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Alone in a new city: London edition


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Working remotely makes it possible to be much more flexible in daily life and also to choose where to live. Looking at reality though it can be a quite lonely lifestyle. Especially when moving to a new place it takes effort to build up a social network and find things to do. This post will give you inspiration and show you how to find like-minded people and social activities when moving to a new city. The most recent place for me was London, therefore this is the London edition of “Alone in a new city”. It’s for the digital nomads who work remotely, for those who work from home and those who are feeling lonely in the UK’s capital city.

Working remotely around the world and exploring different countries is amazing. No doubt, there are many good sides about this lifestyle and I would choose it over and over again. In reality, living in different countries also means that one has to find a social network – over and over again. This not only requires effort and initiative but it also takes time.

Building relationships in cities is not always easy

For me, when staying in places for around three months it is almost impossible to find those friends I could meet on a regular basis and build deep relationships with. There are of course always exceptions but from my experience – especially when going to cities – it takes more time for people to open up. Also a remote job doesn’t come with an office where I could meet up with colleagues.

So far I’ve been to a lot of countries and found my ways to become socially active. The funny fact about London is that you would think it is a bit easier as it’s such a big city with lots of things going on. And in fact there are many options, but I also found that some relationships are quite superficial and it’s not too easy to find like-minded, reliable people.

New in London? Get to know the city with six acitivities off the beaten track.

However there are a few ways to discover nice social activities and humans with similar interests. With time, I’m convinced that these will make it much easier for one to feel home in this huge city.

Social activities in London

#1 Volunteer activities

Volunteering is something which I would recommend to everyone – whether it is in local projects around your home area, while traveling or when living in a place temporarily. It not only broadens your horizon and you get in touch with people, but also your help is very much needed and appreciated.

Especially in London there are many charities and community groups which become active in different areas. An online research is probably the quickest way to find out more about volunteer opportunities in your area. To give you an insight in the possibilities – you could…

  • volunteer at a hospital cafe.
  • volunteer at a city farm, with animals, in gardening.
  • become a food-waste hero with Olio and fight food waste.
  • volunteer in a neighbour network, pay visits to lonely people and help them with their daily challenges.
  • volunteer as carer or offer emotional support for people in grief.

This is just a very small part of hundreds of ways to volunteer in London. Volunteering is a very beautiful way to become socially involved and give back to the community.

#2 Events around the area

In London there is no weekend without events. And even during the week there is lots of stuff going on. Have a closer look at Eventbrite, a website which shows you all events in the city. You can filter them by date, interests and area.

How about a pottery workshop or a sip & paint event in the park? There are a lot of fun activities to choose from, some of them free and some of them require a small fee.

Sip & Paint Workshop by ArtPlay
Yoga Class at Viktoria Park
Yoga in Victoria park

Also have a look online if there are any public activities in the parks around you. Usually the councils host free workout groups. Furthermore, in my area there were two lovely ladies who hosted regular yoga classes in the park for a very affordable fee. I found them online and on Instagram. All in all there are plenty of options, it’s best to keep your eyes open and do some research!

Making finding a home in London easy. Find out more.

#3 Apps: Pawshake, Bumble & Meetup

There are a few great apps which are made for connecting people and doing activities together. I’m going to introduce my favorite three.

  • Pawshake: Let’s start with an app which doesn’t connect you with people but with animals. Pawshake has a presence in multiple countries, one of them the UK. You can offer pet walking, pet day care and pet boarding services for dogs, cats, guinea pigs and many more animals. The amazing thing: You get paid for offering your time, get to spend time with an animal and can make the owner feel comfortable leaving them with you.

    When in London I used to walk a cute little rescue dog on a weekly basis and sometimes spent a few hours at someone’s house to watch their dog while they were out. A really lovely activity which brightened up my week. Pawshake checks each profile before making it available for everyone so it is beneficial to have previous, similar experience with animals.
Pawshake dog walking
Regular dog walking
Pawshake fun
  • Bumble: Bumble is a dating, friends and business networking app. I occasionally used it to “match” with girls to just hang out together and found some lovely people who I’m still in touch with! I have to admit that using Bumble (for finding friends) does feel like having a date as you introduce yourself from the beginning and there’s a 50/50 chance you are on the same level. So far, I had some great meet-ups though. One time I also set up a big meet up between all my matches. As we were a big group it felt less weird.
  • Meetup: This one is an app I’ve used in Munich, Sydney and London so far. Meetup, similar to Eventbrite, lists events in your area. Majority of them are free. In London I found a free salsa class on Meetup which was a great experience. Some of the events are webinar-online style. Meetup is definitely worth checking when new in a city!

#4 Learn something new

How about learning something new in a group with other people? I personally love to learn a new skill or dive into a new topic. Not so much on a ‘sitting at home and reading a book basis’ but rather by actually doing something, going outside and interacting with other people.

You could do a dance class (partner dance, choreography, pole dance…), language class (so good for your brain!) or maybe get into martial arts? Again, there are so many cool things to learn in this world just at your doorstep. They can only benefit you in your future life.

free Salsa Class at Tottenham Court Road
Free salsa class in the heart of London
learning Spanish
Learning Spanish

Be patient & good to yourself

Those are the ways I personally prefer to make the start in a new place smoother. It’s also worth having a look on Facebook if there are any hiking or other activity groups around to meet up with. What can be beneficial as well is to look for coworking cafes or offices to not feel too lonely while working.

As I chose the “nomad” lifestyle I got used to making the effort to become socially active. There are times when it sucks and I wish I had my longterm friends and family around. But there are other times, when I’m very thankful about the things I learned and the people I met. Every encounter we make can be an inspiration and teacher in life.

Especially for the first few weeks remember this: You’re not alone, don’t give up. Building relationships and a social network takes time. And even though you might be alone in the beginning doesn’t necessarily mean you have to feel lonely. Get on a phone call with your loved ones, do things you enjoy doing by yourself and sooner than you think you will find your social circle.

Try your best, be kind & make the most of every day. The time we have in a place – whether it is meant to be longterm or only temporarily – is always limited.

Do you need some help planning your next trip?

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One Response

  1. Hi Caro, thanks so much for your comment! ♥ Love it – local choir and community farm sounds amazing. There are so many great things out there to do!
    Have a good time in Cambridge! Lovely city