Our holiday wish list

Holiday Wish List 2018 for website.png

Want to help make our dreams come true?

Somehow, the holidays are upon us already (!) — time to start thinking of festive celebrations, cozy sweaters and ... gifts.

Our little podcast doesn’t yet have a budget for new equipment; we just don’t bring in enough revenue for that. But there are various pieces of audio gear that would really help us make the stories we bring you sound even better and more professional.

That’s where we are hoping you come in this holiday season.

We’ve put together a holiday wish list, with items ranging from $7 to $300, and we’re hoping you’ll consider helping us out. You can purchase an item outright, or contribute any amount to a general fund, which we’ll use to buy remaining items on the list.

We hope you have a safe, fun and relaxing time leading up to the holidays this year!

— Willow and Alex

Become an Out There Ambassador!

 Laura Johnston, head of Out There’s ambassador program, finishes a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail at Mt. Katahdin. (Photo courtesy Laura Johnston)

Laura Johnston, head of Out There’s ambassador program, finishes a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail at Mt. Katahdin. (Photo courtesy Laura Johnston)

Do you love the outdoors? Do you love sharing your adventures on social media? Are you excited about encouraging people to get outside, tell their stories, and reflect on life in the process?

If you this sounds like you, we want you to apply to be an Out There Ambassador!

We’re looking for two or three current listeners to become official brand ambassadors, who will help showcase upcoming social media campaigns, encourage people to get outside, and engage listeners in new and creative ways. The goal is to broaden our listenership, foster a sense of community amongst our audience, and spark vibrant discussions within that community. Don’t worry, we’ll guide you and be clear about how we want this to happen. We want you because of your voice, your enthusiasm and your ability to reach new listeners.

You don’t have to be a known quantity or already an ambassador. You don’t have to be a sponsored athlete. We want a variety of people, with different voices, backgrounds, and ideas.

Please note, this is a volunteer opportunity but also a way to advance your online presence, your communications skills and an online portfolio. We also have swag for you. And maybe most excitingly, it’s a chance to hear your own voice on the show!

We’re looking for ambassadors who can commit to sharing Out There-related content on social media and/or other outlets at least once a week, for three months. Preference will be given to individuals with 1,000 followers or more on social media.  


Applications are due Nov. 8, 2018.


Want to hear more before you apply?

There’s nothing better than being among your tribe, but also bringing more people into what you know is a great space and a great community.
— Laura Johnston

Out There’s newest team member, Laura Johnston, is leading our ambassador program.

Laura has thru-hiked both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, served as a “trail correspondent” for a podcast called Sounds of the Trail, and has done conservation work around the globe.

The ambassador program was her idea, stemming from a similar program she participated in while hiking the PCT.

In our interview with her, she talks about her decision to take a leap and chase a dream (thru-hiking the AT) — and about the beautiful and unexpected side effects of documenting your journey while pursuing your passion.


Learn how to tell YOUR story!

 Thomas Moran (English/American, 1837-1926), Green River, Wyoming, 1879, watercolor and pencil on paper, 45 x 9 inches, gift of John D. Fryxell, 2009.3.2

Thomas Moran (English/American, 1837-1926), Green River, Wyoming, 1879, watercolor and pencil on paper, 45 x 9 inches, gift of John D. Fryxell, 2009.3.2

We all have stories to tell. But it’s often tough to make them interesting to people outside your immediate circle of friends and family. That’s where we come in. Out There and the University of Wyoming Art Museum are hosting a one-day storytelling workshop to help you develop tales of the outdoors that are fun and engaging.

The workshop will be led by Out There host Willow Belden, and will include hands-on activities facilitated by the museum’s curator of education Katie Christensen. We’ll use the museum’s current exhibitions to fuel your creativity, and by the end of the day, you’ll have the tools you need to captivate diverse audiences and keep them spellbound — even if they have no interest in the outdoors.

No experience necessary; just come prepared for fun!

Lunch will be provided.

What do you think of Dear Nature?

Calling all listeners of our advice segment...

We're deciding the fate of Out There's advice segment, Dear Nature, and we'd love your input.

Filling out the survey below will only take about a minute, and by doing so, you will: 

  1. help us determine the future of Dear Nature
  2. be entered into a drawing for some sweet Out There swag
  3. have our eternal gratitude

Thanks, guys!

