Hilarious and Real Lessons from the ‘Fear of Going Outside’ (Ivy Le, comedian and podcast host)

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Ivy Le humans outside podcast

What happens when you mix a real, no kidding fear of going outside, a comedian, sharp wit and a no holds barred look at what’s really going on with outdoor recreation gate-keeping? You get an honest, hilarious and confronting look at what heading outside means in America — and how you can change that.

That’s the theme of Ivy Le’s narrative Spotify podcast FOGO, or Fear of Going Outside. Unlike basically every other guest I’ve ever had on Humans Outside, Ivy is definitely not outdoor-minded. But after trying outdoor stuff including camping and hunting, she’s got some takeaways to share that we all need to hear.

Maybe the AI tool I use to help me with show notes says it best (or at least funniest). According to that tool, in this episode you’ll hear about:

  • The anecdote for attracting attention in a state park.
  • Challenging traditional ideas of camping and encouraging exploration for people of color.
  • Ivy’s difficulty finding a nature store and going to REI instead.
  • Acceptance of rats in New York City as sentient neighbors.

(OK, this AI tool is fired — but you’re intrigued, aren’t you?)

Want to know what those takeaways have to do with anything? Listen now!

Some of the good stuff:

[2:32] Wherein we bond over plumbing
[3:48] Ivy’s favorite outdoor space
[5:17] Making a show about going outside when you hate going outside
[8:19] Did she find anything outside she actually likes?
[10:30] When REI is something happens to you
[13:30] The stuff she had to overcome to get out there
[23:08] What has to happen to making getting outside less hard
[27:08] Yes, she really tried hunting. Here’s what happened.
[35:43] What’s really going on in the outdoor industry
[42:19] Ivy’s favorite outdoor moment, and she does actually have one.

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

Amy Bushatz: You know that feeling you get when you spend even a little bit of time outside, no matter how challenging it is to get out there, spending time in nature is always worth it. I’m your host, Amy Bushatz and this is another episode of Humans Outside. Join me as we hear from fascinating outdoor minded guests and use the Humans Outside 365 challenge to push us outside daily.

Ready to hear from experts and outdoor lovers who make heading into nature just a part of who they are while we work to do the same? Let’s go.

Back when I first started humans outside in the very, very, very beginning before my outdoor habit, before I moved to Alaska, sight unseen, before any of that, I’m talking the day I came up with the title and bought the URL in 2015. Back then, all of this started because my family was gonna go outside and do camping stuff and I really, really didn’t wanna go. I had no experience. I was, and by the way am, afraid of spiders. I liked toilets that flush and still do, by the way. And could not fathom why you would want to sleep in a tent. I needed a way to motivate myself and made heading outside a project by creating Humans Outside. I used the tagline, “indoor humans in an outdoor world.”

Since then, I’ve obviously figured out that I do, in fact, like going outside even though it’s hard. And you know, that I had to bribe myself into getting started on doing it every day by coming up with this whole 20 minute daily goal, something I’ve now been doing for more than 2,000 days in a row because I’m wild like that.

Today’s guest, Ivy Le is not an outdoor minded guest. I know that’s what I promised in the intro, but it’s a lie in this case. Ivy is the host of the Spotify podcast, Fear of Going Outside or Fogo wherein despite not wanting to go outside, she does it anyway and then tells us about it.

In season one, her narrative podcast walked us through her journey to camping and figure out how to do it. In season two, she decided to take on going hunting, which by the way is still something I haven’t done. A comedian, writer and daughter of Vietnamese immigrants flaming bisexual, and Mom of two Ivy’s podcast doesn’t just take on her personal journey of getting out there when you don’t want to, but tackles nature gatekeeping, racism, gender privilege, and a whole lot of other heavy stuff that is absolutely tied to the outdoors in a way that is both confronting and funny for a white lady like me. Today, Ivy’s gonna talk about her fear of going outside, what she’s learned along the way, and why she took all of it on for our general entertainment.

Ivy, welcome to humans Outside.

Ivy Le: Amy, I love plumbing too. Oh my God.

Amy Bushatz: Well, I mean, let’s bond over that for a second.

Ivy Le: I never get tired of clean water.

