Lou Crane, 28, decided to become a digital nomad in 2021.

‘After a year of being stuck in the house after Covid, and staying in a job that I didn’t like a little too long, I felt a bit caged in,’ she recalls.

The account manager wasn’t keen on going back to the office and wanted to escape the harsh UK winter. So, in search of ‘freedom and flexibility’ she packed up her things and left her home in Leeds to work remotely around the world.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, Lou travelled through 18 European countries as well as Turkey, Georgia, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. 

But while she loved the ability it gave her to visit new places, she became disillusioned with the global freelancer lifestyle.

Lou returned to the UK this summer, saying she felt ‘really lost and unhappy’ – and she has some warnings for others looking to give perma-travel a go.

‘I just knew I needed a base that I could call my home, with all of my belongings in one location, to slow down and reconnect with myself and friends and family,’ she told Metro.co.uk.

‘I came to the conclusion that although I love to travel, I don’t have to do it year-round.’

The downsides of digital nomadism

Alongside being unable to put down roots, there are some practical elements to being a digital nomad Lou found hard.

‘Wi-Fi can be so unreliable,’ she said. ‘I can’t tell you how many hours a week I would be stressed out at the Wi-Fi not being strong enough, or arriving at a café to work and the Wi-Fi let me down last minute.

‘It was infuriating and not something you have to worry about when you are just holidaying.’

Loneliness also got to her, with Lou explaining: ‘I’m a very social person and I love to spend time with my friends and family.

‘But being so far away from home meant you had to find new people to hang out with, which often involved drinking more alcohol than I would at home, and often you aren’t both in the same spot for a long time, which means friends can be fleeting.’

Additionally, despite it seeming like endless beach days and relaxation, there’s still plenty of work in ‘work from holiday’ living.

Lou said: ‘There’s a lot of admin, whether it’s organising where to live, where and how to exercise, your next travel plans, where to eat, what to see, how to get there, time zone conflicts, thinking about your general safety in a foreign country, or language barriers.

‘You will often only see the exciting travel side of digital nomadism on social media, and not the hours of planning and organising to bring it all together, alongside working a regular job.’

After coming back, Lou got a job at Lem-uhn agency which allows her to work anywhere in the world for up to 45 days a year. Yet at least for now, she says she’d never leave home indefinitely again.

‘I definitely bit off more than I could chew by travelling around so much,’ she said. ‘Perhaps in comparison my life now is much quieter, but it is also much more wholesome than it was 12 months ago.’

Lou now spends her time meal prepping, walking the dog she adopted while travelling, renovating her home and training for a half marathon she’s doing in May; a welcome change from the chaos of being on the road.

She advises others: ‘Think of a country or two that you would really like to explore, then work out your living expenses and where you are going to live before doing anything.

‘I would recommend staying there for at least two or three months to get a good feel of the place. Also, learn the language before you go as best as you can, and remember that this is your lifestyle.

‘It’s easy to treat digital nomadism like a long holiday by eating and drinking out all the time, this will only hurt your bank balance, and if you’re anything like me, your waistline. I wish I had found a healthier routine earlier in the adventure!’

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