The digital nomad lifestyle can be a double-edged sword. Yes, there are plenty of perks, but it’s not all sunshine and mojitos. Loneliness, burnout, and an unhealthy attachment to Wi-Fi can cast a shadow over even the most idyllic of locales.
Fear not, dear nomads! The solution to your woes lies in the simple, age-old remedy of hobbies. These delightful distractions offer relaxation, personal growth, and social connections to keep you sane and grounded in an otherwise chaotic existence. In this article, we’ll embark on a whirlwind tour of hobbies perfectly suited to digital nomads, from adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures to soul-soothing wellness activities – and everything in between.
So, buckle up and prepare to discover the pastimes that’ll make your nomadic life even more enriching and enjoyable!
Why Hobbies are Important for Digital Nomads
Maintaining work-life balance
As digital nomads, it’s all too easy to get caught up in our work and spend the entire day glued to our screens. We’ve all been guilty of checking emails at 11 pm, convincing ourselves that it’s just “one last task” before calling it a day. In the blink of an eye, the workday can stretch into the night, leaving little time for anything else.
Hobbies are essential for helping digital nomads maintain a healthy work-life balance. They provide an opportunity to step away from the screen and truly live life. The pandemic taught us that life is for the living, and that being perpetually stuck in front of a screen is no way to live. After all, you didn’t become a digital nomad to be chained to your computer! You did it to explore the world and experience new things.
So please take a break from the keyboard, and embrace a hobby that makes you laugh, smile, or simply enjoy the moment. Whether it’s dancing like no one’s watching, learning to cook a local dish, or attempting to speak the local language (even if you sound like a toddler), hobbies are the perfect remedy to break the screen’s hypnotic spell.
Reducing stress and burnout
There was a time in my life when I was working like a hamster on a wheel, spinning and spinning but never getting anywhere. It was a classic case of burnout, brought on by endless work and zero fun. Sounds familiar? Here’s something to think about: do you live to work, or work to live? If all you do is work, you’ll end up like a tightly wound spring, ready to snap at any moment.
So how do we avoid turning into stress monsters? Hobbies, my friends, hobbies! They’re the ultimate stress busters. If you’re like many nomads I know, you might be thinking, “I’ll get to my hobbies when my business takes off,” but don’t fall into that trap. Life isn’t black and white, and your attitude towards your hobbies shouldn’t be either.
You don’t need to wait for the perfect moment to start enjoying life. Carve out some time each day for a hobby, even if it’s just a few minutes. In fact, just before writing this article, I treated myself to a game of chess to unwind. And look at me now – I’m still here, typing away with a clear mind and a smile on my face!
Building connections with others
Let’s take a moment to reminisce, shall we? Think back to the most meaningful moments in your life, or perhaps those unforgettable adventures you’ve had as a digital nomad. Were you standing atop a majestic mountain with a friend, taking in the breathtaking view? Or perhaps you were wandering through a bustling market, tasting exotic flavors and immersing yourself in a new culture.
Now, consider this: There’s a good chance that most, if not all, of these events involved other people to some degree. Even if you’re an introvert like me, you can’t deny the warmth and richness that human connections bring to our lives. Think of it as like adding a dash of vibrant color to an otherwise monochrome canvas.
The pandemic taught us just how vital these connections are. Without them, we tend to suffocate – our world becomes a little smaller, a little less bright. That’s where hobbies come in. They’re not only a means of enriching our lives but also a way to build meaningful connections with others.
By engaging in hobbies, we can meet like-minded individuals who share our passions and interests. These connections might start with a simple conversation about a shared hobby, but they can quickly blossom into lasting friendships, or even professional collaborations. Ultimately, it’s the people we meet along the way who truly make our lives and our nomadic journeys worth living.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into some hobby ideas for digital nomads!
As digital nomads, we often find ourselves in foreign lands where the local language is a delightful mystery. But with a little creativity, humor, and persistence, we can turn these linguistic challenges into opportunities for connection and personal growth.
Take my experience in Thailand, for example. There I was, at a local restaurant, struggling to communicate with a waitress who didn’t speak English. But instead of giving up, we turned to our trusty sidekick, Google Translate, and transformed a potentially frustrating situation into a fun and playful language exchange.
Of course, there are more formal ways to learn languages, too – like attending classes or working through textbooks with exercises. I’m currently learning Serbian with a private teacher, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding journey.
When you know the local language, it truly opens up a world of possibilities in terms of connecting with the local culture. Imagine being able to understand the witty banter between street vendors, or catching the subtle nuances of a captivating story shared by an elderly local. Without a grasp of the language, these priceless moments would be lost in translation.
As you immerse yourself in the language and culture of your temporary home, you might find that you become so connected that the thought of leaving becomes bittersweet. But that’s the beauty of being a digital nomad – with each new language we learn, we open doors to a world of connection, adventure, and unforgettable experiences.
Cooking and food exploration
One of the most exciting aspects of being a digital nomad is the opportunity to explore the vast array of foods and cuisines the world has to offer. Traveling to different countries opens up a veritable smorgasbord of flavors and culinary experiences that you may never have encountered back home.
