Loneliness is obviously a problem that anyone in any part of the world can experience.
Having said that, there is a certain truth in my opinion that the expat living abroad (and especially the digital nomad) is more likely to experience it in his life.
A topic common among expats and digital nomads that you see in Facebook groups asking how to deal with it?”
Truth be told, I’ve had my own experience with loneliness down here as an “expat” in Latin America.
But I will also say that I am MUCH more comfortable with being alone than just about anyone you have in your life.
I guarantee that with complete confidence.
I can go days without saying hello to a single person.
Shit, I could probably go a month without at least wanting to say hi somebody.
Well, I’m not going to test it!
But even I have my limits.
And for anyone out there, obviously being lonely can impact your mental health no matter how comfortable you can be without hanging with others.
On that note, I’ll admit that sometimes I’ve had days or even weeks being “alone to myself” with plenty of vodka at hand and, no matter how comfortable I can be with it all, I know it doesn’t help my mental health whatsoever.
Still, you don’t have to be as extreme as I can be once in a blue moon for loneliness as an expat or “digital nomad” to affect you.
Unless you are the opposite – some extrovert type that just HAS to get out of the house – I imagine the loneliness is a topic you’ll encounter while living abroad.
Even if you are that extrovert, I imagine it’ll still sometimes hit you once in a blue moon if you are living that “digital nomad” life while new to Latin America where you are just going from one new place to the next.
Some of the issues that we’ll discuss would still, if I had to guess, affect you in some way (even if minor).
So what are the issues then that come with the typical expat or “digital nomad” lifestyle that can worsen loneliness?
Let’s get to it.
Leaving Behind Your Friends
Let me tell you a quick story.
When I started my “South America” journey, it started with Bolivia like 8 years ago more or less.
For the first week or two, it was fun as fuck because of the excitement of arriving to La Paz and then seeing the Amazon Rainforest right after.
However, once I arrived to Cochabamba soon after the Amazon Rainforest, I remember feeling “a little bit depressed” on the first night because I genuinely didn’t know a single soul in Bolivia.
I did some of the cool touristy shit right away with the Amazon.
But now I’m no longer doing cool touristy shit to distract me and am in some random ass city in middle of fucking nowhere South America.
What happened after?
Problem went away.
While I was part of some NGO that had a bunch of other foreigners for me to hang with, I had the luck in landing in the city of South America that, to this writing, I found the friendliest people I could.
For some odd reason, I vibed extremely well with the folks in Cochabamba and found them to be very friendly.
Easy as fuck to make friends with the locals.
Then roll the clock over 2 months and more later.
And I was headed to Peru for some minor time to do touristy things, went back to Bolivia to catch a flight and fuck a chick named Lizeth as you can read here.
When I got to Buenos Aires of Argentina, I was no longer doing touristy things to distract me and was living again in some other random city where I knew nobody.
But, more importantly, I left behind easily half a dozen Bolivian folks that were fun as fuck to hang with.
Now I don’t know anyone again and back to Square 1.
On top of that, I found Argentines to be on average harder to make friends with because the people seemed more distant and cold.
To the surprise of nobody, almost all of my friends that I made in Argentina were either other gringos or mostly other Latin Americans (Colombians, Brazilians, etc).
While the problem of “having no friends” in Argentina soon went away as I was able to find others like me easily enough, it still does cause some “momentarily loneliness” (even if it’s just for a few days or a week) while you adjust to a new city trying to meet people.
For the “digital nomad” types that are constantly traveling, I imagine the issue is a little more evident in life but I also imagine that, over enough time, they probably find better ways to meet new people quickly.
Still, even if they do have better ways of finding new people, it still hits you leaving behind cool as fuck people that you want to hang with more.
Be it cool dudes that are fun to party with or local chicks that are either great for fucking and/or you’ve had a “mini relationship.”
At any rate, life goes on.
The Friends Leaving You Behind
Many odd months ago (or a year now?), a friend of mine named Blayde was telling me about a “going away party he was holding for a close friend of his from Australia.
We all live in Mexico City now (as I have now as of this writing for years by this point) and this friend of his was a close friend he made over the years.
He was going back to Australia and didn’t have plans on coming back.
