Holly was born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC, and spent weekends at her family’s place in the country, fishing, riding bikes, and swimming in lakes with leeches. (No, really. YUCK!)
She graduated with a degree in Public Administration and Political Science and received her Master’s degree in nonprofit management. Holly has been working with refugees since 1999, and in 2008 was named State Refugee Coordinator for the State of Tennessee.
In her work, she has had the good fortune to meet thousands of people from all over the world whose circumstances were far different from her own but brought them to the same place – Nashville, Tennessee. Some of those refugees hailed from Nepal.
Holly didn’t spend much time thinking about Everest until reading the 1997 John Krakauer novel, “Into Thin Air,” later made into the motion picture, “Everest.” This book captivated her in a way that no other book had ever done. She found herself dreaming, several nights each week, about Mt. Everest. After she insisted Mark read the book too, the couple was hopelessly hooked.
The story mentioned Base Camp, and she remembered hearing about a friend of hers who had made an EBC trek. Having no desire at all to climb the mountain, Holly thought a trek was a fascinating idea and she quickly entered it onto her section of “Mark and Holly’s Bucket List,” a real live document that still exists on Holly’s Google drive. (She put it in Mark’s section, too, without his knowledge.)
Shortly thereafter, she put the trek out of her mind, believing that her Facebook friend had a) tons of money, b) expensive gear, c) was in fantastic shape (she was a marathoner, after all), and d) did this kind of thing all the time – all required for an Everest Base Camp trek, and unfortunately, all things that Holly did not have. All of those were assumptions were wrong.
Imagine her surprise the day Holly received an excited phone call from Mark that began like this: “You’ll NEVER believe who just gave me a ride to the mechanic’s shop!”