When Paul Barach embarked on his first thru-hike, he was expecting a life-changing experience. The Shikoku Pilgrimage, which traverses Japan’s most rural island and takes visitors past 88 Buddhist temples, promised to be a spiritual and meditative journey, as well as an epic adventure.
But the reality wasn’t so nice.
On this episode, Paul tells the story of what happens when the adventure of a lifetime doesn't turn out the way you'd hoped. How do you make peace with the worst parts of hiking, when those parts never end?
More episodes from "Out There"
Outskating Your Demons
35:25Molly-Anne Dameron had struggled with severe mental illness her whole life. And, after years of drug addiction, she had recently gotten sober. But — as she puts it — getting sober is "not always f*cking rainbows." She wasn’t sure she was going to make it in sobriety, with the added isolation of the pandemic. So she set out to skate from Maine to New Jersey. SHARE THIS PODCAST, WIN REWARDS: Get your personal referral link here. MERCH SALE: Get 30% off Out There merch with promo code FALL30. Now through Oct. 10, 2021.
Forest as Pharmacy
33:09Shannon Prince comes from a family with a rich relationship to the natural world. Her Cherokee ancestors were skilled at using plants as medicine. But her family’s eco-literacy had been stripped away over the generations. Yearning to rediscover forgotten knowledge, Shannon traveled across the world to Mongolia, where ancient traditions were more intact. On this episode, she explores the surprising things that can happen to you on a personal level, when you attempt to preserve a way of life that’s slowly disappearing. REFER FRIENDS, WIN REWARDS! Sign up for your personal referral link.
Trial by Fire
42:52Becky Jensen had given herself the perfect present for her 50th birthday: a two-week solo backpacking trip. But when she emerged from the trail, she learned that a wildfire had started near her home in northern Colorado. Her house might already be gone. On this episode, Becky shares her story. She takes us from the tranquility of the San Juan mountains to a cramped basement where she waited out her evacuation, and explores how you find serenity when a natural disaster threatens everything you’ve built. Refer friends, win rewards! Get your personal referral link here.
On My Own Terms
32:27After a demoralizing hiking trip in college, Ava Ahmadbeigi gave up on nature. She had never been outdoorsy, and now she knew she didn't belong. But that hiking trip kept haunting her. On this episode, Ava tells her story. She takes us from a cramped apartment in NYC to a mountain in the Adirondacks, as she seeks to find her place — both in her own body, and in the world outside her walls. Click here to read the transcript for this episode. Sign up for our email list and be the first to know about our upcoming referral rewards program! SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron
The Happy Hustle
27:45A career in the arts is tough. Creative professionals are notoriously overworked and underpaid. Even if you “make it,” it’s easy for your passion to turn into just another stressful job. On this episode, we bring you a story about photographer and skateboarder Khaleeq Alfred, who has been learning how to walk the line between following his dreams and paying the bills. It's a story about getting the compensation you deserve without sacrificing your artistic integrity, and about finding balance between happiness and the hustle. You can read the episode transcript here. Support Out There by becoming a patron today!
28:32On this episode, we talk with Sarah Maslin Nir, author of the book Horse Crazy. Horse Crazy is part memoir and part cultural exploration. It’s a love letter to an animal. It’s a story about the struggle to belong. And it’s a deep dive into the fascinating things that horses — and the humans connected to them — can teach us about ourselves and our society. SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron
The Bucket List Traveler
27:13Many of us assume that self care is inherently selfish — that we either focus on ourselves, or we help others. But what if that’s a false dichotomy? This story explores how self care can end up being good for the greater community. The story follows a woman named Linda Mohammad, also known as the Bucket List Traveler, who set out to visit all the national parks in the United States. When she started the project, she was just trying to get in shape and unplug from her hectic life. But the experience snowballed into something much bigger, and much more beautiful, than that. EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Click here to read the transcript as you listen. PITCH US A STORY: Story pitches for our upcoming season, "Things I Thought I Knew," are due July 30, 2021. Click here to see our pitch guidelines. HEAR OUR AWARD-WINNING EPISODE: Our episode "A Series of Unlikely Events" won a silver medal in PMJA's annual awards. Listen now. SUPPORT OUT THERE: Help us pay for the beautiful stories you hear on the show.
Don't Take 'No' for an Answer
27:49My mother always told me I shouldn’t take “no” for an answer. If you don’t get what you want, she said, keep pushing. Growing up, I took that advice to heart: whatever the task at hand, I charged forward with dogged determination. But in 2018, a bicycle accident changed my outlook on what it means to back down, and I started standing up for myself in a new way. SUPPORT OUT THERE: Become a patron on Patreon
The Ultimate Outdoorswoman
33:57How Harriet Tubman could change your perspective on who belongs outdoors You probably learned about Harriet Tubman in school growing up — how she led slaves to freedom on the underground railroad. But she was a lot more than an activist and freedom fighter. She was a daughter, wife, entrepreneur — and a talented outdoorswoman. On this episode, we explore Tubman’s relationship with nature; we unpack how that history shapes the way Black Americans engage with the outdoors today; and we show how a closer look at Tubman could offer new perspectives on who belongs outdoors. FOR FURTHER LISTENING: Check out our "Black & Outdoorsy" playlist for stories celebrating Black experiences outdoors Hear the Following Harriet series
The Thru-Hike of Misery
30:06When Paul Barach embarked on his first thru-hike, he was expecting a life-changing experience. The Shikoku Pilgrimage, which traverses Japan’s most rural island and takes visitors past 88 Buddhist temples, promised to be a spiritual and meditative journey, as well as an epic adventure. But the reality wasn’t so nice. On this episode, Paul tells the story of what happens when the adventure of a lifetime doesn't turn out the way you'd hoped. How do you make peace with the worst parts of hiking, when those parts never end?