Amy Bushatz: No, because it’s the best, and if you’re already inside and it’s coming out of your house, you don’t have to like make it clean. It’s a modern marvel.

Ivy Le: Yeah, it is. Yeah. You remember that meme? That’s wait, you have so much clean water that you poop in it.

Amy Bushatz: Yes, exactly. So today we are inside. I’m here in my podcast closet in Alaska, and you are in your podcast closet in Texas, and I love that we both have podcast closets.

Ivy Le: Mine is burning up, though.

Amy Bushatz: It’s so hot? How hot is it?

Ivy Le: It’s like 105 degrees here and my obviously closets are not air conditioned. It is burning out. I cannot- but you are wearing a sweater, so I really don’t think we’re having the same experience right now.

Amy Bushatz: No, we’re not. It’s also, a generous 55 outside and pouring rain and yeah.

So we typically open our episodes, imagining ourselves with our guests hanging out in outside space, having this conversation. But, I don’t know if we can do that with you. So like, but if we were gonna go outside with you somewhere that you do like,is there a place, like, can you describe it for us?

Ivy Le: In a place that I like outdoors. Um, maybe a beach somewhere, don’t know.

Amy Bushatz: Okay. But we could be on the beach on like one of those elevated chairs with the umbrellas and the cabana boys. I’m just saying it’s an idea.

Ivy Le: Yeah, and like margaritas, just fresh margaritas.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah,

Ivy Le: Everybody’s like super attractive. There’s no jellyfish in the water. There’s no kelp, just like wrapping around your legs everywhere.

Amy Bushatz: This is a thing. This is outside.

Ivy Le: Okay. Yeah. Let’s imagine this highly sanitized version of the tenuous border between land and the alien dumps of the ocean.

Amy Bushatz: Excellent. I like it. Okay. The second thing we usually do is ask people to tell us their outdoor story and how they became someone who likes to go outside, which not sure that’s gonna work here.

Ivy Le: I got I got. Amy changing her whole life right now.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, it’s fine. So, I kind of love that we can’t do that because it’s way more interesting to hear your story instead of someone’s. Like outdoor love story. So maybe instead tell me how did you get to a place where you’re someone who names a podcast fear of going outside and then goes outside anyway? Like what happened? How did you, why? How? Go?

Ivy Le: I wanted to make a show. I’m an entertainer, I’m a comedian. I wanted to see a show or hear a show. I still wanna see Fogo on tv. That was where my point of view is really relevant, but that it wasn’t about my trauma. Do you know what I mean? My trauma, like a lot of times when you are a person of color, it doesn’t even matter if you’re in drama, if you’re in comedy, like people just kind of expect you to package your trauma for consumption.

And I just don’t really feel like that’s where I am as an artist. You know, I’m not really into making art to convince people that I’m human anymore. You know what I mean? Like, I, I make art because I human and humans like to, Make things and decorate themselves and stuff like that. Um, make movies on cave walls, like humans are just creative. Right. And that’s why I make art.

So I just thought and thought about like where’s a space where I, can achieve that? And I realized that like I watch a crazy amount of nature shows. I am fascinated by animal facts. I love to, watch even like cheesy, campy reality shows. I think at the time I was watching Monster Bug Wars on YouTube with my kids.

You know, like I love, you know, I, I used to watch like River Monsters every BBC nature documentary, Naked and Afraid, like just, you know, high-minded ones, low minded ones. Like I, I just love, like a hillbilly hand fishing where guys would go out and stick their hands in holes in rivers trying to catch the catfish.

You know, I love nature shows as a genre. And I was like, you know, I can make a nature show where I get to ask all the follow-up questions that like Bear Grylls never asks you know? Bear Grylls is never like, why did you stick your hand in that hole? Did were other ideas that we tried before we landed on this technique?

Like they just never asked those questions that I think are very valid questions for the vast majority of people. So that’s why I ended up creating a show called FOGO, Fear of Going Outside. I just didn’t, I think I didn’t really grasp how much going outside, making a show about the outside would entail until I was like seven episodes in and it was like too late to turn back.

Amy Bushatz: And you’re like, I have to go outside to do this. This is not cool.

