Being a digital nomad and traveling as a remote worker sounds and looks glamorous. Be anywhere you want, scour the globe, make money—could there possibly be any downside? Well, the short answer is yes. Sure, it can be an amazing lifestyle, but the #digitalnomad Instagram posts don’t necessarily tell the full story either (surprise). Remote work can sometimes be a lonely place—whether that’s at home or in Riva del Garda—and we should have methods to address that.
In the Remote Work Report just published by UseFYI, 13% of those polled said “loneliness & isolation” was the #1 challenge with remote work. On top of that, 16% said “social opportunities” was their #1, which seems directly related to loneliness (no social opportunities = loneliness & isolation). Add those together and you get 29%. That means more than 1 in 4 of those working remote claims it’s an issue. That’s an eye-opening number, especially as remote work opportunities and digital nomad lifestyles continue to grow at a rapid pace. So, what can be done? Quite a bit!
Meeting Other Digital Nomads
Humans are meant to live, work and thrive in communities, and we should be able to find our tribe anyplace. If you’re passionate about your work and maintaining your digital nomad-ism, it’s beneficial to spend time around people who are on a similar wavelength. Even if you travel with a digital nomad partner, it’s still important to get out and meet new people—especially those doing location-independent work—as they understand the lifestyle and all of its perks and challenges.
Fortunately, there are plenty of online and offline solutions that help us connect with fellow digital nomads while on the road. We’ll map out 7 ways you can link up with other nomads IRL (and also online), wherever you might be.
First of all, it would be remiss if we didn’t mention housing—in specific: coliving. Coliving is a fantastic solution for meeting digital nomads, as there is a community element built right into your living situation.
Coliving is a more affordable form of housing where residents share living space and resources. Usually, everyone lives in an apartment unit or home, and share a kitchen, living rooms, work areas, bathrooms, and sometimes bedrooms. Additionally, many offer a myriad of networking events, guest speakers, live music, classes, community dinners and exercise classes like yoga. Even better—almost all coliving spaces have flexible-term options, so you can stay for a single month or longer without having to sign a lease. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Coliving spaces are gaining in popularity, especially with digital nomads and location-independent workers due to lower costs, built-in sense of community and term flexibility. That said, if you choose to stay in a coliving space, you will most likely be surrounded by other folks just like you. Coliving is a great way to find your tribe quickly and combat loneliness if you’re planning to live in a location for a month or longer.
Coworking spaces give digital nomads a platform to connect with like-minded people and embrace a culture of sharing rather than isolation.
Coworking not only counters loneliness but also makes remote workers happier—89% of folks claimed as such in a study from Small Biz Labs. Moreover, 83% said that they became less lonely and 78% mentioned that it helps them maintain their sanity. Those are solid stats!
In my personal experience, I’ve found this to be true. I do enjoy heads down work alone sometimes, but it’s also pleasant to be surrounded by people on their own hustle. It can be inspiring and evoke a sort of collective energy that hopefully, you’re able to harness. But I digress—not trying to sound too out there.
You can find coworking spaces in big cities around the world, and now in some smaller ones. Head to Coworker.com to find one near you—it’s a database with 12,000+ spaces in 165+ countries. The shared work environment should do you a kindness, and we guarantee they’ll be a good place to meet fellow nomads. Oh, and a lot of them are really freakin’ cool.
Digital Nomad Events
This is a surefire way to meet digital nomads. Similar to coworking, it can be inspiring to be in an environment filled with motivated, positive, idea-generating people. And, fellow nomads and remote workers at events are usually very friendly, as they’re probably looking for the same thing as you—connection.
There are events both big and small scattered across the globe, crafted precisely for location-independent workers. We’ve actually mapped out the best digital nomad events in the Fall/Winter of 2019, so feel free to give that list a gander. Most of them take place in absolutely brilliant locations—like Wellington, Cancun or the beaches of Croatia. Not all of them are landbound. Nomad Cruise in November is actually, well, you guessed it… a cruise full of entrepreneurs and digital nomads!
For smaller, local events, you can also hit Facebook and do a search for “digital nomad” under events, and then choose a city on the left side.
In general, you can’t really go wrong with attending events. Worst case scenario? It feels kind of awkward and might take a while to break the ice (don’t worry, most people are probably right there with you). Best case scenario? You might make a lifelong friend, a travel buddy or find a partner to work on a new project with.
We’ve penned a whole post about how to find remote jobs on Facebook Groups, so if you haven’t locked down work yet, we recommend giving that a peek. If you’re looking to meet digital nomads, there are plenty of groups to help you do just that.
When you’re getting ready to travel to your next location, jump on Facebook and search for a location-specific digital nomad group to join. For instance, type in “digital nomads in [city] or [country]”.
These Facebook Groups can be an incredible, ready-made support network for you, even before you land in a new place. You can talk with digital nomads that are already there, and make friends that you can hang with once you arrive. Remote work loneliness, be gone!
Where in the world are you (Carmen Sandiego)? That reference will probably make zero sense if you weren’t alive—and playing educational computer games—in the early 90s 🤷♀️. Anyway, what does make sense for meeting digital nomads while traveling the world is Meetup.com. Whether you’re in Berlin, Madrid, Austin or any other city, we bet you can find a meetup that tickles your fancy. Create a free account and do a search for upcoming events where you might find your tribe. From career & business to book clubs to outdoors & adventure—you’ll have options to explore.
If you’re in a major city or digital nomad hotspot, there may even be a meetup designed for DNs that you could check out. If that search comes up empty, try “expat”—digital nomads frequent these meetups, too.
Nomad List is basically an online encyclopedia for digital nomads and travelers, with stats on cities and how they match up with a digital nomad lifestyle (they tally up all of the different metrics and calculate a total Nomad Score). It’s a terrific resource when it comes to trip planning, but they also have an active community that you can be a part of. It’s a pay-to-play type of scenario–$99/year—but if you sign up you’ll be joining a global group of 11,000 international travelers and get access to their Slack channel so you can “find your community on the road”.
There are a few subreddits created for people traveling + working, but the most active one is r/DigitalNomad. As the name suggests, it’s a community of digital nomads connecting and sharing information and personal experiences about living the nomad life. And, you’ll see photos of people working in epic places.
Chat about travel gear. Find out what DNs do about health insurance. Figure out how to get a visa. People post on this subreddit every day, so there is always something new. Depending on where you are headed, you might be able to meet up with your new digital Reddit pals IRL!
How do you meet digital nomads and make friends while traveling? What websites or Facebook Groups do you use? Chime in and share your thoughts in the comments!
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.