Creating, building, and maintaining relationships can be tough; even tougher if you’re living the increasingly-popular nomadic lifestyle. Here we’ll uncover tips for how to build and support a thriving network of relationships, no matter where you are on the planet.
Build new relationships wherever you are
You can kickstart new relationships as a nomad with people wherever you find yourself. I’ve made friends on flights, through friends of friends, at a local coffee shop, or on a guided tour. Consider these methods to let each destination be fertile ground for new interactions.
Connect with friends of friends as you travel by asking for introductions when you’re in a new place. By tagging your social media updates with your location, you’ll find that people will often tag their friends who are also where you are so you can connect.
Find local co-working spaces. These are generally full of energetic go-getters, many of whom are freelancers and entrepreneurs also looking to grow their circles.
Utilize your place of residence to meet new people. Hostels, couch surfers, and hosts tend to be open to the serendipity of new friendships. Make the most of it!
Connect with your current contacts when they’re traveling through the same city in which you’re residing. By keeping people up-to-date on your whereabouts, they can reach out when they’ll be traveling through. Similarly, if you know someone is where you are, send them a message or give them a call to get together.
Utilize technological tools to your advantage
This piece has been crafted lovingly as I traversed 4 countries and 3 states, acting as the perfect testing and retesting ground for these suggestions. As the name ‘digital nomad’ suggests, the use of digital tools is key. Here’s a rundown of those you can leverage, and how to best use them to keep your network strong as you are on the go.
Social Media: Connect with those whom you know and meet along your journey. Like and comment on people’s posts both to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in their lives and demonstrate that you care, as well as to stay top-of-mind with them. Utilize the reminders to send happy birthday wishes or other greetings during milestone moments. Post updates on your accounts so your contacts can feel involved in what you’re doing, as well. It’s also a great way for people to keep track of where you are, in case they’re there or have a contact for you.
Text: WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, and iMessage are just some of the free ways you can stay in touch with anyone, anywhere, for free. Utilize wifi so you can send pictures, well wishes, or otherwise. This is an excellent tool for coordinating with the people you’ll meet along your travels, as well.
Email: Send emails (or other messages) when something makes you think of someone. For example, if you see their favorite thing, send a quick message with a picture and a note.
Video Calling: Utilizing Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, Zoom, or any of the other video chat platforms is a great way to feel connected even when you can’t be together. Nothing replaces face-to-face time, but this is a close second.
Voxer: This app works like a digital walkie-talkie. If you want to have ongoing conversations with someone in short audio bursts, this is for you.
Blog: Both for your own records as well as for those who want to follow your journey, consider creating valuable content while you’re traveling via a blog or writing Medium posts. Many have turned these into revenue-generating businesses.
Utilize old-school tactics
Handwritten notes: There’s nothing quite like the fun of getting a letter or postcard in the mail! In your down moments of travel, write notes to your community and mail them. If you don’t know their address, simply ask!
Be upfront: Being away can be a strain on relationships. I find it best to have straightforward conversations with your closest contacts to explain that although you’re not as available physically, you still care and are thinking of them. This goes a long way and can lay a stable groundwork for your long-distance communication.
Be present for the important moments: Prioritize to make it to the important milestones of those about whom you care, even if that means flying across the world or planning around them.
Travel to your friends’ location: Travel intentionally to the places where your meaningful contacts are located. This need not be just for business meetings, but also to invest in those social relationships.
Set yourself up for success with these logistical tips
To help support you in these efforts, here are a handful of additional logistical tactics to get the most out of your travel while still maintaining these contacts:
Group the times when you plan to make contact such as having calls, video chats, or writing emails. This allows you to be productive and stay-in-touch while also enjoying your travels.
Allow time zones to work to your advantage. Utilize the time when the majority of your network is asleep, whether that’s to make uninterrupted contact or to be out exploring. Use their awake time for the opposite activity.
Consider extending your phone to international coverage or getting a SIM card so that you’re never unavailable.
Travel with a battery pack or backup charging option for your electronic devices.
Embrace your energy fluctuations and the times when you’re energized and not jet-lagged to be productive.
Make the most of the time on airplanes when you have a set timeframe to utilize without interruption.
Now go traverse the world, while building and maintaining a strong network!