Ivy Le: Yeah, there’s no like production assistant to like, make animals show up at the right time so you can leave by lunch. Do you know what I mean? There’s no, it’s nature is not a very cooperative, castmate on a show. So, yeah, that’s how that’s how that happened. I just kind of got sucked into it for work.

I’m not famous enough to sell a show where I am just having fun, like people want see comedians suffer. So that’s where we are.

Amy Bushatz: Did you find anything about going outside that you did actually like?

Ivy Le: No, no, I really didn’t.

Amy Bushatz: That’s fine.

Ivy Le: Yeah, I don’t like, I don’t like weather. I don’t like, I don’t like uv, I don’t like aging. I could, sometimes I could feel like wrinkles forming on my skin and like, my clogs, my pore. I could, sometimes I could feel my pores clogging up from like, sweat and sunscreen. Going into them. I don’t like, just the feeling of constantly having to scan for threats just everywhere at like 360 degrees in like all dimensions. You know, in the city, your threats are very, directional. You know, like a y axis or an x axis. You stand at a corner, you look left or right for crossing the street.

Like your threats are pretty, they’re just a few directions at once. That threats can come from. You know, but out in nature. It could go from like above, below to your side. It could just like brush you, you know, poison oak can just like brush you in the face, give you pink eye or whatever. Like they could just come from anywhere. Your threats have wings. Sometimes the threats can fly at you. They’re like, not where you were looking. And then suddenly they’re like on you.

Amy Bushatz: Is it weird to you that a bunch of the stuff you like all the threats are why some people, like people like the threats? Is that blow your mind?

Ivy Le: Yeah, but I have a working hypothesis of why that is the case. A lot of outdoor people are not, have had a lot easier life than I’ve had, and so to them they feel a sense of invincibility. So to them the threats are almost entertaining. Do you know what I mean? Like they’re like, Ooh, I felt alive ’cause I felt something. Right? They don’t really think that anything truly bad can happen to them when I know for a fact that truly bad things can and have and can possibly continue to happen to me.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah no, I get it. I get it.

Before I started camping was the day that I spent like $700 at REI. Like I even took a picture of my husband and I sitting in the back of our car. Like $700 poorer, like ah, like a, like a, like a a REI afterglow.

Ivy Le: Oh my God.

Amy Bushatz: Where we own like a lot of unnecessarily fancy outdoor things. Okay. I bring that up because price tag can be a huge barrier to going outside and to nature, which is so silly because like theoretically outside is free. During your journey to figure out how to camp and how to hunt, what are some of the barriers that you encountered? So just talk us through some of the stuff that you went through on your shows that was like, why is this so stinking hard?

Ivy Le: Absolutely REI happened to me too. And before I even got the price tag, I don’t know if you listened to this episode in season one, before I even knew how much money everything ended up being, I almost suffocated to death twice in a sleeping bag. I almost fell off a camping stool that wasn’t like big enough for my booty.

I. there were just,it was a lot. It was overwhelming. The REI episode was so overwhelming in real life that we had to invent a narrator character to help the listener understand the chaos that was going on there. It was out. It was out of control. and that’s all before the price tag. Like when you tell me that you spent the equivalent of rent for some people in one trip to REI to go to a place that you didn’t even want to go to, like I threw up a little bit in my mouth.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. I will say in my general defense, we still are using all of those things today. So if you were to be somebody who found that you actually do like going outside, right? Like if that was to happen to you, and you bought all of that stuff, you know, you might then re use it for a decade plus, which is where I’m at. But that does not mean that moment wasn’t shocking

Ivy Le: This was, seven 2013 dollars? Oh my God.

Amy Bushatz: Yes. 2000, 2015,

Ivy Le: Girl

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, I know. We now have the Taj Mahal of tents. Yeah. It happened. In fact, we actually call it The Taj .

Ivy Le: I ended up returning a bunch of stuff and I was able to find some camping stuff at Costco. And I have noticed that, since recording, Daiso has started offering, which is like the Japanese dollar store, Diaso has started offering some like little camp accessories and things like that, that you can get for like super cheap. I mean, who knows how long they would last, but I have definitely never put my stuff to the test because I’ve never gone camping again since I recorded the season finale of episode one.

