This week I spent my solution-vention experiment time pondering on the idea of living.
Unless you are in a committed relationship, or family arrangement, I think apartment living is isolating and illogical. Student housing has it’s perks, but not when you aren’t a student anymore. Surfing couches is fun but it’s not a long term solution. No money is exchanged so you end up paying with your time.
I want somewhere I can live with equals, who come and go as they please, where there is a good flow of new people, and a few long term residents who always welcome the newcomers.
The best option I’ve found so far is hostel living but it’s not always awesome. So much depends on the architecture, the city, the staff, the weather, the price, the facilities, and the particular set of people who happen to be there at the same time as you.
I meet people who have been living in hostels for 2 months, or 2 days. I meet people who stay in hostels even though they can afford hotels just because they want to meet people. But I rarely meet people like me: people who actually choose to stay in hostels in the city where they actually live.
It’s not the first time I feel like an anomaly, but for me there are so many benefits:
- I don’t have to do laundry
- I don’t have to buy breakfast
- I don’t have to change my sheets
- I don’t have to tidy up because I don’t have much stuff
- I don’t have to clean the bathroom
- I don’t have to clean up after parties
- I don’t have to pay water, gas, gastos comunes, electricity, internet… on top of rent
- I don’t have to make a commitment to a person, or a place, or pay for a bed when I’m not actually sleeping there.
But the main reason is because I like meeting people.
I feel like everything in my life should be designed, optimized in fact, for meeting people. It’s one of the reasons I am still an entrepreneur instead of working in a company. It’s one of the reasons I love to travel, and why I’ve been working on the projects I’ve been working on for the past 4 years.
Don’t get my wrong, I love friends, and I have amazing, wonderful friends, but a lot of my current friends are my friends because I met them in a hostel.
There’s something important to me about exchanging ideas with new people on a regular basis in general, regardless of whether or not you will end up calling each other “friends”.
This doesn’t mean I’m super social. In fact, it’s the opposite. That’s what’s awesome about hostels is that you meet people without even trying. It’s effortless. If I didn’t live in hostels, I might never meet new people.
Yet I don’t like the idea of living in a hostel. There is something distinctly ODD about telling people I am living in a hostel in the city where I live.
Hostels are built for foreigners, and for short term stays.
I end up feeling like a homeless vagrant, or a social outcast, probably because there are a fair amount of unstable versions of me: Alcoholics. Angry people. People who can’t fit into society. They end up in hostels. What does that say about me?
Plus there are only so many times you can have a conversation about which city tour the newcomers should go on.
Yet, there aren’t many other options for people like me. Communes, intentional communities, co-operative living arrangements, all seem to have complex rules or involve actually owning property. I understand if you want to live in one place forever, and settle down, it may make sense. But I just want there to be a “home/hostel” I can stay in, anywhere in the world where the focus is around community.
When I thought about a solution, it occurred to me I could build the perfect hostel, a hostel more focused on social, for people to meet new people. I could invite people to participate in activities so like making dinner or group trips.
But that sounded like way too much work.
So instead, I decided to create a solution using language. If there was a way to express what I do in a positive way, then I wouldn’t have to explain it as though I was an anomaly. And hostels could advertise that they are welcoming to people like me.
So my invention this week, is a way to explain what I am doing:
To Commune (verb): to choose to live around people
So instead of I’m staying in a hostel, or I’m living in a hostel, I can say I’m communing in a hostel.
What do you mean? You haven’t heard of communing? It’s when you choose to live around people your age who are open minded and traveling.
Are you living here? No, I’m communing here.
When did you arrive here? Oh, I’m communing here, so I’ve been here for 2 months.
Communing? Ya, living around people because it’s more fun than living alone.
Where do you live? I’m communing right now at a hostel in Providencia.
What do you think? Do you have any suggestions where I can “commune” more easily?