Updated: Mar 31
We had a lovely chat last week with Anja, the founder of Agaia Coliving and one of our newest members. Anja shared how her project was born, from a need to find purpose while feeling surrounding by people who inspire her.
"Where are you from?" is a difficult question.
What is more important, where you are coming from or where you are going?
Anja who left her home country, Germany, several years ago now, has somehow always lived with other people, intentionally or not from student dorms to shared flats. After leaving the corporate life which did not bring her the meaning she hoped to find in her professional life, Anja, moved to Italy a year and a half ago, and fell in love with the culture, the food and the slower pace of life.
Through her travels and numerous community experiences she has learnt that the longer she stayed in one place the more she understood about this place...and herself.
As she is looking to settle down more she and her partner are eager to create a life closer to nature, with a rhythm and values to which they can identify more.
The fear of isolating themselves is real though. That is why the concept of coliving seemed like the perfect balance and a great way to share their love for the country they now call home.
coliving culture develops like a company culture. no coliving space is exactly the same
It is very important for Anja to create a space and a community around it that aligns with her values, her search for meaning and her will to create positive impact locally.
What comes first, space or people?
Obviously, finding the perfect space all the while trying to attract "the right people" is everyone's biggest [and most exciting] challenge.
As she and her team search for that perfect place to truly grow roots, they are currently hosting temporary community adventures in Italy for individuals and groups to truly understand what the AGAIA experience is all about. It is also the perfect way for them to experiment, learn and understand what kind of people they would be ready to eventually share their lives with!
A Community of Community
When we asked Anja what Agaia stands for she laughed. " it is a made up word from our god son" she says " that became our happy cheer, and we realised later it also refers to Gaia, Mother Earth".
Anja is all about sharing: experiences, learnings, good times.
This is what I was missing in the corporate world, collaboration over competition
She dreams of a network of places like hers, with similar values, which you could visit, one after the other. Settling down does not have to mean being stuck in one place after all.
Dare to be bold
Building a community from scratch is not easy. Anja's key aspect for a thriving one would be:
- Making everyone feel like they have an equal say and ability to engage
- Sharing similar values
- Being purpose driven
- Being intentional
She believes it is essential for the community to clearly define and express what it stand for in order to attract the "right" people. It is however, not always easy to put up boundaries. It means having to say "no" to some people, and that is a difficult exercise.
Be Vulnerable & Say Thank You
Anja says she still has so much to learn but is enjoying the process. Her biggest struggle might be to find her own way to lead. She is already convinced that embracing vulnerability and celebrating gratefulness in order to create the culture in which she believes people best thrive.
Thank you very much Anja for taking the time to share your story with us.
Check out https://agaia-coliving.com