Beautifully Human / Mark Holcomb

Updated: a day ago

We are starting a new weekly series today called Beautifully Human...

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Focusing on the beauty of humans and the power in their stories…

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Through telling their stories we hope to connect this world. To spread some love and humanity...

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To show a common thread of beautiful humans…

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This is my good friend Mark Holcomb and his story is incredible and powerful...

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Let’s all be beautifully human… 

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Subscribe to our blog and follow us on Instagram (@wanderlustmoonduo)  for our weekly Beautifully Human posts to hear other beautiful stories...

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Beautifully Human is now a podcast! Tune in to hear more beautiful stories!

Give us a follow and listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

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#beautifullyhuman #markholcomb #periphery #wanderlustmoonduo #stayhuman


Mark Holcomb / Austin, Texas



Tell me a story that shaped your life...


- Up until the age of 9, my family and I lived happily in the Philippines on a military base. In the summer of 1991, a nearby volcano called Mt. Pinatubo erupted. I vividly remember the enormous mushroom cloud of ash, the constant earthquakes for multiple days, the sun being blacked out by ash, and my family and I hiding under the table while our entire house shook and we lost electricity.

Even at 9, I realized what was happening was going to change things in our lives permanently. One of the most surreal things was venturing outside for the first time after the eruption and seeing mountains of ash piled up everywhere. It felt eerily akin to what seeing snow for the first time feels like. The eruption caused a withdrawal of most US military forces in the country, which resulted in me, my brother and mom having to be evacuated to the US.



Tell me a story that almost ruined your life…


- The fallout of the evacuation caused a rift in my parents' marriage, as my Dad stayed behind in the Philippines to assist in recovery efforts while my mom, Jeff and I relocated to the states. We grew apart as a family very quickly, and when my parents divorced in the following years, it destroyed me. I saw my family as perfect growing up, and this was the first glimpse I had in my life that things within my family were far from perfect.

It gave me this sadness I had never felt before; a sense of grief over losing what I thought was the ideal upbringing. We weren't rich or anything as kids, but I remember us being so happy. The energy in our household felt light, loving and open - and the events that the volcano set into motion just felt cruel and unfair. I think I grieved over my parents' separation for longer than I realized. In retrospect, it didn't come close to necessarily "ruining" my life but it gave me some weird hangups and baggage that I unknowingly carried with me for a long time.



Tell me a story that enriched your life…


- I moved to Spain from California in 1999 at the age of 17, as my stepdad, who was Navy, got stationed at a naval base in southern Spain called Rota. I was a shy, dorky awkward teenager - and I was terrified of living in such an unfamiliar place. When we got there, I wasn't open to meeting new people, I was resentful of having moved there and was just miserable at first. However, I soon began to realize that all of the other kids in my school were in the same boat: all military kids, fish out of water, nervous about living abroad, eager to ease those nerves with connection, and most importantly, none of us were in our comfort zone.

I came out of my shell, and for the first time in my life, I didn't feel awkward - I actually felt like a belonged and that I had a place in life. I also began to take guitar more seriously, and that helped me gain confidence for the first time in my life. I eventually met some of the most incredible people; the most important of which was my girlfriend whom I began dating in September of 2000. I'm married to her today.



Tell me a story of crazy life…


- Some of the craziest living I've done has to do with Periphery. One time in 2012, while on tour in Europe, we had 3 shows on back to back to back nights in wildly different places. First night in Germany, next night in Northern Sweden, and the following night in Italy. We played the show in Germany and flew to Sweden on zero sleep afterwards, spent all day in airports getting to a small town no one's heard of called Umea, played an intimate show there, and since Umea has no major airport and we needed to get to Milan, at 1 AM, still on no sleep, we caught a tiny propellor plane with all of our gear loaded into the aisles.

There were 2 pilots, 6 band members and our sound guy, and no room to move at all. It was horrifying. I remember all of us taking huge swigs from a fifth of Jack as we were taking off because the whole thing just felt irresponsible and reckless. It felt like we could've died, really. We landed in Stockholm, caught another flight to Milan, then drove to another small town in Italy to play another show. No sleep for 3 days, playing metal and ping ponging around Europe in every mode of transportation.




Tell me a story of hope…


- Seeing my Dad re-marry a couple years ago was one of the most beautiful I could've imagined. My mom and him divorced in the early 90's, and he never re-married up until then. I think one of the things I naturally fear most, and maybe we all do, is the thought of our parents getting older, feeling lonely or isolated as they get later into life. After the divorce, I feared that my Dad would be lonely, as we only saw him 1 to 2 times a year after our family got split up. That fear lasted for decades, and when my Dad told me he'd fallen in love with someone and that he was going to marry again, it was one of the happiest moments of my life to know that my Dad had found a true companion.



Tell me a story of life...


- I began dating my high school sweetheart in September of 2000 in Rota, Spain. We were each other's first loves, first everything's in life, and it was bliss. We began college together in Madrid in 2002, and together, faced the daunting sensation of moving away from our families. Through this, we stayed strong and there for one another. In 2003, we decided to move to the US. She was to study at American University in Washington DC, and I moved to Los Angeles with my family. We continued long distance for 8 months, writing letters (not emails!) to each other, talking on the phone for hours a day, and doing our best to maintain the love we had. In 2004, I moved to Washington DC to be with her, where I studied at AU really only to be close to her.

We dated all throughout college, and we both graduated together in 2006. A month later, we moved into our first apartment together in northwest DC. It was cheap, run down, filled with bugs and supremely overpriced for what it was. I worked in the federal government, and she was a pastry chef and photographer/designer. We shared this life in DC together, working, growing, always in love and always there for each other. We both evolved and grew into working, self-sufficient adults, but always right besides each other. We finally got married in Spain in 2015, not far from where we began dating, and it was the best 24 hours of both of our lives. We moved to Austin, Texas later that year and have been continuing our journey here ever since. This September we'll be celebrating 20 years since we began dating.



What would you want the world to know about you…


- That I've always been deeply insecure, even in ways I've never fully understood until recently.



What did / do you miss most during covid 19…


- Connection.



What brings you the most joy / smile the most...


- My brothers, Jeff and Nathan. Nathan is the kindest soul I've ever known, and Jeff is relentlessly funny. I can be super guarded around most people but those 2 always get the most authentic version of me. Jeff has my favorite sense of humor on the planet.



If you were given a plane ticket to anywhere, where would you go…


- Japan



What brought you to where you are at in life today…


- Other people believing in me. Hard work is an absolute necessity and you've got to have it to get anywhere, but I'm fortunate enough to have nearly always been surrounded by people who encourage me that I'm capable of doing something. Those voices help, especially when the one in your head has a habit of telling you the opposite.




What is your most prized possession…


- My ears.



If you had the ear of every person in the world, what would your message be...

- You belong.



Photo / Vanessa Ochotorena


Connect with Mark...


Instagram... markperiphery

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