Kelly Sheldrick from Cycle Trekkers
In my first post I focused on 6 challenges of being a working digital nomad, and the last nomadic challenge on my list touched on the risk of isolation. Even if you’re constantly interacting with people online, it’s not the same as in-person contact. So no matter where you’re travelling, be sure to step away from your screen and make time for REAL human interaction.
If you are staying in a new city or town for a few months, join a social group, volunteer, sign up for a community course or class, and proactively put yourself out there to meet others. Good places to find out about social events, groups and volunteer opportunities are shops, universities, cafes or hostel noticeboards. You can also check out local newspapers (or expat newspapers) and expat websites.
If you are just passing through and only plan to be in town for a couple of days, join a group tour or stay at a hostel or accommodation that has communal areas where you are likely to meet other travelers.
When I was in Xela, Guatemala, I decided to spend a week studying Spanish in addition to catching up on my work. I was at the school for 4 hours each morning, and then had the rest of the day to complete all my digital work.
The school put on a lot of social events where I got the opportunity to practice my Spanish and meet other students. By the end of the week I had made a lot of new friends, and we all made a weekend trip to Lake Atitlan together.
Here’s some tips and advice from other Digital Nomads:
It is important to reach out to other people, family or friends via phone or computer, other people travelling, or even workers at your hotel or a local restaurant. The solution to the feeling of loneliness and isolation is making new friends. Often an immediate cure for loneliness, making new friends sometimes may not even require leaving your hostel room. Simon Reap at Positively Rewired
Saying hello to random people; being open; remembering to smile; taking out my headphones; asking people if they want to grab lunch. I’ve even organised a few meet-ups in places that didn’t have events, so I and others could benefit. James Hunt Digital Nomad Stories on Medium
It might sound awkward. But putting your laptop aside and engaging with the real world is crucial. If you hide behind your screen 24/7, it gets very hard to engage with new people and create relationships that are not limited to Facebook, Skype or Slack. (Although Skype is definitely a better way to catch up with people back home – so don’t be lazy and write just messages and whats apps.) Anyway, taking time off to explore your surroundings. Interacting with the locals helps you to integrate and melt in with a place. Felicia Hargarten on Outsite
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What tips do you have? Please leave us a comment and share what works for you.
Kelly Sheldrick Bio
Kelly is a regular contributor to The Nomadic Times, using her experience as a digital nomad to help other bloggers overcome the challenges of working on the road.