The 'Privilege' to Choose

What if it’s better to have fewer options?

 
Yellow arrows guide pilgrims to their destination on the Camino de Santiago. (Photo by Fran Turauskis)

Yellow arrows guide pilgrims to their destination on the Camino de Santiago. (Photo by Fran Turauskis)

 

“Picking a trail because it’s the only ‘safe’ option isn’t very glamorous. But it is why I hiked the Camino.”

— Fran Turauskis

 

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 not just coming to terms with — but actually appreciating — your limitations.

 
 

Fran Turauskis hosts the podcast Seize Your Adventure.

It’s about living the adventure lifestyle with epilepsy. You can listen to it here.

 
 

This episode sponsored by

 

For 25% off your first order at CusaTea.com, use the promo code “OUTTHERE.”

 
 
 

For 10% off your first month of counseling, click here.

 
 

Redefining Adventure

Busking through Spain to rekindle the excitement of uncertainty

 
Alastair Humphreys (Photo courtesy Alastair Humphreys)

Alastair Humphreys (Photo courtesy Alastair Humphreys)

 

"The idea of playing the violin in public terrified me.”

— Alastair Humphreys

 

When we talk about adventure, we often think of extreme endeavors. Summiting mountains. Surviving in the wilderness. Sailing around the world.

But what is it that makes those things adventures? What actually is an adventure? And why do some of us seek out things that are harder than they need to be?

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.

 

This episode sponsored by

 

For 10% off your Kula Cloth order, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.


For 30% off the premium Simple Habit app, click here.

 
 

How to Belong

What if knowing who you are isn’t enough?

 
Wendy Villalta (Photo courtesy Wendy Villalta)

Wendy Villalta (Photo courtesy Wendy Villalta)

 

“I still have my doubts about whether I’m doing the Jewish thing right. Even when I’m sure of … where I belong, it still gives me anxiety.”

— Wendy Villalta

 

Wendy Villalta has spent most of her life trying to fit in.

Her biological parents are immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, but at age 10, she was put into foster care and was later adopted by a white, Jewish family. So it’s no no surprise that her sense of identity took a while to solidify.

Most of us have had moments in our lives, when we felt we don’t belong. But what happens when you finally figure it out, only to realize that society doesn’t agree with you? How important is external validation, when it comes to deciding who we are?

Victoria Marin brings us the story.

 

This episode sponsored by

 

For 10% off your Kula Cloth order, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 
 

For 30% off the premium Simple Habit app, click here.

 
 

Too Poor to Dream?

What it actually takes to make a change in life

 
A road trip through the American West left Charlsie Shaver yearning for a life in the mountains, but making that dream come true has proven difficult. (Photo by Charlsie Shaver)

A road trip through the American West left Charlsie Shaver yearning for a life in the mountains, but making that dream come true has proven difficult. (Photo by Charlsie Shaver)

 

“When you only have $20 left in your bank account … you simply can’t afford to move across the country or make major career change.”

— Charlsie Shaver

 

Lots of people talk about the outdoors as an inexpensive place to play — a place where you don’t need money to have fun. But how true is that?

This episode comes to us from a woman named Charlsie Shaver, who yearns to build a life outdoors, but finds herself struggling to do so.

Money is often a limiting factor. But in recent years, Charlsie has come to realize that not just money, but also her attitudes about money, and some deeply held beliefs from her childhood, all come into play.

On this episode, she looks at what it means to dream — and what it takes to make a change in your life.

 

Support for this episode comes from

 

For 30% off the premium Simple Habit app, click here.

 
 

For 15% off your Wild Woman subscription, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 
 

Nature Saved My Life

For Out There’s new ambassadors, the outdoors is more than a place to play

 
Out There’s newest cohort of ambassadors: Ashley White (left), Tiffany Duong (center), and Ali Shinn (right)

Out There’s newest cohort of ambassadors: Ashley White (left), Tiffany Duong (center), and Ali Shinn (right)

 

“Traditional Asian culture, in particular, loves stability. … You’re taught to behave and not rock the boat.”