Amy Bushatz: Right So what, you know, it’s interesting that because that price tag, that is one of the barriers, right? What we’re talking about here, and I spent a lot of time on this show telling people how they can avoid spending $700 at REI on any given day and having the, like I’m poor now afterglow in the back of their quite used Ford Explorer. .

Okay. What are other barriers like, other than price tag, what else did you find like, things you had to overcome to even be able to do any of this.

Ivy Le: So I’ll say when I learned to go camping, there is, there, you know, a lot when you’re making a podcast, you, especially when I’m just recording everything because I don’t know, I’m just recording what’s, what happens, right? Every, it’s a, the show’s a comedy, but everything that happens is real and earnest.

You know, we try to keep it light and keep it fun. But like everything actually happened, you know? And so, and all the stories I tell are true, but we don’t show you everything because that would just be way too long, rightnobody wants to hear every little detail. So there is one character in season one, that actually represents a lot of people. But this was like the funniest version of those people, you know, who basically were just super discouraging, you know? They I think so some of the stuff that we cut out was, there was a lot of ableism, I think, in the outdoors. I, so my producer and I, we’re not like super thin people, but my producer, Mariah, actually is an extremely outdoor person who did grow up very outdoorsy, goes hiking constantly, in their spare time, and but you know, we’re not, we don’t look like an REI model or any like REI models or anything like that.

And she would tell me, she’d go on hikes and constantly get people being like, do you really think you can finish this? Do you think you’re gonna be able to finish this hike? Are you gonna be like, okay? She does thru hikes all the time. You know? And so people would say that to stuff like that to me, but I thought it’s just ’cause, oh, you know, there must be something about me that makes it really obvious that, that I’m not outdoorsy, which is true. It it, I must think I’m not outdoorsy ’cause I’m not. And other people like her would be like, no, that’s not what, that’s not what they’re picking up on. You know? Uh, then, then there’s that feeling of, a big obstacle was figuring out where to camp. There’s no- you think it’s just, you think the outside’s just like everywhere. it’s not, and even places that do have more public lands than we do in Texas, they’re very like white people, paperwork kind of thing. Like you, like you have to like go make a reservation, like it’s a fancy restaurant, you know, and you have to know all the words and the terms of like what to look for.

Like a cabin is different from a site, which is different from a, I don’t know. There’s like all kinds of words that if, English is not your first language or just outdoor English is not, you know, a thing that you speak just like corporate ease is like weird. If it’s not like a thing that you just speak natively, you know?

So just trying to figure out, like, I spend the better part of episode one of season one, trying to figure out what to Google to get to a nature store. Like that’s why I ended up at REI, ’cause I couldn’t figure out where to go. And REI, like I’d seen the billboard, so I knew where one was and I knew what it, I, you know, I knew what they sold in there, you know, so that’s how I, that’s why I ended up there, you know?

So, I feel like season one, the outdoors, like you mentioned kind of in the intro that I end up kind of running into like sexism or racism and all this kind of stuff. And it’s not ’cause I was seeking it out, I was trying to make a comedy, you know, ’cause I’m a comedian, that’s what I do. I try to make people laugh, but I end up having to deal with those issues because those were part and parcel of the legitimate obstacles that I ran into.

But I would say, camping is like low key racist, like it’s very subtle/ but there’s kind of this feeling of like, but look, here are all these bipo influencers saying that it’s okay to come to this national park. You may still have to go through a sundown town, but like you, it’s still kind of okay. The water’s kind of okay, you know.

Hunting. So that’s like low key hunting is high key racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic. Like people literally do not want to help you go outside. So the all obstacles I had in season one, trying to figure out where to go, times a hundred hunting, trying to figure out where to go hunting. Like no one, there were so many people who, I call it the South Texas, no. It’s where they just ghost you. Like people in Texas don’t like to say literally the word no they just, they just don’t wanna say it. And so they’ll just ghost you if they don’t wanna help you. You know what I mean? So yeah, there’s just a lot of, the same cost kind of stuff, but, Just much more, hostile.

