What are your tips for making friends while working as a digital nomad?
Be brazen and open, and humble. Don’t be afraid of looking like an idiot. Leave people and places better than you found them.
- Co-working spaces
- Co-living projects
- Local digital nomad Facebook groups and meetups
- Yoga classes
- Live-in shared apartments
- Spend longer time in places (3-6 months or longer) rather than just passing through
We’ve worked remotely while camping—campgrounds are FULL of friendly people with interesting lives.
Social media and special-interest forums are a great way of meeting people in new places. I make announcements if I’m going somewhere new and I’m always surprised with who finds me. I’ve found that popular remote working cities have Facebook pages that you can search for and join.
I would only make friends with people in the offices or sites I’m visiting. I’d never try and befriend strangers—it’s not my style. In the office, it’s a case of be open and smile. I have to practice that sometimes.
Know the type of friends you want to make. If you want to party vacation-style, stay in hostels. If you want to meet other digital nomads, go to nomad hotspots where they’re likely to be. If you want to meet tech entrepreneurs, go to meetups in tech hotspots.
Be yourself, smile often, ask sincere questions that reflect a curiosity you can’t fake.
Embrace the unknown. Say yes to new experiences and opportunities. Open yourself to the endless possibilities of the people you meet—because you have no idea where they might lead you.
Be OK with making small talk wherever you go because the world is big and there are a lot of awesome people in it. Be safe but not paranoid, and use common sense. It’s OK to walk away from people who make you uncomfortable or don’t get you.
Use social media tools like Instagram and Twitter to see what people in your field or work focus are doing. If there are shared interests or values, I find people are always willing to meet for a coffee and exchange ideas. Search hashtags by the city you’re in or #digitalnomad, and you’re bound to find someone to connect with.
Likewise, search for local events or organizations where you can participate or attend with like-minded individuals. You might meet another individual or group of nomads who are in the same city for a while, and you can make additional plans or join in on what they’re doing.
Put yourself out there. Go on hikes, pub crawls, walk around a city alone, and strike up conversation. You will be surprised how friendly people are in other countries. And when they hear that you work remotely, and get to travel all over, they will be enthralled and want to grab a beer and hear your story. A good way to get this started is search Meetup.com to find events and groups that match your interest. We love volleyball so we always check to see if there are pickup games.
Just be open to chatting. It’s easy to shut down since you know you probably won’t see people again, but sometimes you click and you end up choosing to see each other!
People tell me that they find me approachable, and I really have no problem making friends. But there are times on the road that I am fine working on my own. Being a storyteller with your funny travel experiences can help a lot to start a conversation.
Find the courage to approach others. Learning to blend in new groups is a learned skill, like most anything. The more you engage in new conversations, the easier it is to approach others. When I backpacked during my first few years of travel, it was nearly impossible to not make friends at the hostels. Now, I use social media to connect and suss out bloggers and others nearby. When I was in Tbilisi, Georgia, I shared an Instagram photo of a gorgeous church there and a local woman commented to welcome me to her city. That was the opening and I asked her if she was keen to meet for wine. We talked for many hours and it was such a wonderful way for me to make a new friend and also learn more about her culture and country’s history.
Try finding common ground. I was totally shy as a kid, so for me, I still use the same tactics as I did when going through school. Find a talking point (i.e., a watch, piece of clothing, etc.), make a comment, and presto! You’ve started a conversation. Most people in life are pretty friendly and are grateful for the interaction, so don’t overthink it when it comes to meeting new people. I’ve met so many wonderful people during my travels and some have become lifelong friends!