The dude, if I remember right, wanted to go on with his life to do other things and was done being an expat and all.
Truth be told, most expats (especially young ones) don’t last forever and ditch after 1 to 3 years in my experience.
Even more so if they don’t have any deeper reasons for being here beyond “chasing pussy” and if they don’t have “more roots” to the country like knowing the local language, having family or local friends here, having an interest in the local culture or history, etc.
Ultimately, many do go back home.
And so it’s not just YOU leaving friends behind as you go to the next country.
It’s also THEM leaving YOU behind from time to time.
Outside of friends though, there’s another group being left behind that can impact you also.
To be honest, this doesn’t affect me as much it maybe it should but I know for a fact that it can be a negative on many.
Though, for us North Americans (minus Mexicans), I do think we are “a little more accustomed” to living far away from family when compared to most Latin Americans.
On my end, I love my family obviously but I don’t feel as much issue living far from them.
Though, to be fair, I think maybe to a degree my family back home isn’t as typical compared to most families and so I don’t want to speak for everybody from the US and Canada.
Regardless, it’s obviously something to consider.
By living abroad, you are naturally choosing to not see your family except maybe 1 to 3 times a year for short visits.
Back when I lived in the US, I knew a German chick who chose to live in the US and seemed emotional about finally seeing her family again after 3 years of not being able to visit Germany (this was before Covid travel restrictions).
Because, for various reasons, it can be hard to go back.
Minus Covid travel restrictions these days (especially for Canadians since I heard months ago that they are restrictive on non-vaxx flying in Canada or something) but you have other issues more common throughout normal times.
Maybe you got a local job in your new country that doesn’t allow as many days to go back.
There are obvious financial restrictions too (the German chick I mentioned simply couldn’t afford to go back until she could apparently).
Perhaps, for some people, the foreigner traveling in question is illegally living in the new country and so, for legal and logistical issues combined, might decide against going back for a while.
And also there’s the fact that travel in general can be exhausting, take up a lot of time and so many might choose to naturally go back during certain times of the year (like around holidays or so).
Realistically speaking, you just aren’t going to visit the family once a month obviously while living abroad so there will be at least a many months gap in between visits.
On top of that, don’t expect them to visit you either if you think that’ll fix it (they have their own reasons for not being able to visit you, including being scared shitless of going to “the third world” as they’d put it).
Among other issues out there that might make it where you aren’t going to see your family while living abroad.
The Bachelor Loneliness
Part of living abroad does involve dating abroad also obviously (unless you are a eunuch).
A lot of gringos find that they have more dating success abroad than back home.
Regardless of how hot the chicks are or are not that they fuck down here, they are satisfied with what they get down here.
More power to them!
Still, plenty find loneliness in a way from it all.
And it’s not specific to just expats in Latin America.
The point is that you can find yourself feeling very lonely after time if you spend too much time “playing the field” and never settling down.
As you get older, plenty of your friends move on, many get married and have kids and you are now 40 without as many friends to hang out with.
And no serious chick that you’ve had a story with.
Just a bunch of random hoes that you fucked, a few relationships but nothing beyond that.
It can get lonely.
Especially if you are a dude whose life only revolves around fucking. For those dudes, I imagine it must be very lonely.
While this is no judgement against those who like to have fun, I’d just caution you to keep this all in mind.
And while this is more specific to those who fuck around, like I said, many dudes merge the “live abroad” and “fuck around” lifestyles together.
I think there was once a quote I heard along the lines of “being married and bored or single and lonely. Ain’t no happiness anywhere.”
I’ll leave it at that.
Easier for the Vices
Again, this isn’t just specific to expats but I do think, based on my observations (and perhaps life) that I think it’s easier to engage in vices down here than up north.
It’s a topic I wrote here (and among other articles) in which you notice the gringo with vices here in Latin America.
Not just sex but booze and drugs.
To keep it short, I think it’s easier, for various reasons, for foreigners to engage in vices down here than in the US.
Be it easier to bribe the police, get drugs, booze all day without worrying about rent when rent is 150 to 500 USD a month, etc.
While plenty of those who love their vices can be social, I also think that, for some folks, they can make you most isolative.
I know that, when I drink a bit during a day, I tend to drink at home in my own company enjoying music and not going out as much.