They were just not, there was not a community of people who kind of want you to take up this sport. They kind of want to keep the sport, exclusive and they want to keep their locations secret. A lot of times they’re like legacy locations in their family. They wanna keep it a heritage sport. And by heritage sport, I mean, We, we killed everybody who knew this land or we attempted to kill and then successfully relocated the rest for the most part. And it’s not just out here in the west the western part of the United States where we relocated all the indigenous people, it also applies to how we pass trespassing laws and privatize other land when slaves were freed in the south. And also immigrants bringing their ways of hunting to the Northeastern United States and the Midwest. All those ways were outlawed too. And so by heritage, I mean like one heritage,

Amy Bushatz: Right? Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Well, and it’s a, and also this, uh, which I, I think in many ways can be inherently racist, scarcity mindset. That if we don’t protect things for our people. So whatever our people means, and in this context, it often means you know, white people. So if we don’t protect things for our people, other people, whoever that is, will come in and take it and there won’t be enough for me. And of course like logically you can back and be like, that’s not really true. But in that moment, it’s what keeps other people out, and most people don’t ever back up to see that’s not true. Like they just don’t do it.

Ivy Le: I mean, I dunno, right? Because the kind of people who have that kind of motivation are really not the kind of people who would respond to an interview request or like invite me along to, to tag along for a hunt, you know? So I can’t verify that’s literally what individual people in these cultures think, but, waht I was able to verify was the very real history, of how we removed all these hunting ways and how we formed the public lands that we do because it, yeah, in Texas we don’t have a lot of public lands, but like I found out because uh, all these hunters are hunters are, are very like, wrapped up in conservation. And so I was like, wait, it occurred to me that I actually did not literally understand the difference between conservation or environmentalism or climate justice. I literally did not, I was like, I thought I knew what these words mean, but all these people are saying these words over and over and again, and I’m starting to realize that maybe I don’t know what that means. it also happened to me. I had a, a physician’s assistant once, tell me that my, like cervix was turned one way or the other and I was like, wait, you know what? I actually don’t know what a cervix is. Could you like draw a picture for me?

You know, there’s just lots of things. You say them, you think you know them. Hemorrhoids is another one. Like you say it, you think you know what it is, but then if you’re like, literally, but like, could you draw a picture of it? Do you, do you really know what it is? And the answer is no. I really don’t, you know.

Amy Bushatz: I do know.

Ivy Le: That’s so, Conservation was like hemorrhoids until you experience it basically when after childbirth, I was like, you know what? I did not know what hemorrhoids were. And now I do, And now I do. I just joked about it before when I was in fifth grade, but I did not really know what they were. That is what conservation was. One of the most horrific stories I’ve had. So when you research conservation, if you’re new to hunting, you end up learning a lot about, Teddy Roosevelt. Well, Teddy Roosevelt right, is a, is kind of the conservation president ’cause he laid the groundwork to create a national park system in Yosemite National Park, which is like kind of our first big important, you know, national park, they literally hunted down the people who lived there. In fact, there were of course the people who lived there, they knew their way around, you know, and so they tried to hide themselves and tried to save their own lives as best as they could. And one time a scout, followed, was able to follow somebody sneakily and figure out what one of these paths, these secret paths were, that people were going to go hide themselves and hunted them down these paths.

Some of those paths where they hunted these people down to take that land are the paths that tourists take today when they go to Yosemite National Park. Within 40 years of us taking over that park, that land, it was a disaster. Animals went extinct. The plants that they were like, oh look, it is so beautiful, it’s so naturally beautiful. It was not natural. It was not naturally beautiful, right? We destroyed that ecosystem that had been maintained for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. We destroyed it in 40 years. And the paths that we go down are the paths that people took to try to save their own lives and, and unsuccessfully.

And so, people are like, oh, it’s ’cause you’re there, there are a lot of people who are in places like Massachusetts or you know, Colorado, whatever, and they’re like, your problem is ’cause you’re in Texas. And I’m like, I don’t know, I’m, I’ve never been to y’all’s states ’cause I don’t do travel tourism for nature purposes ’cause it’s not fun for me. But, I don’t know. I’m, I’m reading this stuff up. It really doesn’t sound like, the rest of y’all are doing much better. You know, it’s I don’t know. How do you compare, how do you compare these original sins?

Amy Bushatz: Right Yeah, totally. What would have to happen to make getting outside less difficult? to get rid of these barriers for you? Like what would, what would, a solution be?

