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As a digital nomad you get to travel the world as and when your heart desires. You’re in control of your lives, your time and your experiences. Yet, as the saying goes, nothing is perfect. This freedom comes at a cost. Remote work can get isolating.
You move to a new place, you settle in, you have a good time and then you move on. As it often happens, by the time you are actually settled, it’s time to pack up and move. It’s all fun and games, landing at new airports, working from new locations and making friends everywhere, but once the rush dies down, digital nomadism and working remotely, can get isolating.
While the isolation can get difficult, it’s not impossible to overcome. In the end, it all feels worth it when you do meet people you click with, make memories that will stay for a lifetime and find opportunities that would’ve slipped by you otherwise.
Here are some tips to battle loneliness as a digital nomad and find new and exciting friendships:
Find a coworking and coliving space
There is no better way to find like-minded people to connect with than through coworking spaces. You can connect with like-minded people. You’re bound to strike up a conversation with someone. You end up not only connecting with new people, but also landing better work or business opportunities. It only gets better with coliving spaces. Unlike, hostels or airbnbs, they are designed to help remote workers and digital nomads find their nomad community away from home. Coliving spaces help foster connections by organising community events, planning outings and putting up suggestions curated specifically for the needs of nomads. What could be better than being a part of heated discussion on Wednesday evenings and wholesome brunches on Sundays?
Lookup for opportunities to socialise
Once you’ve settled in, you can start finding out the popular local haunts. If possible, try to make a list before you’ve landed. This way you don’t have to wait until you’ve settled in to start popping into popular bars, clubs, cafes, poetry nights, coworking spaces etc. Some coworking spaces also have events planned that bring the community together. Apart from that, looking up volunteering opportunities can be a great idea. In Goa, around the NomadGao property, you can go volunteer at WAG, an animal shelter and El Shaddai, an NGO that works for women and children. Volunteering can be a fun way to connect with people who share similar values and ideas with you.
Travel with a fellow digital nomad
Every popular digital nomad destination has its own nomad community or an organisation that where they meet. People like Remote Year, WiFi Tribe and RemoteExplorers are working towards facilitating remote workers’ travel and accommodation needs and making digital nomadism feel like smooth sailing. You could either choose to travel through such organisations or find your digital nomad tribe. Either way, instead of choosing to travel alone, you can travel in your group. This way, you’re still a digital nomad and not so lonely at the same time. Another way to be a part of a nomad community is by looking up digital nomads on social media. You can connect with them and travel to the same location as they are. On the other hand, you can also simply connect with people from a destination you’re planning to visit. There are plenty of groups on Facebook that can help you with this.
Stay in touch with your close friends
No matter how far you travel, there are chances that you have people in your contact list that you call home. It’s nice to have someone to fall back on. So on those days when you feel lonely and discouraged to socialise with new people, connect with your people from back home. This way, you can remind yourself that you aren’t alone and that there are people out there who care for you. Don’t forget though that adult life can be difficult and busy so don’t think too much if they can’t make it.
Stay in one location for longer periods
If you’re quick to pack and leave every location you travel to, the isolation can be worse. Try to stick to a new place for at least a month and a half or more. This way you get time to unwind, set up, go out exploring and make new connections. All good things come to those who wait and putting a lead on those restless feet could save you on a lot of anxiety and loneliness. Get to know the place, its food, its people. Who knows, you might find your soulmate there! The checklist is long and the time is short, yes, but the memories you make will stay with you forever. So don’t hasten them.
Join workshops to learn new skills
Just like volunteering and coworking spaces, fun workshops in new places can be a great way to make friends. At the same time, you get to learn new skills or hone the ones you already have. Attending workshops also help keep you distracted and engaged, helping keep the negative emotions at bay.
Remember why you started in the first place!
Lastly, know that giving up is easier than choosing to continue, especially when things get difficult. Yet, if you stay courageous enough, you’ll have a million memories and connections to look back to. Sticking to this life comes with more gratefulness than regrets. So remind yourself why you started this in the first place and keep moving on. Just like Dory, you gotta keep swimming!