Take, for example, the mouth-watering delicacies you might come across in popular nomad destinations. In Vietnam, you could try bánh xèo, a savory rice flour pancake stuffed with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. Or perhaps you’d relish a steaming bowl of khinkali – Georgian soup dumplings filled with spiced meat and broth – while exploring the historic streets of Tbilisi.
As digital nomads, we often find ourselves in more affordable destinations, which makes dining out an enticing option. Sampling local food from street markets or local eateries is a fun and easy way to immerse yourself in the flavors of your temporary home.
But why stop at simply eating out? If you really want to get authentic, try recreating a beloved local dish in your own kitchen. I discovered chicken mango quesadillas on a trip a few years back, and now I can whip up a mean quesadilla that would make any local chef proud!
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a digital nomad is the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals at meetups. These gatherings aren’t just great for networking and building professional connections – they’re also a ton of fun!
But don’t worry, meetups don’t have to be all business, all the time. In fact, there are plenty of meetup groups tailored to a wide range of interests and hobbies. You might find a group of nomads who gather for weekly yoga sessions, or maybe you’d prefer to join an adventurous crowd for weekend hikes and nature excursions. There are even meetups dedicated to exploring the local art scene, attending concerts, or trying out new cooking classes.
If you find that your desired meetup doesn’t exist, why not take the initiative and create one of your own? I recently started a board game group with some friends because there wasn’t one in my city. Now we gather regularly for a night of friendly competition and laughter – and we’re always welcoming new members into the fold.
Fitness and Wellness Hobbies
When it comes to unwinding and finding balance in our busy lives, yoga is the perfect companion for digital nomads. With its gentle stretches, mindful movements, and focus on breathing, yoga offers a fantastic way to relax both your body and mind.
Yoga isn’t just about twisting yourself into pretzel-like shapes; it’s about building body-mind awareness and cultivating mindfulness. By focusing on your breath and maintaining a connection with your body, you can develop a greater sense of presence and inner peace – something that’s incredibly valuable in today’s fast-paced world.
There are numerous health benefits to practicing yoga, such as increased flexibility, improved muscle strength and tone, and enhanced mental clarity. Plus, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people who share your interest in wellness and personal growth.
One of the best things about yoga is that it requires very little equipment. All you need is a yoga mat, which is lightweight and easy to travel with. Simply roll it up, tuck it into your backpack, and you’re good to go. Whether you’re practicing in a park, on a beach, or in the comfort of your Airbnb, you can take your yoga routine with you wherever you roam.
Let’s face it, life’s too short to sit on the sidelines – and what better way to dive into the heart of a new culture than by learning some local dance moves? Dance classes are not only a fantastic way to stay fit and active, but they also offer a unique opportunity to connect with locals and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of your temporary home.
As a digital nomad, you have the world at your feet, and with it, a treasure trove of captivating dances to explore. Picture yourself swaying to the rhythm of the passionate Argentine tango, or stepping lively to the infectious beats of the Brazilian samba. Maybe you’ll even find yourself twirling gracefully through the intricate patterns of the traditional Irish ceilidh dance.
Dance has a magical way of transcending language barriers and uniting people from all walks of life. It’s a celebration of our shared humanity, a whirlwind of emotion and expression that brings us closer to the essence of what it means to be alive. As you dance, your spirit soars, and for a moment, the world outside fades away – leaving only the joy of movement and connection.
So, my fellow digital nomads, don’t be shy. Step onto the dance floor and let the music carry you away. Embrace the playfulness, the wild abandon, and the pure, unbridled freedom of dance. Who knows, you might just find yourself forging lasting connections with the locals and creating memories that will stay with you long after the music has stopped.
As digital nomads, we’re privileged to witness some of the most stunning landscapes and sights the world has to offer. But what if we could elevate our perspective – quite literally – with remote drone videography? Just think about all the awe-inspiring places you could capture from the sky!
Picture soaring over Bali’s lush rice terraces or gliding above the crystal-clear waters of a hidden beach in Thailand. Your drone could even explore the enchanting alleys of a medieval town in Spain or hover near the breathtaking waterfalls of Costa Rica, capturing views that are otherwise inaccessible to humans on the ground.
You can share your breathtaking drone footage on YouTube, not only amazing your friends and family back home, but also inspiring fellow nomads to seek out these mesmerizing locations. And who knows, maybe your drone will even capture a few secret spots that only birds and the most adventurous of nomads have ever seen!
With a bit of creativity and marketing savvy, you could even turn your passion for drone videography into a side hustle. Offer your services to local businesses for promotional videos, or sell your footage to stock video websites. Before you know it, you’ll be known as a “Dronemad” – a nomad with a drone and a keen eye for capturing the world’s hidden gems.
Portable amateur radio
Who says radio has to be old-fashioned? Sure, it might evoke images of your grandparents gathered around a crackling console, but amateur radio offers a unique and entertaining way for digital nomads to connect with one another.
