Today, we're talking about coliving.


I've long believed that paying attention to the fact that humans evolved to live in tribes, as opposed to isolated nuclear families, was the key to unlocking a tremendous amount of latent needs, wellbeing, and happiness. Today, a convergence of different trends is making coliving a real movement in the west.


Whereas in much of the world, living in community is a thing as old as time. The rise in real estate costs, financial recession, urban loneliness, the digital nomad lifestyle, and the advent of online communities and coworking spaces led many to a natural conclusion β€” that living more densely when it involves a real community of like-minded individuals could be not only more affordable, but actually more fulfilling.


Commercial coliving companies such as Selina, Outpost, and Adam Neumann's new Flow, as well as thousands of coliving communities around the world, are offering a less lonely, more connected, and fuller hospitality, travel, or long-term living experience. They help making sense of a new city, finding new friends, and experiencing belonging, a much more straightforward process, and in the process help us challenge the way things have always been done. That's why I was excited to talk to Leah Ziliak. 


Leah founded The Coliving Consultant in 2019 and has become one of the most sought-after coliving professionals in the field. She's an international speaker, writer, and entrepreneur, and works with coliving brands around the world to create positive customer experiences within shared living. As a digital nomad, Leah travels the world full-time and works with clients both on-site and remotely.


We spoke in January 2023, and it was really great to learn from Leah, who's clearly thought about these topics deeply and has deep experience, both living in and designing these sorts of communities.




In this conversation we talk about:

  • Her digital nomad lifestyle.
  • How having a pen pal from another country instilled a desire in her to explore other cultures.
  • What it was like to live and work on a cruise ship.
  • Why she left her music career to become a digital nomad and coliving consultant.
  • What is coliving, and what are the range of options for the coliving curious?
  • Why is coliving becoming such a trend around the world?
  • The freeing experience of coliving for solo digital nomads.
  • The value of community and the importance of friendships.
  • Different types of coliving spaces.
  • Coliving versus packing more people in a small space.
  • Crafting a community experience, and also a hospitality experience.
  • Getting people involved in the creation versus supplying everything.
  • Coliving and old age.
  • Why is coliving slower to take off in the United States?
  • The urge to explore the world versus the urge to lay roots and nest.
  • And her new group, teaching more women how to travel solo.


Design is all about challenging defaults, and so what stayed with me the most is how important it is to challenge societal defaults in terms of our living situation, geography, and lifestyle. Who said the right way to live is to work hard all day so that you can afford a large house with a fence and smart locks to keep everyone else out? And who said that we have to wait until retirement to spend significant time traveling the world?


We have some amazing episodes lined up for you with thinkers, designers, makers, authors, and activists, answering questions like:


  • What do most people still need to understand about transgender and non-binary individuals?
  • Why is prototyping essential to making truly new things?
  • What's the value of knowing what you're about and crafting a personal manifesto?
  • And how can we find the freedom to think in an increasingly connected world?


So follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app, or head over to to subscribe. And if you're a subscriber already and enjoy our show, you can go to and join our supporter community.


And now, without further ado, let's jump right in with Leah Ziliak.




[5:53] Life in the Present

[7:52] A Childhood Connection

[9:16] A Transition to Travel

[10:06] The Community of Ship Life

[11:37] A Journey to Coliving

[15:13] What is Coliving?

[17:32] Coliving Space Examples

[20:07] Values and Cultures

[25:36] The Coliving Consultant

[28:06] On Community

[31:59] Coliving for Seniors

[36:41] A Cultural Divide

[41:27] Navigating Travel and Roots

[45:43] A Short Sermon