Cover art for podcast Out There

Out There

100 EpisodesProduced by Willow BeldenWebsite

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

100 Episodes | 2019 - 2023

Rekindling Hope

May 18th, 2023


Carolyn McDonald's depression had gotten so bad that she couldn’t see a way forward.

Then, one particularly miserable day, she went to the beach — …


May 4th, 2023


We’ve all had moments when we feel lost. Sometimes it’s literal; sometimes it's emotional. Either way, it’s unnerving. And lonely.

This episode takes us from the deserts of California to the jungles of the Philippines, …

Living Without Hope

April 20th, 2023


When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, there’s often a flood of difficult emotions. Grief. Depression. Learning to live without hope.

But …

Secrets of the Earth

April 6th, 2023


This season, we’re exploring the theme SECRETS OF THE EARTH.

Each episode, we’ll share a story about an outdoor experience that uncovered new truths. Through introspective personal narratives, we’ll harness the power of …

This Is How You Win the Time War

March 2nd, 2023


Clock time is a human invention. So it shouldn’t be a box that confines us; it should be a tool that helps us accomplish the things we care about.

Notes in the Trees

February 2nd, 2023


Most parents would never consider leaving their kids in the dark woods at night, and letting them find their way back. But the Dutch do just that. …

Fallen Sky

January 12th, 2023


“Fallen Sky,” a work of installation art at New York’s Storm King Art Center, is like a moon map etched into a hillside.

On this episode, Tamar …

Fear is the Thing with Fins

December 1st, 2022


Fear is a powerful indicator that something could hurt us. But sometimes, the fear itself is the most dangerous part.

This is the story of …

High on Failure

November 10th, 2022


Every year, in the mountains of Vermont, a group of ultra runners gather for a 550-mile race called Infinitus. It’s one of the toughest trail running …

Pedaling and Paddling

October 20th, 2022


Dewey Gallegos and Jessica Flock bonded over their passion for the outdoors. But the thing they had in common was also one of their biggest differences. Their story explores how hard it can be to share the thing you …

The Instinct to Kill

September 29th, 2022


When Sam Anderson’s father invited him to go hunting for the first time, Sam was worried. What if he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger? And …

Too Poor to Dream?

September 8th, 2022


We often hear that “the outdoors is free.” But for Charlsie Shaver, just driving to a trailhead was often cost-prohibitive; hitting the road to …

Selfless Acts

August 18th, 2022


Why are some people overly generous? On this episode, we visit with a “trail angel" (someone who offers free food, drinks, and encouragement to thru-hikers on long trails), and we explore what makes a person commit acts …

Blue Dive

July 28th, 2022


Tiffany Duong had achieved the pinnacle of success: she’d finished law school, worked for a big firm in LA, and traveled as much as she could. But …

Failure in Success

July 7th, 2022


In 2015, Out There host Willow Belden signed up for a 70-mile mountain bike race. She had always liked big athletic challenges, but this time, pushing her limits turned out to be a mistake. On this episode, she shares …

Moral Compass

June 16th, 2022


How do you decide whether to leave someone for dead?

This is the story of a trip up Mt. Everest, in which climber Myles Osborne comes face to face with one of the hardest decisions mountaineers ever have to make.

Nature's Nostalgia

June 9th, 2022

A preview of our summer season!

SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron

Click here to see the full show notes for this episode. 

Adult-Onset Hunting

May 26th, 2022


The number of Americans hunting and fishing is declining, but women are bucking the trend.

On this guest episode from The Modern West podcast, journalist Melodie Edwards finds a sisterhood at an all-women hunting …

Beach Bum

May 12th, 2022


It’s healthy to know who you are. But sometimes, defining yourself too rigidly can be problematic.

On this episode, Bo Jensen takes us from the Gulf …

Introducing Not Lost

May 4th, 2022


Here’s a special preview of Not Lost, a new podcast about finding yourself in places you’ve never been from our friends at Pushkin Industries. Host Brendan Francis Newnam takes us around the world, learning about new …

Never Enough

April 28th, 2022


When we lose a loved one, many of us seek healing from the outdoors. But what happens when the weather is bad, and your happy place is miserable? 

Measuring Up

April 14th, 2022


It’s easy to measure achievements based on what other people are doing. But how do you know what you should really expect from yourself?

This episode …


March 31st, 2022


We often go outside to get away from our problems. But escapism has its limits.

On this episode, we share the story of how Live Action Role Play …

Pamper Your Brain

March 17th, 2022


Ziyi Xu spent so much time on her phone that it was ruining her focus and productivity.

Then, one night in Texas, she tried stargazing.

On this episode, Ziyi tells the story of how she kicked the smartphone habit and …

Climate Language

March 10th, 2022


Last year, the term ‘climate crisis’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The words we use to talk about the environment are evolving. But …

America's Best Idea?

March 3rd, 2022


National Parks are often referred to as “America’s best idea.” And there’s a lot to love about them.

But they also have a complicated history — a history of broken promises, displacement of indigenous people, and …

Pandemic Sundays

February 17th, 2022


Church was Angie Chatman's sanctuary, both literally and figuratively. So when the pandemic began, and she couldn’t attend services in person, there …

Indoor Kid

February 3rd, 2022


After attending a wilderness therapy program, Sarah Dealy was intent on becoming a rugged outdoorswoman.

But the transformation didn’t work out as she had imagined. Sarah was an indoor kid at heart. She disliked many of …

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

January 27th, 2022


Think of this episode as a pre-season treat.

We reached out to listeners and fellow podcasters and asked: “What is one way your relationship with nature has changed in a way that has surprised you?”

The answers we …

Things I Thought I Knew

January 20th, 2022


We're launching a new season! Here's a sneak peak.

