BY: ROB HOFFMAN
26 year-old Florida native, Molly Steele, was recently arrested for illegally hopping freight trains in El Dorado, Kansas. Sharing the experience on Instagram with nearly 40,000 followers, Steele’s Instagram features an envy-inducing catalogue of train-hopping, traveling and van-life photos, illustrating the beauty of the American landscape and eternal romance of vagabonding.
At the forefront of a generation of social-media freaks, Instagram has re-surfaced a movement of modern hoboism and vagrancy reminiscent of Kerouac and The Beats. For Steele and others living highway-side, cellphones have become an integral part of executing and sharing their experience, reportedly using Google Maps to spot railroad yards and online resources like Craigslist, Couchsurfing and Warmshowers to keep dry on rainy nights.
Steele told Motherboard that her Instagram account started out as a hobby, but has since turned into her primary source of income—using it to leverage her photography and sell prints or commissioned shoots. Steele currently lives in Los Angeles.
From Botany major to professional train-hopper and wanderer, here’s a look into the life of Molly Steele.