Outside Magazine Online freelance writer Eva Holland; Physician’s Assistant Kayla inspired by Starfish Story

Outside Magazine Freelance Writer, Eva Holland

Eva Holland is a freelance writer for Outside magazine but she also does work for National Geographic and other publications.

I write mostly narrative features about outdoor adventures, team sports and how we connect to the wilderness and environmental issues.  There are all kinds of ways that  we interact with the wilderness.

I did an article for Hakai magazine.  This publication is fairly new and it covers coastal science and societies.  It’s pretty neat.

My story was on polar bears.  I went to a small village along the Bering Strait where the village is setting up a non-lethal bear patrol.  I spent a lot of time with the polar bear patrol but I didn’t see any polar bears.

In February it was just solid ice.  The patrol was training and working with all sorts of  ideas to be a no-kill patrol.  The primary purpose is of course to protect the town but their goal is to not kill bears unnecessarily while protecting the people. So they have noisemakers, air horns, pepper spray and other non-lethal methods to try to discourage the bears from coming into the village. 

The bears’ habitat is diminishing and the villagers are really trying to work with the changing situation and be part of conservation.



Science of Fear Topic, Eva’s book

Right now I’m pulling back from magazine writing because I’m going to be working on a book. The book is somewhat about my experiences but it’s going to be the science of fear.  The working title is Shake It Off: A Personal Journey Through The Science of Facing Our Fears, and it will be published by Penguin Canada.

It will include some of my own experiences and fears because I have fear of heights and other fears. It’s going to be looking into science and how fear functions in our mind and bodies and what happens in our brain when we are trying to overcome fear. What does it look like physiologically? The Wilderness prompted me to think about this idea because you think about your fears a lot in the wilderness.

Experiences and Positive Imprints

My positive imprint is my work.  I write stories that will have some meaning for people.  It doesn’t mean they have to be super serious or anything because there’s something fun in reading about schlepping across the sea ice.

When I’m having a hard time I think about the lessons I’ve learned in just the wonder of learning the outdoors.  I want stories to bring that joy and ones that are thought-provoking.

Kayla and her dog Bella.


Physician’s Assistant – Kayla, Kodiak Alaska

Physician’s assistant is a two-year degree after you finish your four year degree. The first year for most schools is classroom work and the second-year is all clinical rotations.  Where I went to school I had the opportunity to go to different states and experience different fields.  I worked with different populations.

The rotations were in North Carolina, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware and you will not sleep in physician’s assistant (PA)  School.

My degree brought me to Kodiak. 

I’m with the US Public Health Service and I work for the Native Association up here in Kodiak. I also work with a lot of Veterans as well which is probably one of the reasons why I stay here. I helped start a nonprofit in Kodiak for veterans. It’s called ‘Kodiak Veterans Outreach’.

Most people are able to go to a specialist for health issues and exams like an orthopedist or OBGYN.  As a physician’s assistant  I do all of those things but being in rural Alaska I have a lot more autonomy with the patients which is nice. 

Listening to Veterans Inspires Me

I love listening to veterans and their stories but I also want to work with and help them.

I see a lot of vets and they come in and talk about the same problems but individually.  If I started a focus group I could bring them together and re-instill some sort of sense of camaraderie so that they wouldn’t feel so alone with some of these same issues.

Well the focus group showed that the veterans in Kodiak didn’t really want that so we started a different group that has been ever-shifting.  I think it’s been fairly successful and it is instilling some sense of camaraderie.

It’s all about that one starfish.

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