Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – we earn a commission if you make a purchase using our links. We only link to products and companies we use and recommend. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this site and community.
Why was our chance meeting with a full time traveling/working/kayaking family on the American River such a synchronous one?
It’s one of the things we love most about our travels – we never quite know what’s going to happen next, what surprises might come our way and who we’re going to meet. Our world is really opening up as we meet and learn from people from all walks of life, including those who are also living ‘outside of the box’ and creating a life they love in ways that align with their passions. We’re discovering a whole new community of people who “live different” and have colorful tales to tell.
That’s why we’ve decided to share some of the most interesting stories with you – in our new “People We Meet” series.
Say g’day to the Holcombes.
How and where we met the Holcombe Family
In mid July, we spent a few days in Lotus, California in the foothills of the Sierras, at South Fork of the American River – the most popular whitewater river in the western United States, attracting people for its rafting, kayaking, fishing, swimming and gold panning. The river happens to run right through our campground, the Ponderosa RV and Camping Resort.
We had just set up camp among the trees, packed a ‘Happy Hour picnic’ and walked down to the riverbank where we sat down on the rocks to relax with our drinks, snacks and a sunset when a woman paddled up to the shore in her kayak. We got chatting with her and within minutes discovered the many synchronicities we shared with Kathy Holcombe and her family.
About the Holcombes
Peter and Kathy Holcombe, their 10 year old daughter Abby and dog Tucker had packed up their life and home to hit the road full-time, living and working from their RV while traveling the country. They have a professional photography business – specializing in weddings, family portraits, commercial and adventure – that takes them around the USA and Canada – capturing family portraits in wilderness and iconic locations like Yellowstone National Park and doing adventure photography for the Jackson family and their company Jackson Kayak.
Our conversation with Kathy took place as we watched her husband Peter and daughter Abby expertly navigate their brightly colored Jackson kayaks on the American River – we were impressed by their skill! Avid kayakers, the family travels in a 24 foot Winnebago RV towing a trailer loaded with a dozen kayaks – this sounds like a lot, but back home she said they had around 30!Peter, Kathy & Abby Holcombe
During our conversation, several similarities between us were revealed:
- Coloradoans: Also from Colorado, the Holcombes home was in Lafayette (near Boulder) – a mere 11 mile, 20 minute drive from our home in Westminster.
- Full-Timers: Both the Holcomes and we Bennetts sold our homes within hours of listing, packed up our lives and hit the road full time in our RVs, to live and work from the road.
- Timing: We all set off on our respective adventures in the very same week in mid June 2014, and had been on the road for just one month when our paths crossed at the American River in Lotus, California, some 1,150 miles from our old Colorado homes.
- People: The Holcombes know our wedding photographer, Barb Colombo of 11:11 Productions in Boulder. They had rented a house from her at one time!
Crazy coincidence right? We were all pretty amazed by this, especially considering that the Holcombe’s were only there for one night – which happened to be the night we arrived.
What inspired them to do this?
We were fascinated by the Holcombe’s story and how they reached the decision to live this lifestyle. For over a decade, they had been traveling a lot – almost half the year – working around the country. As they enjoyed their return trips back home less and less, they began asking deeply honest questions about themselves, their lives and what truly made them happy.Rafters and kayakers make their way down the American River in Lotus, CA
On their decision to change their life
Kathy’s husband Peter explains on their blog:
“The remorse at the end of a trip became so powerful that Kathy and I started to question why we own a big, expensive house that was mainly used as a place to swap out clothing and gear between trips. We started to question the sanity of the typical American dream of working all the time to feed the need for a bigger house with more stuff to fill it, nicer cars and very little time away from work to enjoy any of it. We asked ourselves, if this was our last year to live would we keep this lifestyle of great work and play punctuated by a mad dash home to mow the lawn and maintain the house. Kathy, Abby and I all agreed NO… We would embrace the things we love including where we spend our time and what we do with our waking hours and shed the rest. We love our work and that is the thing that will change the least and feel truly blessed to have careers that allow us the opportunity to share with others what we feel we are born to do.”
On their daily life
“Our daily life is wonderful. We wanted to eliminate the distractions that eat up life and to be together as a family spending as much time as possible in the outdoors doing the things we love. I wanted to keep doing photography…. and be able to spend more time in the wild places I love. So far this is working wonderfully and living up to my expectations. We have been working all over the western US just having captured a wedding in Laguna Beach, CA. It was so nice to go surfing in the ocean after a full day processing wedding images and then kayaking with Kathy and Abby on the American River after designing a wedding book. Tomorrow will be a day off (mostly) kayaking once again with my girls on the American River in CA. Then I fly to Dallas to photograph one of my favorite families while Kathy and Abby drive to Boise where I will meet them in a couple of days.”
On how their life has changed
“This new lifestyle will change a few things that we have really enjoyed. Parts of owning a home were wonderful. We loved our home based client gallery to hold meetings and show images, but we are working to use technology to aid in this transition which will hopefully create a better quality and more convenient experience for our clients. This will have a few growing pains but I think it will allow us to better serve our clients in the long run. I will also miss our three car garage full of toys, but we are shopping now for an enclosed trailer that will function as a mobile garage and allow us to bring a few more toys with us on the road.”
What about their daughter?
A relaxed, happy and friendly girl, Abby Holcombe lives an unusual, adventurous life for a 10 year old. She attends school online at Colorado Connections Academy, kayaks with her parents whenever she can and has been learning photography from her dad Peter since a very young age. She is currently writing a book based on real, handwritten letters shared between Abby and her best friend Grace.
Staying in touch
While our connection was short and sweet, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Holcombe’s and were inspired by their story. The nature of their photography work and clients means they travel far wider and at a much faster pace than we do – they’ve already put more than double the miles on their RV than we have in the past few months!
We definitely hope to catch up with the Holcombe’s again during our travels, camp out for a day or two and get to know them better. We hope you enjoyed getting to know them a bit too.
Did you like this post? Please let us know in the comments section below, and feel free to ask any questions you like, and share on social media if you feel inspired to.
You can learn more about Holcolmbe’s and their adventures on their websites and blog:
“People We Meet” Series
Stay tuned for more interesting stories about some of the people we meet in future posts on our new “People We Meet” series.