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Out There

Award-winning podcast that explores big questions through intimate stories outdoors.
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Now displaying: Page 5
Mar 19, 2020

When we lose a loved one, we often experience competing emotions and urges. On the one hand, we cling desperately to memories and mementos; on the other hand, we strive to “move on.”

Balancing the two can be tough.

On this episode, journalist Matthew Schneeman brings us the story of a fatal accident, and of one woman’s efforts to preserve the memories of her fiancee.

It’s a story that takes us from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone, and explores how you can remember someone, while still moving forward.

Mar 5, 2020

When Elizabeth Miller teaches kids to ski, her goal is to introduce them to the joy of winter.

But lately, she’s been wondering whether it’s cruel to help children fall in love with something they’re about to lose. With climate change threatening to shorten ski seasons by as much as three-fourths in some parts of the country, winter could become a rare commodity.

On this episode, Elizabeth explores the merits of introducing children to natural wonders they won’t be able to enjoy as grownups.

Feb 20, 2020

When Kristina Marcelli Sargent was nine years old, her father was struck by lightning. Immobilized by fear, she watched helplessly, wanting to help but unable to make herself move.

As she grew older, Kristina found herself freezing up over and over again in scary situations.

Then one day, a hike in the mountains changed everything.

On this episode, Kristina shares her story. It’s a story about how we react to fear — and about what happens when our natural responses don’t serve us.

Feb 6, 2020

In 2015, Sarah Allely was hit by a car while riding her bike. She suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, and in the ensuing weeks and months, she found it impossible to function normally.

Only one thing seemed to help: spending time in nature.

Now, several years later, Sarah has turned her experience into a documentary podcast series called Brain on Nature. On this episode, we share an excerpt from her show and talk with her about why nature is so important for the brain — for all of us.

Jan 23, 2020

Stories about Mt. Everest usually focus on the people trying to summit the mountain. But what about life for those who live near the world’s highest peak?

Journalist Adam Popescu first went to Everest to report for the BBC, but while there, he realized that there was a deeper story he wanted to tell. And he needed fiction to tell it.

On this episode, we talk with Adam about his debut novel, Nima, which is about a 17-year-old Sherpa woman trapped between tradition and ambition.

Jan 9, 2020

How do we learn to communicate with one another?

On this episode, Oregon-based writer Chelsea Biondolillo shares an essay from her new book, The Skinned Bird. It’s about songbirds learning to sing, and humans learning to speak, and the complicated web of causality that shapes the way we interact with others.

Dec 26, 2019

Have you ever dreamed of dropping everything to live in a remote cabin somewhere? Waking up to the smell of pine trees? Listening to the river from a rocking chair on the front porch?

Growing up, Becky Jensen wanted to be a writer, and she wanted to live in a little cabin in the woods. But then, real life happened, and her childhood aspirations faded.

On this episode, Becky takes us on an 18-year journey from life-threatening pregnancy to new motherhood, from marriage to divorce, from an existence centered around kids to a dogged pursuit of her own individuality.

Her story is about fledging the metaphorical nest, reconsidering neglected dreams, and redefining who you are.

Dec 12, 2019

Growing up, Lara McCaffrey loved going outside. But then one day, something happened that left her with a chilling fear of driving into the countryside. The open spaces she knew so well came to fill her with dread.

Over time, things only got worse.

On this episode, Lara shares her story. It’s a story about a paralyzing anxiety — and about the struggle to lead a “normal” life, when you feel too fragile to function.

Nov 28, 2019

Allison Fowle has always been an introvert. So the idea of spending an entire summer in the wilderness was highly appealing.

But during her time in the mountains of Idaho, she began to rethink her appetite for solitude.

On this episode, she shares the story of her final days in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. During those final days, something happened that shook her to the core and changed her thinking on “alone time.”

Nov 14, 2019

Linda Strader was one of the first women to become a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. Her book Summers of Fire documents that experience, and she joins me on this episode to talk about it.

We explore what it was like entering a male-dominated field in the 1970s, and we talk about the tough realization that being liked is not the same as being respected.

Oct 31, 2019

When Benjamin Drachman announced that he wanted to keep an audio journal during his thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, his sister Julia saw an opportunity: Why not make it into a podcast?

Benjamin agreed to send her his recordings — all of them.

The resulting podcast is called The Attempt. Each episode, Julia weaves together highlights from Benjamin’s journal, to create a narrative about his journey. It’s a deeply personal account of a long-distance backpacking trip — one that makes you laugh, and cringe, and reflect on your own life choices.

On this episode of Out There, we give you a taste of The Attempt, and we talk with Julia about what it’s like telling such an intimate story about a sibling.

Oct 17, 2019

When Fran Turauskis set off to hike the Camino de Santiago, she was frustrated by her lack of options. She had picked the trail because it was one of the only thru-hikes she felt she could safely undertake, given that she had epilepsy.

But what if a lack of options can actually be helpful?

On this episode, Fran shares her story. It's a story of coming terms with — and learning to appreciate — limitations.

Oct 3, 2019

When we talk about adventure, we often think of extreme endeavors. But what actually is an adventure? And why do some of us seek them out?

On this episode, we talk with Alastair Humphreys, author of the book My Midsummer Morning.

After a lifetime of chasing traditional adventures, Alastair wanted a different sort of challenge. So he set off on a journey across Spain, with the intention of earning his keep through busking. The trip was simultaneously safer and scarier than anything he’d done before, and it changed his view on what adventure means.

