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Out There: A Podcast About The Outdoors

Out There is a podcast that explores big questions through intimate stories in the great outdoors.
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Out There: A Podcast About The Outdoors
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Oct 13, 2016

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. 

Sep 8, 2016

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. 

Aug 11, 2016

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.

Jul 14, 2016

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.

Jun 9, 2016

In the Spring of 2015, writer Chilton Tippin quit his job and set off on the Continental Divide Trail, a 3,000-mile hiking route that runs from Mexico to Canada along the Rocky Mountains. 

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.

May 12, 2016

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.

Apr 14, 2016

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.

Mar 10, 2016

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.

Feb 11, 2016

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.

Jan 14, 2016

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.

Dec 10, 2015

Tranquility; meditation; serenity. These are words that many of us might use to describe what we feel when we’re in the woods. But for Tiara Lin, a different word comes to mind: terror. Since she was a teen, Tiara has had botanophobia—a crippling fear of plants. Most people laugh in disbelief when she first tells them that such a phobia exists. But the laughter stops when they see her dissolve into panic near a tree, or when they hear that she has broken up with boyfriends for sending her flowers.

On this episode, reporter Chelsea Davis brings us Tiara’s story. It’s a story about a fear so powerful that it disrupts how you function in society. And it’s a story about the struggle to overcome that fear – to experience nature the way others do.

Nov 12, 2015

This summer, I signed up for a 70-mile mountain bike race called the Laramie Enduro. I've always liked big athletic challenges, like triathlons and half marathons. But this race was different. This time, pushing my limits turned out to be a big mistake. On today's episode, I share the story of that mistake. It's a story about trying to prove yourself, about testing what you're capable of. And ultimately, it's about learning when to say no.

Oct 8, 2015

On Episode 5, a scientist named Trista Vick-Majors shared a first-person account of her team's quest to find out if there's life, deep beneath the ice in Antarctica. After the story aired, several listeners asked to know more about the discoveries that Trista and her colleagues had made. So we invited her back on the show.

In this episode, Trista explains how tiny organisms cling to life in one of the least hospitable places on the planet.

Sep 10, 2015

Last year, I quit my job, packed everything I needed into a backpack, and started walking. The plan was to thru-hike the Colorado Trail, a long-distance footpath through the Rocky Mountains.

I was a total novice at backpacking, but I craved an escape from the daily grind of work and life. And so, I decided to escape from society for a summer and head to the wilderness.

In this episode, poet Amy Strieter interviews me about the hike, and how it changed both my career path, and my mental health. 

Aug 13, 2015

This spring, I found myself in a lonely situation: I craved a vacation (and actually had time for one), but I had no one to go with. This is the story of what transpired -- how I turned a social failure into an emotional victory.

Jul 9, 2015

What happens when something you love keeps hurting you? Many of the activities that draw us to the outdoors are inherently risky, and millions of sports injuries are documented in the U.S. each year. On this episode, Denver-based reporter Dan Boyce shares a personal story about pushing onward, injury after injury. And we talk with a sports psychologist about the challenges -- and merits -- of giving up a sport that has come to define you.

Jun 11, 2015

What should conservation look like, in a world where people have affected every inch of the planet? Environmental writer Emma Marris, author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, joins us to discuss a new approach to caring for the earth. She argues that we shouldn't just focus on preserving "pristine" wilderness -- shouldn't try to freeze every landscape in time. Instead, she says, we need to celebrate and foster change.

May 14, 2015

Antarctica is dotted with a series of lakes buried deep beneath the ice. Several years ago, scientists set out to discover whether those subglacial lakes contain life. Team member Trista Vick-Majors joins us to offer a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at what it’s like to work in one of the most extreme places on the planet – a place so remote and unforgiving that failure seems imminent every step of the way.

Apr 9, 2015

Out There is a podcast about the outdoors--from your window box and garden, to the fields on the edge of town, to the forests, prairies, seashores, and wilderness.  On the show, we explore our relationship with nature, through stories, interviews, essays, and even some fiction. We travel around the U.S. and the world, with tales of love and heartbreak, passion and adversity, desperation and triumph.

Mar 12, 2015

Out There is a podcast about the outdoors--from your window box and garden, to the fields on the edge of town, to the forests, prairies, seashores, and wilderness.  On the show, we explore our relationship with nature, through stories, interviews, essays, and even some fiction. We travel around the U.S. and the world, with tales of love and heartbreak, passion and adversity, desperation and triumph.

Mar 11, 2015

Out There is a podcast about the outdoors--from your window box and garden, to the fields on the edge of town, to the forests, prairies, seashores, and wilderness.  On the show, we explore our relationship with nature, through stories, interviews, essays, and even some fiction. We travel around the U.S. and the world, with tales of love and heartbreak, passion and adversity, desperation and triumph.

Mar 10, 2015

Out There is a podcast about the outdoors--from your window box and garden, to the fields on the edge of town, to the forests, prairies, seashores, and wilderness.  On the show, we explore our relationship with nature, through stories, interviews, essays, and even some fiction. We travel around the U.S. and the world, with tales of love and heartbreak, passion and adversity, desperation and triumph.

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