Support Out There: Become a patron on Patreon

Fear and Leadership in the Mountains

January 13th, 2022

How many times have we been told the story of the fearless leader — in work, in politics, in the mountains? When the stakes are high, it’s natural to …

Too Good To Be True?

December 16th, 2021


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 …

The Art of Loving Yourself

December 2nd, 2021


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 …

In the Name of Fairness

November 18th, 2021


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 …

Riding Past Fear

November 4th, 2021


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 …

Choosing a Line

October 21st, 2021


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.

Outskating Your Demons

October 7th, 2021


Molly-Anne Dameron had struggled with severe mental illness her whole life. And, after years of drug addiction, she had recently gotten sober.

But — …

Forest as Pharmacy

September 23rd, 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 …

Trial by Fire

September 9th, 2021


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 …

On My Own Terms

August 26th, 2021


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 …

The Happy Hustle

August 12th, 2021


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 …

Horse Crazy

July 29th, 2021


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 …

The Bucket List Traveler

July 15th, 2021


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 …

Don't Take 'No' for an Answer

July 1st, 2021


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 …

The Ultimate Outdoorswoman

June 17th, 2021


How Harriet Tubman could change your perspective on who belongs outdoors

You probably learned about Harriet Tubman in school growing up — how she led …

The Thru-Hike of Misery

June 3rd, 2021


When Paul Barach embarked on his first thru-hike, he was expecting a life-changing experience. The Shikoku Pilgrimage, which traverses Japan’s most …

Vulnerability is a Strength

May 20th, 2021


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 …

Running Blind

May 6th, 2021


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 …

Why Do We Stay?

April 22nd, 2021


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 …

The Right to Complain

April 8th, 2021


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 Atlas Obscura Podcast

March 29th, 2021


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 …

When You Close Your Eyes

March 25th, 2021


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 …

The Confidence to Thrive

March 18th, 2021


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. …

The Stories We Carry

March 11th, 2021


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 …

Exiled from Ranch Country

February 25th, 2021


Growing up, Heather Kitching was enamored with rural life. She dreamed of living in the countryside, riding horses, wearing cowboy boots, and …

Common Ground

February 11th, 2021


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 …

The Three-Year-Old Thru-Hiker

January 28th, 2021


When Tara Karineh and her husband embarked on a thru-hike with their three-year-old daughter, Acacia, they weren’t sure she’d be able to finish the …

8 Miles in NYC

January 14th, 2021


When Kelsie Wilkins moved to New York City, she quickly became overwhelmed. She was surrounded by more people than she had ever been around in her …

Nice Guys Can Finish First

December 31st, 2020


On this episode: A story about a cyclist in NYC, which explores how to get what you want — the friendly way.

Plus, a vision for an outdoor utopia. In …

Better Than Fun

December 24th, 2020


This year has been a time of profound isolation, and many of us are alone for the holidays.

But, hard as it may feel, being alone is not always bad.

Back to the Real World

December 17th, 2020


Grand adventures often change us. They help us process complicated emotions and work through our problems.

But what if the forward progress is temporary? What if all the good vibes end, when you return to the “real …

After Getting Sober

December 10th, 2020


Fresh out of college, Brendan Leonard was an alcoholic.

He got sober, but drinking had been his favorite thing. It was what defined him. After …


December 3rd, 2020


When we pass people on the trail, we often exchange quick greetings, recognizing our fellow hikers and showing that we are no threat.

But sometimes — whether intentionally or not — the words we share with strangers in …


December 1st, 2020


On this bonus episode, we talk with Mercy M'fon Shammah, founder of Wild Diversity, about her efforts to make the outdoors safe and welcoming for the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities.

We discuss how Out There is working to …

The Motherload

November 26th, 2020


Becky Jensen had a lot of things going for her: sweet kids, a caring fiancé, a promising career. But deep down, she wasn't happy. So a few years ago, …

Conservation 2.0

November 19th, 2020


In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon and called for the area to be protected.

“Leave it as it is,” he said. “You cannot improve on it.”

Roosevelt went on to preserve an …

An Unlikely Family

November 12th, 2020


We often assume that scientists are not supposed to fall in love with their research subjects. They’re supposed to remain objective — to keep their feelings and emotions out of their work.

Wildlife researcher Joe Hutto …

Out of the Shadows

October 29th, 2020


Growing up, Erin Parisi knew she was a girl. But the body she was born with didn’t match. And she didn’t feel safe telling anyone her secret. It wasn’t until decades later that she finally mustered the courage to come …

Mr. Fabulous

October 15th, 2020


Derick Lugo was not a typical thru-hiker.

A suave, manicured New Yorker, he wasn’t into hiking and had never been camping. But one day, he decided to challenge himself by doing the Appalachian Trail.

Derick’s memoir,

A Series of Unlikely Events

October 1st, 2020


In 2001, Donna Martino stuck a photo on her fridge. It was a picture from the newspaper of a handsome kayaker paddling through the surf.

A few months later, Donna matched with the man on a dating website. The rest is …

Under the Radar

September 17th, 2020


Christine Boskoff was a mountaineer who pushed boundaries and set records.

She climbed mountains no North American woman had ever summited, and she was the only American woman to have reached the top of six of the …

Different Shades of Fear

September 3rd, 2020


When David Klebosky was out in the desert earlier this year, he ended up being shot at. The gunfire wasn’t malicious, but there were bullets coming …

Resilience Through Diversity

August 20th, 2020


As a marine biologist, Colin Howe sees diversity as an indicator of health: the more diverse an ecosystem, the more likely it is to thrive.

But while …

The Tools to Thrive

August 6th, 2020


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


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


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 …


June 25th, 2020


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


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


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


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


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 …


May 21st, 2020


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 …

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