Imagine a car crash. Now drop a plane on top of it. That’s how much worse a digital nomad break up is in comparison to a regular break up. If you aren’t a nomad, or are one but have been lucky enough not to go through this experience, here’s mine:
I. Friends and family are not there to comfort you
When you are hurt or wounded, your tribe should be there to take care of you and help you heal. Which they normally would, but if they are 1 donkey ride, 2 bus trips, and a flight away from where you are, that complicates things. In short. You are alone, and there’s no shoulder to cry on or anyone to give you tons of advice to ignore. No hot cocoa, chicken soup, or everything’s-going-to-be-alrights…none of that. This isolation makes an already difficult situation so much harder to bare…it’s as if you are at the bottom of a pit, and there are no ropes at all.
II. Unfamiliar surrounding offer no refuge
Your usual go to places are not there. Back home I have four places that give me that sense of shelter: my local library, the mall, my nearby forest, and this gorgeous coffee shop a block away from my place that serves lattes with foam so thick, if I lay a biscuit on top of it, it doesn’t sink. Of course there are a ton of coffee shop wherever nomads land, but it’s the familiarity and sense of trusted comfort that is so hard to find on the road.
III. Your co-nomadic dreams crumble to pieces
As nomads in love, the ultimate goal is to align your paths. To carry on exploring the world with unlimited freedom but now with a partner that shares your direction. Imagine continuing this amazing nomad lifestyle with your hubby on the lovely beaches of Bali, working a few hours during the day, and then just swinging on a hammock watching the sunset with a cold cocoloco in your hands. Days later, you pack up and head to Innbruck, enjoy some great snow skiing and getting some great networking done! Season’s over, off to Miami! It’s the stuff of dreams, and few people dream more than those living the dream. To have this all crash down after being oh so close….is utterly devastating.
IV. You will now experience a new level of loneliness
As a nomad you are used to being on your own for long periods of time. So if there’s anyone that can handle loneliness, it’s nomads. But a breakup will change all the dynamics that allowed you to harmoniously manage your loneliness. All of a sudden, you feel vulnerable, unattached, disconnected, empty, abandoned, miserable, and very very lonely. The problem with loneliness is that it’s not as tangible as “alone” is. Either you are with someone, or you are alone. Easy. Loneliness is something you carry inside you. It’s with you when you wake up, before you got to bed, and in your dreams. It can be relentless.
V. Your work will suffer (horribly)
As much as I wanted to be the “I’ll-put-all-my-energy-into-work” chick…it didn’t take. It worked for periods of time, but it didn’t stick. I couldn’t focus, and even worse, I didn’t want to focus. The bit of work I did manage to do, was of much less quality. I was not engaged during meetings, if I showed up to them at all. When my clients started giving me their negative feedback, I was devastated. Once a problem in your relationship environment crosses over to your work environment, you know you are in a very bad place.
Digital nomad love can become the story that defines your life, but you should go into this with your eyes and ears wide open. Made sure you know who you are giving your heart to, and discuss how you see the short, medium, and long term. Nothing can give you any certainties in life, but knowing you did your best in order to make a relationship work, will be of great comfort if things go wrong at the end.
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