Katja Presnal is the owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle brand and online magazine and a network marketer. Katja is originally from Finland, but has traveled around the world the past 19 years with her American husband and their three children, who were all born in different countries. Their nomadic lifestyle was a reason she started her online brand almost ten years ago. Katja’s mission is to inspire people to live life to the fullest and she does it with her brand, and by teaching people how to live wellness lifestyle with essential oils.
What inspired your interest in the travel industry? I think working in the travel industry happened by accident! I have always been interested in traveling, and moved out of my home country, Finland, in 1997, and have been traveling and moving around the world ever since. I started my blog Skimbaco Lifestyle 9 years ago, and at first I didn’t even want to write about our travels, and thought our crazy lifestyle was not relatable, and felt like writing about traveling was “bragging” about the places we had seen. I got over from the fear a few years later, and after reading other travel blogs.
As a travel professional, what has been your greatest success? Success is one of the things that I personally probably define very differently than most people. I’ve worked with some great travel brands like Starwood Preferred Guest, multiple national tourism boards, and consumer brands, but the greatest success for me personally is that I am able to work from home and raise our three global citizens (our children were all actually born in different countries), and we can live nomadic lifestyle of moving around, and slowly traveling around the places where we live.
You and your husband have relocated quite a few times. What has been your favorite “home”? I get asked this question a lot, and while I have a few favorites, most places have something good, and something not so great, and you just have to create your own happiness. I loved living in a valley in German countryside, the Main-river as my view, and more recently we lived in a 400-year-old mansion in Swedish countryside and it was like from a storybook. I always feel at home in the state of New York, because we have lived there in three places, but it’s not one of those places I miss the most. Skimbaco started when we lived in a mountain-side cabin in Colorado, and the name comes from a Finnish slang word for skis/skiing “skimba” and from “CO” for Colorado, because at the time “skiing in Colorado” was our way of living life to the fullest. I do believe everyone can find their own “skimbaco” almost anywhere in the world. But to your original question… it is maybe ironic, my favorite home is still Finland. When growing up, all I ever wanted was to leave and see the world, but now almost 20 years later, I feel like I am ready to go back “home.”
How has your travel influenced your children? Like everything in life, traveling lifestyle has its good and bad points. When I asked our daughter what country or place she indentifies the most, she said she feels she is like from her own country, the “Land of Awesomeness.” Joking besides, our children are “rootless” in the sense that sometimes they feel more European, sometimes more American, and they feel “the world” is their home. I think many travelers can relate how they feel often: you feel “at home” in many places, but you are “different” and don’t really perfectly fit in anywhere. In our everyday life their global education can be seen in their culinary choices, which can surprise their classmates at school sometimes. Traveling has also helped them to succeed at school, and their life experiences have taught them so much more than school ever can. As a mom, they impress the heck out of me all the time – like when our son read the entire Harry Potter series when he was 10 years old – in Swedish!
What is your #1 Bucket List Travel Destination? All and none – meaning that my list of places I still want to experience is long (Scotland, India, more of Norway, Santorini in Greece, Brazil, Cuba….), but I don’t have one specific “top of my list” destination.
Who is your greatest travel inspiration? I literally travel to eat and love to cook with recipes I have learned in my travels, so I have to say my greatest travel inspiration comes from Anthony Bourdain, but I also loved watching Jamie Oliver traveling around the word and cooking different cuisines.
I love sharing inspirational quotes with my readers. What quote would you share with someone inspiring and motivating them to not only ‘Be the Change’ but to also see the world? “Traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you rich” – and while it’s not literally true, but it is a reminder perhaps to buy less, and travel more. I hear a lot of people saying they can’t afford to travel, but they “afford” many things our family doesn’t have or do. While traveling is a privilege, it is also a choice for many, but many people choose material possessions instead of traveling, or think that owning stuff makes them “rich.”
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