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Out There

English, Social, 6 seasons, 115 episodes, 2 days, 7 hours, 33 minutes
About
Out There is a podcast that explores big questions through intimate stories in the great outdoors.
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The Flood

This is a story about fear. It makes sense to be scared when we're facing danger. But what happens when disasters occur in unexpected places? In this episode, we travel from a desert in Utah to a suburb in Missouri and explore how a flood changed one woman's relationship with fear and risk. --- Support Out There on Patreon Out There is a proud member of Hub & Spoke.  
11/2/202322 minutes, 12 seconds
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This Is How You Win the Time War

Clock time is a human invention. So it shouldn’t be a box that confines us; it should be a tool that helps us accomplish the things we care about. But consider the system of standard time, first imposed by the railroad companies in the 1880s. It constrains people who live 1,000 miles apart—on opposite edges of their time zones—to get up and go to work or go to school at the same time, even though their local sunrise and sunset times may vary by an hour or more. And it also consigns people who live on the eastern edges of their time zones to ludicrously early winter sunsets. For over a century, we've been fiddling with standard time, adding complications such as Daylight Saving Time that are meant to give us a little more evening sunlight for at least part of the year. But what if these are just palliatives for a broken system? What if it's time to reset the clock and try something completely different? This is a guest story from the podcast Soonish, first published in 2021. Links: VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR: Become a patron by March 5, 2023 to get an invitation NEW KIDS' PODCAST: Once Upon a Meadow  Out There is a proud member of Hub & Spoke.      
3/2/202359 minutes, 24 seconds
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Notes in the Trees

Most parents would never consider leaving their kids in the dark woods at night, and letting them find their way back. But the Dutch do just that. They call it Dropping. This is a guest episode from Nocturne, a podcast that explores the night and how thoughts, feelings and behaviors transform in the dark. --- NEW KIDS' PODCAST: Once Upon a Meadow is set to launch in February 2023 SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron and get an invitation to our virtual happy hour Out There is a proud member of Hub & Spoke.
2/2/202334 minutes, 4 seconds
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Fallen Sky

“Fallen Sky,” a work of installation art at New York’s Storm King Art Center, is like a moon map etched into a hillside. On this episode, Tamar Avishai explores how Sarah Sze’s striking sculpture helps visitors pay attention to the world around us — and the world inside our heads. This is a guest episode from The Lonely Palette, a podcast that returns art history to the masses, one object at a time. NEW KIDS' PODCAST: Once Upon a Meadow is set to launch in February 2023 SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron Out There is a proud member of Hub & Spoke.
1/12/202333 minutes, 51 seconds
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Fear is the Thing with Fins

Fear is a powerful indicator that something could hurt us. But sometimes, the fear itself is the most dangerous part. This is the story of marathon swimmer Pat Gallant-Charette. Because of something that happened to her when she was a teenager, Pat has to overcome a fear of deep water every time she competes. But she doesn’t let that stop her. This is a special guest episode from The Briny, a podcast about how we’re changing the sea, and how the sea changes us. SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron Out There is a proud member of Hub & Spoke.
12/1/202218 minutes, 56 seconds
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Adult-Onset Hunting

The number of Americans hunting and fishing is declining, but women are bucking the trend. On this guest episode from The Modern West podcast, journalist Melodie Edwards finds a sisterhood at an all-women hunting camp—and catches her first fish with her dad. MARKETING COORDINATOR JOB: Apply by June 5, 2022 SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron Click here to see the full show notes for this episode. 
5/26/202224 minutes, 49 seconds
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Fear and Leadership in the Mountains

How many times have we been told the story of the fearless leader — in work, in politics, in the mountains? When the stakes are high, it’s natural to place our confidence in strength and certainty. To turn to the leader and believe they have no doubt. This story, which originally aired on She Explores in 2020, isn’t about how to become a fearless leader in the mountains. Nor is it about how to overcome your fear, or even how to harness it. But it is about listening to what fear is trying to teach us. It’s an opportunity to consider what kind of leader you need, as well as the one you might want to be. Hear more from She Explores here. Music in this episode includes works by Gracie & Rachel via Music Bed.
1/13/202240 minutes, 17 seconds
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Too Good To Be True?

In 2001, Donna Martino stuck a newspaper clipping on her fridge. It was a photo of a handsome kayaker paddling through the surf. A few months later, Donna matched with the man on a dating website. We tend to assume that improbable beginnings are a recipe for disaster — that sappy romances can’t last — that fairytale endings are only for movies. But sometimes, the real world serves up a dose of schmaltz. This story, which first aired in 2020 and went on to win a national award, is about what happens when coincidences pile up, and strangers go out on a limb and take a chance on each other. Sign up for our email list Share Out There, win rewards Take our survey
12/16/202130 minutes, 36 seconds
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The Art of Loving Yourself

Melat Amha had been struggling with chronic illness for years, when she decided to move to an organic farm in the Sierra National Forest. On this episode, she shares her story. It’s a story about finding your way back to health when modern medicine has failed you. And it’s about learning what it means to love yourself and honor your needs. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Take our audience survey to get a FREE Out There sticker and be entered into a drawing for an REI gift card REFER A FRIEND: Refer friends to the podcast and win rewards SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron
12/2/202135 minutes, 43 seconds
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In the Name of Fairness

