Out There

Out There is a podcast that explores big questions through intimate stories in the great outdoors.
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Mar 15, 2018

When Mary Roberts went on a backpacking trip in New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains, she was looking for an epiphany — a vision that would help her sort out her troubled marriage and pull her back into happiness.

What happened out in the wilderness wasn't at all what she'd expected or hoped. The "vision" she got (if that's what you'd call it) was as perplexing as it was disturbing, and it seemed to have nothing to do with the problems she was trying to solve.

But as she would come to learn, sometimes it's the most perplexing events that affect us most profoundly.

On this episode, Mary shares her story.

Mar 1, 2018

When it comes to making decisions, we often know what we should do. But then there's that little voice, urging you to throw caution to the wind. What happens when we give into that voice - when we make a decision that's clearly irrational - that everyone tells us is a mistake?

This is a story about young love, a cross-country road trip, and a tough question: whether you should follow your head or your heart.

Feb 15, 2018

When Bassam Tarazi set out to hike the 23-mile Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire, he wasn't worried. It was a nice summer day, he had a lifetime of mountaineering experience behind him, and compared to his other outdoor conquests, this would be easy.

But over the course of the next few hours, he would come to realize what a dangerous miscalculation he had made. It was a miscalculation that would scare him to the point of tears and would cause him question the value of his own confidence.

On this episode, he shares his story. It's a story about what happens when your inner teenager takes over -- when you cross the invisible line between confidence and cockiness.

Feb 1, 2018

Michael King was homeless, depressed, and drinking. Tabor was a lost, injured and hungry. One rainy night in Portland, Oregon, the two found each other.

Even though Michael had nothing to offer -- no money, no shelter -- he rescued the little cat. And she adopted him. 

On this episode, we talk with writer Britt Collins, who wrote a book chronicling their story. It's a story of love and tenderness, and of the surprising things that can happen when those who have nothing left to give, decide to give anyway.

Jan 18, 2018

Throughout most of her life, whenever things weren't going well, Susan Conrad's tendency was to run. She ran from one problem to the next, one job to the next, one man to the next. 

But seven years ago, she embarked on a trip that would change all that. She decided to kayak the Inside Passage, a 1,200-mile coastal route from Washington State to Alaska -- by herself.

On this episode, she shares her story. It's a story of a troubled past, and of a journey that changed the way she approaches life -- a journey that taught her patience, and showed her how to appreciate where she is -- right here, and right now.

Jan 4, 2018

On this episode, we bring you excerpts from an episode of Wild Ideas Worth Living, a podcast about people who have wild ideas and do them anyway.

We talk with host Shelby Stanger about her choice to give up a stable career in order to pursue her passion and launch her show. And we bring you excerpts from her interview with Rob Greenfield, a man who has created a life he loves through living with less.

Rob lives on $5,000 a year -- voluntarily. He has no credit card, no bills to pay; and he's undertaken challenges like producing zero waste while biking across the country.

Dec 21, 2017

When we lose a loved one, distracting ourselves can sometimes make grieving easier. We dive into work, school, hobbies — anything to keep our minds busy.

This often helps dull the pain. But it can also make you forget things you didn't think you could, like what your loved one looked or sounded like. And when you forget things like that, it’s almost worse than being sad.

Writer Lara McCaffrey had such an experience, and on this episode, she shares her story. It’s a story about trying to heal yourself in the wake of a devastating loss—and about the struggle to dull the pain, without losing that special connection with the person you’ve lost.

Dec 7, 2017

Mari Andrew was leading a charmed existence. At 30 years old, she had a book deal, was living in Spain, learning Flamenco, and making a living through her art.

And then one day, she came down with a mysterious disease. A disease that would turn Mari's life on its head.

The illness kept her hospitalized for a month -- and disabled long after that. It took her away from the things she loved and shattered her sense of identity.

But it also resulted in something unexpected: a relationship with the natural world that was as powerful as it was surprising.

Producer Greta Weber brings us Mari's story.

Nov 28, 2017

On this episode, we preview some of the stories we have in the works, share feedback from you (our listeners), and introduce you to the people behind the scenes at Out There.

We also offer a vision for the future. We talk about what we want to build with Out There, what kind of company we hope to become, and how you fit into that picture.

Also, because it's Giving Tuesday, we're asking for your help in supporting Out There. Support comes in all different forms -- whether it's making a donation, writing us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, recommending the show to others, or buying Out There swag (which, by the way, is 20% off today; listen to the episode for the discount code!)

We are continually humbled by the kind words and generous contributions we receive from listeners, and we can't thank you enough for your support. Here's to many wonderful years to come!

Nov 16, 2017

Journalist Maya Kroth was in Mexico City this fall, when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck.

Hundreds of people died; it was the deadliest quake in a generation. But in the weeks after the earthquake, Maya watched something happen out in the streets of Mexico City that made her think about disasters a little differently. 

As she would learn, tragedy has a way of bringing out the best in people -- a way of weaving us together into a giant invisible tapestry, held together by our common humanity.

Nov 2, 2017

Becky Jensen was that girl with the acne and the crooked teeth. The girl who always felt she had to hide, in order to be accepted.

As she grew older, even though her complexion improved, the emotional scars persisted. But last year, on a backpacking trip in Colorado, something happened that changed how Becky sees herself. 

On this episode, she shares that story. It's a story about one of those tiny moments that ends up having a profound impact on our lives. And it's about learning to accept your own beauty.

Oct 19, 2017

Two years ago, I made a plan for how to rekindle my happiness.

A smothering melancholy had settled over my life at the time: I was reeling from the disintegration of a long-term relationship, and had been working myself to the bone as I struggled to start my own business. So I planned out a 500-mile bicycle trip through the mountains of Idaho.

I figured a tough solo adventure would clear my mind and wrench me out of my gloom. What I hadn't bargained for, was that the trip would break me.

On this episode, I share the story of what happened. It's a story about planning, and failing. And it's about learning to let go, and allowing the universe steer you in the right direction.

Oct 5, 2017

New York City isn't known for being bike friendly. The streets are busy, drivers are impatient, and pedestrians often clog the bike lanes. So if you're a cyclist, it often seems like raising your voice is the only way to get anywhere.

But last New Years, something happened on the Brooklyn Bridge that changed the way one New Yorker thinks about biking in the city. The man's name is Noam Osband, and on this episode, he shares his story. It's a story about how we communicate with strangers -- and about how to get what you want.

Sep 21, 2017

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.

Sep 7, 2017

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.

Aug 17, 2017

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.

Aug 3, 2017

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.

Jul 20, 2017

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.

Jul 6, 2017

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.

Jun 15, 2017

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.

Jun 1, 2017

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.

May 18, 2017

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?

May 14, 2017

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.

May 4, 2017

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.

Apr 22, 2017

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.

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