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 and WHYY's The Pulse. In 2016, we received a national award from PRNDI, an association of public radio journalists; and this year, we won two awards from the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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.
Erika Burns, the marketing assistant for Out There, lives in Washington DC and works in the energy efficiency industry. When she's not in the office, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, refereeing women's lacrosse, and competing in yard games. She is timidly learning to sail and is making an effort to go on more weekend hiking and backpacking trips.
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.
Leigh Paterson is a frequent guest editor for Out There (which means she rips apart Willow's scripts and makes them so much better). Leigh is a Wyoming-based radio and TV reporter covering energy issues in the Rocky Mountain West. Previously, she lived in Washington D.C. and traveled around the country as a one-woman band journalist, reporting for BBC News, Agence France Presse, and CBC Radio. Leigh likes exploring Wyoming (who wouldn't after five years in DC?!?), reading, and traveling.