Published 14th May 2021
Being a digital nomad can be a lonely business. Sure, the lifestyle is great: the total freedom to work wherever and whenever you want. The fact that you don’t need to work the usual 9 to 5 and commute to a germ-infested office every day. But for those very same reasons, it can be lonely. There are no endless staff meetings, no casual chit chat at the coffee machine, and no professional development sessions with your colleagues. Just you, your computer and your online friends.
This is why it’s so important that you make an effort to look after your mental health as a digital nomad. Make sure you are keeping in touch with friends and family back home, while at the same time putting time and effort into making new friendships and relationships wherever you happen to be. While the majority of us digital nomads enjoy the solo time our work brings with it, there is still a need for emotional connections and communications with other people.
One way you can ensure you get your fill of social chit chat and professional upskilling is to attend a networking festival. These festivals are similar to conferences, but with more of a vibe! You can attend an event in whichever beautiful part of the world suits you, and attend talks and discussions on topics as diverse as setting up a successful business, finding your purpose, and self-discipline. Besides focussing on your own self-improvement, you can meet and mingle with other like-minded attendees.
Read more: Professional Development Resources
Here are our top picks for networking festivals all digital nomads should attend.
The 2020 Nomad Summit will take place in August in Tbilisi, Georgia. It is billed as the biggest conference for digital nomads, remote workers and online entrepreneurs. Besides keynote talks and workshops, there is also a dinner, afterparty, pool party and wine tasting events for you to enjoy while you network and socialise. Topics include how to learn any language successfully, staying self-motivated as a digital nomad, and nomading with children and family.
7in7 Digital Nomad Conference
The 7in7 Digital Nomad Conference is a collection of seven conferences taking place on seven continents, each over seven days. Each conference is a week of events put together by a team made up of 75% women (*round of applause*). It is more of an exclusive event with only 100 attendees and you need to have been a digital nomad for at least a year in order to join. At this conference, you can join in for two days of stage events, like speaker talks and panels, three days of workshops and meetups, as well as a games night. In 2020, the conference is being held in October in Cape Town, South Africa.
Coworking Unconference Asia
Coworking Unconference Asia hosts over fifty workshops and speakers for networking professionals like digital nomads, workplace futurists, global media analysts and venture capitalists. As you can tell by its name, this is not your typical conference, but rather an event that aims to blend innovation, brainstorming and topical discussion. There is no event this year but there is one planned for 2022.
Digital Nomad Festival (DNX)
The Digital Nomad Festival is a vibrant, energetic conference. Though it is a conference and networking event at heart, it has all the vibes of a music festival. With over 1 000 participants, the event has keynote speakers and workshops over five days, with loads of creative events and fun activities in-between all the serious stuff.
Repeople is Europe’s largest remote work event. It is a hybrid event in that it takes place both online and on-site, in five different locations. This is an event for team leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs who are interested in productivity, creativity and innovation in the mobile workplace. The next event will be held in September 2021.
Digital Marketing Skill Share
Digital Marketing Skill Share is an organisation that holds different events, including retreats and conferences. Their annual conference is usually held over four days, with over forty speakers speaking on topics like SEO, PPC and social media, funnels and analytics and the digital lifestyle. This conference focuses a lot on mindfulness and creativity and inspiration. The next conference is going to be in Bali but the dates have yet to be confirmed.
Freedom X Festival
Freedom X Festival is a 3-day event that aims to connect global travellers, freedom seekers and change-makers. Talks and workshops focus on redesigning your future self, how to navigate change, and how to build a successful online business. The conference is aimed at anyone who is considering becoming a digital nomad and is looking for inspiration and support. Besides talks and workshops, there are also dance, networking and dating events. The conference was held online in 2021 but hopes to be on-site in 2022.
As you might have guessed, Nomad Cruise is a conference on a boat! It’s a travelling conference for aspiring digital nomads, entrepreneurs and global freedom seekers which combines a cruise holiday with a skill-sharing conference. Keynotes, workshops, special events and meetups allow attendees to share their knowledge and expertise while meeting like-minded digital nomads and ticking a few countries off their bucket list at the same time! At the moment, the cruises have been suspended but they should be back in action soon.
These are just a few highly recommended conferences for digital nomads. Whether you are looking for advice, support or inspiration, you are sure to find a conference to suit you – with the added bonus of discovering a new destination at the same time.
This last year saw many of these digital nomad events going online. Though this was indeed sad from a travel perspective, the events themselves were still very successful and did their job of connecting like-minded digital nomads and allowing opportunities for networking. Hopefully, the upcoming events will still be able to take place and we can go back to what we love doing the most: travelling and living the nomad life!