Meet The Traveler is a series where each week we interview one lifestyle traveler from around the world. These travelers range from being digital nomads, location independent entrepreneurs, or simply so passionate about seeing the world that they’ve fully integrated travel into their lifestyle. Our travelers will bring us into their world, sharing their transition story, what they do to support their lifestyle, and giving us insight into their life as a traveler.
If you’re looking for inspiration to transition to this lifestyle, want to meet other people in the community, or are simply curious to know how others live and split their time, then you don’t want to miss this series!
Meet The Traveler: Writer & Translator Abi Prowse
We like to start things off by knowing the behind-the-person story. We love getting intimate and learning about what drives a person to be who they are. Let’s skip the small talk, and head right into some more passionate questions.
Could you tell us a bit about your journey? Who were you in a past life, and who are you now?
I was brought up in a tiny village in the Hertfordshire countryside, just north of London. I lived there with my parents, my sister, and our temperamental ginger cat. After high school, I moved up to Edinburgh, Scotland for university, where I studied Italian & English Literature. I spent a year of my degree working in Italy. I utterly fell in love with Italian culture, and left my heart in a small city called Udine. Now, I’m a freelance writer and translator.
Where are you from originally?
I’m completely British, but was actually born in Paris! We moved back to the UK when I was very young, so I sadly don’t remember any of life as a little Parisian toddler.
What are the things you’re most passionate about currently?
Writing, photography, and books have always been my greatest loves. I’ll read anything and everything I can get my hands on. I even remember reading the backs of shampoo bottles and cereal boxes as a kid! Margaret Atwood has been my absolute idol since I first discovered her writing at the age of about 16. I also love (in no particular order): pizza, coffee, the colour yellow, and all dogs.
When did you first get interested in traveling?
Travelling has always played a huge role in my life. My parents are firm believers in the benefits of experiencing other cultures, so I was extremely lucky to travel from a young age. I also went to an international high school, and a lot of my friends lived abroad. The perfect excuse to travel!
“It was important to me that I had a job that allowed me to work from anywhere, and one that offered me a good work-life balance.”
When did you realize that you wanted to make travel a lifestyle? Was there a trigger point that made to think being a freelance writer could work?
I always knew that I wanted to live outside the UK, but wasn’t quite sure where or how. A few months after I graduated from university, I hit a bump in the road and realised that I had no idea what I wanted to do. While I was working in a restaurant to save some money, an opportunity for a freelance translation job fell into my lap – and it all started from there!
How did you go about making the transition to a lifestyle traveler? Was it a seamless transition or a bit difficult?
While I was starting up as a freelance writer, I worked part-time in a cafe until I had built up enough experience to make freelancing my full-time job. I guess, in that respect, my transition was fairly seamless! It was important to me that I had a job that allowed me to work from anywhere, and one that offered me a good work-life balance.
Could you elaborate on what you do as a writer and translator? Do you work remotely for a company, freelance, or have your own location independent business?
I work as a writer, translator, and editor for my own company. I launched the brand in 2018 primarily as an Italian translation business. Since then it has grown to include copywriting and social media management.
My main focus is clients in the travel & tourism and literary industries. For a lot of my clients, English is not their first language, so I help them to expand their business into an English-speaking market! I am also a writer for my own online travel blog, Viaggio Magazine.
How do you manage working and traveling? Are there any specific apps you use to manage your work and lifestyle?
Because the digital nomad community is growing so quickly, I feel that it’s pretty easy nowadays to balance work and travel! There are co-working spaces and offices everywhere. As well, a lot of hostels and hotels will also offer working areas for guests.
An app I am obsessed with is Google Maps. I “star” all the places I’ve enjoyed, or things I know I want to see in a city. This makes it really easy to find them once I’m there! It’s also really helpful for making recommendations to other travellers.
What is your preferred method of traveling/living? Do you move constantly/stay at a few places for a few months/have a base/multiple bases?
I always prefer to stay somewhere for a long time. That way, it really starts to feel like home, and you can get to know the culture, learn the language, and form a network of good friends. I love the idea of having a home. One day I’d love to base myself in Italy and travel from there!
What seasons, if any, do you prefer to chase?
I think this really depends on where you’re travelling to. In places like Greece and Spain, where the culture is so centred around its beaches and its nightlife, then summer is the best time to visit.
Seeing Iceland and the Scandinavian countries in winter is such a unique experience. It gives you a much better chance of catching the Northern Lights! But, for me, autumn is my favourite season anywhere.
What destinations do you consider to be the best for digital nomads/location independent lifestyles? Why?
In Europe, Lisbon is definitely the best place for digital nomads. It has everything you could want from a city: stunning beaches, beautiful weather, exciting nightlife, a rich history, and great food. The cost of living is low compared to most other places in Europe, and there is a huge freelancing community there, making it easy to meet like-minded people and make good friends. Oh, and you can spend all your weekends at the beach!
How do you go about making new friends/dating while traveling?
Co-working spaces are the perfect place to meet other freelancers! A lot of these offices will also host workshops and social events which will introduce you to other digital nomads in a more fun, lighthearted setting.
Facebook groups are also a great way to reach out to people. I’ve used a few language tandem groups to meet up with people who speak a language I’d love to learn. That way, you can learn the local language and meet new people!
How do you keep your long-distance friendships/relationships alive?
Being away from friends, or saying goodbye to new friends, is one of the hardest parts of the digital nomad lifestyle. Social media is such a blessing for keeping in touch. Apps like Zoom and FaceTime make it so easy to ‘see’ your friends! I’ve also been trying to write more letters and postcards to my friends, to let them know I’m thinking of them.
“I’ll read anything and everything I can get my hands on. I even remember reading the backs of shampoo bottles and cereal boxes as a kid!”
What is it that you like most about the traveler lifestyle?
I love the flexibility and the freedom it gives you to work around your own lifestyle. While it’s easy to overwork yourself as a freelancer, because you determine your own hours, it also gives you the opportunity to create the work-life balance that best suits you.
Is there anything you dislike about the traveler lifestyle?
I fall in love with everywhere I go, and pretty much everyone I meet, so I often find it hard to say goodbye to people and places.
What’s something that’s currently missing from your life? Is there something stopping you from getting it?
I’m so grateful for my job as a writer, and the life it allows me to live. But it is definitely missing a French Bulldog.
Is there something you know now about the traveler lifestyle that you wish you knew before making the switch?
Not particularly! It’s always a learning curve, as the lifestyle is adapting so quickly. You have to be prepared for anything when you travel.
Do you see yourself living this lifestyle forever? Or will you go back to a more “traditional” life at some point?
I’m not really a traditional ‘traveller’ in the sense that I love to have a place to call home, and a base to travel from. Hopefully in the not-so-distant future, I’d love to move to Italy and settle down there!
What’s your best advice for someone wanting to transition to a life of travel?
Don’t be impatient! It takes a little while to find your feet, and that’s okay. I’d recommend, if you’re looking to become a freelance writer, finding a part-time job for the first few months. That way, you’re not stressing too much about making rent, and can use your spare time to focus on the parts of the business that really interest you.