Her Expat Life recently caught up with our new partners of our co live membership, Co - Living El Palmar, Cadiz to find out what they offer digital nomads and what makes them so unique!
1: Congratulations on opening Co - Living El Palmar, Cadiz, the first Co - Living in El Palmar for Digital Nomads. Can you tell us a bit more about why you opened a Co - Living space and what is your uniqueness in the Co - living market?
Opening a co-living space for digital nomads and entrepreneurs have been a dream of us for quite some time and after a long search for a suitable place for our co-living building, this year we were finally able to open and welcome our first guests in Co- Living El Palmar. This region is very unique because of it's strategic location in the 'Straight of Gibraltar' which creates unique weather conditions and amazing views to Morocco, Africa. Because of the narrowing straight the wind can pick up quite a lot here, especially in Tarifa, which is the capital of kitesurfing and windsurfing in Europe.
El Palmar is unique because it is a bit more protected from the wind and because of the sand banks it makes it a more suitable location for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing when the wind is too strong in Tarifa. Having said that El Palmar is much more than a surfing paradise. It is urbanisation in the country side and it is in fact a protected area which means that no more construction is allowed and that many houses are completely off grid like one of our locations which relies on solar panels and the water has to be brought by a huge container truck.
It is a place with amazing sunsets and a great vibe and many bars and high quality restaurants. Many that come here don't want to leave but only digital nomads can take advantage of the lower prices in low season because in low season there is no work for people that cannot work remote. So combine a high quality of life, amazing nature and lower off season prices and you have a perfect location for digital nomads and location independent workers.
2: What have been some of the challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them as a business owner?
For us, it is a bit difficult to keep high occupation rates because normally digital nomads book a room for about 1 to 2 months and after we have difficulties to fill the gap. That's why we decided to also start accepting guests for shorter stays.
3: What advice do you have for women who want to start living the digital nomadic lifestyle but may be unsure of what Co - Living actually is?
I have been a teacher at the Spanish Digital Nomad School (escuelanomadadigital.com) for two years and I can advice anyone to join a community of entrepreneurs. Not only for networking but also for exchanging ideas and shorten the learning period.
4: Tell us more about 'Eco- livers'
Because we live in the countryside and are independent, off the grid system and rely on solar panels with conscience water consumption, our houses are also called Eco-houses. We love nature and want to keep the planet liveable and contribute to the local economy, our guests are also called Eco- livers. This way we try to attract the right kind of people that have a healthy and friendly mindset.
We don't want "party seekers" to come and visit us but rather healthy, sporty people that bring a positive energy that we need to form a good digital nomad community. We provide Eco-tourism activities like bike riding, hiking, surfing, canoeing, tennis and paddel (Spanish kind of tennis/squash played on a smaller court) at open air courts that are located in the forests and almost every week we go to a natural water resource to get drinking water as well as to ecological gardens where we get a tour in the ecological garden to see the growing process. We can buy ecological fruits and vegetables directly from the local farmers. You will be surprised how many and tasty vegetables and fruit you can buy there.We have seen everything from mangoes, papayas to even pineapples that they can grow in these tropical climates we enjoy over here.
5:What advice do you have for expat women in building new relationships and a support system abroad and in the workplace?
Join groups of entrepreneurs. Follow the social media accounts of different kinds of groups, also from the government. Here in Spain there are a lot of grants given out to entrepreneurs. If you don't keep yourself up-to-date with the meetings and grants that are being given out then you don't have a change to take advantage of them. "Your network is your net worth"!
6: What do you predict for the future of Co Working and Co Living spaces?
We see a huge influx of corporate money trying to take advantage of the higher return on investments in the Co-working and Co-living sector. We think that they invest in the wrong places as we have seen that they construct Co-living buildings next to airports for example. Who wants to live long term in a dirty city next to an airport?
I think living in the countryside is much more healthy and fun. But that is just my opinion. I am sure there are also a lot of digital nomads that prefer the vibrant city life. But we do see private initiatives flourish. There are quite some interesting examples of abandoned Spanish, Portuguese and Italian villages that have been converted into digital nomad hubs. I like the idea of people coming together working on the same purpose which creates a real community feeling. These nomads have to work for free but they get back a great experience and get more connected with real life instead of living on the web.
7: What are the top things to do in El Palmar and why should people relocate there?
Number 1 is undoubtedly surfing. It is the best way to connect with nature and feel great afterwards. There are about 35 surf schools here so even if you don't know how to surf you will be able to learn it here for sure. We offer discounts for our Eco-livers community for surf lessons and surf board rentals. After surfing we go to local festivals like the red tuna festival, Flamenco, Carnaval of Cádiz, Retinto Meat Festival, music festivals and many more... You should also visit the nearby white villages and Cádiz which is the oldest city in Europe and therefore has got a lot of history and beautiful parks. Also don't forget to visit Jerez de la Frontera, which is the birthplace of Flamenco and is where the Jerez Sherry wine is coming from. The whole region of Cádiz has got amazing wines and local products like olives, honey, cheese, Retinto meet, red tuna, bread and ecological fruits and vegetables.
8: What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs or women starting out in their entrepreneurial lifestyle?
Do not try to be a woman of all trades. Instead focus on one or two things that you want to specialise in. This way you can profile yourself as an expert and keep focused and keep up-to-date with developments in your sector and local meetings in your sector. It is also proven that specialist have higher salaries than other employees. Anything else you need to do for your business you should always outsource to free up your time.
9: What are the benefits of living at a Co Living space over Airbnb for example?
At Co- Living, you make friends who help you get around and to enjoy to go to different places together. It is a great way to get lifelong friendships and gain amazing experiences. You might even find people to form partnerships with but that does not happen a lot as each digital nomad has their own thing going on and after work we try to have fun instead of talking more about work.
10: What fun activities are on offer at your Co - Living space?
We have already mentioned quite a few but I can advice to take a look at our calendar where you can find future and past events: https://colivingdigitalnomad.com/en/dates-of-interest-in-el-palmar-cadiz-and-surroundings/
And also at our activity page where you can find much more activities and excursions we do: https://colivingdigitalnomad.com/en/what-workshops-excursions-and-activities-we-offer-in-el-palmar-and-our-coliving/