How to help your kids love the outdoors

Last month on our advice segment, Dear Nature, we offered suggestions for how to get children to fall in love with nature. But we wanted to know what's worked for YOU as well.

So we put the question out on social media: How do you successfully go adventuring with kids? What’s the key to instilling a love of the outdoors? What do you wish you had known as a new parent?

Your responses were wonderful — thoughtful, diverse, and fun. Here are some of our favorites.

 The infectious glee of a toddler (Maggie Guseman) in the sun (Photo by Emily Guseman)

The infectious glee of a toddler (Maggie Guseman) in the sun (Photo by Emily Guseman)

When we introduced our kids to hiking, we played scavenger hunts so they would not get bored. ... I would research wildlife/vegetation in the area we would be visiting and printed out small lists along with extra lines for them to fill in miscellaneous things they found.
— Lisa Mills
We embrace the outdoors as anything from our backyard, neighborhood, local park, to forests and beyond. We try to take time to smell the flowers, admire insects, and point out brilliant colors. Getting to what I used to think of as the outdoors is so stressful and hard ... it’s really not possible every week. But we have a compost pile, flowers, and yard that has its own wonders for littles.
— Sora Kim
 Amanda Thimmayya celebrates her daughter Juniper's second birthday (Photo courtesy Amanda Thimmayya)

Amanda Thimmayya celebrates her daughter Juniper's second birthday (Photo courtesy Amanda Thimmayya)

Adjust your expectations. It’s not about mileage and destinations, it’s about getting out.
— Emily Hill Guseman
I think it’s important to have really positive experiences the first few times kids get out. … My dad would take me fishing, but only to places where he knew I’d catch lots of fish. He didn’t let me get too discouraged or bored.
— Tracey “I don’t have kids, but I was a kid once” Johnson
It’s good to have other adults give [your kids] lessons. They behave better and listen more.
— Tanna Nagy
Remember, your anxiety as a parent about what *could* go wrong is probably the biggest barrier to getting out there and having a good time. ... Be mindful, be safe, but whether it’s attempting a backpack with an infant, walking just a little further or climbing just a little higher, challenge yourself to push a little outside your comfort zone. It’s worth it.
— Kathryn Clarke
Two years ago, I challenged myself to hike 100 miles in one summer. I told [my kids] I was going to give myself a fun vacation if I met my goal. They loved the idea. So, I challenged them to hike 30 miles with me and they could have the same reward. They did it and got the prize.
— Caroline Darwin
If your kids don’t seem to like an activity, that may change as they get used to it, as they age, and as you get better at planning/executing it with them. You may (will) have numerous bad days where nothing goes as planned, and you will conclude that the children just won’t do it again (or you can’t deal again). That is so not true. Kids change, you learn, you/they get better at it, and the trajectory of enjoyment over time is often positive. … We are also NEVER above some short-term bribery. Nothing motivates like their favorite snack (we use candy, and it works).
— Jason Alexander
I think the key is to be enthusiastic and relaxed about switching things up when you travel with kids. They may not be up for every adventure every day, but if they see their parents loving life, they are sure to follow in those footsteps.
— Katherine Mogg
 Noticing the little things (Photo courtesy Emily Guseman)

Noticing the little things (Photo courtesy Emily Guseman)

One thing we didn’t do as well as I had hoped is to just make it a part of your life from the start. When a kid grows up going out for a hike or camping or skiing every few days or every weekend, even when they’re a baby and don’t have any input, that’s the expectation that’s set. It’s harder to pull a kid away from the house one weekend a month when they spend the other three weekends playing inside and that’s what they expect to do.
— Evan O'Toole
 Jill and Eric Woltkamp's daughter takes a break from skiing (Photo courtesy Jill WOltkamp)

Jill and Eric Woltkamp's daughter takes a break from skiing (Photo courtesy Jill WOltkamp)

I am not a parent, but I take a lot of other people’s children outdoors. Making time for you and your children to enjoy the outdoors separate from each other can be really beneficial for both. Send your kids to camp or just a few hours of lessons. As a ski instructor, I had lots of students who hated skiing turn around to loving it. I’m not special, but I don’t come with the emotions from previous experiences or frustrations from everyday life.
— Cynthia Dywan
When raising our kids, I tried hard to spend lots of time outside, but when they hit the independent teen years, it did not seem to stick. This past winter, though, my then 19-year-old son and his girlfriend went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to winter camp and hike across a bit of Lake Superior to Grand Island. Feels good that it seems to have rubbed off a bit!
— Tony Pitts
Just. Keep. Going. Outside.
— Melissa Matz

Looking for more inspiration?