On the surface, competing as a runner seems straight forward: the winner of a race is the fastest person from point A to point B, and to progress, you just have to be a better runner than everyone else. Right? Turns out, it’s not so simple. Fairness is a surprisingly complicated concept. On this episode we bring you the story of two athletes — a “ghost runner” from the U.K. and a phenom from Uganda — and we explore how rules meant to ensure fairness can end up excluding some of the best athletes from competitions. Get involved: Take our survey Share this episode Support Out There
11/18/202131 minutes, 32 seconds
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Riding Past Fear

Growing up with a rare bone condition, Will Cox was constantly in and out of hospitals — and constantly fearful of the world around him. The fear eventually took over his life, controlling almost everything he did. And that’s probably the way his future would have played out, had it not been for a mountain bike. On this episode, Tanya Chawla brings us Will’s story. REFER FRIENDS, WIN REWARDS: Sign up for your personal referral link here NEW OUT THERE MERCH: Check it out here SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron  
11/4/202132 minutes, 43 seconds
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Choosing a Line

We often hear that you shouldn’t worry about what society thinks of you — you should chart your own course in life. But that’s easier said than done. What if different parts of you are at odds? How do know if you’ve made a mistake by following your gut? This is a story about learning to trust yourself on a mountain bike, and in life. Share Out There & win rewards! Get your personal referral link here.
10/21/202127 minutes, 58 seconds
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Outskating Your Demons

Molly-Anne Dameron had struggled with severe mental illness her whole life. And, after years of drug addiction, she had recently gotten sober. But — as she puts it — getting sober is "not always f*cking rainbows." She wasn’t sure she was going to make it in sobriety, with the added isolation of the pandemic. So she set out to skate from Maine to New Jersey. SHARE THIS PODCAST, WIN REWARDS: Get your personal referral link here. MERCH SALE: Get 30% off Out There merch with promo code FALL30. Now through Oct. 10, 2021.
10/7/202135 minutes, 25 seconds
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Forest as Pharmacy

Shannon Prince comes from a family with a rich relationship to the natural world. Her Cherokee ancestors were skilled at using plants as medicine. But her family’s eco-literacy had been stripped away over the generations. Yearning to rediscover forgotten knowledge, Shannon traveled across the world to Mongolia, where ancient traditions were more intact. On this episode, she explores the surprising things that can happen to you on a personal level, when you attempt to preserve a way of life that’s slowly disappearing. REFER FRIENDS, WIN REWARDS! Sign up for your personal referral link.
9/23/202133 minutes, 9 seconds
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Trial by Fire

Becky Jensen had given herself the perfect present for her 50th birthday: a two-week solo backpacking trip. But when she emerged from the trail, she learned that a wildfire had started near her home in northern Colorado. Her house might already be gone. On this episode, Becky shares her story. She takes us from the tranquility of the San Juan mountains to a cramped basement where she waited out her evacuation, and explores how you find serenity when a natural disaster threatens everything you’ve built. Refer friends, win rewards! Get your personal referral link here.
9/9/202142 minutes, 52 seconds
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On My Own Terms

After a demoralizing hiking trip in college, Ava Ahmadbeigi gave up on nature. She had never been outdoorsy, and now she knew she didn't belong. But that hiking trip kept haunting her. On this episode, Ava tells her story. She takes us from a cramped apartment in NYC to a mountain in the Adirondacks, as she seeks to find her place — both in her own body, and in the world outside her walls. Click here to read the transcript for this episode. Sign up for our email list and be the first to know about our upcoming referral rewards program! SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron
8/26/202132 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Happy Hustle

A career in the arts is tough. Creative professionals are notoriously overworked and underpaid. Even if you “make it,” it’s easy for your passion to turn into just another stressful job. On this episode, we bring you a story about photographer and skateboarder Khaleeq Alfred, who has been learning how to walk the line between following his dreams and paying the bills. It's a story about getting the compensation you deserve without sacrificing your artistic integrity, and about finding balance between happiness and the hustle. You can read the episode transcript here. Support Out There by becoming a patron today!
8/12/202127 minutes, 45 seconds
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Horse Crazy

On this episode, we talk with Sarah Maslin Nir, author of the book Horse Crazy. Horse Crazy is part memoir and part cultural exploration. It’s a love letter to an animal. It’s a story about the struggle to belong. And it’s a deep dive into the fascinating things that horses — and the humans connected to them — can teach us about ourselves and our society. SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron
7/29/202128 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Bucket List Traveler

