To the Lonely Nomad, I see you.
Loneliness and depression is a topic that is rarely discussed when it comes to digital nomads, remote workers or world travellers. We all have this lifestyle of freedom, constant travelling the world, working in the most breathtaking destinations and some of us making money online. You post pictures on your Instagram of working at the beach on your laptop or standing at the most stunning lookouts in the golden hour, supported by a quote of a famous guru about the definition of success or happiness is.
Your friends and family at home have no clue what you exactly do and basically think you are on a constant holiday. Your social media followers are inspired by you and trying to figure out how they can create a lifestyle like this. On social media, you look like a strong, successful person that figured life out. And you, you are meeting daily new people, get an extreme feeling of high when you had a good day or achieved something that day but if you really stop and think of what you are going to do with your life, you are lost.
People come and go, many conversations become the same and shallow. Contact is most of the times too short to go deep and connect as a person, not as a professional or hardcore traveller. You decide to sign up for events, meetups, and activities where people can ‘connect’, but basically are very tired of networking and talking about what you do. You just want to meet people, and maybe gain a real friend, that will stay for a bit to discuss things with that really matter in life.
Writing this is writing from the heart for me. What I wrote above is what I experienced myself, without being aware of it. For a while, I felt like this but was ashamed to talk about it. I have this freedom lifestyle, escaped the 9-5 and slept in beautiful villas and could work in my bikini, whenever I want. I should be happy right? For 1,5 year I’ve travelled in Australia and Bali as a digital nomad. About a month ago I arrived in Portugal, where I decided to work hard on my start-up. Isolating myself to get work done and meet deadlines. After 3 weeks I felt empty, had to cry for no reason and hating myself for not getting more work done. Escaping the 9-5 turned out in working 24-7. I recognised this feeling when looking back at my time in Bali, working and living in paradise but being constantly tired and restless at the same time.
I decided to go out there. Meet other people and see what Lisbon has to offer. Today known as one of the most popular nomad destinations in Europe. In the last week, I went to 5 events and spoke with over 40 people I think. When being in a small setting during dinner r drinks I decided to take the chance to discuss this topic, confessing I am a bit lonely and done with this lifestyle. Having the urge of having a regular life, having neighbors, and getting to know them and buying bread at the same old lady of the bakery at the corner every day. Still, I need the freedom to travel whenever I want, that became part of me and almost a primary need, just like Wifi. Finding out I am not the only one.
And if I say not the only one, I mean that almost everyone I spoke to, 95% for sure, deals with this new first world problem: Having the ultimate lifestyle of freedom but feeling lonely as hell. Having hard times with finding life partners or being able to call someone when feeling down or just be in pyjamas together and not saying a word, and that being okay.
Serious international health problem.
Regarding many articles online there will be over 1 billion digital nomads in 2035. Living the life of a nomad is the highest level of freedom, but also the highest level of individualism.
With what I have experienced I see a big international health problem that is developing itself in a high pace. Still, everyday people work their ass off becoming location independent and idealize our lifestyle.
I want to wake the world up about this new phenomenon when it comes to health and being a nomad. Life as a nomad is fun, exciting and dynamic. Don’t get me wrong. But after a while, it can be very confusing and unhealthy when it comes to being able to attach yourself to a person or place.
Take care of your self and each other.
I ask all the nomads out there to support each other and being genuinely interested in the person you are talking with at the next meet up, not as a professional, but as a person.
Share your weaknesses online and offline, being open that it is not what it always seems like in the beautiful pictures. Giving your following a real understanding of what they start with building a career as a nomad and questioning themselves if they are strong enough.
Also, take care of yourself. Find ways to connect the mind, body, and soul. Behind the laptop, we are so in our mind that we sometimes forget we even have a body. Take yoga classes, try to meditate, walk in nature, or for me the best feeling there is a long road trip with open windows, playing my favorite songs.
Luckily for me my startup gives me both of the best worlds, getting to know people better, still traveling the world, and having the freedom to settle down wherever I want. And giving others the opportunity to experience the same. I knew I always wanted to do this but at the time I started setting up my business I this was not aware at all of how big this health issue is. I think I am on the right track by doing what I do today.
If we all think of what we can do to discuss and prevent this issue, the health of many nomads will hopefully be a bit better in 2035 than the health of some nomads these days.
Take care, keep connecting, and stay strong my friends!
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