Out There



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


  • Beginners


    21/05/2020 Duration: 34min

    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 beginner in the outdoors: Ashley White shares the story of his son’s injury on their first-ever backpacking trip together Jessica Taylor explores the lessons she’s learning as she transitions from life in a house to a life on the road Natasha Buffo reflects on the intertwined experiences of falling in love with backpacking, and losing a parent Support Out There

  • Going It Alone

    Going It Alone

    14/05/2020 Duration: 26min

    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 immediately, loneliness set in. On this episode, Melanie shares her story. It’s a story of trying to prove yourself, of discovering the limits of your independence, and of making sense of a worldview that prizes self sufficiency.   Watch our live show Participate in our scavenger hunt Become a patron

  • BONUS: A Sneak Peak at our Live Show

    BONUS: A Sneak Peak at our Live Show

    06/05/2020 Duration: 04min

    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 from across the country will share personal tales of first times in the outdoors. On this bonus episode, we give you a taste of what you can expect if you join us. Click here to register for the event!

  • Coping with Cancelled Dreams

    Coping with Cancelled Dreams

    30/04/2020 Duration: 26min

    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 episode, we talk with Susan about how she’s coping with a disappointment of this magnitude. Support Out There

  • Lessons from the Trail

    Lessons from the Trail

    23/04/2020 Duration: 30min

    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 wilderness and adapting to a life of social distancing. We also chat with Shelter in Place Host Laura Joyce Davis about how producing a daily podcast is helping her ward off depression and find bright spots amidst the hardship. Click here to support Out There

  • My Childhood Tribe

    My Childhood Tribe

    16/04/2020 Duration: 24min

    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 fellow campers. And as a college student, he taught at the same camp he had attended as a child. But in grad school in New York City, he started feeling the need to wean himself off the camp community. He told himself it was time to grow up. Then Coronavirus struck. Quarantined in a basement with flu-like symptoms, Ben began to re-evaluate the role that community plays in our lives. On this episode, he shares his story. Support Out There In times of uncertainty, listener contributions matter more than ever. If you have a stable income, please consider becoming a patron of Out There. Become a Patron!

  • For the Greater Good

    For the Greater Good

    02/04/2020 Duration: 25min

    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 concern is that hikers could spread COVID-19 to communities along the trails when they stop to resupply. On this episode, we talk with two hikers who have cancelled their trips: Maggie Slepian, managing editor at The Trek, and Allison Gonzalez, who aborted her thru-hike of the Arizona Trail after just one week. We talk about the ethical considerations that went into their decisions, the emotional impact of giving up a potentially life-changing journey, and some silver linings from the situation.

  • Geology of the Heart

    Geology of the Heart

    19/03/2020 Duration: 34min

    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.

  • Skiing Without Snow

    Skiing Without Snow

    05/03/2020 Duration: 25min

    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.

  • The Freeze Response

    The Freeze Response

    20/02/2020 Duration: 19min

    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.

  • Brain on Nature

    Brain on Nature

    06/02/2020 Duration: 42min

    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.

  • Everest for a Sherpa Teen

    Everest for a Sherpa Teen

    23/01/2020 Duration: 24min

    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.

  • Critical Learning Period

    Critical Learning Period

    09/01/2020 Duration: 31min

    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.

  • Double or Nothing

    Double or Nothing

    26/12/2019 Duration: 36min

    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.

  • Panic on a Country Road

    Panic on a Country Road

    12/12/2019 Duration: 26min

    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.

  • Social Creatures

    Social Creatures

    28/11/2019 Duration: 36min

    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.”

  • Firefighting While Female

    Firefighting While Female

    14/11/2019 Duration: 34min

    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.

  • More Honest

    More Honest

    31/10/2019 Duration: 34min

    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.

  • The Privilege to Choose

    The 'Privilege' to Choose

    17/10/2019 Duration: 29min

    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.

  • Redefining Adventure

    Redefining Adventure

    03/10/2019 Duration: 35min

    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.

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