Out There was launched in 2015 after host Willow Belden quit her job at Wyoming's NPR station and thru-hiked the Colorado Trail. The five-week solo trek through the Rockies did all the things that wilderness journeys are supposed to do: it helped Willow process a lingering grief over her mother's death, gave her the confidence to risk a new career path, and made her fall in love with life again.
For many of us, spending time in nature can bring about important life realizations. But not everyone gets to go on grand adventures. Out There bridges that gap by giving listeners a chance to hear about the transformative experiences that others have in the outdoors. In the same way that going out into nature can help us see our lives in a new way, stories about the outdoors can help us evaluate what we’re doing with our lives, and how we inhabit the world.
If that sounds kind of high-brow ... well, maybe it is. On a more concrete level, what we’re doing is telling stories. Stories that make you laugh and cry and think about things a little differently than you did before.
Out There was recently listed as the #1 outdoors podcast in iTunes, and our stories have made guest appearances on Outside Magazine's podcast, WHYY's The Pulse, She Explores, and KQED’s Q’ed Up. We’ve received national awards from PRNDI, an association of public radio journalists, several years in a row, as well as regional awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Meet the Team
Willow Belden is the host and founder of Out There. Before launching the podcast, she was a reporter and host at Wyoming Public Radio. She has written for newspapers and magazines across the U.S. and internationally, has contributed stories to NPR, and has won several national awards. Willow is an avid cross-country skier, mountain biker, and hiker, and she's conquering her fear of heights by learning to rock climb.
Alex Eggerking is the marketing and business development director of Out There. Alex recently traded in the beautiful beaches and outdoor lifestyle of Sydney, Australia, for New York’s hustle and energy to help grow media organizations and startups. She is looking forward to exploring America’s national parks and beaches, and loves squeezing in a weekend away skiing when she can.
Jessica Taylor is Out There’s advertising coordinator. She has always been an adventurer and lover of nature, and her chihuahua, Foxy, joins her on most adventures. In February 2019, she left her 9-5 job to concentrate full time on her own business in Digital Marketing. From backpacking, to snowboarding, and skydiving to off-roading, Jessica is always up for the adventure.
Laura Johnston heads up Out There’s social media ambassador program. Laura has worked on conservation projects around the world, and served as a trail correspondent for Sounds of the Trail Podcast while she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail (she was known on the show as “Hey Girl”). Laura’s work has been featured on TheTrek.co, Patagonia and Osprey, and her voice can be heard on Backpacker Radio Podcast, Outdoor Biz Podcast and Between A to B Podcast.
Jared Arnold wrote the theme music for Out There. Jared is a composer and sound designer based in Brooklyn, New York. Originally a French horn player, he now performs on a wide range of instruments, and his compositions merge classical training with electronic experimentation. When he’s not scoring a podcast or video game, Jared releases electronic music as Ink Jet.
Out There Ambassadors
Out There’s ambassadors help broaden the show’s listenership, foster a sense of community amongst our audience, and spark vibrant discussions within that community.