Here are some books that fellow outdoorsy parents recommend


A Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson

Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv

How to Raise a Wild Child, Scott Sampson

Crow Boy, Taro Yashima

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

Online resources you might find helpful and inspiring

Hike It Baby is an organization dedicated to getting families together and out into nature with birth to school age kids. With over 300 branches, they are a great resource to connect you with others for hikes and outdoor activities in your local area.
FacebookTwitter, Instagram: @hikeitbaby

Family Adventure Project: Stuart and Kirstie are a husband and wife team who share an adventurous spirit, a passion for independent travel and three growing children. Their multi-award winning blog, The Family Adventure Project, is part of a long term experiment in doing adventurous things together as a family.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @familyadventureproject

Backwoods Mama runs a blog on getting outdoors with children. It is filled with helpful advice and tips for parents looking to get outside more often with their own kids, based on her own experiences of hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing and skiing as a family around the western provinces of Canada, the west coast of the US and further abroad.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @thebackwoodsmama

Adventure Mamas is a nonprofit organization that supports women’s health and wellness through adventure. They run expeditions, community events, and workshops focused on wellness. Their blog also has plenty of great content to help moms lead active and adventurous lives both with their kids AND for their own sakes. 
Facebook, Instagram: @adventuremamas

The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves.
— Roald Dahl

We're planning a storytelling workshop!

WANTED_ Your Input.png

We're dreaming up our first ever live event, and we'd love your thoughts!

We know you have loads of stories from your adventurous lives. Have you ever thought about developing some of these stories, and perhaps sharing them outside your circle of friends and family?

We want to help you! We're working on developing a series of storytelling workshops. But first, we'd love to know a bit more about what YOU might want out of these. 

Fill out the quick survey below to let us know your thoughts. Your input will help us design fun, engaging events that are meaningful to you!

Know someone else who might be interested? Pass this along to them, too!



Gold Medals are pretty rad

 Out There Host Willow Belden displays the show's latest PRNDI award.

Out There Host Willow Belden displays the show's latest PRNDI award.

Exciting news, folks! Out There has won a major national award from Public Radio News Directors, Inc., or PRNDI, an association of public radio reporters, producers, and editors from across the country.

PRNDI's annual awards honor the best audio stories of the year — kind of like the Oscars for public radio — and we're thrilled to announce that our episode "The Instinct to Kill" won first place in the independent podcast division.

"The Instinct to Kill" is about producer Sam Anderson's first experience hunting. When he set out with his father to kill a deer, Sam had no idea whether he'd actually be able to pull the trigger. His story explores what makes a person a hunter — and what that says about us.

This is Out There's third PRNDI award. Last year, our episode "High on Failure" took first place in the independent podcast division, and the year before, we took second for "Failure in Success."

It's an honor to be recognized by the most respected voices in public radio. And as always, it's an absolute delight to be making the show for all of you, our listeners.

Meet your new favorite advice columnists!

The Nature Fix is our new advice segment, where we use wisdom from the outdoors to tackle your most pressing personal questions.

Today, we want to introduce you to our wonderful advice columnists, Becky Jensen and Angus Chen.



 Angus Chen

Angus Chen

Profession: Reporter and radio producer

Lives in: Brooklyn, NY

Favorite outdoor activities: Surfing and rock climbing

Oddball talent: Whistling and humming at the same time

Book or story that's made the biggest difference in your life: A Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff. "It made me want to be a writer."

Why you love surfing: "It's this feeling of ... absolute joy and happiness. Everything just disappears; there's nothing but the sound of the water, and the feeling of rushing across it, and this sensation of pure happiness. I had never really felt like that before, where I could just let go of ... everything in my life that was troubling me."

Words of wisdom from the first episode of The Nature Fix: "The things in your life are not in charge of you. You're really the one with the power to decide where they go and how much space they ought to occupy."