Many of us assume that self care is inherently selfish — that we either focus on ourselves, or we help others. But what if that’s a false dichotomy? This story explores how self care can end up being good for the greater community. The story follows a woman named Linda Mohammad, also known as the Bucket List Traveler, who set out to visit all the national parks in the United States. When she started the project, she was just trying to get in shape and unplug from her hectic life. But the experience snowballed into something much bigger, and much more beautiful, than that. EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Click here to read the transcript as you listen. PITCH US A STORY: Story pitches for our upcoming season, "Things I Thought I Knew," are due July 30, 2021. Click here to see our pitch guidelines. HEAR OUR AWARD-WINNING EPISODE: Our episode "A Series of Unlikely Events" won a silver medal in PMJA's annual awards. Listen now. SUPPORT OUT THERE: Help us pay for the beautiful stories you hear on the show.
7/15/202127 minutes, 13 seconds
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Don't Take 'No' for an Answer

My mother always told me I shouldn’t take “no” for an answer. If you don’t get what you want, she said, keep pushing. Growing up, I took that advice to heart: whatever the task at hand, I charged forward with dogged determination. But in 2018, a bicycle accident changed my outlook on what it means to back down, and I started standing up for myself in a new way.   SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron on Patreon
7/1/202127 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Ultimate Outdoorswoman

How Harriet Tubman could change your perspective on who belongs outdoors You probably learned about Harriet Tubman in school growing up — how she led slaves to freedom on the underground railroad. But she was a lot more than an activist and freedom fighter. She was a daughter, wife, entrepreneur — and a talented outdoorswoman. On this episode, we explore Tubman’s relationship with nature; we unpack how that history shapes the way Black Americans engage with the outdoors today; and we show how a closer look at Tubman could offer new perspectives on who belongs outdoors. FOR FURTHER LISTENING: Check out our "Black & Outdoorsy" playlist for stories celebrating Black experiences outdoors Hear the Following Harriet series
6/17/202133 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Thru-Hike of Misery

When Paul Barach embarked on his first thru-hike, he was expecting a life-changing experience. The Shikoku Pilgrimage, which traverses Japan’s most rural island and takes visitors past 88 Buddhist temples, promised to be a spiritual and meditative journey, as well as an epic adventure. But the reality wasn’t so nice. On this episode, Paul tells the story of what happens when the adventure of a lifetime doesn't turn out the way you'd hoped. How do you make peace with the worst parts of hiking, when those parts never end?
6/3/202130 minutes, 6 seconds
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Vulnerability is a Strength

Climbing a mountain can be a lot like coming out. That’s a metaphor filmmaker Devin Fei-Fan Tau explores in his new documentary Who’s On Top. The film follows four LGBTQ climbers who set out to summit Mt. Hood. It explores their connection to nature and their efforts to challenge stereotypes about gender and sexuality — and it offers an inside view into the literal and metaphorical mountains they face. Devin joins us on this episode to talk about it. WATCH THE FILM: Apple TV | Vimeo SUPPORT OUT THERE: Patreon | Venmo | Other
5/20/202130 minutes, 46 seconds
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Running Blind

As more people get vaccinated and the world starts opening up again, many of us are reflecting on the unprecedented isolation we’ve experienced over the past year. Extreme isolation was new for many of us, and we’re looking forward to getting back to normal. But not everyone can escape their aloneness. This is the story of a runner named Luanne Burke, who has been dealing with deep isolation for decades and will continue to experience it, even after much of the world returns to a “new normal.” SUPPORT OUT THERE: Patreon | Venmo | Credit Card
5/6/202125 minutes, 11 seconds
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Why Do We Stay?

In the wake of natural disasters, those affected are faced with a tough decision: do you leave and go somewhere safer, or stay put and try to rebuild your life? How do you navigate that choice? And for those who decide to stay: what seals the deal? Why do we remain in disaster-prone areas, after losing so much? This episode takes us to an island in North Carolina and tells the story of one man who finds himself firmly rooted to place, despite growing environmental threats. FOR FURTHER LISTENING: Check out our playlist "After the Storm," which explores why we live where we live, as the climate warms. SUPPORT OUT THERE: Patreon | Venmo | Credit Card/PayPal
4/22/202131 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Right to Complain

In 2015, Australian journalist James Bennett moved to India, to take up a long-coveted role as a foreign correspondent. James was an outdoorsy type: he liked to cycle, surf, camp, and fish. So he knew the move to India's crowded capital city was going to be hard. What he didn’t realize was how the experience would change his perspective on speaking up about your problems. On this episode, he shares his story. It’s a story that first ran several years ago, but which feels surprisingly relevant again now. Support Out There: Patreon | Venmo | Credit Card
4/8/202137 minutes, 45 seconds
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Introducing the Atlas Obscura Podcast

On this bonus episode, we introduce you to a new podcast we think you'll love. It's called the Atlas Obscura Podcast, and it takes you on an audio journey to discover new, strange, and wondrous places from all over the world. This particular episode is about Pyramiden​, an abandoned Soviet mining town, frozen both in time and in ice. Thanks to its Arctic climate, scientists predict that it will resist decay longer than any other human settlement in modern history.
3/29/20219 minutes, 50 seconds
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When You Close Your Eyes