It’s definitely not helpful whatsoever to making me a more social person (unless I am drinking with friends, which obviously I’m social then. Who wouldn’t be?).
Still, it can be harmful to your social life on some days if you let it and it can be easier to live a life like that down here in my opinion. Just be careful with it.
Working from Home
Again, this is not restrictive to just expats in Latin America.
But when I began living down here, “remote work” wasn’t AS COMMON as it seems to be increasingly nowadays.
They did have remote work back when I began living down here but not AS MUCH as it is now it seems.
Either way, expats who aren’t retired are more prone to remote work than the general population given we are restricted from accessing 95% of the local jobs down here in Latin America.
While remote work can give you more FREE TIME to be social (assuming you control the hours you work), it obviously can make you LESS social as you don’t have to leave the house to get work done.
Consequently, you find yourself more often t home then (especially if you are an introvert) with a few extra drinks at normal at earlier hours than what would be normal back home and not leaving the house except to get some food and straight back home!
Not very social, is it?
Of course, it’s not the remote work that is making you this way in of itself but it can worsen things since you aren’t forced to leave the house basically.
Anyway, that’s enough for negativity now, isn’t it?
Let’s move onto some positive details to the life abroad that come to mind that can help fight against loneliness.
A Bonus Against Loneliness as an Expat: Free Time
Now, to be fair, it’s not all bad!
There are also things to your advantage that help fight against loneliness as an expat abroad in Latin America.
The first one that comes to mind is the extra free time you have.
Now, to be fair, this isn’t true for all expats.
Some expats have professional jobs down here that require a real work week.
Others have businesses that require the same.
Many others are struggling AS FUCK to make 3 digits a month salary writing freelance articles on Fiverr.
Not every expat is chilling and sipping drinks at the beach while retired or only working 10 hours a week or some shit.
But, truth be told, you do got plenty of retired expats and “lazy” expats also.
If you fall into either camp, you got PLENTY of free time assumingly to go meet people.
Even for some expats who work like 30 or 40 hours a week, many might be self-employed on the internet and can work whatever hours work best for them (making it easier to meet people).
On the flip side, many don’t use this time properly and waste much of it.
A golden opportunity to be free as fuck with all this time and they squander it.
Shit, I’ve been there.
With all this free time, it really is a “you get what you make out of it” situation like with anything else.
It can fight though your loneliness quite well though (especially if you aren’t always traveling from one location to the next).
A Bonus Against Loneliness as an Expat: Curious Locals
Next, as I mentioned in previous articles, you also got “the curious local” who sees you are a foreigner and just wants to meet you.
Be your friend perhaps.
This is even more true in areas that don’t have many (if any) foreigners so you are a bit “different” and said local wants to get to know you.
Let me give you some brief examples.
One time in Guatemala, I got on a bus and the local sitting next to me was very curious about me and made great for casual chat during the bus ride.
In Guatemala City, I also remember years ago sitting down at some pizza place and some old grandma type got up from her table (where she had a few grand kids) to ask me “where are you from?”
Similarly, I remember being in a city in Colombia called Barranquilla.
While I don’t tend to hang out with grandmas, I remember meeting in Barranquilla this dude named Andres.
Young man like myself.
He noticed I was a foreigner when he heard me order in my gringo accent at some steak restaurant and asked if he could “sit down at my table.”
Long story short, we talked, exchanged contact info and became decent friends to hang out while having a few beers every random night or so.
In short, being “the foreigner” in a city that doesn’t have too many of them can make it easy to meet new people.
Now, to be fair, most locals aren’t THAT curious that they’ll jump up from their table at a restaurant to talk to you.
But the only areas that I can remember right now where that has happened to me have been in non-touristy areas.
Finally, one other thing to mention is that you shouldn’t think EVERY local who approaches you like this is friendly because they want to get to know you or ask what are you doing in their country.
Especially in touristy areas, it could be a local who wants your money (sell you something or beg) or practice their English.
At any rate, this factor can help make it where you aren’t always so alone in Latin America.
A Bonus Against Loneliness as an Expat: Special Events
Next, there are certain events that you can easily find abroad that can help you fight loneliness.
I call them “special events” for this article because they can come in various forms.