 Becky Jensen

Becky Jensen

Profession: Writer

Lives in: Fort Collins, CO

Favorite outdoor activity: Hiking

Oddball talent: Making balloon animals

Book that's made the biggest difference in your life: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. "[It] really inspired me to go do this thing for myself that I wasn't giving myself permission to do."

One change you made in your personal life after thru-hiking the Colorado Trail: "I parent my kids differently now. I stopped doing everything for them; I asked them to take on more stuff - more responsibility. And then they totally blossomed. And because of that, my relationship with them blossomed."

Words of wisdom from the first episode of The Nature Fix: "The fear of missing out goes both ways. I bet that many of your peers -- the people you think are accomplishing these great things and leaving you behind career-wise -- are probably looking at your Instagram posts (the ones of you surfing and rock climbing) and they're saying, 'Now THAT guy is living it right.'"


Nature + Advice = The Nature Fix

The Nature Fix Logo 1 HORZ hi res 2.png

Last week, we launched a new segment on Out There, called The Nature Fix. It's like an advice column, but in podcast form. And it's powered by a healthy dose of Mother Nature.

Here at Out There, we strongly believe that nature has the power to help us make sense out of our lives - particularly those parts of our lives that are messy and scary and overwhelming. The Nature Fix is designed to harness that healing power of nature and help you navigate this crazy world we live in.

Each month, we'll use wisdom from the outdoors to address your most pressing personal questions and offer you down-to-earth life advice.

Our advice columnists are Becky Jensen and Angus Chen. Becky is a writer, hiker, and mom living in Fort Collins, Colorado. Angus is a radio reporter, surfer, and climber from Brooklyn, NY. They're both thoughtful, introspective, fun and engaging, and we couldn't be more excited to have them on board.

Want to ask a question?

If you'd like some advice from Angus and Becky, please get in touch! 

Two ways to do this:

  1. Send us a voice memo with your question. (Just record yourself asking the question and send us the audio file).
  2. If you don't feel comfortable sending a voice memo, email us your advice question in written form.

Either way, send your question to willow@outtherepodcast.com.

We can't wait to help you come up with solutions to whatever is bothering you!

Happy Birthday, Out There!

Out There Birthday 2018 horz.jpg

This little podcast really is growing up! 

In the past year, we've grown from a one-woman show to a team of three -- and we're adding on again! (Stay tuned for more about that very soon). We've doubled our production schedule and grown our listenership five-fold. And, thanks to exciting sponsorships and generous gifts from our wonderful listeners, we've brought in enough revenue to get ourselves into the black.

To celebrate, we're offering a 30 percent discount on all our merchandise today! We've got super soft t-shirts, cozy hoodies, slick decals and more. Just go here and enter the promo code "birthday2018" at checkout.

Also - we're doing a giveaway! Get three of your friends to subscribe to Out There, send us their names, and we'll enter you into a drawing for one of our new hoodies. (We've got three to give away).

Thank you all for all the love and support! We couldn't be doing what we're doing without you.

It's National Plan for Vacation Day!

 Woman kayaks in Glacier National Park. (Photo by Mark Bosky)

Woman kayaks in Glacier National Park. (Photo by Mark Bosky)

If you could be anywhere, with anyone, doing anything -- what would it be?

OK, so maybe your wildest fantasies aren't entirely realistic. But in honor of National Plan For Vacation Day, why not set aside some time to dream a little?

Americans get an average of just 12 days off each year, and less than half of us actually use all of our vacation time. The result? Those employees who forfeit their vacation time are more stressed, more likely to burn out, and -- get this -- less likely to receive a pay raise or bonus. That's according to a 2017 survey conducted by GfK.

So do yourself a favor. Get out a piece of paper (a real piece of paper, not a word doc) and make a bucket list. (Bonus points if you use a colorful pen). Don't make it an impossible bucket list, but do include items you secretly yearn to do, even if they seem a little out of reach. 

Then, block out some time on your calendar this year to do at least one of the things on your list.

Finally, follow through. Make that chunk of time inviolable. Important things will inevitably come up. But that week you set aside? That's your time. It's your chance to explore, relax, recharge, and do whatever the hell you want to do.

