We’ve all had this moment: You’re on vacation, feet deep in the sand, strapped into skis, at the edge of an overhang, wherever, and you think, “Hmm, what if I just don’t go back to work Monday?” That’s pretty much what happened to Kevin Kinghorn when he booked a trip to Switzerland instead of packing his bags for school that quarter. And he’s been traveling the world since, supporting himself through his career as a lifestyle photographer. After asking Kevin to test out some of our travel gear, we picked his brain about how to make a life of living outside, his “aha” moment on top of a glacier, and where he’s headed to next.
Tell us about you! When did you first become interested in exploring the outdoors?
From a very young age my parents always did these family trips out to the coast or some local national park. We didn’t have a TV growing up, so for as long I can remember being in the outdoors was always something I looked forward to.
Was there a specific trip you took where you thought to yourself, "Okay, I want to do this all the time?" Probably my first international solo trip. I wasn’t taking photos for too long at that time so everything I photographed was new and exciting, and I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.
At the time, I wasn’t sure what I was going to school for. That quarter’s tuition was $715 and a round trip ticket to Switzerland was $730...so I impulsively bought a plane ticket instead. It ended up being the greatest decision of my life, because it taught me how to get the max experience out of a trip. I lived on the train for 11 days, going everywhere from Geneva, Murg, Interlaken, to Zermatt, all in the pursuit of photographing people. I remember meeting this ice climber on the 5 mile lake loop in Zermatt and having this amazing conversation on a glacier overlooking the Matterhorn. After that I never went back to school.
We love your photography. How did you get your start? What's your favorite thing about shooting outdoors? What are your favorite moments to capture?
I started out shooting 35mm film format on my dad’s old OM-1 when I was 16 and wasn’t really sure what photography was as an art. I just shot to shoot, getting rolls back where half the shots were either all black or all white. I started taking it seriously as something I wanted to do maybe late 2013. I just happened to get a Canon XTI and decided I’d try to take some photos rather than work in a horrible restaurant.
I really love capturing people, candid moments that show pure emotion. I really aim to capture all that and still get a grasp of the setting.
We're so stoked you've been taking your new Ridgeline bag on trips! Where have you traveled to with it? What's the one thing you always pack?
I’ve taken the 45L Range Daypack through basically all of Arizona from the Painted Desert, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and so so so many more places.
I ALWAYS pack my journal. I try to catch every receipt that we tend to pick up on the trip, and I always staple them into that journal. Kinda a hoarder that way, but I feel it’s important to keep these minor details.
What's your favorite thing to do outside?
I write a lot, and when I’m outside I feel more at ease. It’s almost like it’s easier to breathe.
If you could travel anywhere in the world (or galaxy) where would you go? Who would you take with you?
Right now I have my eyes on Egypt. I really want to ride a camel. It’s a weird goal to have, but these goals take me to some rad places. I’d take my girlfriend, Kjerstin. She’s honestly the best travel companion ever, she tends to catch the details I tend to forget.
FOLLOW KEVIN ON HIS ADVENTURES@KODIAK.STAG