It’s a special thing; to decide as a couple to travel the world together, work online and become digital nomads. It’s quite a big leap as you will likely see each other 24/7, only the best couples can withstand such a thing I believe!
Or it might be that you were traveling solo as a digital nomad and you met your partner while traveling. Either way, it’s quite a different lifestyle, and therefore, it creates new dynamics in a relationship. A digital nomad relationship is quite a new concept as well, and so it’s difficult to find any tips and advice on maintaining such a relationship.
Therefore, I’ve decided to interview a few people (well, girls mostly!) who are in a digital nomad relationship and ask them about their experiences so far and if they have any advice!
Now, let’s meet the girls and their partners who were so kind enough to answer my burning questions!
How did you meet your Digital Nomad partner?
It’s so interesting to see how people meet their significant other. There are quite a few original stories, which makes mine seem quite boring! I met Andrea while I was working in Barcelona, we were actually working at the same company. After only half a year of dating, we decided the corporate lifestyle bored us and we decided to try out the digital nomad lifestyle.
Grace met her boyfriend Mike while working at a Hostel in Tokyo. “I was backpacking and he was already a digital nomad. One day I was particularly tired, so I was taking a break from mopping the stairs by sprawling across them. He found this hilarious and struck up a conversation with me.”
Lena and her partner Jay, used to work in the same Florida State University building: “I had had my eyes on Jay for quite a while, but we first officially met when he came into my office one day and asked to borrow a tablecloth! I’ve always had itchy feet and nomadic tendencies, and I was in those early stages of gearing up to leave again, this time because I wanted to travel full-time while working remotely. And for the first time in my life, I had actually met someone I would want to take with me.”
Laura met her boyfriend Mark in Rishikesh, India: “We are both in love with India and spend a lot of time there. We use to go to the same place for dinner and saw each other often but we didn’t talk to each other, until one day we found ourselves sharing the same table. We couldn’t stop talking for hours and we have been together ever since!”
What’s the best thing about being a Digital Nomad relationship?
Being with each other all the time is fun and you can share planning and responsibilities together. You will never feel alone, and you get to see beautiful destinations and experience amazing cultures together with your loved one. Also, experiencing such an adventure together creates a very strong bond, and it’s something that you both will cherish forever.
Lena says that the best thing is “Constant access to something new and different. Our environment is changing so often that we are constantly surrounded by opportunities to see, learn, EAT! and experience new things. That’s one reason I’ve always loved traveling and moving around, because I tend to get bored easily — and for me, boredom leads to complacency and laziness. So I actually draw energy from movement and novelty.”
“For me, it’s having someone to talk to who is going through the same things” says Grace. “When you do something a bit different from the norm it’s impossible to overstate the importance of having someone who is intermittently a cheerleader, sounding board or source of advice.”
What’s the most difficult thing about being in a Digital Nomad relationship?
Being together 24/7 might seem very romantic, and it often is, but seeing each other every day can also be tough. “The same thing that makes a digital nomad relationship great can also become a challenge if not managed well,” says Laura. “Spending a lot of time together in a small space like a hotel room makes everything more intense, the good and the bad. Also, something I have noticed is that I don’t make much effort to get to know other people, since I am very happy and fulfilled with my partner, but I do sometimes miss having some female interaction.”
Grace agrees that a digital nomad relationship is very intense and she says: “I’m used to being surrounded by a big circle of family and friends and I enjoy my me-time, both of which happen less naturally on the road.”
How do you plan your next nomad destination with your partner?
I’ve asked this question because I think it would be interesting to hear how other couples plan their next destination. Everyone has their own bucket list of course, so I was wondering if I might dig up any interesting strategies on how to decide on the next destination when you’re in a relationship.
Of course, it can also depend a bit on someone’s job. Laura organises Yoga retreats, so she has to be at a certain place for the yoga retreat: “We plan our destinations according to our interests, and taking into account my retreats. I organise yoga retreats around the world, so at some point, I have to be in some specific places, like Goa, Bali, Greece… So, when I have a retreat, he usually comes with me and we stay there for a few weeks, and when I don’t have any retreats, I go with him to places, like Chiang Mai, that are good for digital nomads.”