First, as I wrote here, you got “language events” in some cities in Latin America.
The basic idea is you go to some random bar where an event is held to “practice languages” like English or Spanish.
Truth be told, they’re mostly good for drinking, making new friends and finding a gringo hunter to fuck for the night.
Also, you got “gringo events” where expats or digital nomads might hold some random event for people to know each other in random cities. Definitely keep those in mind.
And, on that note, other gringos can obviously be good folks to be friends with.
While I don’t hang with many gringos (mostly locals and in non-touristy areas), I get these folks can be good folks to be friends with.
After all, there’s a certain effect to being a gringo abroad where gringos who wouldn’t hang with each other back home will down here because they share “that thing in common” by being a foreigner down here.
Not to mention that being lonely can push you to hang with other gringos just because you don’t know as many others to hang with if you are new here (especially if your Spanish is shit to be talking with most locals despite the few who know English well enough).
For those reasons and others not mentioned here, gringos can sometimes find it easier to hang with other gringos and “expat or digital nomad” events (and Facebook groups for expats in your Latin American city) can help fight that loneliness.
A Bonus Against Loneliness as an Expat: Facebook Groups
I just said this in the last sentence so I won’t go on too much about it.
But try joining expat or digital nomad groups for foreigners in the city you live in Latin America.
Obviously, you’ll find plenty of people to hang with on there.
On top of that, you got “local” Facebook groups where locals look to hang with other locals and go to events together and whatever else.
They even have Whatsapp groups that I’m part of!
They actually are legit ways to meet people. I’ve tried them.
The only thing I’d say is that 1) most won’t know English so you better know Spanish obviously, 2) most are quite young in their 20s or early 30s so older folks won’t find this useful and 3) if I had to guess, these groups for locals (and not the expats) are probably more common in big cities like Mexico City.
Anyway, it can help you for sure.
A Bonus Against Loneliness for Expats: Fucking Hoes
Perhaps a bit ironic given some of the points I discussed that can cause loneliness.
Look, I’ll say this: don’t make your life just surrounded around fucking hoes.
If that is the only thing you do in life with no real friends, then obviously your life will hit many more “lonely” points when the occasional hoe drops out of your life.
Having said that, fucking hoes can help alleviate some loneliness.
It does give you people to talk to.
The compliments you get from women can make you feel better.
Some Latinas, especially if they are more traditional, will even cook for you or even BUY YOU GIFTS to impress you in my experience (even if you all aren’t dating formally yet).
And, on top of all of that, fucking pussy obviously alleviates some feeling sof loneliness also, doesn’t it?
When was the last time you heard of a man crying out “I’M SO LONELY!!!” while balls deep in pussy?
NEVER. IT NEVER HAPPENED.
A Bonus Against Loneliness as an Expat: Blog
Funny enough, having a blog (like the one you are reading on) or an online presence on Twitter can alleviate loneliness a little bit by giving you more people to reach out to you who like the shit you put out there online.
While some can be crazy or whatever else, plenty are cool too.
Keep that in mind.
A Bonus Against Loneliness as an Expat: Meetup
This is a website that you can find here that gives you events you can attend locally that helps you meet folks (locals and foreigners).
While a lot of the events on there aren’t for me, I have found the occasional one to be cool to attend.
Give it a try!
A Bonus Against Loneliness: Similar Interests
I like hiking.
I like going to the gym.
There is a gym I go to and some local hiking events I’ve enjoyed while living in Mexico.
Both of which have let me meet cool people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
It goes without saying that obviously attending shit you like (finding hiking clubs or clubs for other shit on Facebook or wherever else online) and going to spots like the gym can help you meet more locals.
Anything to Add?
For now, that’s all I got to say on loneliness as an expat in Latin America.
I’m sure I’ve written on the topic before briefly in other articles but figured I might as well put out a separate article addressing it in greater detail than before.
It’s obviously a detail to life here that can affect many.
I guess one other detail to addressing loneliness down here that I didn’t add is to start a local family.
Can’t be very lonely if you got a local wife and kids, can you?
Well, plenty of married men are lonely but I digress…!!
Anyway, I felt like ending this article on a positive note.
If you got anything to add about the shit that makes us more lonely down here or the shit that can help address it, drop a comment below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.