Leaving friends to become a nomad is a central concern of most people exploring the lifestyle. Finding friends as a nomad is not meant to replace your friends back home. Your daily life will be greatly enhanced by meeting locals, tourists, and other like minded nomads.
The fear of many introverts is the awkwardness of finding friends as a nomad.
- What if they don’t like me?
- What if I end up not liking them?
- Where do I even meet friends as a nomad?
It’s true, the people you meet during your nomad adventures won’t always become lifelong friends. Sometimes they will hold crazy views or have super annoying habits which will deter you from hanging out with them. And even if you like their vibe it could be a short-lived friendship that ends with mutual social media follows.
Being open to friends for a season, a reason, or a lifetime takes conscious effort. This article is focused on how to meet friends as you travel this beautiful earth.
One of the easiest ways to meet other like minded people is to pay for a class or excursion doing something locally. Organized activities are going to attract tourists, nomads, and expats.
A huge benefit of organized activities is that it’s not awkward to participate even as a solo traveler. There are built in people going through the same experience as you.
The drawback of finding friends through organized activities is that it usually costs money. Finding friends as a nomad on a budget will take a different strategy.
Unlike organized communities, seeking out existing communities is more likely to be free or inexpensive. An existing community will be something like a frisbee golf meet up or Magic the Gathering weekly card game.
Finding an existing community and scoring an invite can be a bit tricky. You might see a community out in public and have to approach them in order for them to know you exist. Other more intimate communities might only accept new members if you happen to connect with an existing members.
If you have hobbies or interests that are well suited to friendship communities, don’t be shy about sharing your love for that activity. Look on community message boards, ask locals if they know of anybody into that activity, find shops that cater to your interest and see if they have any connections.
Some people become nomadic in order to unplug from social media, but it can be very convenient to find friends online. Join local expat or remote worker groups for the city you are in and post an introduction.
In addition to connecting with people one on one, social media is also a great source of finding events or activities. Seek out local music events, community events, vendor fairs, or farmers markets to connect locally.
Local businesses who advertise their events are great places to mix and mingle. When you see an event online there is always a hesitation that they won’t care if you attend or not. To be honest, most events you find online are worried nobody will show up. Be the one who says YES and use the opportunity to make local friends.
Striking Up a Convo
For those more extraverted nomads, never underestimate the power of a smile and hello. Meeting people in line at the grocery store or while sitting at a restaurant can eliminate a lot of the nervousness of online connections.
When you can feel people’s vibe in person and they can see your energy there is a higher likelihood of fostering a friendship.
When you meet people in person there are automatic things you can start a conversation about. In the grocery store you can connect about the strange selection of cheese or the lack of a certain cereal. Out at a restaurant you can give advice on what to order or not order and commiserate on the bad beer selection. At a concert you can let dancing or screaming to the music replace conversation.
Making Friends While Nomading
Your best friends back home will always be in your heart, but making proximity friends is crucial for your long term sanity as a nomad. People you meet in your travels will have things in common with you that friends and family back home will never understand.
Don’t underestimate the power of feeling like you have somebody to call in case something goes wrong on the road. Nomads can stick together as your local support system.
The friends you make as a nomad have the potential to become lifelong and globe spanning friendships. I’ve met up with nomad friends in different countries, celebrated holidays with them, and commiserated about all the nomad struggles.
Try these strategies to make friends as a nomad. You will be thankful you took the time and put in the effort into finding friends as a nomad.