— Tiffany Duong

 

On this episode, we introduce you to the newest cohort of Out There ambassadors.

Our ambassadors are listeners who help spread the word about Out There and foster conversations amongst the Out There community.

New additions to the team include Tiffany Duong, an ex-lawyer turned ocean advocate; Ashley White, a father of four from Minnesota, who specializes in corporate leadership development; and Ali Shinn, a dog lover who spent her childhood wishing to be a rich kid, only to discover that a cushy lifestyle wasn’t what she wanted.

 

“[When we go camping], my daughter’s gender roles drop away. The things they are taught that girls should do at their age, like … wear makeup, be cute — those all fall away, and they just become kids again.”

— Ashley White

 

Our new ambassadors come from wildly different backgrounds, but each has a special connection to the outdoors. All of them feel that nature has rescued them in some way, and reshaped their lives.

On this episode, they share their stories: stories of bravery, of healing, of defying cultural expectations — and of finding your way in the world, with a little help from mother nature.

 

“When I was outside with the other kids, I was an equal. It didn’t really matter what toys you had, what kind of bike you had, what your parents had inside your house; it was all about your imagination.”

— Ali Shinn

 
 

You can read more about Out There’s ambassador program, plus meet our veteran ambassadors, here.

 

Support for this episode comes from

For 10% off your order at kulacloth.com, enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

For 30% off Simple Habit’s yearly premium app, click here!

 

In the Long Run

How much perseverance is too much?

A trail race in Moab, UTah (Photo by the contributor of this story, anonymous)

A trail race in Moab, UTah (Photo by the contributor of this story, anonymous)

 

"In hindsight, there were so many red flags in my marriage. But, in my mind, you don’t quit."

 
 

We live in a society that honors persistence. We celebrate people who tough it out and finish what they start.

But how do you know when you've taken it too far? Where is the line between a healthy amount of perseverance, and blind stubbornness?

Today's story is about learning when to drop out — both in a race, and in a relationship.

 

Support for the episode comes from

 

Founded over 35 years ago by fishermen who wanted to stay on the water longer, Costa sunglasses are engineered to help people across all pursuits make the most of their time on the water. For those who need water to breathe.

Wild Woman is a monthly subscription box for women who get out, get moving, and get it done. For 15% off your subscription, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.


 
 

Conservation Refugees

What if humans aren’t always bad for their own ecosystems?

 
Every year, the Van Gujjars migrate from the lowlands of India into the Himalayas with their herds of buffaloes. (Photo by Michael Benanav)

Every year, the Van Gujjars migrate from the lowlands of India into the Himalayas with their herds of buffaloes. (Photo by Michael Benanav)

 

“I had always … thought that national parks can only be a good thing. And I had never really imagined that people had been living in them.”

— Michael Benanav

 
 
 

A lot of conservation efforts focus on the negative impacts people have on the environment. Humans are seen as an invasive species, and their presence is assumed to upset the natural balance.

But what if it’s not so clearcut?

On this episode, we explore what happens when conservation efforts end up having side effects that are, at best, questionable.

My guest is Michael Benanav, author of the book Himalaya Bound, which follows a group of nomads in India who are desperately clinging to an ancient way of life.

The Van Gujjars live in perfect harmony with nature, playing a vital role in their own ecosystem. But they’re under threat — ironically, due to conservation efforts.

 
 

Want to read more about the Van Gujjar’s? Here’s where you can find Michael Benanav’s book Himalaya Bound.

Special thanks to Eric Mack for production help on this episode. Eric is a producer for Warm Regards, a podcast about the warming of the planet.

