Kaleen Torbiak has tried to kill herself many times. She grew up in a troubled family, spent years struggling with depression, and was convinced that the world would be better off without her.
But one November day in 2015, everything changed. That day, Kaleen walked into the woods, determined to end her life -- and came out a few days later fighting to live.
On this episode, reporter Heather Kitching explores what happened during those fateful days. The story gives us a glimpse into one woman's tortured mind, and examines what it takes to make a person want to live again.
Charles Foster has been fascinated with animals for as long as he can remember. He wants to know what makes them tick, how they experience the world, what they dream about.
This curiosity has been all-consuming for Charles since childhood. It's a curiosity that began with a blackbird in a Yorkshire garden, and eventually resulted in a radical experiment -- an attempt to "become" a badger.
On this episode, Brooklyn-based reporter Kaitlyn Schwalje brings us Charles' story. It's a story about obsessive curiosity, and about the surprising things that can happen when you never stop asking questions.
What's it like doing something that People Like You almost never do?
This week, we introduce you to another outdoor podcast we think you'll love: She Explores. We chat with the host, Gale Straub, and share her thought-provoking interview with Rahawa Haile, a black woman who thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016.
Rahawa is an Eritrean-American writer, and author of the essay “How Black Books Lit My Way Along the Appalachian Trail,” which was published on Buzzfeed.
As one of the few black women to thru hike in 2016, Rahawa talks about how her experience is different than the “typical” hiker. She explains that despite popular belief and best intentions, the Appalachian Trail isn’t a great equalizer.
Outdoor adventures have a remarkable ability to instill a sense of confidence in us.
In 2009, Jackie Sofia went on a trip that did just that. It was a cross-country bike ride, which she was undertaking with dozens of other riders.
When she set off, Jackie was shy and socially anxious -- terrified by what she was about to do. Four thousand miles later, she had been forced out of her shell and fallen in love with risk taking. It was a transformation that would shape the course of her next few years, emboldening her to go places and achieve things she never would have dreamed of in the past. Suddenly, the world was full of possibilities.
But what happens when that newfound confidence gets shattered -- when you realize you might not be invincible?
On this episode, Jackie shares her story.
When Bernadette Murphy flew to an island in the South Pacific, her friends thought she was indulging in an extended tropical vacation. But the three months she spent on the Island of Mo'orea were anything but relaxing.
In the past two years, Bernadette had lost her father, left her marriage, and sent her youngest child off to college. Now, she was struggling to reassemble the shattered bits of her existence. As it turns out, fleeing to a tropical Paradise wasn't an instant cure for her problems.
But when she signed up for a half marathon, things started to change.
On this episode, Bernadette shares the story of what happened. It's a story about running a race. But more than that, it's about midlife reinvention -- about learning how to belong, after you've given up life as you knew it.
For Matt Miller, cycling was golden. It was his exercise, his commute, and his therapy. When he was in the saddle, troubles seemed to melt away, and he felt free -- completely, utterly free.
So when he set out for a cross-country bike tour the summer after graduating college, he thought it would be the adventure of a lifetime. And for a while, it was. But then, something happened that turned his world upside down.
Producer Bianca Taylor brings us Matt’s story. It’s a story about how we define ourselves, and even distract ourselves, with the thing we most love to do. And it looks at what happens to us when that thing is taken away.
Becky Jensen had a lot of things going for her: sweet kids, a caring fiance, a promising career. But deep down, she wasn't happy. So last summer, she left everything (and everyone) behind to do a 500-mile hike 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.
When evolutionary biologist Brian Barber first heard that some stuffed birds had been found at a Wyoming high school, he didn't think much of it. But as luck would have it, the mysterious collection would turn out to be a goldmine. On this episode, we tell the story of a treasure trove of forgotten specimens that could help with scientific breakthroughs decades or centuries down the road. The story takes us from the prairies of Wyoming in the 1960s to a fancy research facility today, and shows the surprising things that can come about from a project that started on someone’s kitchen table.
Stories about the outdoors often focus on extremes: the fastest runners, the strongest climbers, people who set records and accomplish the impossible. But what about the rest of us?
On this episode, a PhD student named Ryan Haupt shares what it's like trying to enjoy the outdoors, when you're not a pro. It's a story about "in" group and "out" group -- about trying to keep up in a community where everyone is more skilled and experienced than you -- about feeling like an impostor in your own backyard. And ultimately, it's a story that asks: Who is the outdoors for?
In honor of mother's day, we're sharing stories from you - our listeners - about your mothers, and how they've influenced your relationship with the outdoors.
Three years ago, folk singer Joel Shupack set off from Portland, Oregon on his bicycle. The plan was to ride across the entire U.S., all the way to New Hampshire.
