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Out There

100 EpisodesProduced by Willow BeldenWebsite

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

episodes iconAll Episodes

The Tools to Thrive

August 6th, 2020

22:36

When KC Cheng decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, she imagined it as a kind of therapy. She wanted to feel young and adventurous again, in charge of her own life.

Like so many other thru-hikers, she saw a …

Black and Outdoorsy

July 23rd, 2020

50:07

If you attended a predominantly white college or university, there was probably an outdoors program on campus. And it was likely composed of mostly …

The Sweetness of Suffering

July 9th, 2020

22:58

Everyone suffers. Sometimes it’s obvious; other times it’s less visible. But it’s inevitable that we’ll suffer at some point in our lives. And typically, we hate it.

But what if hardships serve a purpose? What if the …

Acceptance

June 25th, 2020

27:49

Growing up in an emotionally abusive household, Meg Atteberry yearned for her parents’ approval. But no matter how hard she tried, the message was …

Alex Honnold's Mother

June 18th, 2020

31:44

Dierdre Wolownick is the oldest woman to have climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. She’s also a teacher, a musician, a marathon runner — and …

Becoming Better Allies

June 11th, 2020

10:35

Black Lives Matter.

The events that have been unfolding over the past few weeks have made it very clear that all of us need to be doing much more to …

Birding While Black

June 4th, 2020

18:29

The events that have been unfolding across the United States over the past weeks have driven home once again that simply existing carries risks if …

Vanlife and COVID

May 28th, 2020

22:17

Amber McDaniel lives on the road full-time. She and her partner are both freelance writers, so working remotely isn’t a problem for them. And they …

Beginners

May 21st, 2020

34:02

On this bonus episode, we bring you tales from Out There’s live storytelling night earlier this month.

Each story touches on the theme of being a …

Going It Alone

May 14th, 2020

26:50

Melanie Chambers loved traveling alone. So when she set off on a four-month solo bicycle trip through Japan and Korea, she wasn’t worried.

But almost …

BONUS: A Sneak Peak at our Live Show

May 6th, 2020

4:18

When Out There turned five earlier this year, we promised to throw a party.

That party is happening tomorrow, in the form of a live storytelling night. The theme for the evening is “beginners,” and five storytellers …

Coping with Cancelled Dreams

April 30th, 2020

26:56

Susan Conrad was supposed to begin a three-month expedition up the Inside Passage on May 16. But like so many plans that have been derailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, her voyage has been cancelled.

On this …

Lessons from the Trail

April 23rd, 2020

30:37

On this episode, we share a story from the podcast Shelter in Place, about a backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail. The story takes us into the mountains of California and explores the parallels between hiking in the …

My Childhood Tribe

April 16th, 2020

24:48

For Ben Montoya, summer camp was more than just a place to play outside: it was his community, his tribe. As a teenager, he remained friends with …

For the Greater Good

April 2nd, 2020

25:23

The wilderness might seem like a good place to hide out during a pandemic. But the organizations that care for many of the nation’s long-distance trails are asking thru-hikers to cancel their trips this year.

The …

Geology of the Heart

March 19th, 2020

34:44

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 …

Skiing Without Snow

March 5th, 2020

25:10

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 …

The Freeze Response

February 20th, 2020

19:19

When Kristina Marcelli Sargent was nine years old, her father was struck by lightning. Immobilized by fear, she watched helplessly, wanting to help …

Brain on Nature

February 6th, 2020

42:51

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: …

Everest for a Sherpa Teen

January 23rd, 2020

24:53

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 …

Critical Learning Period

January 9th, 2020

31:57

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 …

Double or Nothing

December 26th, 2019

36:23

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 …

Panic on a Country Road

December 12th, 2019

26:36

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 …

Social Creatures

November 28th, 2019

36:29

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 …

Firefighting While Female

November 14th, 2019

34:46

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 …

More Honest

October 31st, 2019

34:17

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 …

The 'Privilege' to Choose

October 17th, 2019

29:52

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 …

Redefining Adventure

October 3rd, 2019

35:23

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 …

How to Belong

September 19th, 2019

22:21

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 …

Too Poor to Dream?

September 5th, 2019

32:23

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 …

Nature Saved My Life

August 22nd, 2019

40:14

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 …

In the Long Run

August 8th, 2019

31:52

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 …

Conservation Refugees

July 25th, 2019

30:05

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 …

Just for Me

July 11th, 2019

23:58

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.