Explorer Christopher Venter lost his eyesight very suddenly, at age 40. He was an avid traveler, and at first, he couldn’t imagine going on with life, if he couldn’t see. But eventually, he regained the will to live and the courage to explore the world. On this episode, he takes us on a journey from Sicily to Southern France and shows us the world as he experiences it — with his other four senses. The story comes to us from the Armchair Explorer Podcast, a show on which the world’s greatest adventurers tell their best stories from the road. At the end of the episode, we talk with Armchair Explorer host Aaron Millar about his show, and his desire to cure our “wonder deficit,” one story at a time. For Further Reading: You can find Christopher Venter's books here. Support Out There: Patreon | Venmo | Credit Card
3/25/202141 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Confidence to Thrive

On this bonus episode, we take you behind the scenes at Out There and tell you about a challenge that we’re facing as a podcast. It’s a challenge endemic to the professional world, and we need your help in rising to it. (Don't worry: we'll make it easy to get involved). Contribute to the Out There Internship Fund: Venmo | Credit Card
3/18/20219 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Stories We Carry

If there’s anything universal that most long-distance hikers dislike, it’s road walking. Asphalt is hot, tough on joints and tiring. But the edges of roads can offer as many lessons as any alpine ridgeline. On this episode, Kitty Galloway tells the story of something that happened on a highway in Idaho, which shifted her worldview. It’s a story about confronting the narrative that women are vulnerable — victims in the making. And it’s about strength, fear, and learning to accept that two opposing truths can be valid at the same time. For Further Listening: If you enjoy this story, check out the episode "Acceptance." Support Out There: Patreon | Venmo | Credit Card
3/11/202130 minutes, 47 seconds
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Exiled from Ranch Country

Growing up, Heather Kitching was enamored with rural life. She dreamed of living in the countryside, riding horses, wearing cowboy boots, and listening to country music.  But when she got a little older, she learned something about herself that threw a wrench into that dream. She realized that if she was going to be her true self, she’d need to leave behind the place she loved. On this episode, she shares her story. It's a story that first ran a few years ago, but it's just as good now as it was then. For Further Listening: If you enjoy this story, check out the episode "Out of the Shadows." Better outside: What has gotten better since being moved outdoors due to the pandemic? Leave us a voice message, and we might use it on the show! Support Out There: Patreon | Venmo | Credit Card
2/25/202130 minutes, 29 seconds
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Common Ground

Have you found yourself at odds with family members or close friends over diverging values? The past year has dredged up tensions over many issues — from racial justice, to proper pandemic behavior, to a highly politicized presidential election. How do we nurture our relationships with loved ones, when the values that are central to our being are challenged? On this episode, Stephanie Maltarich tells the story of a trip she took with her father in rural Ohio. The week they spent together outdoors highlighted the deep divides that existed in their politics and values, but their conversations around the campfire also laid some groundwork for reconciling with those divides.   If you enjoy this story...check out an episode called "The Truths We Hold." Pandemic silver linings: what has gotten better since being moved outside? Leave us a voice message, and we might play it on the show! Support Out There: Patreon | Venmo | Credit Card
2/11/202125 minutes, 4 seconds
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The Three-Year-Old Thru-Hiker

When Tara Karineh and her husband embarked on a thru-hike with their three-year-old daughter, Acacia, they weren’t sure she’d be able to finish the trail. Acacia regularly went hiking with her parents, but a multi-day backpacking trip took things to a different level. On this episode, Tara tells the story of their attempt of the Trans-Catalina Trail, exploring what it takes for a small child to accomplish something big. If you enjoy this story, check out the episode "Fractured Self," which explores coming to terms with your new identity after becoming a parent. Support Out There Venmo Credit Card / Paypal Patreon
1/28/202127 minutes, 44 seconds
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8 Miles in NYC

When Kelsie Wilkins moved to New York City, she quickly became overwhelmed. She was surrounded by more people than she had ever been around in her life, yet she felt an acute sense of isolation. She had never felt so alone in a crowd. But eventually she did something that helped her belong. It began with a walk, and ended with a sense of connection. On this episode, Kelsie shares her story.   If you enjoy this story, check out the episode "Before It's Too Late."   Help us keep making meaningful stories! Support Out There on Venmo, make a gift via Credit Card or PayPal, or become a monthly supporter on Patreon.
1/14/202126 minutes, 55 seconds
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Nice Guys Can Finish First

On this episode: A story about a cyclist in NYC, which explores how to get what you want — the friendly way. Plus, a vision for an outdoor utopia. In a perfect world, what would the outdoors look like? We hear from outdoor leaders and listeners about their version of perfection in nature. Support Out There
12/31/202029 minutes, 1 second
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Better Than Fun

This year has been a time of profound isolation, and many of us are alone for the holidays. But, hard as it may feel, being alone is not always bad. This episode takes place in the desert in Utah back in 2015, and it explores how something sad and lonely can turn out to be an emotional victory. Support Out There Venmo Credit card / PayPal Patreon
12/24/202021 minutes, 43 seconds
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Back to the Real World

Grand adventures often change us. They help us process complicated emotions and work through our problems. But what if the forward progress is temporary? What if all the good vibes end, when you return to the “real world”? On this episode, Paul Barach shares the story of his Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, and explores the difficult process of going home to a life that looks bleak and broken. If you like this story, check out "The Tools to Thrive." It's a story about a thru-hike on the Camino de Santiago, and it explores whether nature is actually necessary for an emotional reset. Support Out There Make a contribution via Venmo Contribute via PayPal/Credit Card Become a monthly patron
12/17/202030 minutes, 19 seconds
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After Getting Sober

