coworking places in Valencia
Vivarium actually works closely with WayCo, so if you decide to stay at Vivarium you can also choose this to be your working area. They have two locations, both spacious and equipped with all needed for any type of digital work.
They also often organize networking events for their members and have many international members as well, so being a member might serve as a great opportunity to find someone to connect with.
Diversity of laptop-friendly coffee shops
If you’re not a big fan of coworking spaces and you prefer working from cafes, there’s also good news. Valencia has quite a few places that are laptop-friendly.
We found a great place thanks to an app called Maika that helps you find cafes to work from all around the world. We were lucky to know about the app because it was actually created by Alex, one of the colivers at Vivarium!
If you’re like us and you’re often working from cafes, then you know the struggle, so definitely check the app out, and, hopefully, it helps you as it did us. By checking it out, you will also support our friend Alex! 🙂
How to get to Vivarium?
Because of its centric location, coming to Vivarium should not be a problem at all. From wherever you’re coming from, there will probably be a bus or a metro line connecting to the city center.
Coming from an airport is also easy. There is a metro line from the airport going directly to the metro station Colon, which is a 5-minute walk from Vivarium. The ticket costs around 3 euros and it takes you about 20 minutes.
The coliving is only two streets away from the metro station, and it is very easy to find it.
Vivarium coliving is located in a centric building just a few minutes from the city’s most popular locations. It’s only a 10-minute walk from Eixample, 15 minutes from Russafa, and around 20 minutes from the Old City.
It is also only an 8-minute walk to the famous Valencian park Jardin Turia which stretches for 7 kilometers through the city and provides an escape into nature in the middle of the urban area.
Since it is a coliving in the urban center of Valencia, there is an abundance of restaurants, supermarkets, and stores around. There is Lidl on the corner, and Mercadona is only a few minutes away.
The neighborhood is nice and tranquil, considering it is in the center. There is not much crowd in the street, so you will still have privacy even though the place is in a centric area.
The flat occupies the whole third floor and has eight private rooms with each one having its private bathroom. The rooms are simple and minimalistic which gives that clean authentic city vibe.
When it comes to common areas, the central room is the living room with a big dining table and a chilling corner right next to huge windows. The design is clean and minimalistic, with some boho elements that add fun!
The kitchen has two stoves and two fridges so that people can use them simultaneously. It also has plenty of pantry storage.
There is another shared space that serves as a room for hanging out and relaxation, but also for work. Next to this room, there’s a shared bathroom open for everybody to use.
The house also has two balconies. On one balcony, there are a few spice plants from which you can pick up leaves and use them in your cooking.
There are also a lot of books throughout the whole flat that you can borrow and read while you’re here. If you’re more into music, there is a guitar and a ukulele as well.
What can you expect while staying in Vivarium?
Vivarium believes in an organic approach when it comes to community building.
The activities are rarely the same for each group but come spontaneously from the group’s vibe and needs. The hosts are there to start an open discussion about the colivers’ interests and wishes and inspire the group to come together and create an activity that suits all members.
Because of its special location – in the center of a big city – there is no certain way of telling which hobbies or interests people that come to Vivarium would typically have. For rural colivings, it’s much easier to predict common interests (like gardening, nature, hiking, etc.) When you’re in a big city with lots of different things to do, you cannot be confident about what people enjoy.
Pre-organizing a hiking route in rural coliving makes sense, but pre-organizing a strict event or an activity like that in a coliving like Vivarium, might not be as successful. The founders believe that groups connect better when they choose activities themselves, of course, with a bit of external facilitation.
When we say external facilitation, what this means is giving the space and opportunity for colivers to express their needs and get creative. By asking questions, creating polls, and giving recommendations to explore what the group likes and doesn’t, instead of making a schedule and pushing it on the people, you can organically spark the interaction.
Here are some of the past activities happening in the Vivarium community:
Every once in a while, especially when the day is nice, Vivarium hosts suggest having an open jamming session. Of course, this is the case when the groups have music enthusiasts who know how to play an instrument or two (or at least want to try).