Joel's dream was to escape a life that wasn’t filling him up. He wanted to travel, to give himself space to think, to make sense out of things.
On this episode, he shares his story. It’s a story about leaving behind a comfortable life at home, in order to follow your heart. It shows us what a cross-country bike tour is really like – not just the glamorous idea, but the tough reality. And finally, it’s a story about figuring out how to belong.
Two friends set out one March morning with an inflatable raft, a camouflage tent ... and a ridiculous idea. They plan to paddle the Bronx River, all the way from Valhalla to New York City. It's the kind of trip that no one even talks about attempting.
On this episode, in honor of Earth Day, we share their story. It's a story about the trials and tribulations of exploring forgotten bits of wilderness: the places where nature and civilization meet. Places where people are not meant to go. It's also an intimate socio-environmental portrait of a waterway -- a reminder of just how much our surroundings can show us about ourselves.
Pace University Professor Brice Particelli brings us the story.
We’ve gotten a lot of new listeners in the past few months, so this week, we're playing a story that some of you may have missed. It ran back in 2015, when the show was still very new, and it won a national award last year.
The story is about a 70-mile mountain bike race called the Laramie Enduro. I've always liked big athletic challenges, but signing up for this race turned out to be a big mistake. This is the story of that mistake. It's a story about trying to prove yourself, about testing what you're capable of, and ultimately about learning when to say no.
Many of us put science and religion into separate boxes, assuming they're mutually exclusive. But what if it isn't that simple?
On this episode, producer Maya Kroth brings us a story about something that happened on a beach in Mexico, which cast one psychologist's understanding of the world into question. It’s a story about uncertainty -- about the eerie coincidences in life that can’t really be explained through science. And finally, it’s a story about losing your best friend.
Many of us spend a lot of time and energy striving for equality -- equality between men and women, rich and poor, gay and straight, Christian and Muslim.
But what does it mean for a society to truly be equal? What would that actually look like? Could we do it? And would we actually want to live that way?
Last summer, Brooklyn-based producer Katrin Redfern traveled to Tanzania to look for answers, visiting one of the few truly egalitarian societies on the planet.
On this episode, she shares her story.
To celebrate, we're sharing some of our favorite moments from stories we've aired over the past two years.
We'll also give you a sneak peak at upcoming episodes, invite you to a party, and offer a special birthday discount on Out There t-shirts and hoodies.
When Myles Osborne set out to climb Mt. Everest, he knew he was up against a dangerous mountain. What he didn't consider was that it might not be his own life on the line.
On this episode, producer Phoebe Flanigan brings us Myles' story. It's a story about what happens when your personal goals are pitted against the life of another person. And it's about how we make the toughest of moral decisions: whether or not to help someone who's nearly dead.
Producer Jackie Sojico brings us a story about a man who doesn’t fit the description of a traditional “outdoorsman.” It’s a story about trying to do something you love, when you don’t look the part. And it's about making space for yourself in a world that excludes you.
Colorado-based writer Stacey McKenna shares a story about love, fear, and what happens when you don’t share your partner’s obsession.
Sam Anderson lives in New York City, and for most of his life, it never occurred to him to go hunting. But last year, at his father's request, he decided to give it a try.
Sam had no idea whether he'd actually be able to bring himself to pull the trigger. And he wondered: if he did manage to take the life of an animal, what would that say about him? How would it change him?
On this episode, he shares his story.
Brooklyn-based writer Rebecca Worby first visited Moab in 2011. The small Utah town, surrounded by some of the country's most stunning desert landscapes, stole her heart immediately. But Rebecca's love affair with Moab was complicated, because her real life was rooted thousands of miles away, in New York City.
On this episode, she shares her story. It’s a story about falling in love -- with a place, and maybe also with a person. And it's about the difficult question of whether you should live in the place you love.
Emily Stewart always wanted to be a singer. It was her deepest wish, her strongest desire. Growing up, she doggedly pursued a career in the opera. But part way through college, she came to a startling realization.
On this episode, producer David Waters brings us her story. It's a story about what happens when you discover you don't really want the thing you've always wanted. And it's about escaping a career you thought would make you happy, and moving towards a life that actually does.
Tune in to hear what's in store for Out There in the coming months. Plus, a special message for Giving Tuesday.
Across the country, communities are running out of landfill space -- and running out of money to deal with their trash. But recently, some cities have been responding with creative new plans. From Durham, North Carolina, reporter Rebecca Martinez brings us the story of one community's quest to turn its problems into an asset.
Fresh out of college, Brendan Leonard was an alcoholic. A total mess.
And -- spoiler alert -- 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 me to talk about the difficult process of creating a new life for himself. For Brendan, that new life came about in the outdoors, through rock climbing. And it happened completely by accident.