How to deal with loneliness as a digital nomad?
For almost three years I’m travelling and working as a digital nomad with my photography and filmwork abroad. Seems like a dream job huh? Meeting people from all over the world, exploring new areas and travelling to different countries. And yes, most of the time I feel fantastic.
But I also want to be honest about the opposite side of this lifestyle; dealing with loneliness.
Most travel bloggers put a filter on their social media feed; ‘life is always fantastic’…but I struggle with loneliness from time to time. When I arrive at a new location I have to start all over again; getting my bearings, making new friends, looking for a gym etc. It takes me a few weeks before I’m settled.
Are you a digital nomad and always on the road?
I think most nomads are not lonely as long as they’re surrounded by other digital nomads or inspiring entrepreneurs. But I do think they miss long-term relationships. Even though we maintain contact online, following other’s daily lives via news feed and insta-stories, it’s just not the same as sharing a coffee and seeing someone’s emotions when you have a chat face to face. Two months ago, I turned thirty years and that scared me a bit. Most of my hometown friends have bought houses and expecting babies.
When I hear their stories, I look at my backpacker’s existence and I feel like I’m running late in life.
But should I have a “normal lifestyle” and do certain things when I’m thirty, just because society expects me to? I’m just not that kind of girl. I don’t know what my future holds and if I’ll ever find a partner that fits my nomadic way of life.
Tips for travelling alone
1. Connect with other digital nomads
Currently, I’m travelling through Australia a lot. You don’t find nomad communities here as easily as in Bali for example. But since joining the Nomad Cruise and meeting so many digital nomads I have a lot of contacts all over the world who I can visit. It just feels better to travel to a destination where you already know someone.
2. Don’t travel too fast
Getting tired of travelling sounds ridiculous to most people, but it happens a lot to digital nomads. In the beginning, I travelled way too fast, switching homes all the time. I felt rushed, not getting a feeling of home anywhere. Nowadays I stay in one country for a couple of months and only switch homes/accommodation every two/three weeks.
3. Fear of missing out
When I started travelling I got so caught up with meeting new people. I didn’t take time to stay in contact with home and after a while, I felt I was missing out. Sending a “hey, how are ya?” WhatsApp message just isn’t the same as a long Skype video call. When I worked in Miami, I got homesick and spontaneously caught a flight back. But after catching up with all my friends and family, I found myself wanting to travel again. Home hadn’t really changed, but I had. As a person, I didn’t fit there anymore. So now, by Skyping more, I know I’m not missing out.