Merriam-Webster defines a community as “a unified body of individuals” and “people with common interests living in a particular area.” Community provides a sense of belonging, comfort, and security. It’s a feeling of being connected and supported, which is essential to find when traveling and living in foreign places. It’s important to know how to find your community abroad in order to cultivate this feeling of safety and belonging.
One of the biggest challenges in the digital nomad and remote lifestyle is finding community in each location, especially when moving around frequently. I’m a huge advocate for slow travel and the #slomad lifestyle because the reality is that building community doesn’t happen overnight. Slower travel allows you to spend more time connecting, building relationships, and finding your people.
Over the past few years, moving around has taught me strategies to find this more quickly.
Here are seven ways to find community abroad:
1. Google search based on passions/hobbies
A great way to connect with like-minded people is over a mutual passion or hobby. Use Google to search local classes, passions, or hobbies in your destination city (yoga, dance, comedy, sports, etc). For example, I look for local salsa and bachata classes when arriving in a new city. This has helped me to find community over a shared love for dance.
2. Nomad resource and interest groups
There are growing interest and resource groups for this lifestyle on varied platforms.
Facebook groups- There are digital nomad and expat Facebook groups for many cities abroad. Before heading to your destination city, search Facebook by ‘destination city- expats’, ‘destination city- nomad’, or ‘destination city- digital nomads’, etc. to find local groups in the location to join. Here you can drop any questions and find helpful tips, guidance, and local events.
Whatsapp/Telegram groups- Once you arrive at your destination and start to meet people, they’ll often invite you to join local Whatsapp and Telegram groups for specific interests. Ask around when meeting new people about the local groups. These groups can vary fo different passions and interests like foodie meetups, dance, hiking, acroyoga, fitness, etc.
Slack- Many cities are now creating Slack communities for digital nomads full of resources, guidance, and support. It’s a great way to meet and connect with locals and travelers over shared interests.
3. Shared spaces
Shared spaces are another way to connect with locals and travelers.
Shared living spaces- This can include shared Airbnb spaces, hostels (Selina), Couchsurfing, and coliving setups. Shared living spaces are a great way to meet people when entering a new city, and they often come with a lower cost as an added benefit.
Shared building spaces– Many apartment buildings have shared spaces (rooftops, pools, gyms, or shared office spaces). Spending time in these areas can help you connect with others. The added benefit is that you are neighbors.
Coworking spaces are a great place to find reliable Wi-Fi and connect with like-minded travelers and locals. The options are expanding thanks to the growth of remote work, and they often host events for the community. You can also often find out about other local events in coworking spaces via fliers and community resources. Check out more about coworking spaces in this post about different ways to work remotely.
Language meetups- Many cities have language meetups where you can meet like-minded travelers and locals for language practice and exchange. Check out Mundo Lindo to find local language meetups based on where you are traveling.
6. Free walking tours
A great way to learn about the city, orient yourself, and meet new people is by joining free walking tours. You can use Google search and tools like Guru walk to find walking tour options. These also help you to learn some local history and uncover the hidden gems of the city.
Searching your location and recent location tags can help you find local events and connect with other like-minded travelers and nomads.
Overall, finding your community takes time. It can require pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to connect with others. Lean into the discomfort. Start small by attending one event or trying out a class, and build from there. Use the seven tips above to find what works best for you. Most importantly, be gentle on yourself and patient in the process. Honor your timeline.
If you’re struggling with loneliness and/or finding community on your travels, please feel free to reach out. I’m here to support you. 🤍