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.
Growing up, Heather Kitching loved the countryside. She loved the rolling hills, the open fields, the horses, country music. And she dreamed of a home in a close-knit small town, with a rocking chair on the porch and wide open spaces all around.
But there was a problem: Heather was gay. And that wasn't OK in her rural utopia.
On today's episode, Heather shares her story. It's a story about what happens when the place you love becomes your enemy. And it's a story about abandoning an important part of you, in order to build a life where you fit in.
Lynn Downey first fell for Fred Loring when she discovered a photo of him amongst some archives in a small town in Arizona. Her crush led her on a journey across the American West, and through time.
On this episode, she shares her story. It's a story about exploration -- about what drives us leave the comfort of home and venture into the unknown -- and about the timeless thirst for discovery.
When we think about weapons, we usually think of guns and bombs and swords -- military instruments. But in his book "Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle," beetle biologist Doug Emlen gives us an inside look at the weapons that animals use: things like horns and tusks and claws.
The book combines science and military history to show just how much we can learn about our own wars and arms races, by understanding the way animals fight. Emlen joins us on this episode to talk about it.
In the five months he spent on the trail, Chilton made friends with fellow hikers, pushed himself to exhaustion, delighted in the natural splendor of the American West and got a taste for what it's like to live life as a vagabond.
In some ways, he learned lessons you'd expect someone to learn on a trip like this, like how to rely on himself in the wilderness. But the trail did something else to him too -- something quite unexpected. On this episode, he shares his story.
Last spring, Jordan Wirfs-Brock attempted one of the toughest trail running races in existence: a 550-miler called Infinitus. Jordan wasn't new to ultra running, but this race was more extreme than anything she'd done before. And it broke her; she failed to finish. Curiously, though, the failure didn't leave her feeling defeated. In fact, it turned out to be one of the best things that's ever happened to her. On this episode, she shares her story.
When we talk about the outdoors, we often think of places that are wild and untouched. But even in cities, there's a world outside our walls. On this episode, New York-based writer Jessica Gross recounts how a simple experiment changed the way she sees the urban outdoors.
On this episode, writer-philosopher-entomologist Jeff Lockwood shares an essay that was inspired by his work as a grasshopper killer. The story takes us out into the grasslands, and grapples with a child's question about just when it is moral to kill other animals.
This is a story about relationships, and in particular, how to take a relationship to the next level. Some couples try to accomplish that with marathon all-night conversations. Or maybe they dash off on a trip together. Houston-based reporter Laura Isensee took a different approach with her boyfriend: they decided to bike 150 miles together. This is their story.
Last summer, writer Erin Jones set out to hike the Colorado Trial, a 500-mile footpath through the Rocky Mountains.
Erin was pursuing her master's degree, and as is so often the case for grad students, her future seemed uncertain. She felt powerless, oppressed by adulthood. And so, she decided to hike. The journey, she hoped, would help her find out what she wanted, allow her soul to unfurl.
But it didn't work out that way. On this episode, Erin shares the story of her hike -- the story of what happens when you strive for something big, and fail.