Human connection is an essential component of living a happy life. We all just want to belong and have people around us who are supportive, solid people we can live and laugh with as we move through life. Relocating to France has changed the way I connect with other humans on a variety of levels. Now it’s done in French, sometimes from a distance, in a culture that was once completely foreign to me, in a place where I knew no one. But all meaningful connection doesn’t need to be in person. I’m much more reliant on technology to connect with those who are important to me — hello WhatsApp and Facetime — and one example of this is through the Peloton fitness app. I’m obsessed, but it goes well beyond the fitness aspect.
When I was back in the USA over Thanksgiving last year, I saw the Peloton TV commercials for the first time… and to be honest, they turned me off. (If you aren’t familiar with Peloton, read more here.)
Living in France, I was in the dark about how Peloton marketed itself although I knew a good amount about the bike and app. I think it’s for the best that I was in the dark. The inclusive, fun community I’d come to know and love via Peloton Digital was absent from the ads and seemed to instead prioritize being wealthy, fit, and living in spaces too perfect to sweat in over actual community and health. That wasn’t the Peloton I knew!
I think the viral Twitter thread summed it up perfectly. I understand the demographic the company is targeting, but you don’t have to be rich or fit to enjoy what Peloton has to offer, and as someone who lives abroad, I enjoy Peloton for a few additional reasons beyond exercise.
While I try not to dwell on it, FOMO hits me from time to time (that’s fear of missing out if you aren’t down with the lingo) and social media makes it 100 times worse. You see people back home (and elsewhere) doing amazing things and you wish you were there, too, doing those things. The reality is that life is a trade off.
While I don’t regret moving abroad for even a second, I’m honest with myself about some of the harder to deal with aspects that a move thousands of miles away brings. You miss birthdays and weddings and holidays as well as the regular everyday moments that you took for granted back home — quick runs to Dunkin’ Donuts with a friend, running errands with your mom, taking that workout class on Saturday mornings with your favorite instructor. You miss feeling comfortable. Being comfortable changes. You miss fitting in. You miss the familiarity of home.
Even when you try to hold on, you can lose touch with the community you had back home.
To make my living abroad experience feel more like home, I love treating myself to American foods and am so thankful for care packages loved ones send me from home. It’s the little things that often matter the most. It’s also the little things that you can lose sight of when you’re not paying attention.
The one little thing that makes me feel more connected to home than ever is the Peloton fitness app that you can stream from your phone or mobile device.
I discovered the Peloton app last year and instantly subscribed after the free trial. Sold! I did an entire review of the Peloton app here.
While I don’t have the official bike since it’s not available yet in France and there are better built bikes, I’m happy to pay the $20/month for the app. Like best-spent-money-all-month level of happy.
Peloton Digital has let me connect with a fitness scene back in NYC that I left behind. I can join a live class or choose from the thousands in the archive. Yes, I have a local gym in France but there’s something to be said for variety and staying connected to your roots. If you’re drawn to something and it keeps you on track and happy, then keep doing it.
Note: At the time of writing this post, it seems you need a US-based iTunes account to be able to download the Peloton app.
Feeling like you’re part of a community bigger than yourself is satisfying regardless, but being able to tap into that when you’re physically so far away means more to me than ever. I feel connected to like-minded people back in NYC but also connected to thousands of people all over the country and world that are showing up for exactly the same purpose — to get a workout of course, but to feel like they’re a part of something.
The collective force of everyone working out together and knowing I’m one tiny part of the group effort energizes me, motivates me, and keeps me coming back.
Digital communities are real communities and I’m so thankful to Peloton for creating an app that brings people together to do something I love — getting an incredible workout while having fun on a bike. Home has never felt closer.
I encourage you to seek out that sense of community — near or far, digital or in person — in whatever way feels right to you. It doesn’t have to be about fitness. Small connections can end up being life-changing and you won’t know until you try something new.
What are some new things you’ve tried lately?
Note: I have no affiliation with Peloton.