What’s a “Snowmad”?
Hiya! 👋 I’m Kristin Snow (she/her or they/them). I dubbed myself a “Snowmad”, combining my last name with my insatiable need to travel. 🌎
I started this blog when I stepped away from a conventional cubicle career and stationary home in 2013, hoping to pursue a dream of traveling for more than just a couple short weeks of vacation per year.
Once I had the financial aspect figured out, I became a full-time, RV-dwelling nomad, wandering the roads and wilds of North America for three consecutive years with my former partner.
For a few years I traveled part-time, but more recently circumstances have allowed me to go back to traveling full-time with my adventure-loving partner, Kay (they/them).
We travel in both a camper van and fifth-wheel trailer for now, using the larger trailer to spread out a bit and stay in one place longer, then the van to be nimble and go further off-grid. It’s been helpful to have the extra space with the two of us working online full-time, and for the needs of our two senior rescue dogs 🐕🐕♥ – but someday we hope to be roaming a lot more of the world.
Sadly for me, I don’t have the option of funding my travels by being independently wealthy. I still have to work, but I made a career transition to become a digital nomad: a term for working remotely from anywhere that you can get online.
I’m a Happiness Engineer (a support specialist) at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce, Tumblr, and major contributors to the open-source WordPress.org software – the software used to create this blog, and that powers over 1/3 of all websites on the internet!
My favorite part of working remotely is the ability to have less of a distinct separation between work and life and instead live well while I work. I love that I get to do something that means something to me, lets me be creative, and makes a difference to others.
As a result of my profession, I need to have a good grasp of mobile internet and technology to help me stay connected and make a living while traveling. If you need advice on mobile internet, my friends Chris and Cherie have the absolute best.
I travel primarily to collect experiences instead of things. I’ve never been big on collecting tangible stuff versus making memories. I try to practice a lot of mindfulness in my travel rather than just being a consumer and sightseer. An essential part of travel for me is gaining valuable perspective on life along the way and meeting up with old and new friends at every opportunity.
My second goal is to feel like I actually live in the areas I visit, however temporary that may be: frequenting local businesses, getting to know the people, and absorbing culture and history, while also hopefully showing them my deepest respect and appreciation.
I feel the most alive and the most me when I’m putting myself in situations that challenge my beliefs, skills, and routines, and I adore the hands-on cultural, historical and environmental experiences that go along with it.
My final goal is to hopefully inspire others to live their lives in a way that’s also joyful and authentic – whether through travel, or something else entirely. I just so happen to be in love with travel, but it’s by no means the right path for everyone. I also recognize what a huge privilege it is to be able to travel at all, and try to never take it for granted. ♥
How nomadic life came about
On a whim, and with no RVing experience, I purchased (then completely gutted and modernized) a 1965 Airstream travel trailer with my then-partner. We lovingly rebuilt it over the course of a year, thinking we could take some camping trips and travel more easily with our dogs.
Not long into the project, we realized we were subconsciously building ourselves a full-time home on wheels – it became so much more than just a means to take short vacations! The wanderlust was too strong to resist, so we got rid of nearly everything we owned, rented out our house out long-term, and hit the road full-time.
We lived and worked in the Airstream with our three rescue dogs for our first year on the road, visited 35 states, and rolled around 25,000 miles.
Desiring greater overall durability, ease of driving/parking/leveling, and a living space we and the dogs could utilize while driving, we sold our Airstream to a loving new home and traveled in 2015 in a new Trek Class A motorhome for the next year. It was leased to us from its manufacturer, to help them test out this new model and provide feedback for product development. You may have even seen us on a TV show called “Going RV“: it’s basically the “House Hunters” for RV buying.
That new, 26′ motorized RV (plus our Jeep in tow) took us on another 10,000 miles of adventures in 2015. Our second year as nomads ranged from Florida to the Southwest states, up the Pacific Coast Highway, north through British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in Canada, and all around the interior of Alaska. We were totally new to driving a Class A motorhome, and while it added a lot of fancy features and extra living space, it still felt a bit excessive.
We returned our Trek after its year-long test drive was up, and felt eager for something a bit smaller and more nimble as we moved on to our third RV. We decided to go much smaller, and bought our first camper van next: a 2016 Winnebago Travato on the Dodge Promaster chassis.
After a couple more years roaming the US and really enjoying the the Travato, I had some major life changes thrown at me that including living in a house again part-time. I required a different interior layout and chassis, so I purchased a 2019 Coachmen Crossfit 22C (now called the Coachmen Beyond) on the Ford Transit Ecoboost chassis.
I’m still loving having a smaller Class B camper van for road trip adventures, especially the ease of driving and parking it compared to the bigger motorhome or the trailer and truck combo I had in the past. You should see how good I’ve gotten at parallel parking it in the city – people are usually shocked when they see me nail it in one try!
More recently, we went back to full-time travel and added a fifth wheel Alliance Avenue 32RLS and a RAM 3500 pickup to our family. The goal is to leave the trailer places longer-term as a home base and take shorter trips away from it (and further off-grid) in our van. We love the Alliance trailer so far, especially the bright, airy interior, and extra room to spread out and store our gear between van trips.
My hope is that by sharing my experiences here I might inspire others not to wait to follow their dreams either, whatever those may be! Make yourself at home: take a peek around the site, feel free to ask any questions in the comments or via the contact page, and give me a shout if it looks like I’ll be near your neck of the woods (especially if you have a 21-foot-long driveway! 😉). Please follow us on social media for the most up-to-date adventures, if you’re so inclined.
I’m so glad you stopped by!