According to recent data, there are more than 35 million digital nomads around the world. It's clear that many people are upping sticks and deciding to work from other countries, leading to reports of many finding remote work arrangements generally more satisfying and productive.
There are some downsides to being so far away from home. Some digital nomads miss home comforts and get homesick. Luckily, there are a few ways to avoid that in the modern age.
Trick Your Computer into Thinking You're At Home
One way to constantly remind yourself of home is to have your computer settings show up in the country of your origin. If you are based in Thailand, for instance, you'll open Google and find Thai websites all over the place. If you don't want that to happen, there are ways around it.
The best option is to install a VPN. This stands for virtual private network, and it's something that all digital nomads should know about as it can make working life in other countries easier. Reliable VPN providers like ExpressVPN set up a secure buffer between your personal device and the wider internet. Your internet traffic goes through this encrypted tunnel, making it difficult for cybercriminals and others to gain access to your device. If you are from the UK, you can set your VPN to say that you're there. Then, when you open Google, you'll see all the UK sites you're familiar with.
While the internet may be a global tool for almost everyone to use, there are still geographical restrictions on a lot of its content. For instance, in China, numerous sites such as Instagram, Spotify, and Wikipedia are banned. If you try to access any of those without a VPN, you will get an alert saying that it is restricted. That could be a problem for a digital nomad living there if they need to access information from these pages.
Getting Out and About With the Local Expat Communities
Work-life balance is hugely important for anyone, regardless of where they are in the world. However, it is arguably even more important for digital nomads. When you up-sticks and move to another part of the world, you leave a lot of your social support behind. Therefore, it's crucial to build some connections wherever you are to fulfil that need for personal connections. For anyone who needs tips on making friends, the blog from Go Overseas has some excellent tips.
Nowadays, it's easier than ever to find expat communities in different countries and hang out with them. Thanks to social media, you can simply search groups in the city that you're living in to find people with the same interests. These could include running groups, book clubs, or foodies – whatever you like to do, trust that there will be other expats nearby that enjoy it too. Once you've made some friends, it can help alleviate any feelings of homesickness. It's also a great opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world so you can learn about other cultures.
Thanks to the rise of backpackers and digital nomads in cities around the world, it's also easier than ever to find international cuisine wherever you are. There are specialist supermarkets for expats, too, meaning that you should be able to cook all your home favourites.
Create a Home Away from Home
Transforming your temporary residence into a comfortable and familiar space can ease the pangs of homesickness. Bring along a few personal items, such as photos, a favourite blanket, or a special keepsake, to remind you of home. Decorating your workspace with these mementoes can also help make your surroundings feel cosier and more inviting.
Stay Active and Healthy
Physical activity is a natural mood booster and stress reliever. Establish a routine that includes exercise, whether it's jogging, yoga, or visiting a local gym. Eating well is equally important, so make sure to indulge in local cuisine but maintain a balanced diet. A healthy body often leads to a healthier mind, making it easier to combat homesickness.
One of the most effective ways to combat homesickness is to stay connected with loved ones. Technology allows us to bridge the gap, so make use of video calls, instant messaging, and social media to keep in touch with family and friends.
As digital nomads, we have the unique opportunity to explore the world, meet new people, and grow both personally and professionally. However, it's also essential to recognize that homesickness is a part of the journey. By acknowledging it and implementing these strategies, you can ensure that it doesn't overshadow the incredible experiences and opportunities that come with being a digital nomad.