 
 

Support for this episode comes from

 

For 10% off your Kula Cloth order, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

For 15% off your Wild Woman subscription, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 
 

Just for Me

Redefining what it means to stand your ground

Postponing responsibilities in the name of playtime (Photo by Willow Belden)

Postponing responsibilities in the name of playtime (Photo by Willow Belden)

 

“I knew I could be dogged about achieving things I had to do, but being just as dogged in the name of playtime was new for me.”

— Willow Belden

 
 

My mother always told me I shouldn’t take “no” for an answer. If you don’t get what you want, she said, try again. Keep asking. Stick to your guns.

Growing up, I took that advice to heart: whatever the task at hand, I pushed forward with dogged determination.

But in 2018, a traumatic accident left me suddenly powerless to complete even the simplest of tasks. In the aftermath of that experience, my outlook on what it means to back down was turned on its head, and I started standing up for myself in a new way.

On this episode, I share the story of what happened.

Special thanks to Becky Jensen for editing the script for this story.

 
 

This episode sponsored by

 

For 15% off your subscription, visit WildWomanBox.com and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

Founded over 35 years ago by fishermen who wanted to stay on the water longer, Costa sunglasses are engineered to help people across all pursuits make the most of their time on the water. For those who need water to breathe.

 

What You Can Find in Glaciers

A hunting trip with friends that led to a one-of-a-kind discovery

Glaciers horizontal.jpg
 

“We were chosen to find him. It wasn’t a coincidence.”

— Bill Hamlin

 
 

On this episode, we bring you a guest story from the podcast Outlandish, a show that focuses on stories from our public lands.

The story is about a remarkable discovery that happened in the wilderness of Canada. It takes us behind the scenes on the hunt of a lifetime, and looks at the fascinating things we can learn about our past by exploring the places where glaciers have melted away.

In addition to the story, we bring you an interview with Liz Townley, the mastermind behind Outlandish. We talk with her about her show, and about the broader effort to get more Americans involved in shaping the future of our national forests.

 
 
 
 

Hear more from Outlandish

Discount codes from our sponsors

 

Save 15% on your Wild Woman Box subscription with the coupon code “OUTTHERE.” Click here to get started.

For 15% off your order at Earth Hero, click here and enter the coupon code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 

My Own Way

A tree lover’s path to embracing nature — a little differently

Tree Love Horizontal 2a.jpg
 

“Having grown up on a farm without running water or indoor plumbing, I don’t equate being in the woods at night with relaxation.”

— Carolyn McDonald

 
 

Carolyn McDonald adores trees. She even spends time pondering what trees would say if they could talk.

But she’s not the typical outdoorsy type; the very idea of camping gives her the shivers.

On this episode, Carolyn shares her story. She takes us from rural North Carolina to the streets of Paris, and explores what it’s like to love nature in a manner that defies society’s expectations.

 

Support for this episode comes from

 
FOUNDED OVER 35 YEARS AGO BY FISHERMEN WHO WANTED TO STAY ON THE WATER LONGER,  COSTA SUNGLASSES  ARE ENGINEERED TO HELP PEOPLE ACROSS ALL PURSUITS MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR TIME ON THE WATER. FOR THOSE WHO NEED WATER TO BREATHE.

FOUNDED OVER 35 YEARS AGO BY FISHERMEN WHO WANTED TO STAY ON THE WATER LONGER, COSTA SUNGLASSES ARE ENGINEERED TO HELP PEOPLE ACROSS ALL PURSUITS MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR TIME ON THE WATER. FOR THOSE WHO NEED WATER TO BREATHE.

Myro makes natural deodorants that feel great and smell great. For 50% off your order,  click here  and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

Myro makes natural deodorants that feel great and smell great. For 50% off your order, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 
 

Pleasure in Pain

Finding magic in the muck on the Appalachian Trail

Breath Pleasure Horizontal 1.jpg
 

“We don’t have to live in a constant state of struggle, yet life would be pretty boring if it was smooth sailing all the time.”

