What’s a “Snowmad”?

Kristin Snow photo
I’m Kristin – nice to meet ya!

Hiya! 👋 I’m Kristin Snow. 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 my 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.

Nowadays, I travel part-time, work remotely, and rent a house in beautiful Knoxville, Tennessee. My shorter trips still add up to several months of travel each year, whether with my adventure-loving partner, Katy, my friends, parents, or sometimes solo. I travel mostly by camper van for now – it’s ideal with two older rescue dogs 🐕🐕♥ – but someday I hope to be roaming a lot more of the world.

Joyful selfie smiles on a van trip with Katy, my indescribably awesome partner ♥ 🌈

Work/life balance

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.

Travel philosophy

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 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 local 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.

airstream-1-600x400
Before – it sure wasn’t much to look at. What did we get ourselves into?! 😱

After – so shiny you could use it as a mirror (and we did!)

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.

Trek RV in Alaska
Trek motorhome was driven to Alaska and back!

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.

My Winnebago Travato camper van

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 desired a different interior layout and chassis for my future part-time travel, and purchased a 2019 Coachmen Crossfit 22C (now called the Coachmen Beyond) on the Ford Transit Ecoboost chassis.

My newest ride: a 2019 Coachmen Crossfit / Beyond

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. It’s also my daily driver a lot of the time when I’m at my part-time home base in Knoxville, Tennessee. 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!

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!

Kristin Snow

3 Comments

  1. Sara Hartley
    Jul 14, 2020 / 2:49 pm

    My hubby and I purchased an older 5th wheel and are gutting it….at the same time we are living in it!
    Love your site and will follow with an eagerness to learn!
    Thanks
    Sara

    • Kristin
      Author
      Jul 15, 2020 / 1:28 pm

      Hi Sara!

      Thanks for the kind comment! I’m so excited for you both and hope you love 5th wheel life. An RV renovation is a lot of work, but it’ll be so worth it to have a home on wheels that you love. Let me know if you have any questions!

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