Ivy Le: At at, a at a, at a philosophical level, a political, philosophical level, making the show, has not made me more of an outdoorsy person, but it has absolutely made me raging land back activist. You know the lot, I feel like I, I got back from vacation recently and I found out a apart entire apartment, buildings went up in flames just north of me. I thought the big thing that was going on in the United States with the, was the fire in Lahaina in Hawaii that like destroyed that town, that historic town. And then I get home. To, and I, you know, once I’m on my local wifi, I’m getting local news alerts and I was like, oh my God. Like the same thing happened here in central Texas. You know, things are so many terrible things are going on that I’m like, at some point we just have to say, enough is enough and get the land back. Or like people like, or towns are coming up in flames, you know, like how much is enough? Before we’re like, we need to give it back to people who actually know how to keep the earth from, you know, attacking us, giving back to them and try to set things right, you know, and reset.

But I think that there’s a lot of little things that, that could easily be done. like I would feel a lot better if there was like food trucks at trailheads that I’m not like, so stressed out about, like, where am I gonna eat, you know?

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Listen, I think that’s a great idea.

Ivy Le: I think, I think it’s like, I, I would, I would make that would make it a lot, you know, better for me. But also, you know, something, so one of the reasons why I made the show, why I was like, oh, this is the show that’s gonna be the right concept to achieve that whole, let my perspective be relevant, but not like my experience be the thing, you know, is that I realized watching all these nature shows that nature is a cultural construct.

What you in Alaska think is nature is not what someone in Guatemala thinks of nature. It’s not what somebody in, you know, Madagascar or Taipei, Taiwan, thinks of what nature is or is not. You know. But here I feel like there’s a very kind of, Colonizer perspective of this is pristine nature, and then here’s a boundary between those two, and then this is where we live.

Whereas the boundary between the two is much more porous. In a lot of places that I lived, like I hung out, I went to a bachelorette party down in Costa Rica where there was hardly, like people just lived like the hotel was in a jungle.

You know what I mean? Like it, it wasn’t, and it wasn’t like a touristy point at all. It just, everybody just kind of coexisted. My mom told me that, you know, my family’s from Vietnam. My mom told me that before the French came, you literally could not die of hunger. That was just not a cause of death before the Vietnam, the first Indo-Chinese war in the Vietnam War, there, there literally was just not a cause.

It did not matter how poor you were, everywhere you walked, there was just food hitting you in the face, hanging from trees. Maybe you were too poor to afford, you know, beef or pork or, you know, like a farm animal type meat, you know? But like everywhere you walk, there was just food hitting you in place. There literally was no death by starvation was just not a thing that anybody ever heard of anybody dying from until after the wars? Right? So, because there just wasn’t kind of this pourous thing. Whereas I was born here in the United States and I spend much, most of my time, in the cities, most, and I’m realizing now, it’s ’cause I don’t feel all that welcome in places that are less, urban. I don’t feel, safe. You know, they’re not the demons I know. Like I dont, I don’t mind the rats in New York, I feel like they’re like city rats. Like I don’t, I I actually don’t mind like city raccoons, you know, like I kind of, I’m like, you are clearly sentient and intelligent and like, you’re not here to mess with me. You’re just here to live your life. You’re just a neighbor that I don’t know very well.

Do you know what I mean?

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, I, can see it. Yep.

Ivy Le: But when I go out into the wilds, the people and the animals like don’t have good boundaries.

Amy Bushatz: That’s, I think that’s accurate. Yeah. I can, yeah. In season two of your show you went hunting, which I mean, I’ve never gone hunting. you set out to kill a hog, you ended up doing something else. Would you spoil it for us, if you don’t mind? And, how did it go?

Ivy Le: I mean, if y’all don’t mind a spoiler, I don’t mind a spoiler. I did end up successfully killing a deer, and I brought it home. and it was really, interesting. it was, I’m a big foodie and this was the first ingredient I had ever escorted all the way to my kitchen, personally. I will say it, it was, it was so cold that our recording equipment started to fail. And it was brutal. And lemme tell you, Amy, I’m allergic to cold air. This is real. We find that out in season one, where I go to an allergist, a professional allergist to get medically cleared to go camping, and I am legitimately allergic to cold air. It was that cold. It was debilitatingly cold while we were there. but then, I was successfully able to kill a deer and, basically a perfect shot.