Want some inspiration? Here are a few places we're putting on our bucket lists:

Willow's Dream Trips:

 Glacier National Park, MOntana

Glacier National Park, MOntana

1) Alaska. I've always wanted to go to Alaska -- to kayak along the coastline, backpack through the mountains, feast on marvelous quantities of fresh fish in tiny seaside towns. Maybe one day -- when Out There is bringing in enough money that I can quit my day job -- I'll pack up my recording gear and drive north until I find a place that can be my base camp for a while. I'll explore the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, revel in a world made up of islands, and work from coffee shops or the backseat of my car.

2) Glacier National Park. Everyone says it's spectacular. Ideally, I'd love to walk there from Wyoming, following the northern part of the Continental Divide Trail. Challenges to overcome in pursuing this plan include blocking out two or three months of time (it'd be a long hike...), and coming to terms with the idea of backpacking solo in grizzly bear country.

3) On a more immediate time frame, I have three days in February blocked out to go to Leadville, Colorado. Leadville is the highest town in the U.S. (10,200 feet above sea level), and it's one of my all-time favorite places. My plan? Spend three days, by myself, cross-country skiing, writing, and sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace (because, of course there WILL be a fireplace).

Alex's Hopefully-Not-So-Bucket List:

 zion national park, Utah

zion national park, Utah

1) Zion National Park. The red cliffs, canyons and rivers of Zion National Park look SO distinctive and unique to me. I've never seen anything like it in person and I have decided that 2018 is the year I am going to do it. Since I will have to schlep across to Utah from New York, I plan on taking at least five days with my husband to hike, camp, and be completely awestruck by this landscape that has been forming for hundreds of millions (hundreds of millions!) of years.

2) Fall in Maine and Vermont. We don't really get Fall in Australia. For one thing, we call it Autumn! And sure, there are a few trees whose leaves turn through yellow and red, and fall to the ground in time for Winter. But many of our tree varieties are non-deciduous, meaning a lot of green sticks around. So I would love to take a road trip through Maine and Vermont in Fall to see masses of trees turning all the glorious shades of a warm fireplace. And yes, this trip will of course involve many actual fireplaces, where you will find me curled up with a good book and a glass of mulled wine.

3) Iceland and the Northern Lights. OK, maybe this one is more of a bucket list item. The landscapes of Iceland I have seen in photos look other-worldly, saturated with colors that look almost too real, as though a filter has been applied (but it hasn't, #nofilter). Trekking through that breathtaking country to see the Northern Lights would be a lifetime dream for me. I may not get there in 2018, but I will get there one day!

Erika's Dream Trips:

 northern lights

northern lights

1) Hawaii. Ever since I did my 2nd grade state project on Hawaii, I have wanted to go. The scenery, the music, the local culture, the  pineapples... My dream day would be waking up early to go on a hike in the mountains and then taking a nap on one of their perfect beaches in the afternoon! 

2) Finnish Lapland. My grandmother (Mummi in Finnish) grew up in Finland before moving to the U.S. to marry my grandfather.  She recently passed away and I think I would feel close to her by being in her home country again. We went to Helsinki together about 10 years ago, but I would love to go further north into Lapland to try out some cross country skiing and see the Northern Lights!



Need even more inspiration? These episodes will get you writing that bucket list

With My Toes in the Sand: This episode is about a woman named Susan Conrad, who kayaks the Inside Passage (all the way from Washington to Alaska) by herself. And it's about learning to stop running from your problems -- learning to be content with your life as it is, right here and right now.

When Nature Knows Best: It feels like received wisdom that tough, solo adventures are bound to spark personal change. Sometimes that change happens in ways you haven't planned. This episode is about what happens when you are forced to abandon your plans -- and about the quest to rekindle happiness. (Oh, and it's also about bikes. And Idaho.)

Better Than Fun:  Have you ever craved a vacation (and actually had time for one), but had no one to go with? That happened to Willow one Spring, and this is the story of what transpired -- how she turned a social failure into an emotional victory.

A note about the photos used in this post: where no attribution has been given, the photos have been licensed free for commercial use without attribution.

10 Podcast Episodes We Think You'll Love

Holiday Playlist - blog (1).png

Well, we are well and truly into the holiday period. Perhaps you have a long drive ahead of you and need a break from that old Christmas CD you’ve heard a million times. Perhaps you need to plug in some headphones and take a break from the family for a precious half an hour of YOU time. Or perhaps you’re headed off on an adventure outdoors, and need to load up your playlist with new material (lucky you!). Whatever your situation, we figured that a lot of you might be in need of some good listening material around this time of year.