— Heather Daya Rideout

 
 

Most of us want to speed through the hard times; we want to get to a place where life feels smooth and easy.

But what if the line between good times and bad isn’t so black and white? What if hardship can actually be enjoyable?

On this episode, Heather Daya Rideout takes us from the beaches of Thailand to the mountains of Maine, and tells of a an encounter with strangers on the Appalachian Trail that completely changed her perspective on pleasure and pain.

 

Special thanks to Amah Devi for help with recording this episode.

 

This episode sponsored by

 

Founded over 35 years ago by fishermen who wanted to stay on the water longer, Costa Sunglasses are engineered to help people across all pursuits make the most of their time on the water. For those who need water to breathe.

Costasunglasses.com

 
 
 

For $10 off your first box, head to ThinkOutsideBoxes.com and enter the coupon code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 

That's Just Not Me

What would it take for you to change your mind on parenthood?

(Photo courtesy Adrienne Lindholm)

(Photo courtesy Adrienne Lindholm)

 

“He wanted to be a father. … And he wasn’t going to accept ‘no’ and still be in a relationship with me.”

— Adrienne Lindholm

 
 

Growing up, Adrienne Lindholm was dead set against having children. She didn’t like kids, and she felt that parenthood would force her to give up the things she loved most in life.

But as time went on, her husband became more and more determined to start a family. Eventually, she was faced with an ultimatum: have kids, or lose her relationship.

Adrienne wrote a memoir called It Happened Like This, which chronicles her life in Alaska and her dilemma surrounding motherhood. She joins us on this episode to talk about it.

 
 

Support for this episode comes from

 
For 30% off your order,  click here  and enter the coupon code “OUTTHERE30” at checkout.

For 30% off your order, click here and enter the coupon code “OUTTHERE30” at checkout.

 

Before It's Too Late

One woman’s quest to save endangered memories

 
Shannon Prince was the first black person many Mongolians had ever seen, and as a result, they were often curious about her skin and hair. (Photo courtesy SHannon Prince)

Shannon Prince was the first black person many Mongolians had ever seen, and as a result, they were often curious about her skin and hair. (Photo courtesy SHannon Prince)

 

“For [my grandparents], the forest was like a pharmacy.  For me, it’s more like a medicine cabinet.”

— Shannon Prince

 

Shannon Prince comes from a family with a rich relationship to the natural world. Her Cherokee ancestors were skilled at using plants to heal the deepest of wounds, and Shannon grew up with the understanding that nature could — quite literally — save you.

But her family’s eco-literacy had been stripped away over the generations, and by the time Shannon came along, there wasn’t much left to teach her.

Yearning to rediscover forgotten knowledge, Shannon traveled across the world, to a place where ancient traditions were more intact than her own.

On this episode, she shares her story. It’s a story that takes us from Houston, Texas, to the remote meadows of Outer Mongolia. And it explores the surprising things that can happen to us on a personal level, when we attempt to preserve a way of life that’s slowly being stripped away.

 

This episode sponsored by…

 

For 40% off all LOLA subscriptions, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” when you subscribe.

 

For 15% off your Earth Hero order, click here and enter the promo code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 
 

Noise for the Soul

When urban tumult brings you inner peace

http_%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2F2%2F2b%2FCinematic_New_York_City_%286033969880%29.jpg
 
 
 

“Deep down, I know there is something in me that needs a sea of humanity around me — a certain frenetic energy — to feel at ease.”

— Alex Eggerking

 

We often hear about people escaping to nature as an antidote to stress.

The world is hectic, our lives are busy, and quiet places can help us find some inner peace. Or so we’re told.

But what if it isn’t so simple for everyone? What if some people need busier urban environments — and not just for the career opportunities, or the lifestyle, or the conveniences they afford — but in order to feel at peace?

This episode draws us into one woman’s realization that living in a big city — a place that assaults your senses every time you walk outside — a place where the concept of ‘outside’ is about as far removed from nature as it gets — might be just what her soul has been searching for all along.