Amy Bushatz: Because you’re a great shot. You’re a great shot. We learned that too.

Ivy Le: Yeah,I definitely, it’s something that I’ve reflected on and as hunters send me stuff to digest, you know, which I can’t put it in the show ’cause they don’t send me this stuff until after they’ve heard the show air, right? So all people have kind of sent me all kinds of notes and like, Hey, like did you, I heard this episode, have you read this article? And they’ll send me all this kind of stuff. Ah, there’s a theory, I don’t know if anybody will ever prove it that people with ADHD, which I have were our hunters, which would partially, which me and ADHD has a genetic component to it.

And I’m guessing that is like kind of, I wonder if a lot of people with ADHD are really good shots. And that, that I was like, you know, that’s, that sits just fine with me. I don’t feel like that’s a weird thing because, yeah, some of these skills in hunting did come weirdly natural to me. that, you know, I didn’t have a lot of mis shot, like literally the first time I ever shot a gun at anything, I got a perfect shot at like 200 yards, something like that, you know. So, there and this feeling of the way people explain a ADHD is like, yeah, you’re bored most of the time and you zero in on any minute change in activity, which is what an an an animal that’s, you know, camouflage showing up out in the woods is it’s like minute change in texture of the landscape.

That’s exactly what happened is literally exactly what, what hunting was like. So like maybe that’s true and so, what I, I found, maybe I did find something good. I didn’t like being outdoors, but completing that hunt did, I think, tie me to this continent that I was born in, in a way that I had never felt before as the child of immigrants and I think I was looking for that connection. I was looking for that validation from other Americans my whole life and was not getting it, and I, I think I spent a lot of my life trying to prove that I was American enough. I mean, I, I sound like this, you know, I did a voiceover for a show yesterday and for 55 minutes I was able to sound like I wasn’t from Texas, and then like 57 minutes, all my vowels started to sound like this.

Like I can actually can’t pretend that I’m not from Texas for apparently more than 55 minutes, even under professional working conditions. I mean, I’m American. I’m American, so hard, and yet, you know, I have the experience of being regarded as a perpetual foreigner and feeling it in a lot of ways. Like, here I was, you know, taking this, harvesting the deer from the land. And, and there were no other people around to, to tell me how American I was or wasn’t for doing it.

But it, I finally felt that connection, I think, to the land that Rocio the indigenous outdoor activists back in season one. Kind of introduces this idea of like, you just feel like you’re not an outdoor person because you were forcibly displaced from the land where you were at home.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Do you feel like you gained any benefit to your inside life by going, doing out stuff outside, even though you didn’t like it and don’t plan to do anymore? Do you feel like it had any sort of like bridge or translation to inside stuff?

Ivy Le: I guess some of the gear is cute.

Amy Bushatz: Fair enough. Okay. I personally have found, feel like when I do stuff out, like when I decided I was gonna go camping with my family, I felt like I was able to then be braver about stuff inside that I didn’t like. I like task, like, like tasks that I didn’t wanna do at work or making scary decisions, or, you know, I quit my job in May. I am absolutely confident that I never would’ve done that if I hadn’t had a practice of doing things that I didn’t like, and that practice for me is outside, right? Like it doesn’t have to be. That’s where my practice is, that I tackle things that I don’t like pretty often to find something that I do like, and then the skillset that I gain by doing that helps me inside. Um, so I’m just wondering if you, other than cute stuff, if there’s anything like that for you in this.

Ivy Le: I definitely did not get that. I mean, I grew up, I’m the first, I’m the oldest daughter of immigrants. Like I had to do a lot of hard stuff. I think I deserve a very soft and glamorous life with running water and no stray bullets. I think I deserve to have my feet rubbed every night as I fall asleep on high thread count sheets. I don’t have that, but I, I do feel I. That, if I got it, that I would be completely deserving of it if it all came my way. I feel like I have suffered enough.

However, one thing I’ll, I will say in my relations with other people, my tolerance for in particular straight white men acting tough and like they know something that they have never questioned, I thought it went down to zero when I had children.