Here at Out There, we’ve done a lot of podcast listening during the year. And so we wanted to suggest some stories to accompany your holiday period. Here are some episodes we listened to in 2017 that really spoke to us in some way. We hope you load them up on your playlist and enjoy!


Note to Self, “Ghosting, Simmering, and Icing with Esther Perel”

Recommended by: Willow

I listened to this episode just as my last relationship was ending. It was a relationship that had shown so much promise. This guy was kind, generous, inquisitive, and willing to talk about feelings. He was curious about my work, eager to embrace my hobbies, and interested in everything from ultra-running to improv comedy.  Not only that, but for the first time, I’d felt the “slow burn” that’s supposed to be the hallmark of a solid partnership.

And yet, things weren’t going well. And I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Then I listened to this episode from Note to Self.

The episode helped me make sense out of my situation; it showed me that things were unraveling not because of incompatibility, but because my boyfriend and I had fundamentally different needs -- different ideas about the role a relationship should play in our lives.

It’s a fascinating listen, regardless of your current relationship status.


Invisibilia, “Bubble-hopping”

Recommended by: Alex

During 2017, as stories of divides across America abounded, I found myself wondering more and more about the lives of people who have totally different experiences of the world to me. And so I was fascinated by the exploration on NPR’s Invisibilia of different ways people have set out to escape the so-called “bubbles” of their own communities and online spaces. Particularly interesting was one guy’s mission to get out of his Silicon Valley bubble, and counteract his natural biases, by embracing randomness. He builds an algorithm that chooses public Facebook events at random, and the Invisibilia team join him in attending events hosted by total strangers.


Double X, “1800 Patriarchy Street Edition”

Recommended by: Erika

When all of the sexual harassment claims started coming out recently, instead of wallowing in sadness about the state of women in 2017, I tried to go positive by seeking out some stronger feminist voices in my life. I came across Double X, and it has helped me both process current events and widen my lens a little more. I appreciate the contributors’ intelligent and insightful, yet good-humored approach, particularly during this episode in which they answer listeners’ “is it sexist?” questions.


BBC, “As Many Leaves”

Recommended by: Willow

This isn’t a podcast, but it’s probably the most moving audio piece I have ever heard. Sally Herships’ first-person account of the dissolution of her marriage is honest, raw, vulnerable, and beautifully told. You really should listen; I can't recommend it enough.


Ear Hustle, “Unwritten”

Recommended by: Erika

Every episode of Ear Hustle covers a different topic related to life in prison. I really enjoyed the first season of this new show, so it was hard to choose just one to share. The chemistry between the host who is incarcerated, Earlonne Woods, and the host on the “outside,” Nigel Poor, is easy-going in a satisfying way. I found this episode thought-provoking in its exploration of the role of race in prison, and how you are expected to stick with your own race for your own safety. Despite some of the uncomfortable realities shared in this episode, there were still some heartening points. I loved when they talked about the group of what one of the hosts calls “L7s” who challenge the status quo by playing Dungeons & Dragons.


Love Me, “At a Loss for Words”

Recommended by: Willow

The beginning of this story has the most beautiful montage of untranslatable words about love. For example…

“Tiam (Farsi) - the twinkle in your eye when you first meet someone”

“Forelsket (Norwegian) - the indescribable euphoria as you begin to fall in love”

“Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese) - the act of tenderly running your fingers through the hair of somebody you love”

The episode as a whole is a delightful story about love, communication, and language.


On Being, “Rebecca Solnit: Falling Together”

Recommended by: Alex

On Being is my go-to podcast whenever I need some healing and some hope. Within moments of pressing play, I can’t help but be soothed by Krista Tippett’s thoughtful and empathic questioning style, and I am always inspired to think more deeply about the world.

The recent interview with Rebecca Solnit particularly struck a chord for me. I found the discussion on this episode about how we can approach the concept of hope in a different way -- not in the sense of adopting an optimistic attitude, but in the sense of learning to live with uncertainty, and feeling as though we can still choose to embrace compassion and engagement and generosity in the face of this uncertainty -- completely apt for the year that was 2017.

On a side note, if you like the sound of this episode, I would completely recommend listening to the episode Maya Kroth produced for Out There in 2017: The Same Humanity.