In an age where Wi-Fi and smartphones reign supreme, there’s something delightfully retro about picking up a handheld radio device and tuning into the airwaves. It’s like stepping back in time to a simpler era, but with all the modern conveniences of a nomadic lifestyle. And let’s face it, there’s something undeniably cool about being able to say, “Over and out!”
Imagine creating your own radio channel specifically aimed at local nomads. You could broadcast the latest travel tips, share amusing anecdotes from your adventures, and even interview fellow nomads about their experiences. Your channel could become a hub for digital wanderers to swap stories, recommendations, and camaraderie.
Think of it as the voice of the digital nomad community, quite literally. And hey, if you want to throw in a few classic tunes or cheesy jingles, who’s going to stop you? After all, a bit of nostalgia never hurt anyone, and it’s bound to bring a smile to the faces of your listeners.
Ah, hiking! There’s something undeniably magical about lacing up your boots, grabbing a backpack, and setting off to explore the great outdoors.
When I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I decided to climb the mountain to see the temple at Doi Suthep. What an incredible experience that was! The monks climb that trail barefoot, which is absolutely mind-boggling. Needless to say, I opted for shoes. 😉
Once I reached the top, I was rewarded with stunning views of the city and the beautiful temple itself. I even had a heart-stopping moment where I almost fell off the mountain – but that’s a tale for another time. The point is this: there are countless breathtaking destinations just waiting to be discovered by digital nomads through hiking.
Here are 5 popular spots where nomads can enjoy hiking:
- Sapa, Vietnam: Nestled in the Hoang Lien Son mountains of northwest Vietnam, Sapa is famous for its lush rice terraces and vibrant hill tribes. Trekking through this breathtaking region, you’ll encounter stunning vistas, cascading waterfalls, and a unique cultural experience.
- Tara National Park, Serbia: This beautiful park is home to the Tara Mountain and the Drina River Canyon, offering a variety of trails for all levels of hikers. Discover dense forests, deep gorges, and serene meadows as you explore this hidden gem in the Balkans.
- Picos de Europa, Spain: Spanning across northern Spain, the Picos de Europa is a magnificent mountain range that offers a variety of trails for hikers. From lush green valleys to dramatic limestone peaks, this region is perfect for nature lovers seeking solitude and stunning landscapes.
- Cocora Valley, Colombia: Located in the Andean region of Colombia, the Cocora Valley is famous for its towering wax palm trees, which can reach heights of up to 60 meters. Hikers can explore this unique landscape, with trails leading through cloud forests, hummingbird sanctuaries, and traditional coffee farms.
- Mount Batur, Bali: For an unforgettable sunrise experience, climb Mount Batur, an active volcano on the beautiful island of Bali. The trek is moderately challenging, but the reward is well worth the effort – a breathtaking view of the sun rising over the surrounding landscape and the neighboring Mount Agung.
Photography is a fantastic hobby for digital nomads, as it allows us to capture the beauty of our surroundings and share our experiences with others. Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about framing the perfect shot and immortalizing a moment in time. With so many stunning destinations to explore, you’ll never run out of opportunities to snap amazing photos.
Imagine wandering the colorful streets of Lisbon, Portugal, capturing the intricate patterns of the azulejo tiles that adorn its buildings. Or perhaps you’re venturing into the lush jungles of Costa Rica, aiming your lens at the stunning wildlife and exotic flora. And who could forget the idyllic beaches and dramatic limestone cliffs of Thailand’s southern islands? The world is your canvas, and your camera is the brush!
One nice bonus here is that there’s always the possibility of monetizing your photography skills – whether it’s by selling prints, licensing your images, or offering your services as a freelance photographer. But let’s be honest, that’s not really the point, is it? The true joy of photography lies in the thrill of capturing a beautiful scene and the satisfaction of creating something that lifts your spirits and brings a smile to your face.
Who needs a car when you’ve got a trusty two-wheeler? Cycling is a fantastic way for digital nomads to explore new places while getting a workout in – and it’s faster than walking, too! Plus, you don’t even have to lug a bike around with you. Renting a bicycle is a breeze in most destinations, so you can just hop on and start pedaling.
Of course, for those who prefer to travel with their own set of wheels, there’s always the option of a travel bike – a lightweight, foldable bicycle designed for the nomadic lifestyle. I have friends who swear by them, packing their trusty Bromptons and hitting the road wherever they go.
One popular biking trip among digital nomads is the famous EuroVelo route network, which consists of 17 long-distance cycle routes connecting various countries throughout Europe. Picture yourself cycling along the scenic Danube River, pedaling through charming villages and historic cities, all while soaking in the breathtaking landscapes and immersing yourself in the local culture.
And there you have it, folks! A tantalizing smorgasbord of hobbies designed to cater to every digital nomad’s taste – whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a budding artist, or simply in need of a little Zen in your life.
As you continue your nomadic journey, don’t forget to sprinkle in some fun, relaxation, and human connection along the way. After all, the key to a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle is to savor the moments that make your heart sing and your soul dance.
So, go ahead and take the plunge – whether it’s exploring a hidden trail, capturing the world through a camera lens, or engaging in a friendly language exchange. Embrace the hobbies that resonate with you, and watch as they enrich your experiences and relationships across the globe.
Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.