As a digital nomad who’s been on the road since 2016, I get it.
The thrill of a new city, the freedom of remote work – it’s the dream, right?
It is, but it can get lonely.
Ever found yourself in a bustling café, surrounded by people, yet feeling utterly alone?
Yeah, me too.
Here are my top tips for dealing with digital nomad loneliness:
1. Accept That It’s Okay To Feel Lonely
You’re not a robot, and that’s totally fine.
Emotions are part of the human experience, and loneliness is no exception.
So, first things first, give yourself permission to feel.
If you scroll through Reddit digital nomad threads you’ll see fellow digital nomads sharing about feeling lonely.
So yeah, it’s a thing.
Many nomads admit to feeling lonely and even returning to their home cities because of it.
So, you’re not alone in feeling alone.
2. Understand The Root Cause
Stop to think why you’re feeling lonely.
Is it the new environment, the lack of familiar faces, language barrier or maybe it’s something deeper?
Grab a journal and start writing down what triggers these feelings.
Is it when you’re idle, or perhaps when you see social media posts of friends hanging out back home?
Understanding the “why” can help you address the “what to do about it.”
3. Accept That This Feeling Is Temporary
Ever had a bad cup of coffee?
Disappointing, but not the end of the world.
Loneliness is kinda like that – a temporary setback. You’ll brew a better cup tomorrow, promise.
You will eventually find ways to make new meaningful connections.
4. Create A List of Activities You Can Do By Yourself
Write down lists of things you can do alone.
This will give you direction and help make sure that you don’t feel lost in the moments when loneliness strikes.
This could be taking yourself to dinner, going to a movie, or walking in the park.
Make a list of people who you can call when you feel lonely.
5. Stay At Least A Month In Each Location
The allure of hopping from one city to another is tempting, but slow down.
Staying in one place for longer gives you the opportunity to establish connections with locals in the area.
And it is also cost effective.
It gives you access to discounts on rental accommodation such as Airbnb which offers discounted monthly rates compared to nightly rates.
6. Stay In Touch With Family and Friends
Remember the last time you had a hearty laugh with a friend over a video call?
Those are the moments that keep us grounded.
When talking to your family or friends, be honest about how you’re feeling and don’t be afraid to open up about the loneliness that may have crept up during your travels.
Share stories from your journeys and ask questions about their lives.
Try to stay involved in each other’s lives.
7. Make Time To Build New Connections
Attend local meetups, join online communities, or simply strike up a conversation with a stranger.
Just remember, not every interaction will turn into a lifelong friendship, and that’s okay.
I’m an introvert and I need to push myself.
But I still believe that stepping out of your comfort zone can be oh-so rewarding.
I do believe that it’s much easier for extroverts, but we all have our own problems.
8. You May Need To Get Used To Rejections
You will inevitably experience some rejections along the way, but don’t take it too personally.
Not everyone will be interested in the same things as you, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there who does.
9. Join A Coworking Space
If you spend more time working from home, try joining a coworking space in the city you’re currently in.
This will give you access to potential networking opportunities.
Related post: Best Coworking Spaces In Barcelona
10. Learn New Skills
Sign up for a language class or join the gym, you’ll inevitably meet new people.
11. Consider Volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your local community.
12.Take A Social Media Break
If you find yourself scrolling through your feed for hours on end, try taking a break and focusing on what is happening around you.
Related post: Living Without Internet At Home
13. Reach Out For Professional Help If Needed
If you feel like your loneliness is getting too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help.
And that’s exactly what I did in 2019 that helped me immensely with my loneliness and anxiety.
- Go back home frequently. Sometimes, there’s no place like home.
- Find a travel buddy. Two nomads are better than one.
- Work with people. Collaborate on projects to get that team vibe.
- Set boundaries. Make a work schedule and stick to it. When work time is over, close that laptop and go explore or socialize.
- Take breaks. Don’t forget to take short breaks to stretch or take a walk. Your body and mind will thank you.
How Language Barriers Contribute to Loneliness
When you can’t communicate effectively, even simple tasks like ordering food or asking for directions can be stressful.
This can lead to avoiding social interactions altogether, which only amplifies feelings of loneliness.
Tips for Overcoming Cultural and Linguistic Barriers
- Learn basic phrases. Knowing how to say “hello,” “thank you,” and “please” can go a long way. Sometimes, all it takes to break the ice is a smile and a willingness to adapt to local customs.
- Befriend locals or other travelers who can help you navigate the cultural landscape.
- Take a class. Whether it’s a cooking class or a language course, this is a great way to meet people and learn something new.
And if you feel like this is not helping, try to find connections with people who speak your language. Join Girls Gone International on Facebook.
Just A Reminder
Each situation is different.
But remember, loneliness is the opportunity to get to know yourself better. Take advantage of it!
Ask yourself – is being a digital nomad what I really want?
It’s okay if it’s not. Your happiness is what counts at the end of the day.
Loneliness isn’t exclusive to digital nomads. It’s a modern-life issue. Your friends and family may be scattered around the globe, just like mine.
So, is it the nomad lifestyle or just the times we live in?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.