Fresh out of college, Brendan Leonard was an alcoholic. He got sober, but drinking had been his favorite thing. It was what defined him. After alcohol was taken away from him, he didn't know who he was anymore. On this episode, he joins us to talk about the difficult process of creating a new life for himself. For Brendan, that new life came about through rock climbing. And it happened completely by accident. Get featured on our New Years Episode! Click here to send us a message describing your outdoor utopia. How do you feel in it? How is it different from now? If you submit your voice memo by Dec. 16, we might air some or all of it on the show! Support Out There • Become a monthly patron • Make a one-time gift on Venmo
12/10/202028 minutes, 36 seconds
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Passing

When we pass people on the trail, we often exchange quick greetings, recognizing our fellow hikers and showing that we are no threat. But sometimes — whether intentionally or not — the words we share with strangers in the wilderness end up being hurtful, or invasive. Sometimes, these exchanges exacerbate wounds created by a lifetime of discrimination. On this episode, Barbara Jensen shares their experience as a gender-neutral hiker, and invites us to consider adopting a new trail etiquette. Support Out There Make a donation on Venmo Make a donation by Credit Card / Paypal
12/3/202031 minutes, 33 seconds
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Changemakers

On this bonus episode, we talk with Mercy M'fon Shammah, founder of Wild Diversity, about her efforts to make the outdoors safe and welcoming for the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. We discuss how Out There is working to shift the narrative about "outdoorsy." And we discuss how YOU can support fairness — both in nature, and in the workplace.
12/1/202014 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Motherload

Becky Jensen had a lot of things going for her: sweet kids, a caring fiancé, a promising career. But deep down, she wasn't happy. So a few years ago, she left everything (and everyone) behind to thru-hike the Colorado Trail. By herself. On this episode, she shares her story. It's a story about relationships — both with your family, and with yourself. And it's about the surprising things that can happen to those relationships when you do something selfish — something just for you.
11/26/202039 minutes, 31 seconds
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Conservation 2.0

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon and called for the area to be protected. “Leave it as it is,” he said. “You cannot improve on it.” Roosevelt went on to preserve an unprecedented 230 million acres of American land. But many of his achievements came at the expense of indigenous communities; conservation was coupled with genocide. Our guest on this episode is David Gessner, author of the book Leave It As It Is. We discuss Roosevelt's ground-breaking efforts to save wild places, and explore how lessons from the past can help us create a new environmentalism that is more inclusive and just.
11/19/202034 minutes, 33 seconds
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An Unlikely Family

We often assume that scientists are not supposed to fall in love with their research subjects. They’re supposed to remain objective — to keep their feelings and emotions out of their work. Wildlife researcher Joe Hutto did exactly the opposite. Over a decade ago, he embedded himself with a herd of deer in Wyoming. He figured the best way to understand an animal was essentially to become one of them. This is the story of how he did that. It’s a story of love, curiosity, and sadness. And it’s about what happens when the line between fact and feeling becomes blurred. On this episode, we also preview a new series that will highlight individuals and groups who are engaging with the outdoors in thought-provoking ways.   Become a Patron!
11/12/202035 minutes, 27 seconds
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Out of the Shadows

Growing up, Erin Parisi knew she was a girl. But the body she was born with didn’t match. And she didn’t feel safe telling anyone her secret. It wasn’t until decades later that she finally mustered the courage to come out. On this episode, we share Erin's story. It's a story that takes us from a small town in the U.S. to the the top of world's highest mountains, and explores what can happen when you decide to risk everything and become the person you know you are.
10/29/202035 minutes, 6 seconds
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Mr. Fabulous

Derick Lugo was not a typical thru-hiker. A suave, manicured New Yorker, he wasn’t into hiking and had never been camping. But one day, he decided to challenge himself by doing the Appalachian Trail. Derick’s memoir, The Unlikely Thru-Hiker, is a delightfully cheerful account of his journey, and on this episode, he joins us to talk about it. We discuss the warm welcome Derick received on the A.T. as a hiker of color; we talk about how the generosity he experienced on the trail shifted his habits back home; and we share the highly entertaining story behind his trail name. Plus: why you shouldn’t fear stepping outside your comfort zone.
10/15/202027 minutes, 57 seconds
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A Series of Unlikely Events

In 2001, Donna Martino stuck a photo on her fridge. It was a picture from the newspaper of a handsome kayaker paddling through the surf. A few months later, Donna matched with the man on a dating website. The rest is history. We tend to assume that fairytale beginnings are a recipe for disaster. But sometimes, the world serves up a dose of schmaltz. This story, by Out There production intern Aja Simpson, is about what happens when coincidences pile up, and strangers take a chance on each other.
10/1/202027 minutes, 22 seconds
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Under the Radar