What You Can Find in Glaciers

June 27th, 2019

45:21

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 …

My Own Way

June 13th, 2019

16:51

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 …

Pleasure in Pain

May 30th, 2019

30:14

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 …

That's Just Not Me

May 16th, 2019

34:00

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 …

Before It's Too Late

May 2nd, 2019

30:50

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 …

Noise for the Soul

April 18th, 2019

29:05

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 …

Controlling Chaos

April 4th, 2019

29:40

This episode is about control: control of wildfires, and control of your own life.

My guests are Alex Jablonski and Kahlil Hudson, producers the film …

Single in Your Thirties

March 21st, 2019

20:59

Most of us want a life partner. But what if your soulmate never materializes?

On this episode, writer and photographer Mara Kuhn shares a story about …

In the Name of Love

March 7th, 2019

23:29

We hear it again and again: relationships require compromise. But what happens when you realize you’ve been letting your own identity slip away, for the benefit of a relationship?

Today’s story, by Dani Harris, is about …

The Truths We Hold

February 21st, 2019

51:23

This is a story about our beliefs — about things we’re brought up to know to be true. Beliefs so strong and powerful that they shape the identity, …

Becoming a Secular Pilgrim

February 7th, 2019

36:03

Beth Jusino was neither outdoorsy nor religious, but, craving a break from her hectic life, she set her sights on the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route through Europe.

Her book Walking to the End of the …

Seeing the Forest through the Trees

January 24th, 2019

34:20

Overachievement. The word conjures up specific kinds of feats: high grades, promotions, success in the traditional sense. Things that are unambiguously good.

But what happens when you realize the quest to achieve has …

Meet the Ambassadors

January 18th, 2019

21:24

Post-partum depression. Anxiety over gender identity. Anorexia. Struggles with weight. A cancer diagnosis during pregnancy.

The first cohort of Out There ambassadors have very real challenges to talk about, despite some …

Well-Meaning But Clueless White People

January 10th, 2019

19:57

Part of our mission at Out There is to make the concept of ‘the outdoors’ more accessible to all. But so far, we don’t have a great track record.

Contrary to our intentions, this has become a show mostly about white …

Beyond Repair?

December 27th, 2018

31:32

Adrian Fernandez thought he would never speak to his father again. His dad had ruined everything, and the situation seemed hopeless.

But sometimes, …

Crag Rats

December 13th, 2018

45:47

On this episode, we have a guest story from the podcast Hear in the Gorge, about what happens when something goes terribly wrong in the outdoors.

Producer Sarah Fox brings us the story of an accident that happened to a …

Perfect Strangers

November 29th, 2018

28:58

Bill and Linda Ware live in the middle of Maine's notorious 100-Mile Wilderness. The only people they see on a regular basis are thru-hikers on the …

Keeping It Fresh

November 15th, 2018

32:25

When Halimah Marcus moved to Brooklyn, she took pride in getting to know Prospect Park. Running the park’s 3.5-mile loop over and over, as she trained for half marathons, was a comfort — a way to clear her mind.

Into the Blue

November 1st, 2018

52:47

In 2015, Tiffany Duong was living the life — she’d finished law school, moved back to L.A. to join a big law firm, and traveled as much as she could. …

Powerless

October 18th, 2018

23:51

It’s been just over a year since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast. The Category Four storm devastated small coastal communities and dumped …

Fractured Self

October 4th, 2018

19:47

Monica Gokey was an avid whitewater kayaker. Paddling had stolen her heart, shaped her identity, and given her a tribe to belong to.

Then she had …

Selfless Acts

September 20th, 2018

21:32

Bill Appel has devoted his retirement years to helping strangers.

He’s a “trail angel,” providing support to hikers and mountain bikers on several long-distance trails. He offers food and beverages to travelers, gives …

Moments to Waste

September 6th, 2018

19:49

Susan Shain was on track to pursue her dream. She had worked hard in college, put in her time with unpaid internships, and had landed interviews with …

How do I put myself in the driver's seat of my own life?

August 30th, 2018

28:33

On this episode of our advice segment, Dear Nature, we respond to a question from a listener called Feeling Stuck, who is struggling to find motivation and passion. 

"I’ve never been very adventurous or a go getter," …

Wonder

August 16th, 2018

30:11

Kayla Bordelon grew up thinking she didn't have a brain for science. Charts and numbers were indecipherable to her, and Latin names of plants and animals seemed irrelevant to her life. Instead, she was drawn to the …

A Different Kind of Love

August 2nd, 2018

25:15

When Paula Davis went to Alaska to work with sled dogs, she had a storybook vision of what her life there would be like. There would be fur-filled …

How do I make my children fall in love with nature?

July 26th, 2018

41:04

On this episode of Out There's advice segment, Dear Nature, we answer a question from a listener who wants to know how to instill a love of the outdoors in her two small children.

