By the time the blue sky faded into orange and pink on my first night at CoWorkSurf everything had changed.
CoLiving and CoWorking arrangements are centred around communities yet community is a tricky thing to foster. It’s a slippery concept that can be facilitated but must remain organic to stay authentic. There’s always the risk of creating an atmosphere more akin to corporate conferences than a productive, inspiring work place.
Within an hour I knew this wasn’t the case here. Instantly I was engaged in deep conversations which simultaneously inspired me and boosted my confidence. There were fresh cherries, hot coffee and a constant influx of faces ready to greet and engage in the sunlit courtyard of the villa.
Joe, one of the founders and my main point of contact for getting me out to Sagres, explained that CoWorkSurf was a concept designed to extend and empower and share his lifestyle. This, by the way, is a lifestyle that involves working remotely for a handful of chosen clients whilst being free enough to make surfing and other life passions a priority.
Nomads staying at CoWorkSurf at the same time as me included a Yoga teacher, a Netflix accredited filmmaker, an independent tech recruiter, a business and entrepreneur student and a sailing nomad who travels the world via working on luxury yachts. Add to this the influx of local artists and surf instructors from the Sagres scene and even a few Portuguese people and the space became a bustling hub.
This mix of people and a laissez-faire attitude atmosphere could be used to describe a hostel, yet this didn’t seem to be the case. After an afternoon spent making introductions and engaging in deep conversations ranging from “Is Genocide a good idea?” to “How can we prevent marine plastic?”, a group of us got together to make an action plan for the next few days marketing activity.
Suddenly the vibe charged and ideas were punched out thick and fast. There was a constant rhythm of contributions and a thorough plan came together around the current objectives. We set timers to stay focused, created to-do lists and allocated actions in order to ensure progress was made and the project could move forward smoothly. It was inspiring without being vague, it was structured without feeling restricted. The work / life balance at a CoLive CoWork space is a delicate tight rope walk but so far CoWorkSurf were hanging ten comfortably.
A productive session later, a few of us headed out in search of waves. Sagres was unusually flat that evening, with the southern facing coasts resembling large lakes rather than part of the Algarve’s surf hotspot. Still, a few of us clambered into the salty water and let our busy minds clear. Drying off I watched a plane sneak its way across the blue sky, far too high to be heard but trailing a line of mist behind it. I marvelled at the world we live in the connected opportunities that are available to us in a time of internet and Ryanair. Only that morning I had woken up in a humid London, unsure but eager for a new adventure. Now as I dried off on the sand I felt valued, useful and above all else grateful that I had let my thumbs type ‘Yes” to a random Facebook message.
I had a suspicion that this may be a week to remember.
...and I was right.