Christine Boskoff was a mountaineer who pushed boundaries and set records. She climbed mountains no North American woman had ever summited, and she was the only American woman to have reached the top of six of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks. She was also a well-respected guide. But despite her impressive resume, Chris’s story went largely untold — until this year. This spring, writer Johanna Garton published a book called Edge of the Map, chronicling Chris’s rise in the mountaineering world. Johanna joins us to talk about how Chris got her start, the challenges she faced as a woman in a man’s realm, and the complicated moral questions surrounding her death on a sacred mountain.
9/17/202032 minutes, 1 second
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Different Shades of Fear

When David Klebosky was out in the desert earlier this year, he ended up being shot at. The gunfire wasn’t malicious, but there were bullets coming at him. Yet David didn’t freak out. This kind of response is typical for David; he always seems to remain calm in the face of stress. On this episode, producer Max Wasserman delves into David’s past and explores what makes some of us so unflappable.
9/3/202021 minutes, 35 seconds
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Resilience Through Diversity

As a marine biologist, Colin Howe sees diversity as an indicator of health: the more diverse an ecosystem, the more likely it is to thrive. But while scientists work hard to preserve diversity in the wild, they often fail to achieve it in the workplace. Colin is one of just a handful of Black biologists in the United States. On this episode, we talk with him about pursuing his passion in a predominantly white field. And we discuss what the oceans can teach us about the benefits of diversity.
8/20/202045 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Tools to Thrive

When KC Cheng decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, she imagined it as a kind of therapy. She wanted to feel young and adventurous again, in charge of her own life. Like so many other thru-hikers, she saw a long-distance trek as an opportunity for an emotional reset. But what does a solo adventure really do to a person? Does “getting away from it all” change us in a fundamental way? On this episode, KC shares the story of a surprising realization she made as a result of her pilgrimage.
8/6/202022 minutes, 36 seconds
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Black and Outdoorsy

If you attended a predominantly white college or university, there was probably an outdoors program on campus. And it was likely composed of mostly white people. If you went to a historically Black college or university, chances are, there was no outdoor program. And you probably grew up hearing that the outdoors was for white people. On this episode, we talk with outdoor adventurer and educator Ron Griswell about his efforts to close the adventure gap. We share the story of how Ron became a leader in the outdoor industry; we discuss the barriers that keep many people of color from engaging in outdoor adventures; and we talk about the ways that Black joy can help combat racist narratives. What does "Black Joy" mean to you? Send us a voice message here, and we might air it on the show!
7/23/202050 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Sweetness of Suffering

Everyone suffers. Sometimes it’s obvious; other times it’s less visible. But it’s inevitable that we’ll suffer at some point in our lives. And typically, we hate it. But what if hardships serve a purpose? What if the struggles we try so hard to avoid could actually enhance our lives? On this episode, Megan McLaughlin takes us from Big Bend National Park to the forests of Arkansas, and explains how she has found sweetness, both in miserable outdoor experiences, and in a cancer diagnosis.   Become a Patron!
7/9/202022 minutes, 58 seconds
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Acceptance

Growing up in an emotionally abusive household, Meg Atteberry yearned for her parents’ approval. But no matter how hard she tried, the message was always the same: you are not enough. The emotional scars from her upbringing lingered long into adulthood. Then one day, Meg took a dangerous fall while rock climbing. The brush with death resulted in fresh trauma. But in the aftermath of the accident, something surprising started to happen. On this episode, Meg shares the story of how a freak accident changed her relationship with climbing, and with her parents. Support Out There Become a patron Make a gift on Venmo
6/25/202027 minutes, 49 seconds
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Alex Honnold's Mother

Dierdre Wolownick is the oldest woman to have climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. She’s also a teacher, a musician, a marathon runner — and the mother of renowned rock climber Alex Honnold. On this episode, we talk with Dierdre about what it was like raising a kid like Alex. We discuss her efforts to keep Alex safe as a child, without stifling his love for climbing. We talk about the difference between risk and consequence. And we explore Dierdre’s own journey to becoming a climber, and how learning about her son’s passion changed their relationship.
6/18/202031 minutes, 44 seconds
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Becoming Better Allies

Black Lives Matter. The events that have been unfolding over the past few weeks have made it very clear that all of us need to be doing much more to actively fight racism. One of the ways that Out There can help is to use our platform to amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The outdoors should be a place where anyone can go, without fearing violence, harassment, or discrimination. On this episode, we talk about what we, as a podcast, commit to doing, to become part of the solution rather than adding to the problem.
6/11/202010 minutes, 35 seconds
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Birding While Black

The events that have been unfolding across the United States over the past weeks have driven home once again that simply existing carries risks if you have dark skin. Many of us like to think that nature is an equalizer — a place to escape the injustices of society. But it’s not so simple. On this bonus episode, producer Jackie Sojico bring you a story that first aired several years ago. It’s about ornithologist and birder Drew Lanham and his quest to pursue his passion outdoors as a POC.
6/4/202018 minutes, 29 seconds
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Vanlife and COVID

Amber McDaniel lives on the road full-time. She and her partner are both freelance writers, so working remotely isn’t a problem for them. And they love the freedom to spend their days in America’s most beautiful natural places. But what happens to van lifers when a pandemic hits? Where do you go, when campgrounds and public lands start to close? On this episode, Amber joins us to talk about “staying home” when you don’t have a home. Become a Patron!
5/28/202022 minutes, 17 seconds
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Beginners