Kerning Cultures, “Not Just My Hijab”

Recommended by: Willow

Four women, and their relationship with their headscarves. This is a two-part series, and I particularly liked Part II. It’s a thought-provoking, nuanced look at an issue that we often see as black and white.


Answer Me This!, “Episode 353: bike on fire”

Recommended by: Erika

Some podcasts are for learning new things, some are for hearing a good story, and some are for pure, silly entertainment. Answer Me This! is a great podcast for that day when you just need a break from life and want to listen to a couple of cleverly goofy British friends answering totally random listener questions. Most of the time, you could simply Google the answer, but that is not the point of this podcast - it’s all about their hilarious commentary, anecdotes, and quirky jingles. This one covers questions ranging from whether resorts water down their liquor to how to ask your mom not to use the term “glory hole.”

The Broad Experience, “Episode 104: Starting Over”

Recommended by: Willow

This is a story about a Mormon woman who was raised to believe that having a career is selfish, and the only worthy goal in life is to raise a family. Eventually, that belief is turned on its head, and she finds herself trying to launch a career (and figure out basic life skills, like how to set up utilities in your name) when she’s in her 30s. She’s newly divorced, has $40 in her bank account, is now the breadwinner for her family -- and she’s faced with navigating hurdles that most of us learned much earlier in life.

Join our team!

Do you like giving advice? Enjoy pondering other people’s problems and helping them come up with creative solutions? Do you often find solace in nature?

We have the perfect gig for you!

Out There, is looking for an advice columnist to join our team. This is a new position, so there will be lots of room for you to shape it. But in general, here’s our vision:

  • Listeners will send us voice memos or emails laying out a problem/question in their life. You’ll pick the submissions that most interest you and come up with solutions to the problem(s) -- solutions that involve the outdoors in some way. Why the outdoors? Because Out There is a show that explores big questions through intimate stories in the outdoors. Nature has a remarkable capacity for healing us, and we want to harness that power to help listeners navigate life’s challenges. (Note: We’re not necessarily looking for aggressively outdoorsy suggestions. Many of our listeners live in cities and are by no means dirtbags. Your suggested fixes could be as simple as proposing something in a city park.)
  • You and Willow would then record a conversation talking through your suggestions (perhaps we’d loop in the asker of the question, as well).
  • Initially, we’d air advice episodes once a month - though we could start doing them more frequently down the road.
  • You can be located anywhere! Our team is scattered across the country, and we're used to collaborating remotely.
  • You do not need to have a background in audio (though of course that’s a plus). It’s more important that you’re thoughtful, articulate, and a good storyteller.
I want you.png

Out There is an independent show on a miniscule budget (we aren’t paying ourselves anything yet), so we can’t pay as much as we would like ($100/episode at the moment). But this should only take up a few hours of your time each month. And we can promise to be fun, enthusiastic colleagues and to give you room to put your mark on an exciting enterprise. As we grow, we hope to be able to do more frequent advice episodes - and pay you more.

Interested? Send an email to Willow (willow@outthereshow.com). Tell us about yourself and explain why you want this gig.

Can’t wait to hear from you!


Wanna be on Out There?

Send us voice memos 1.png

Hey guys!

We're planning a bonus episode, and we want YOUR voice on it. All you have to do is:

1) Record a voice memo, telling us about a story that particularly resonated with you (eg. a story that changed the way you approach some aspect of your life). We'd also love to hear what you'd like us to do differently down the road. 

2) Email your voice memo to willow@outthereshow.com.*

If you do it soon, your comments might get on the show.

*You can also call us at 800-599-2598 and leave a message, if that's easier.

Can't wait to hear all your beautiful voices!

"A Master Class in Dramatic Tension"

We recently gave a shout out on Facebook to The Flyover Podcast Newsletter, written by Kelly Moffitt, who is also an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio. Podcasts produced in the major coastal cities, like New York and L.A., get the lion's share of public attention, but Kelly's newsletter is designed to help podcast lovers discover more shows produced between the coasts.   

And now we're excited to let you know that there is one extra reason for you to head over and check out the newsletter -- the most recent edition featured an interview with Willow about Out There.

If you've ever wondered why we make Out There, or what goes in to making each episode, the interview is well worth a read. And, yes, each episode really does involve that many rounds of edits and a LOT of agonizing over finding the right music. 