Alex Eggerking tells her story.

 

Want to hear more music from Alex’s punk band, the Voms?

Here’s their website, and here they are on Facebook and Instagram.

 
Alex drumming with the Voms in New York City. (Photo courtesy Alex Eggerking)

Alex drumming with the Voms in New York City. (Photo courtesy Alex Eggerking)

 

Support for this episode comes from…

 
 
 

Founded over 35 years ago by fishermen who wanted to stay on the water longer, Costa Sunglasses are engineered to help people across all pursuits make the most of their time on the water. For those who need water to breathe.

Costasunglasses.com

 
 
 
Think Outside Logo.png
 
 

For $10 off your first box, head to ThinkOutsideBoxes.com and enter the coupon code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 
 
 
Life Without Plastic logo.jpg
 
 

For 10% off your order, go to LifeWithoutPlastic.com and enter the coupon code “OUTTHERE” at checkout.

 

Controlling Chaos

How fighting a wildfire can put you in the driver’s seat of your own life

 
Photo by Ryan Heffernan

Photo by Ryan Heffernan

 

“In those moments, I felt like I was at the center of the world … and there was nothing else that mattered.”

— Alex Jablonski

 

This episode is about control.

On a very concrete level, it’s about control of wildfires.

But on a deeper level, we’re exploring how people can take control of their lives — whether that’s navigating the shift from childhood to adulthood, or figuring out how to get your life back on track after you’ve traveled to very dark places.

My guests are Alex Jablonski and Kahlil Hudson, the producers of a film called Wildland. The film follows a fire crew in Oregon over the course of one summer.

On this episode, I talk with them about the deeply personal forces that draw people to wildland firefighting; about the unparalleled mental highs that come with the job; and about the surprising bonds that form between people who seem to have nothing in common.

And finally, we discuss how controlling nature can help you gain control over your own life, too.

 

Support for this episode comes from

 

Take 15% off your order at EarthHero.com with the coupon code “OUTTHERE”.

 
 
 

For $50 off your first box of Green Chef, click here.

 
 

Single in Your 30s

No partner, no soulmate — no problem?

 
The solo hike that put everything into perspective. (Photo courtesy Mara Kuhn)

The solo hike that put everything into perspective. (Photo courtesy Mara Kuhn)

Most of us want a life partner. But what if your soulmate never materializes?

The older you get, the more distressing single-hood can seem. You watch friends getting married; you see their children grow up; and you start to wonder whether something is wrong with you. Why is there no special someone for you?

Mara Kuhn used to be in the same boat.

But somewhere along the way, everything changed.

On this episode, she shares her story. It’s a story that takes us from the deep south to the highest peak in Colorado, and explores how a person can fall in love with being alone.

 

Support for this episode comes from

Feminine products by women, for women

For 40% off your subscription, enter the promo code OUTTHERE at checkout.

 

Personalized vitamin and supplement packs

For 50% off your first month of personalized vitamins, enter the promo code OUTTHERE50 at checkout.

 

“In between relationships, I felt like … I was in a holding pattern, waiting for my real life to begin.”

— Mara Kuhn

 

In the Name of Love

How much compromise is too much?

Dani Harris cooks dinner during a cross-country road trip (Photo courtesy Dani Harris)

Dani Harris cooks dinner during a cross-country road trip (Photo courtesy Dani Harris)

 

We hear it again and again: relationships require compromise.

But what happens when you realize you’ve been letting your own identity slip away, for the benefit of a relationship?

Today’s story comes to us from a woman named Dani Harris. It’s about young love and a cross-country road trip, and it shows just how hard it can be to stand up for yourself when you care deeply about another person.

“It was like I had been shoving my needs inside of a duffel bag, … maintaining my image as a girlfriend who was always easy-going and forgiving.”

