Having lived abroad as a digital nomad now for over seven years, I can tell you that this lifestyle isn’t always as sexy as it appears to be. You get lonely. After all, traveling the world by yourself or even with a partner or a friend doesn’t replace the type of community and fellowship you can have in your own language when you’re at home. So, today, we’re talking about 3 ways to deal with digital nomad loneliness and isolation.
Understand Digital Nomad Loneliness
As a digital nomad, you can be surrounded by amazing accomplished people who are building businesses and going on fun adventures. You’ll meet travel writers, Social Media Stars, entrepreneurs, and really rich people who will look like the world revolves around their every whim.
You’ll also meet drifters. Poor(er) people content to have few belongings who travel for work but never stay one place for too long.
And you’ll meet a ton of teachers. People who are living in one location because they have a contract to work at an international school.
In sum, as a digital nomad, your path will cross a ton of different people. You may never know their last names but you’ll spend time with them. This is where the loneliness comes in.
Being A Lonely Digital Nomad May Be A Life Lesson
Digital nomad loneliness happens when you realize you know a TON of different people from a variety of countries, social-economic backgrounds, and with varying plans for their digital nomad adventures, but at some point, you know everyone is going to leave.
Everyone is always in the process of leaving and moving to their next adventure.
The loneliness comes from not forming lasting associations with people. As a digital nomad, you’re not making lifelong friends. You’re networking and making associations.
In fact, digital nomad loneliness is a symptom of the fact that the friendships are so transient. They feel so real (and they are) but only lasts until your friend moves away, which happens all.the.time.
Learning how to deal with digital nomad loneliness requires a mindset shift. You have to come to terms with two things. First, everyone leaves. Two, just because they will one day leave (or you will leave) doesn’t make the time you have together any less real.
How To Deal With Being A Digital Nomad
Being a digital nomad is the ultimate transient lifestyle. So, it’s important to learn how to stay connected so that you’re never a lonely digital nomad. Here are 3 ways to deal with being digital nomad loneliness.
1. Join Something
The number one way for me to deal with my own digital nomad loneliness has been to get out of my head and join organizations. While I’m not a Couchsurfer, it’s a built-in great community of digital nomads. So, why not see who’s in your area and meet up for coffee?
You can join Facebook groups for digital nomads. Many times, there are location-specific Facebook groups and other times, there are HUGE geographically-diverse digital nomad groups for people working, site-seeing, building businesses, or even teaching English. There is a Facebook group out there for you. You just need to find your people.
Most cities also generally have some sort of international club. And your membership fee is typically donation to a local charity the club supports. These groups have meetings. They’re active in the community and all the members also usually socialize with each other.
2. Continue Doing What You Love
Everyone is interested in something. And sometimes, as digital nomads, we forget to pursue the things we love.
One way to deal with loneliness as a digital nomad is to continue doing what you love to do. If you’re religious, find your people and start participating in community events. Do you love to weight lift? Find a gym and continue lifting.
Do you mountain climb? Are you CrossFit junky? Continue doing what you love, even if you’re doing it by yourself at first. You will find your people doing what you love.
3. Stay Connected
Keep in touch with those you love.
Staying connected is one of the best ways to deal with digital nomad loneliness. In the 10 Communications Apps For Digital Nomads, I share which apps to use to stay in contact with both your loved ones back at home and your digital nomad buddies around the globe.
Being a digital nomad is an amazing lifestyle choice but it comes with its fair share of obstacles. One of them is loneliness. As digital nomads, how we deal with loneliness dictates how much we enjoy our time traveling and living abroad. These 3 tips to deal with nomad loneliness should help you make the most of your time as a digital nomad. Who knows, you may never want to go home.