The digital nomad lifestyle offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, it can also present challenges when it comes to maintaining existing friendships.

In this article, we will explore effective strategies for nurturing long-lasting connections with friends, despite the distance and time zone differences that come with being a digital nomad.

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🚧 Challenges

  • Managing Time zones: One challenge of being a digital nomad is dealing with different time zones while communicating with friends. To overcome this, consider using tools like World Time Buddy or Every Time Zone to easily coordinate and schedule virtual meet-ups. Be flexible and open to adjusting your schedule to accommodate your friends' availability, and encourage them to do the same for you.
  • Balancing Work, Travel, and Friendships: It can be difficult to strike the right balance between work, travel, and friendships as a digital nomad. Dedicate specific times during your week for catching up with friends, whether that's through video calls, texts, or emails. Establishing a routine will help you stay connected with your friends while also allowing you to focus on your work and travel experiences.

📱 #1 Emphasize regular catch-up calls

One of the most critical aspects of maintaining friendships as a digital nomad is an open and consistent communication. Ensure that you regularly check in with friends via text messages, phone calls, or video chats. Utilize various communication tools tailored to digital nomads, such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Zoom, to stay connected with your friends from around the world.

Don't hesitate to ask to schedule regular phone calls with your friends. Start with reaching out to one of your friends and simply ask for a catch-up call. Try to call 1 friend every month. Or every week another friend. Depends on your social capacity.

Action step: Make a list of friends you want to catch up with regularly. Ask them for their preferred dates, times, and channel.

📸 #2 Keep friends involved in your journey

As you continue to travel and experience new places, it's essential to keep your friends involved in your journey. Share photos, videos, and stories about your adventures through social media, emails, or blog posts. This way, your friends will feel included and connected to your experiences, even from a distance.

If you don't want to post your travel journey in public, invite your closest friends or your family to a dedicated group chat, for example through Signal, Telegram, or Whatsapp.

Action step: Create a group on Whatsapp, Facebook, Signal, or any other communication tool you use. Create one for family members, and other friends groups. Send them your rough itinerary, your plans, and photos, and invite them to visit you.

✈️ #3 Make the effort to visit your friends

We all have friends we don't see for years but when we are together again, we just catch up where we left off. Sometimes there is no expectation or interest to have in-between-phone calls. Then we have friends they would fade away if we don't maintain the friendship or meet up in real life. And we have friends back in our home countries, who simply don't want to travel.

If you want to deepen a friendship with a certain person, or you want to tighten the friendship with a person who wants real-life contact, make the effort and see them.

Plan meet-ups, outings, or even short trips together to strengthen your bonds and create new shared memories.

Action step: Think about a person or a group of people you would love to see. Reach out to them and make plans. It is that simple.

🏖️ #4 Invite your friends to visit you

It is possible that when you stay in touch with family and friends back home, or nomadic friends, you inspire them with your travel plans. Maybe you are looking for a travel buddy for the Inca Trail in Peru, or a cruise you would love to do but not as a solo traveler.

Reach out to your friends back home and ask them if they want to spend their vacation in one of your next nomad destinations.

For nomadic friendships, what could be better than planning to catch up at the next destination? While some nomads have planned and booked itineraries, others are pretty flexible and open to joining you.

Action step: When catching up with friends, let them know about your travel plans and invite them to join your journey for a bit.

🧸 #5 Don't forget family members

If my grandparents would be still alive, I would call them every month. They were always so curious about my travel adventures. Do you have family members or relatives you haven't spoken to in a while? Maybe you brighten up their day.

A bit old-school but the older generation back home might appreciate a handwritten postcard. I use the MyPostcard app to upload pictures and let them be sent out as postcards.

Action step: Think about a family member you would like to catch up with soon and reach out to the person. Set yourself a reminder in your calendar to catch up again after a certain time.

🎊 #6 Reach out randomly

We all know people we spent an awesome time with. Either in school or college, at a previous job, during travels, in our last coliving experience and so on.

When someone pops up in my memory, I message the person and tell him/her that I thought of them, check in with them, and sometimes it re-freshes an old friendship.

Doing this made me travel to Tulum to reach out to a friend I sent a memory message. He told me he moved to Tulum and opened a coworking space. We ended up spending 6 weeks together in Tulum.

Another friend reached out to me randomly like this and we found out we will be in New York at the same time. We met up after a few years and refreshed our friendship.

Action step: Send a memory message to someone today.

🎀 Conclusion

Maintaining existing friendships as a digital nomad can be challenging, but with effective communication, time zone management, and a commitment to staying connected, it is possible to nurture long-lasting relationships.

Embrace the unique opportunities that come with the digital nomad lifestyle and make an effort to involve your friends in your journey, both virtually and in person.

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