Inspiration can come from all over, and it’s important to find people who inspire you in life. Last month I featured a collection of woman who are making an impact in different ways. This month the focus is on someone who inspires me, and I think after learning about her you will feel the same way. Meet Holly, and you’ll see she is anything but crabby!
Give us a quick rundown of your background and what you’re up to these days.
I was born in Woodside, CA in 1973. I have a Bachelors of Arts in International Business from Menlo College in Atherton, CA and an MBA in Global Marketing from Thunderbird School of Global Management. After a successful career at a Real Estate Investment Firm, I left to pursue a longtime dream of becoming an international woman of intrigue and obtained my MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Graduating right at the beginning of one of our biggest recessions and therefore, I got off course with my lifelong goal.
Sometimes life has a different (and perhaps better) path in store for you. Seven years ago, I fell in love with a handsome fisherman. This romance led me to a rather dramatic career transition. I am currently the only female crab captain at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA and the owner of my own commercial vessel. Not exactly the international seas I had envisioned myself in.
The season has me busy harvesting Dungeness Crab from the sea’s bounty during December until mid April every year. I have my resellers license that allows me to sell to Michelin ranked restaurants like the Village Pub in Woodside. But I also get to sell my bounty directly off the boat to San Francisco Bay Area crab enthusiasts. Meeting all the locals right there at my boat is for sure one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.
In addition to crab, I fish the very male dominated Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon fishery in Naknek, Alaska for two months every summer. We arrive by small prop plane into the teeny tiny airport in King Salmon and go directly to the cannery where we wait for the bountiful salmon run to begin. Last year we had a record breaking 72 million salmon pass through the rivers headed to spawn in the nearby lakes. This is one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world.
For six months of the year, we are very busy with both fisheries. However, one of the biggest benefits to this career shift is the freedom to live our lives how we chose and have nomadic sea and land adventures. In 2020 we had a 2021 30 foot RV made and delivered to Alvarado Texas. The RV became our permanent home and has allowed us to become land nomads and travel to almost every state in the Western United States. Sea nomads for six months, and land nomads for the other. We have currently just driven 1850 miles from San Francisco to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We only travel on a major highway when we have no other option. Otherwise it is all country backroads.
How are you or how would you like to be making an impact in our world?
My impact on the world so far has been on a smaller scale. Since running my own fishing vessel for the past three years, I have been able to become one of the voices for the San Francisco Fishermen’s wharf. I have been somewhat impactful being the liaison between fishermen, port authorities, government (City, State and Federal) and fish distributors.
I have hopes to make a bigger impact in the fishing industry and providing factual information and enforce proper regulations so that sustainable fisheries can thrive. I have a huge interest in Marine Life conservation and bringing balance between thriving ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries. The goal of balanced harvesting is to increase fish supply while preserving the structure of ecosystems. Fish is a very healthy food source, and if protected/fished properly stocks will continue to rise and the seas bounty can more that adequately and safely provide food for the world.
What were/are your biggest struggles in your 20’s?
In my 20’s my biggest struggles were caused by perceived societal demands. Society tends to place high expectations on young adults. As a woman in my twenties, I found myself making safe decisions that were more aligned with the norm, than what my true passions were. We are expected to finish college and begin navigating through a decade filled with goals and deadlines. As young adults we are encouraged (almost forced) to make life long decisions that have a long-lasting impact. In my opinion, we are often too young to be making such impactful live altering decisions.
I went to college, picked the 9-5:00 job that aligned with my financial goals. It turns out I excelled at it. Then I stayed in it for longer than I should have. I didn’t follow my passion (I also wasn’t clear what that was) because I was told, or thought, that it meant I was being irresponsible. That if you didn’t do a., b., c., that you weren’t being a responsible adult. In your twenties, insecurities are high so focus tends to be doing what society deems as successful and productive.
The biggest struggle in my twenties was navigating conformity versus straying towards your passion, or your life’s purpose. Peer pressure was a huge part of my struggles in my 20’s. I was more worried about pleasing other people, than pleasing myself. It’s important to be a little selfish, and for all of us to do what makes us happy. In turn that brings more happiness to your inner circle, expanding to your outer circles, and eventually the whole world. A happy world… wouldn’t that be nice?!
Is there anything you’ve made a part of your daily routine that helps you feel confident and healthy?
With age, brings confidence and a sense of security and peace. Exercising and meditation has been instrumental to my mental health. To help build my self-esteem, I do a 10 minute meditation everyday on one of my iPhone apps. I also go through a series of positive quotes and mantras that I read and repeat each day. In addition, I try to do weekly journaling. The better I get to know myself, and listen to my inner voice the more my confidence grows.
As long as I am getting exercise out in nature I feel like I am being healthy. Being connected to the Earth’s energy makes me feel both mentally and physically healthy, strong and balanced.
What are some things you wish you had been told or were told but wish you had embraced in your 20’s?
I wish I had been told that you can follow your passion and trust that life’s journey will take you exactly where the universe intended. It would have helped if someone had told me that I could trust that it will all end up OK and really impressed on me that its totally not necessary to sweat the small stuff. And I wish someone had told me that nobody’s opinion is more important than my own and how imperative it is to trust your intuition.
I also wish someone had told me to have gratitude for the good, the bad, and the ugly! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enjoy the journey, don’t beat yourself up, relax and BREATH. Things are evolving and transpiring exactly how they are supposed to. I wish I would have trusted my gut more and focused on the present. To not fear failure and that only we are responsible for our happiness and we are not responsible for happiness of others.
If you’d like to follow Holly and her adventures, here’s where you can find her. Also, swing by Fisherman’s Warf next time you’re in San Francisco and pick up some crab for dinner!
Instagram: @HollyFruehling F/V PACIFIC LEGEND