On this bonus episode, we bring you tales from Out There’s live storytelling night earlier this month. Each story touches on the theme of being a beginner in the outdoors: Ashley White shares the story of his son’s injury on their first-ever backpacking trip together Jessica Taylor explores the lessons she’s learning as she transitions from life in a house to a life on the road Natasha Buffo reflects on the intertwined experiences of falling in love with backpacking, and losing a parent Support Out There
5/21/202034 minutes, 2 seconds
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Going It Alone

Melanie Chambers loved traveling alone. So when she set off on a four-month solo bicycle trip through Japan and Korea, she wasn’t worried. But almost immediately, loneliness set in. On this episode, Melanie shares her story. It’s a story of trying to prove yourself, of discovering the limits of your independence, and of making sense of a worldview that prizes self sufficiency.   Watch our live show Participate in our scavenger hunt Become a patron
5/14/202026 minutes, 50 seconds
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BONUS: A Sneak Peak at our Live Show

When Out There turned five earlier this year, we promised to throw a party. That party is happening tomorrow, in the form of a live storytelling night. The theme for the evening is “beginners,” and five storytellers from across the country will share personal tales of first times in the outdoors. On this bonus episode, we give you a taste of what you can expect if you join us. Click here to register for the event!
5/6/20204 minutes, 18 seconds
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Coping with Cancelled Dreams

Susan Conrad was supposed to begin a three-month expedition up the Inside Passage on May 16. But like so many plans that have been derailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, her voyage has been cancelled. On this episode, we talk with Susan about how she’s coping with a disappointment of this magnitude. Support Out There
4/30/202026 minutes, 56 seconds
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Lessons from the Trail

On this episode, we share a story from the podcast Shelter in Place, about a backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail. The story takes us into the mountains of California and explores the parallels between hiking in the wilderness and adapting to a life of social distancing. We also chat with Shelter in Place Host Laura Joyce Davis about how producing a daily podcast is helping her ward off depression and find bright spots amidst the hardship. Click here to support Out There
4/23/202030 minutes, 37 seconds
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My Childhood Tribe

For Ben Montoya, summer camp was more than just a place to play outside: it was his community, his tribe. As a teenager, he remained friends with fellow campers. And as a college student, he taught at the same camp he had attended as a child. But in grad school in New York City, he started feeling the need to wean himself off the camp community. He told himself it was time to grow up. Then Coronavirus struck. Quarantined in a basement with flu-like symptoms, Ben began to re-evaluate the role that community plays in our lives. On this episode, he shares his story. Support Out There In times of uncertainty, listener contributions matter more than ever. If you have a stable income, please consider becoming a patron of Out There. Become a Patron!
4/16/202024 minutes, 48 seconds
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For the Greater Good

The wilderness might seem like a good place to hide out during a pandemic. But the organizations that care for many of the nation’s long-distance trails are asking thru-hikers to cancel their trips this year. The concern is that hikers could spread COVID-19 to communities along the trails when they stop to resupply. On this episode, we talk with two hikers who have cancelled their trips: Maggie Slepian, managing editor at The Trek, and Allison Gonzalez, who aborted her thru-hike of the Arizona Trail after just one week. We talk about the ethical considerations that went into their decisions, the emotional impact of giving up a potentially life-changing journey, and some silver linings from the situation.
4/2/202025 minutes, 23 seconds
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Geology of the Heart

When we lose a loved one, we often experience competing emotions and urges. On the one hand, we cling desperately to memories and mementos; on the other hand, we strive to “move on.” Balancing the two can be tough. On this episode, journalist Matthew Schneeman brings us the story of a fatal accident, and of one woman’s efforts to preserve the memories of her fiancee. It’s a story that takes us from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone, and explores how you can remember someone, while still moving forward.
3/19/202034 minutes, 44 seconds
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Skiing Without Snow

When Elizabeth Miller teaches kids to ski, her goal is to introduce them to the joy of winter. But lately, she’s been wondering whether it’s cruel to help children fall in love with something they’re about to lose. With climate change threatening to shorten ski seasons by as much as three-fourths in some parts of the country, winter could become a rare commodity. On this episode, Elizabeth explores the merits of introducing children to natural wonders they won’t be able to enjoy as grownups.
3/5/202025 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Freeze Response

When Kristina Marcelli Sargent was nine years old, her father was struck by lightning. Immobilized by fear, she watched helplessly, wanting to help but unable to make herself move. As she grew older, Kristina found herself freezing up over and over again in scary situations. Then one day, a hike in the mountains changed everything. On this episode, Kristina shares her story. It’s a story about how we react to fear — and about what happens when our natural responses don’t serve us.
2/20/202019 minutes, 19 seconds
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Brain on Nature