Sep 19, 2019

Wendy Villalta has spent most of her life trying to fit in.

Her biological parents are immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, but at age 10, she was put into foster care and was later adopted by a white, Jewish family. So it’s no no surprise that her sense of identity took a while to solidify.

Most of us have had moments in our lives, when we felt we don’t belong. But what happens when you finally figure it out, only to realize that society doesn’t agree with you? How important is external validation?

Victoria Marin brings us the story.

Sep 5, 2019

Many people talk about the outdoors as an inexpensive place to play — a place where you don’t need money to have fun. But how true is that?

This episode comes to us from a woman named Charlsie Shaver, who yearns to build a life outdoors, but hasn't yet managed to do so.

Her story explores what it means to dream, and what it takes to make a change in your life.

Aug 22, 2019

On this episode, we introduce you to the newest cohort of Out There ambassadors, listeners who help spread the word about the podcast.

They come from wildly different backgrounds, but each feels that nature has rescued them in some way — that it's reshaped their lives.

On this episode, they share their stories: stories of bravery, of healing, of defying cultural expectations — and of finding your way in the world, with a little help from mother nature.

Aug 8, 2019

We live in a society that honors persistence. We celebrate people who tough it out and finish what they start.

But how do you know when you've taken it too far? Where is the line between a healthy amount of perseverance, and blind stubbornness?

Today's story is about learning when to drop out — both in a race, and in a relationship.

Jul 25, 2019

A lot of conservation efforts focus on the negative impacts people have on the environment. Humans are seen as an invasive species, and their presence is assumed to upset the natural balance.

But what if it’s not so clearcut?

On this episode, we explore what happens when conservation efforts end up having side effects that are, at best, questionable.

My guest is Michael Benanav, author of the book Himalaya Bound, which follows a group of nomads in India who are desperately clinging to an ancient way of life.

The Van Gujjars live in perfect harmony with nature, playing a vital role in their own ecosystem. But they’re under threat — ironically, due to conservation efforts.

Jul 11, 2019

My mother always told me I shouldn’t take “no” for an answer. If you don’t get what you want, she said, try again. Keep asking. Stick to your guns.

Growing up, I took that advice to heart: whatever the task at hand, I pushed forward with dogged determination.

But in 2018, a traumatic accident left me suddenly powerless to complete even the simplest of tasks. In the aftermath of that experience, my outlook on what it means to back down was turned on its head, and I started standing up for myself in a new way.

On this episode, I share that story.

Jun 27, 2019

On this episode, we bring you a guest story from the podcast Outlandish, a show that focuses on stories from our public lands.

The story is about a remarkable discovery that happened in the wilderness of Canada. It takes us behind the scenes on the hunt of a lifetime, and looks at the fascinating things we can learn about our past by exploring the places where glaciers have melted away.

In addition to the story, we bring you an interview with Liz Townley, the mastermind behind Outlandish. We talk with her about her show, and about the broader effort to get more Americans involved in shaping the future of our national forests.

Jun 13, 2019

Carolyn McDonald adores trees. She even spends time pondering what trees would say if they could talk.

But she’s not the typical outdoorsy type; the very idea of camping gives her the shivers.

On this episode, Carolyn shares her story. She takes us from rural North Carolina to the streets of Paris, and explores what it’s like to love nature in a manner that defies society’s expectations.

May 30, 2019

Most of us want to speed through the hard times; we want to get to a place where life feels smooth and easy.

But what if the line between good times and bad isn’t so clear? What if hardship can actually be enjoyable?

On this episode, Heather Daya Rideout takes us from the beaches of Thailand to the mountains of Maine, and tells of a an encounter with strangers on the Appalachian Trail that completely changed her perspective on pleasure and pain.

May 16, 2019

Growing up, Adrienne Lindholm was dead set against having children. She didn’t like kids, and she felt that parenthood would force her to give up the things she loved most in life.

But as time went on, her husband became more and more determined to start a family. Eventually, she was faced with an ultimatum: have kids, or lose her relationship.

Adrienne wrote a memoir called It Happened Like This, which chronicles her life in Alaska and her dilemma surrounding motherhood. She joins us on this episode to talk about it.

May 2, 2019

Shannon Prince comes from a family with a rich relationship to the natural world. Her Cherokee ancestors were skilled at using plants to heal the deepest of wounds, and Shannon grew up with the understanding that nature could — quite literally — save you.

But her family’s eco-literacy had been stripped away over the generations, and by the time Shannon came along, there wasn’t much left to teach her.

Yearning to rediscover forgotten knowledge, Shannon traveled across the world, to a place where ancient traditions were more intact than her own.

On this episode, she shares her story. It’s a story that takes us from Houston, Texas, to the remote meadows of Outer Mongolia. And it explores the surprising things that can happen to us on a personal level, when we attempt to preserve a way of life that’s slowly being stripped away.

Apr 18, 2019

We often hear about people escaping to nature as an antidote to stress. Quiet places can help us find inner peace, we’re told.

But what if it isn’t so simple for everyone? What if some people need busier urban environments — and not just for the career opportunities, or the lifestyle — but in order to feel at peace?

This episode draws us into one woman’s realization that living in a big city — a place that assaults your senses every time you walk outside — a place where the concept of ‘outside’ is about as far removed from nature as it gets — might be just what her soul has been searching for all along.

Alex Eggerking tells her story.

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