Blowing the lid off nomad mental heath

It’s the blind leading the blind. We need a new formula for staying happy and healthy across borders.

✍️ Sign the NOMAD mental health pledge now: commit to looking after your mind and contribute to groundbreaking research 👩‍🔬

Everyone has mental health except us

Nomads, digital nomads, global nomads, location independent freelancers, digital bohemians, remote workers blah blah blah etc etc whatever you want to call yourself — there are more important things to deal with.

There are a whole bunch of us working away from our homes. Sometimes we move around. We’re some of the most adaptable, high achieving and fiercely independant human beings on the planet… and we think we’re invincible.

Well, we’re not. We’re just really smart apes. Really smart apes that move around more than other really smart apes.

Nomads aren’t invincible. We’re just really smart apes that move around more than other really smart apes.

Our brains are a work-in-progress and prone to breaking down. We have mental health. Just like every single really smart ape on the planet.

… and thousands of us are fucking up our mental health as fast as we can and we’re totally oblivious to it.

Why does it matter if you’re a nomad?

Because nomads treat themselves differently, treat each other differently, and are treated differently by others.

I wrote an article about my experience of burning out while on the road [tl;dr it was shit]. It had over 30k reads and there were two types of response:

“You can’t feel bad as a nomad!”

Some of these voices are under-informed people living outside the nomad-sphere just blowing off steam: ‘you’re a spoilt brat, stop complaining’. But plenty of them are nomads themselves, defending what they perceive to be an attack on their lifestyle.

This is some dangerously dumb shit. It speaks volumes about why nomads don’t talk about their mental health.

“Actually, I would kinda like to talk about this.”

Literally hundreds of people got in contact to share their stories. Some of them pages and pages long. It was an outpouring of repressed experience.

People felt guilty that they were feeling anything other than Happy with capital H. When they saw someone else own up to their feelings it was easier.

Nomads can feel guilty if they feel anything other than Happy with capital H.

The overwhelming theme across all the stories I’ve heard is loneliness. The isolation of not being able to just switch off and be yourself without worrying about looking stupid in front of your new friends. But loneliness is just one piece of a more complicated jigsaw.

How do we fix it?

No idea. But I do know how to find out. It’s called: “Science”

Right now the data we have is pretty crappy. We need a way to catalogue the experiences of as many nomads as possible.

💥 BOOM we’ve got a pledge for that. Sign it here 👉

Here’s how the NOMAD mental health pledge is changing the game:

  1. Nomads sign the pledge and commit to looking after their brains
  2. Our crew of academics & mental health pros develop research questions
  3. We ask pledgers to tell us about their experiences
  4. We spot recurring problems and promising coping strategies
  5. We ask science what can be done
  6. We publish podcasts and newsletter to get good advice into people’s hands as fast as possible

It’s pretty simple really.

I have no idea how to fix nomad mental health. But I do know how to find out. It’s called: “Science”

We’re already working with top universities UCL (University College London) and Melbourne University, plus a gaggle of psychotherapists. [If you’d like to join this research group email then click here to email me.]

As promised.

Love it. How can I help?

About the author
Founder of Super Global and co-founder of Kickpush, Sam’s a social entrepreneur and consultant helping organisations use creative tech to save the world.

🌐 Nomad for 11 months 10 days.
📍 Lisbon | Barcelona | Paris | Bilbao | London | Beirut | Lima | Bogota | Rio

Want to connect? Email | LinkedIn | Twitter

Sign the pledge now
✍️ Sign the NOMAD mental health pledge now: commit to looking after your mind and contribute to groundbreaking research 👩‍🔬