How valuable are the physical things that we strive to obtain and harbor in life? Converting to co-living.

My journey to co-living was in stages… the tipping point was when COVID hit Australia — who would’ve thought!

Coming from startup land in Sydney, I’m across new businesses and market entrants. My first impression of UKO was — a great concept… it embodies minimalist and flexible living, however, it isn’t quite practical for me right now. During this time two things were becoming apparent in my life:

Firstly, that my career would revolve around technology and my lifestyle would always be to a degree nomadic — traveling domestically and internationally for leisure, work, friends, and family. It wasn’t a stage or a once-off event like a uni exchange.

Secondly, my have for life admin became stronger— it’s boring and I see little value in it. I’m always looking for ways to eliminate it and I disagree with the notion that ‘it’s part having responsibilities’. I never liked signing any contracts (for example phone plans) because long-term commitment didn’t match the evolution in my life. Minimalism and the need for flexibility were emerging more in my life.

Converting to co-living

The first stage of converting to co-living was deciding to avoid real estate agents at all costs (the rental system is the worst system ever!). So, I sold all of my furniture and appliances — all of which I outlaid a cost of $4000 and gave away/ sold for 10% of the purchase price. I had no lease for the first time in a while, I went to Europe not having to pay rent back home for a month — great! When I came back to Sydney I stayed in an Airbnb until I found a place on Flatmates — no lease and not much furniture ($1000 worth) — great. I lost money again when I moved as COVID hit. I had flexibility but I still had to have some furniture.

The second stage of converting to co-living was when I flew to regional Australia for a couple of months, I was considering joining a local co-working space however in COVID, I couldn’t justify the value anymore. I was confused about what I should be doing.

When I returned to Sydney UKO was the solution. It could accommodate my 2 suitcase concept, I didn’t have to outlay costs for furniture and appliances and I could eliminate life admin through UKO’s subscription modesl — an all-inclusive price — Amazing! I subscribed in 15 minutes. #signmeup

COVID — the tipping point

When my world became 100% online and there was no physical reason for me to be in Sydney, this was an exciting concept. However, I didn’t expect to find it as challenging as I did being outside of a city. I took lockdown as an opportunity to focus on a project that I had running in South Australia. What I was lacking was a network and connectedness to a community that could support and enhance my lifestyle.

Contrasting the UKO community with being in Adelaide — a regional city, it’s clear how important a role co-living has in shaping this new world. I struggled to work in Adelaide as COVID presented a huge challenge for how we are to now engage with people and expand our network to generate value.

Thinking about lifestyle and how far mine is adapted — value now really is in the non-physical things; when driving a car, owning a fridge or a TV has no relationship to my work… it’s all just stuff. And more, all of this stuff becomes a liability when you’re stuck with it — like a rental lease with a bad housemate. Co-living becomes an asset.

How we create our lives and what we fill it with is so important. With systems designed for a new world that’s shaped around both technology and the knowledge economy, why use services or commit to responsibilities that aren’t suited to this new world? The physical things that we aspire to, and harbour so closely, we should perhaps think quite differently about.