In 2015, Sarah Allely was hit by a car while riding her bike. She suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, and in the ensuing weeks and months, she found it impossible to function normally. Only one thing seemed to help: spending time in nature. Now, several years later, Sarah has turned her experience into a documentary podcast series called Brain on Nature. On this episode, we share an excerpt from her show and talk with her about why nature is so important for the brain — for all of us.
2/6/202042 minutes, 51 seconds
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Everest for a Sherpa Teen

Stories about Mt. Everest usually focus on the people trying to summit the mountain. But what about life for those who live near the world’s highest peak? Journalist Adam Popescu first went to Everest to report for the BBC, but while there, he realized that there was a deeper story he wanted to tell. And he needed fiction to tell it. On this episode, we talk with Adam about his debut novel, Nima, which is about a 17-year-old Sherpa woman trapped between tradition and ambition.
1/23/202024 minutes, 53 seconds
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Critical Learning Period

How do we learn to communicate with one another? On this episode, Oregon-based writer Chelsea Biondolillo shares an essay from her new book, The Skinned Bird. It’s about songbirds learning to sing, and humans learning to speak, and the complicated web of causality that shapes the way we interact with others.
1/9/202031 minutes, 57 seconds
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Double or Nothing

Have you ever dreamed of dropping everything to live in a remote cabin somewhere? Waking up to the smell of pine trees? Listening to the river from a rocking chair on the front porch? Growing up, Becky Jensen wanted to be a writer, and she wanted to live in a little cabin in the woods. But then, real life happened, and her childhood aspirations faded. On this episode, Becky takes us on an 18-year journey from life-threatening pregnancy to new motherhood, from marriage to divorce, from an existence centered around kids to a dogged pursuit of her own individuality. Her story is about fledging the metaphorical nest, reconsidering neglected dreams, and redefining who you are.
12/26/201936 minutes, 23 seconds
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Panic on a Country Road

Growing up, Lara McCaffrey loved going outside. But then one day, something happened that left her with a chilling fear of driving into the countryside. The open spaces she knew so well came to fill her with dread. Over time, things only got worse. On this episode, Lara shares her story. It’s a story about a paralyzing anxiety — and about the struggle to lead a “normal” life, when you feel too fragile to function.
12/12/201926 minutes, 36 seconds
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Social Creatures

Allison Fowle has always been an introvert. So the idea of spending an entire summer in the wilderness was highly appealing. But during her time in the mountains of Idaho, she began to rethink her appetite for solitude. On this episode, she shares the story of her final days in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. During those final days, something happened that shook her to the core and changed her thinking on “alone time.”
11/28/201936 minutes, 29 seconds
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Firefighting While Female

Linda Strader was one of the first women to become a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. Her book Summers of Fire documents that experience, and she joins me on this episode to talk about it. We explore what it was like entering a male-dominated field in the 1970s, and we talk about the tough realization that being liked is not the same as being respected.
11/14/201934 minutes, 46 seconds
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More Honest

When Benjamin Drachman announced that he wanted to keep an audio journal during his thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, his sister Julia saw an opportunity: Why not make it into a podcast? Benjamin agreed to send her his recordings — all of them. The resulting podcast is called The Attempt. Each episode, Julia weaves together highlights from Benjamin’s journal, to create a narrative about his journey. It’s a deeply personal account of a long-distance backpacking trip — one that makes you laugh, and cringe, and reflect on your own life choices. On this episode of Out There, we give you a taste of The Attempt, and we talk with Julia about what it’s like telling such an intimate story about a sibling.
10/31/201934 minutes, 17 seconds
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The 'Privilege' to Choose

When Fran Turauskis set off to hike the Camino de Santiago, she was frustrated by her lack of options. She had picked the trail because it was one of the only thru-hikes she felt she could safely undertake, given that she had epilepsy. But what if a lack of options can actually be helpful? On this episode, Fran shares her story. It's a story of coming terms with — and learning to appreciate — limitations.
10/17/201929 minutes, 52 seconds
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Redefining Adventure

When we talk about adventure, we often think of extreme endeavors. But what actually is an adventure? And why do some of us seek them out? On this episode, we talk with Alastair Humphreys, author of the book My Midsummer Morning. After a lifetime of chasing traditional adventures, Alastair wanted a different sort of challenge. So he set off on a journey across Spain, with the intention of earning his keep through busking. The trip was simultaneously safer and scarier than anything he’d done before, and it changed his view on what adventure means.
10/3/201935 minutes, 23 seconds
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How to Belong

Wendy Villalta has spent most of her life trying to fit in. Her biological parents are immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, but at age 10, she was put into foster care and was later adopted by a white, Jewish family. So it’s no no surprise that her sense of identity took a while to solidify. Most of us have had moments in our lives, when we felt we don’t belong. But what happens when you finally figure it out, only to realize that society doesn’t agree with you? How important is external validation? Victoria Marin brings us the story.
9/19/201922 minutes, 21 seconds
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Too Poor to Dream?

Many people talk about the outdoors as an inexpensive place to play — a place where you don’t need money to have fun. But how true is that? This episode comes to us from a woman named Charlsie Shaver, who yearns to build a life outdoors, but hasn't yet managed to do so. Her story explores what it means to dream, and what it takes to make a change in your life.
9/5/201932 minutes, 23 seconds