— Dani Harris

 
 
 
 
 
 
ThriveLogo_GREEN-01.jpg

This episode sponsored by Thrive Market

Take 25% off your first purchase, and get a FREE month-long trial at ThriveMarket.com/OutThere.

 
 

The Truths We Hold

An Armenian, a Turk, a 4,000-mile bike trip, and a history that doesn't match up

Raffi (left) and Ersin (right) finsih a cross-country bicycle trip at the Golden Gate Bridge in California. (Photo courtesy Raffi Wartanian)

Raffi (left) and Ersin (right) finsih a cross-country bicycle trip at the Golden Gate Bridge in California. (Photo courtesy Raffi Wartanian)

 

This is a story about our beliefs — about things we’re brought up to know to be true. Beliefs so strong and powerful that they shape the identity, culture, and attitudes of an entire nation.

We all have these kinds of beliefs — things we’ve been taught our entire lives. But what causes us to begin to question them?

“He did not believe that there was an Armenian genocide. And we kept our distance.” — Raffi

On this episode, we have a guest story from Kerning Cultures, a podcast dissecting the complex narratives of the Middle East. It’s a story about what happens when we’re faced with a truth that contradicts our own.

Producer Jackie Sofia brings us the story.

“They would learn that I'm Turkish, and then they would call me a rapist … or a murderer.” — Ersin

Certain names and details of places have been kept out of this episode at the request of the people who were interviewed for the story.

 
 
 

Support for this episode comes from

ThriveLogo_GREEN-02.jpg

Thrive Market is an online store that delivers organic foods and beauty products straight to your door.

Prices are up to 30% less than retail. And Out There listeners can take an ADDITIONAL 25% off their first order.

 

Becoming a Secular Pilgrim

A thousand miles on the Camino de Santiago

 
Hikers on The Camino De Santiago (Photo by Beth Jusino)

Hikers on The Camino De Santiago (Photo by Beth Jusino)

Beth Jusino was not the kind of person you’d expect to go on a pilgrimage that involved walking 1,000 miles.

She was neither outdoorsy nor religious, and she wasn’t plagued by the kind of traumatic experiences that often prompt people to embark on big journeys.

But she was burnt out.

Craving a break from her hectic life, she set her sights on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route through Europe dating back to the Middle Ages.

Her book Walking to the End of the World chronicles the trip, and on this episode, she joins us to talk about it.

Beth’s story is a testament to the beautiful things that can happen when you stop saying, “I could never do that.” And it’s a powerful reminder that disentangling ourselves from our responsibilities and compulsions can help us grow and thrive.

 
I’m glad that we took this trip for as long as we did — I’m glad that we went for 79 days — because it took that long to un-peel my fingers, one by one, from my need to plan and control.
— Beth Jusino
 
 

Support for this episode comes from

 

Take 25% off your first order and get a FREE one-month trial here.

 
 

Seeing the Forest through the Trees

One person’s journey from PhD to planting trees

 
Noam Osband spends a season planting trees in Canada. (Photo courtesy Noam Osband)

Noam Osband spends a season planting trees in Canada. (Photo courtesy Noam Osband)

Overachievement. The word conjures up specific kinds of feats: high grades, promotions, success in the traditional sense. Things that are unambiguously good.

But what happens when you realize the quest to achieve has been holding you back?

On this episode, producer Noam Osband shares the story of something surprising that happened while he was researching his PhD dissertation. His story that takes us from the hills of Arkansas to the forests of Canada, and introduces us to the world of migrant workers whose job it is to plant the trees that feed our timber industry.

It’s a story that questions our desire to get ahead, and shows what happens when you're willing to take your gaze away from your goal.

 
Hearing some Harvard schmuck complain about too much schooling is the most insufferable of first-world problems. But there’s also something universal ... about realizing maybe you don’t want the lifestyle that you’ve been taught is the good life.
— Noam Osband
 
 

Support for this episode comes from