Grace says: “Well everything’s always super equal between us. Sometimes one of us will really want to go a country and the other one is not as keen, so then they get the next choice. This time around we’d just been discussing it so much and were so in tune, that we both wanted to go the same places.”
With Andrea and I, it went quite naturally, and we wanted to visit the same places basically. So that was pretty easy!
Do you ever work on projects together (for work) or do you keep your work separate from your personal life?
I guess the answers to these questions are always very different, but it also depends whether you want to keep your work separate from your relationship. Many people think that if you work together with your partner, it can kill the romance quite often.
During my time as a digital nomad, I did work on some projects with Andrea, because I needed his help. Our professions are very symbiotic, because he is a developer and I’m a UX designer, so we often work together naturally and help each other out. Even though it can lead to some stress in the relationship at times (e.g. when a deadline is approaching) I also learned a lot from him.
Though this can also be very different for many couples, such as Lena and Jay: “I can’t imagine we’d have an opportunity to work together given how different are fields are! We always listen and give feedback on each others’ work and ideas, though. We have worked on some small, non-work related things together, and we just do things SO differently, haha! Work things aren’t separate because we talk about them and we’re usually in the same space anyway, so it’s an inherent part of our personal life, but we don’t work together professionally.”
Grace hasn’t been working a lot with her boyfriend Mike but in the future, they would like to work on some projects together: “At the moment, we both have quite separate fields of work, he’s a designer and I’m a videographer. We’re always happy to help each other out, though, with a second opinion, or sometimes he works as my editor when I have a lot on. In the future, though, we’d love to work on a major project together because we work really well together and have super complementary skills and personalities. “
How would you compare your life now with back when you were traveling solo?
Lena mentioned some things that I totally relate to: “One of our biggest challenges has been decision-making. I’ve always been a people-pleaser; one reason I love solo travel is I don’t have to worry about that shit, I can just do me. But when someone else enters the picture, I just want them to be happy. For example, If I’m alone, I have no problem choosing where to eat, but if someone else is with me, I don’t want to choose; I want them to. The problem is that Jay is the EXACT SAME WAY. We talk in circles about where to go and what to do, and half an hour later, we still haven’t made any decisions.”
I constantly had this dilemma with Andrea, because we want to do what the other one wants to do, but at the end, that’s definitely not very productive. But I guess choosing where and what to eat is a dilemma that virtually all couples face.
Lena: “I’m an introvert and can be very shy. Solo travel pushes me out of this comfort zone, but having Jay here keeps me in it, so I’m not really challenged to put myself out there […]. On the other hand, I often use solo travel to run away from the challenges of being completely seen and known by others, so being with Jay 24/7 challenges me to confront the things I don’t like about myself.”
Grace sums it all up in a great way: “Travelling solo is crazy, hedonistic fun and I loved it. But sharing an adventure with someone you care about is it’s own source of joy and I love spending time with someone who challenges me on both a personal level and career level.”
What is your advice for having a healthy digital nomad relationship?
“I think it’s extra important to carve out time for yourself and your friends because it won’t happen as easily as in a settled relationship.” says Grace, and I completely agree. When I was traveling with Andrea, it was often hard to get some ‘me’ time, and I also missed just talking with my girlfriends. So planning some time to have some time for yourself or met some friends is essential when traveling full-time.
Lena says that values that govern any healthy relationship are essential when traveling together: “I think it’s the same as with any relationship — be honest, voice your needs, express your hurts, show compassion, don’t take things personally, etc. Being a DN presents its own set of challenges and hurdles, but all relationships have those, they just might manifest in different ways. You just have to navigate the challenges differently in different contexts.”
Laura gives the following advice: “My advice for having a healthy digital nomad relationship is to find quality time together, switch off the electronics completely once in a while and spend time outside. Also, it’s important to keep your own space, do things that you love doing, have some me time, and open up to make new friends.”
Thanks to Grace, Laura and Lena for helping me with this blog post! 🙂 If you’re interested to find out more about these amazing digital nomad girls, then visit their website or social media:
Grace – Fallinggracefully.com
Laura – Yogawithlauralakshmi.com
If you have any comments or even other tips regarding digital nomad relationships, please comment in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you 🙂