Again, in a very spontaneous and natural way, the group would go to the park, bring a guitar and just play, sing, and enjoy the music together.
Concerts and live music events
Besides that, Pablo has some great recommendations for concerts and live music.
For example, one Wednesday, to celebrate one coliver’s birthday and say goodbye to another one, we went out to Black Note Club in Valencia.
Every Wednesday, this club hosts an open rock jamming session. Talented amateur and professional musicians who are in the city can sign up and perform for the night.
The atmosphere is incredible, the music awesome, and the musicians very talented. And the entrance this time was only 5 euros!
Using Slack to communicate all related to coliving, Pablo often shares recommendations for interesting events and shows, which can be super helpful when you’re new in the city.
When the colivers have already spent a few days/weeks in Valencia, they start suggesting as well. And this is exactly how a group spontaneously starts to connect.
One ex-coliver from Austria, Barbara, loved Vivarium’s concept so much that she decided to stay in the city and unofficially join the Vivarium team while going through a career change.
Being very community-oriented, Barbara always thinks of ways that could emphasize the people. Coming from that, one of the micro-project she introduced to Vivarium is a foto guestbook.
In a nice journal, there are two pages for every coliver to write down a bit about themselves. Also, there is space for a photo that you take with a polaroid camera and tape in the guestbook. Then, there are a few questions that help to write a bit about yourself, and after a whole blank page for yourself, so you can add whatever you want.
Such a simple idea, but it’s very interesting to see more about the people living there before you. It’s also kind of fun to do it if you’re into scrapbooking.
Wine and learn (skill-sharing)
Started as Wine & Learn Tuesdays (although the wine part is not obligatory), this is a space of a few hours every Tuesday evening to share something that you’d like with the group. This can be a skill you have, some piece of knowledge, or anything really that you think would be fun to share and teach to others.
The activity spot exists as a suggestion, but it’s on the colivers to share recommendations and sign up to lead the session or a workshop. It’s not obligatory, and the same goes for attendance. It is certainly not a must for everyone to join, the only important thing is letting the hosts and other colivers know if you will participate or not.
Just before we came, one coliver (Ines) held a yoga and meditation session, and during our stay, we had an amazing life coaching session with another coliver, Steffi, that was embracing life coaching as a new career path.
These sessions can be very interesting as we don’t even realize how different our sets of skills are. It’s super fun and useful learning about something completely different. Even if you are familiar with the topic, it’s surprising how different a different approach can be from what you know. This gives so much value.
Other than that, it’s also very beneficial in strengthening the group because while one coliver is presenting, the others are supporting. Participants are also grateful for the new free knowledge they are receiving and tend to feel closer to the presenter and more open to starting the conversation with them.
Who we met in Vivarium
Vivarium is mostly fully booked, so there are always between 8 and 10 people in the flat. The hosts try to organize the stays so one group can stay more or less coherent from the start to the end. This helps the groups connect better and get used to each other.
In the ten days we stayed there, we met ten people and a small good boy 🐶, altogether from Germany, Austria, Spain, Holland, and France. The average age of people was between 25 and 30.
Most of them are frequent travelers and digital nomads trying to travel full time. Most of them spoke Spanish, but it was not a necessity. In the house, we spoke English all the time. Even though they were together for at least a month before we arrived, they were very welcoming and helped us become a part of their community even for the ten days spent there.
The things we all had in common were more or less the age, love for traveling and experience in traveling, love for good wine and beer, tasty food, and cool events that cities have to offer.
This community was definitely a big part of our experience. It allowed us to really see and feel what Vivarium has to offer – a space where one can connect with others and find their path through these interactions.
With its philosophy, Vivarium really proves a point that Pablo once made, that you don’t have to go to the remotest places to find yourself. You just need to surround yourself with situations and people that help you grow. And that is what Vivarium is there to offer.
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