"Day adventures used to be so easy …

Denial

July 19th, 2018

18:50

Cindy Gagnon was backcountry skiing in Canada when she was buried in an avalanche.

Just a few hours later, the people she was skiing with — her friends — acted like nothing had happened. They reveled in the fresh …

The Instinct to Kill

July 5th, 2018

26:01

Public Radio News Directors, Inc., a nation-wide association of radio professionals, recently honored Out There with a first-place award for our …

Should I drop everything and move into a van?

June 28th, 2018

39:54

On this installment of our advice segment, we address a question about making a huge life change. A listener named Where Am I Going writes of his disillusionment with his corporate job, and shares his dreams to live a …

Behind a Pane of Glass

June 21st, 2018

42:26

When Olivia Round set off on a cross-country bicycle trip, she told people she was doing it to have an adventure, or to take a semester off school. …

Solo

June 7th, 2018

26:36

Jen Kinney wanted to be a strong, independent woman. She had just split up with her long-term partner, and she felt a powerful need to prove that she …

The Nature Fix: How do I overcome a paralyzing fear?

May 31st, 2018

37:13

On this episode of our advice segment, The Nature Fix, we respond to a question about fear.

A listener called Over My Head writes to us about a terrifying whitewater rafting trip she went on with her husband two years …

My Big Fat Greek Breakup

May 17th, 2018

14:11

Maya Kroth had her future all planned out: she and her boyfriend would move to Greece, where his family was from, they'd settle down in a beautiful …

Thank You To My Mom

May 3rd, 2018

20:33

Camille von Kaenel lost her mother when she was just 18. Her mom’s death left a gaping hole in her life. But in the years that followed, Camille …

The Nature Fix: Should I suck it up, to take care of my family?

April 26th, 2018

31:40

On the first episode of our advice segment, The Nature Fix, we tackle a question from a listener who feels trapped in his own life. He's desperate to move away from a place he hates, but feels obligated to stay, in …

The Right to Complain

April 19th, 2018

31:26

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: …

Introducing The Nature Fix

April 5th, 2018

46:45

We're thrilled to be launching a new segment on Out There: an advice series called The Nature Fix.

Nature has the power to help us make sense out of …

A Little Too Late

March 15th, 2018

19:07

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 …

We Followed Our Hearts

March 1st, 2018

26:07

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 …

My Inner Teenager

February 15th, 2018

29:21

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 …

Nothing Left to Give

February 1st, 2018

32:19

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 …

With My Toes in the Sand

January 18th, 2018

29:35

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 …

The More I've Given Up

January 4th, 2018

43:41

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 …

A Few Steps Closer

December 21st, 2017

30:49

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

The Sand Is For Me

December 7th, 2017

38:28

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 …

Podcast Past, Podcast Present, Podcast Yet-To-Come

November 28th, 2017

24:05

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 …

The Same Humanity

November 16th, 2017

23:57

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 …

Coyote's Beauty Secrets

November 2nd, 2017

26:40

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, …

When Nature Knows Best

October 19th, 2017

20:10

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 …

The Friendliest Way

October 5th, 2017

21:01

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 …

In My Own Hands

September 21st, 2017

34:06

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 …

If a Badger Dreams

September 7th, 2017

29:37

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 …

Small Beauty on the Appalachian Trail

August 17th, 2017

44:04

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 …

Fear and Loving

August 3rd, 2017

41:25

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 …

The Human Race

July 20th, 2017

27:21

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 …

Off the Hamster Wheel

July 6th, 2017

33:18

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 …

The Motherload

June 15th, 2017

34:38

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 …

What the Future Will Hold

June 1st, 2017

24:21

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 …

The Reluctant Outdoorsman

May 18th, 2017

17:27

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

BONUS EPISODE: Mother's Day Special

May 14th, 2017

8:34

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.

A Place to Belong

May 4th, 2017

34:10

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 …

This Concrete Life

April 22nd, 2017

36:46

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 …

Failure in Success

April 20th, 2017

23:21

We’ve gotten a lot of new listeners in the past few months, so this week, we're playing a story that some of you may have missed.  It ran back in 2015, when the show was still very new, and it won a national award last …

Another Channel

April 6th, 2017

23:35

Many of us put science and religion into separate boxes, assuming they're mutually exclusive. But what if it isn't that simple?

On this episode, producer Maya Kroth brings us a story about something that happened on a …

Truly Equal

March 16th, 2017

31:05

Many of us spend a lot of time and energy striving for equality -- equality between men and women, rich and poor, gay and straight, Christian and …

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