You can read Willow's full interview here. And you can sign up for the newsletter here.

We won a major national award!

Willow Belden Out There PRNDI Award

Wonderful news: Out There won a PRNDI award this weekend. 

PRNDI, or Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, is an association of public radio reporters, producers, and editors from across the country. Their annual awards celebrate the best audio stories of the year -- kind of like the Oscars for public radio -- and we're thrilled to announce that Out There took first place in the independent podcast category. We make Out There because we love telling inspiring stories about the outdoors, and it's an honor to be recognized this way by respected colleagues in the industry. 

The story that received the award is called High on Failure. It's about one woman's attempt at an 888-km trail running race in the mountains of Vermont, and it explores why failure can actually be a good thing. If you haven't already heard it...well, we're not the only ones who think it's worth a listen.

This is the second year that Out There has received a PRNDI award; last year we won second place in the independent podcast category for the story Failure in Success. And this spring, we received two regional awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.




We have the best audience!

You guys are fantastic. Seriously.

We recently started fundraising on Patreon, a crowd-funding platform for creative endeavors. Our initial goal was to raise $200/month to cover the show's basic overhead costs, and we met that goal faster than we ever expected -- all thanks to you!

We can't tell you how grateful we are.

Next goal: more episodes! 

We would love to produce Out There more frequently for you. Right now, we’re doing it twice a month, but of course some months are longer than others, so occasionally, there’s a three-week gap between episodes. We would love to do the show every two weeks, and if we raise an additional $300 dollars a month, we can do just that.

Pledging is easy; just click here, enter the amount you'd like to contribute, and enjoy the warm, fuzzy glow you'll get from supporting a show you love. You'll also be eligible for great rewards, including discounts on Out There gear, free t-shirts, and more.

Again, a huge thank-you to everyone who has already contributed. And if you haven't had a chance to pledge yet, we hope you'll consider supporting us soon!

Out There wins regional awards

 Willow Belden (left) and Jordan Wirfs-Brock (right) attended the Top of the ROckies awards ceremony at the Denver Press Club Friday, where the awards were announced.

Willow Belden (left) and Jordan Wirfs-Brock (right) attended the Top of the ROckies awards ceremony at the Denver Press Club Friday, where the awards were announced.

We're delighted to announce that Out There has won two awards from the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

"From the Horns of Beetles," an episode about animal weapons and warfare, won second place for science reporting. And the show took third place for general broadcast excellence.

The award for broadcast excellence was determined on the basis of three stories: "High on Failure" by Jordan Wirfs-Brock, "When a Thru-Hike Falls Through" by Erin Jones, and "A New Identity" by Willow Belden.

The awards were announced Friday at the Denver Press Club. They are part of the Top of the Rockies contest, which honors journalists from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

These awards aren't the show's first; last year, Out There won second place for best independently produced podcast from PRNDI, a national association of public radio journalists.

We're thrilled to be receiving recognition from respected colleagues around the country, and are so proud of all the freelance producers we've been working with, who make the show what it is.

Meet our newest team member!

Erika Burns

We're thrilled to have Erika Burns on board as our marketing assistant. Erika 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. 




Oh, and did we mention she recently went on a sailing trip from St. Lucia to Grenada? So much for "timidly" learning to sail...


Listener helps Out There support press freedom

A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.
— Albert Camus

Last month, we asked you - our listeners - to take an audience survey. We wanted to get to know you better, in order to create more content you love, and reach new listeners. We were overwhelmed by the positive response to the survey (thank you so much for participating!) and touched by your comments.

As many of you know, we also entered survey participants into a drawing for Out There swag and other prizes.

Listener Rob Landicho was selected to receive the top prize, a $50 REI gift card. But when we emailed him to tell him the good news, he wrote back and suggested that we forego sending him the gift card and instead donate the $50 to a charity or organization of our choice.

So we gave the money to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit that promotes press freedom. CPJ works to ensure that journalists are able "to report the news without fear of reprisal," both in the U.S. and internationally -- whether that's supporting journalists who are working under authoritarian regimes, or those facing harassment or legal challenges here at home.

At Out There, we believe that thorough, fact-based journalism is essential to a functioning democracy and a healthy society, and we are honored to support reporters who are facing roadblocks that no journalist should ever have to face.

Thank you, Rob, for helping us do our part!