The first time I met Tia Clark, she was too busy to talk. I was crabbing with my son. He was two. Tia was hustling from one end of that dock to the other. Setting out traps. Hauling in traps. Teaching clients how to throw a cast net.
Tia is a crabbing guide. I didn’t know that was a profession. I thought it was cool, and surprising, that she found a niche doing something that I’ve enjoyed since I was a child. She inspired me to think that I might someday find an outlet for my outdoor passion.
I started following Tia on social media and keeping up with her incredible story after my wife told me about an Air BnB workshop they both attended. Tia was on the short list of people I wanted to know more about when I started Hunting Fatherhood.
Air BnB provides a platform that connects travelers with locals offering intimate opportunities to explore their destinations. Tia’s experience, Let’s Go Crabbing, revolves around an activity that is so fundamental to coastal living that it is easily taken for granted.
She’s been wildly successful. Air BnB recognized her as one of its top experiences in the world. Their ranking is driven by positive customer reviews. She had 347 when I wrote this, all of them 5-star.
She’s been so successful, in fact, that Tia was able to leave her decades long career in the food and beverage industry to launch Casual Crabbing with Tia. She’s a small business owner with 4 employees.
Tia graciously opened up to me during our interview. She didn’t know her father. She was a tomboy, raised by strong women. Tia spent her childhood playing sports, exploring downtown Charleston, and occasionally getting in trouble. She was in the Burke High School marching band. She thought food and bev. was how she would spend her career.
Take it outside
Her career prospects aren’t the only things that improved since her cousin, Demetrius Hart, introduced her to crabbing. Tia believes she might not be around today if she stuck with food and bev. Crabbing saved her life.
Tia quit smoking, eased up on drinking, and started getting exercise and fresh air when she found crabbing. She lost more than 100 pounds. Getting paid to spend her days on the water made those healthy lifestyle changes sustainable.
Tia gets to share her joy with people from all walks of life. She told me about one parent who booked an outing with her that ended in tears. The whole time they were out with Tia, her kids forgot about their cell phones.
She’s much happier now. Tia considers herself a people-person these days, unlike before when she was closed off to strangers. “My wife says I’m definitely not the person she married almost 11 years ago.”
The only downside? She’s had to buy smaller pants.
Head over to the Hunting Fatherhood Podcast to listen to my interview with Tia.