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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
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:
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?
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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."
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!
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!