It’s no secret that although rarely alone while travelling as a digital nomad, it can certainly get very lonely. Uprooting your life every few months means that creating and nurturing friendships wherever you’re based can feel like a non-starter, as you’re just going to leave anyway.
And for when you do want to make friends that are also on the move, approaching travellers or tourists can seem just as futile. Either they already have company, or they don’t have to work, meaning they might be more focused on staying out drinking until 4 a.m. than waking up early to have a productive day.
As a remote worker that’s chosen the nomadic life, there will always be aspects of the standard nine-to-five grind that you miss. However, there are some tips you can take on board to reduce the loneliness that comes with solo travel:
1. Use travel communities and meetup apps & websites
As a digital nomad, you’re probably already aware that the internet is your friend in times of need. And that’s no more true than when you’re looking to find some like-minded friends. Meeting people and discovering local events through sites like Couchsurfing, Meetup and DNX, along with online forums and Facebook groups, is an easy and fast-track way to make connections with other digital nomads.
Not only is this a great way to make friends (or potential travel buddies), but connecting with people that have chosen the remote worker life gives you a lot of opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences — whether it’s tips on great cities and hostels for digital nomads (and places that should be skipped), or valuable entrepreneurial advice.
2. Create a routine, and stick to it
Even though moving from place to place can make establishing a daily routine tricky, with a little planning and adaptation you can do it surprisingly easy. Having some set activities that you do each day can help you meet new people and give you a feeling that your new location is becoming a home.
For example, taking up a hobby that you can find in most travel destinations, such as joining a hiking group, or a gym or exercise class (CrossFit has a solid global community!), is a great way to jump straight into a routine where you’ll regularly see the same people.
You could even go one step further and take up activities that enrich the cultural experience of the country you’re in. Take Spanish or salsa classes if you’re in Latin America, for example, or hit up a Muay Thai gym if you’re in Thailand.
3. Establish a homebase
If you’re really craving some real, long-term friendships, then establishing a base to then travel from is probably the best option for you. Many digital nomads find a location that they really love from which to base themselves, and do shorter trips from there.
For example, Medellín has become one of the biggest digital nomad hotspots in Latin America, and offers regular flights to explore the rest of beautiful Colombia or neighbouring countries like Peru or Panama. In Asia, many digital nomads have made Chiang Mai, Thailand their home – and from there find it easy to explore the surrounding region.
This way, you can spend time seeking out like-minded people and nurture the friendships over time, rather than meeting people already with the knowledge that a ‘goodbye’ is on the horizon.
4. Join a coworking space
If you find that laptop-working from your accommodation or cafes is contributing towards feeling lonely, joining a coworking space could be the answer for you. Coworking spaces have exploded in popularity over the last decade as remote work becomes ever-more possible, and most cities will have at least a few for you to check out.
Guaranteed to be full of other digital nomads, coworking spaces are a sure-fire way to be surrounded by people with a similar life outlook to yourself. And as with the online tools mentioned above, connecting with other remote workers and entrepreneurs presents not only opportunities for personal connections, but also professional development.
5. Say YES
Finally, saying yes and embracing opportunities is essential if you’re in the market for some new friends. Being open to meeting all kinds of people in-person, not just through digital channels, can be even more mind-opening than sticking to a digital nomad tribe.
Try saying yes to every invitation you get for a week and see where it gets you: you never know what could come from taking someone up on an offer that you instinctively want to decline. Who knows, as well as gaining a friend, that line-dancing class or minimalist techno club night could spark an interest you didn’t know you had!
At Flamingo Coworking Santa Marta, we’re committed to creating a community of digital nomads and hosting events to learn and connect with others. Pay us a visit and see what Flamingo could do for you.