Amy Bushatz: My patience for adults, ’cause I’m like, my kids are, I’m like, my kids are literally entitled to my attention. To these adults around me. I’m like, you’re an adult. Like why can you not just handle yourself and manage your emotions? Your brain is done. Like why are you in my face right now? Your brain is done. Go handle this. But so I thought, so that’s where I was after having children and being like, oh, this is what actual entitlement to my emotional labor looks like legal, moral, social, philosophical entitlement to my, to me, this is what this actually looks like. All these other people who felt entitled or behaved entitled to me. We’re actually are not. Okay. My patience is this is, this must be zero. This must be zero.

Ivy Le: No girl. Now all these people who along the way are like, actually, you need to hold a bow like this. Actually, this is how you hold a gun. You have the wrong shoes. You don’t know how to do this. You know? And then I get that, and then I get out there and I’m like, this. is nothing. The hardest part about the outdoors was all the gatekeeping. Being outdoors is like not a big deal. It’s really not a big deal. But all of the crap that you have to wade through, all of the people trying to make you feel less than or that you don’t have enough money to be, appropriately, dressed to be outside or that you don’t have resilience ’cause you’ve never pitched a tent. Like that attitude and ev all the consequences of that attitude that’s the most obnoxious thing about getting outside. But being outside is just I mean, you know, like I can eat on a patio at a restaurant. That’s like basically being outside, except nobody’s gonna like clean your table for you, you just have to clean up your campsite yourself.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah,yeah. I mean, this goes back to the $700, right? Like I didn’t need to do that. Didn’t need to do that. I did that because I thought I needed to do that. I did that because I was like, if we’re gonna go camping, we surely must have all of this stuff, you know? Now do I use the stuff ’cause I have it? Yes, but I didn’t need to do it. There are so many other ways to be outside comfortably. That’s the pitch, right? oh, you need the stuff so you can be comfortable, so you can be safe, so you can drive, blah, blah. There’s so many ways to do that, and none of them have to involve $700 at our REI. They just don’t.

Ivy Le: And here’s when I went outside. Here’s the thing. People who act like they learned how to do hard things and be resilient outside, no, they didn’t. They paid thousands of dollars to go outside for a picture that looks like they’re outside, but to insulate themselves from absolutely every aspect of being outside like. Okay, I get it. If you wear your hiking boots, you don’t have to worry about poison ivy. Well, I wear sandals everywhere. My people famously expel the French from the jungle in sandals, right? Like you absolutely can go outside in sandals, but maybe the person, me, I go outside in sandals. I have to get really familiar with what the poisonous plants in my area look like, and I’m fine. And I just avoid them. I just respect the things. it’s like I went outside and I think that I’m an indoor person. Part of why I’m an indoor person is I am very respectful of nature, right? I’m like, why do I go out in nature? I don’t think she wants me there. so why would I just go invade their space?

You know? I have a thing I, my family’s Buddhist. So I don’t kill insects when I’m outside. I will put up a citronella candle if I’m in my backyard. If I have to be out in my backyard, I’ll put on, you know, bug repellent or like, whatever. But, I only kill bugs if they’re inside my space. And they’re specifically an insect that could hurt my kids. So he basically just mosquitoes who are gonna bite and like, and me and my kids, we get these like huge welts from mosquitoes bite us, basically only mosquitoes. I don’t kill spiders, ’cause the enemy of my enemy is my friend. You know, like I don’t kill anything that can’t hurt, that can’t hurt my kids.

And even when I’m outside, I do not actively kill mosquitoes unless they are physically on my child and I don’t, I don’t smack them and kill them because that’s their house and I kill them in here. I’m like, ’cause this is my house, you know? And so I just have like a, I don’t know, to me it’s like very intuitive and I think here in the US I think people feel like it’s goofy.

But then when I talk to people who have a global perspective, I think a lot more people see it the way that I see it than the way, you know, westerners are like,but nature, I’m entitled to all of this space. I’m entitled to be in anything in anybody’s space that I want to be. I am entitled to you’re in Alaska, how many guys go to Alaska to to prove that they can conquer whatever, right? And then end up having to get rescued because they do not respect.

Amy Bushatz: I mean like a lot.

Ivy Le: A lot, right? And they write books and biopics about it, and some of them die, you know? And they, and the ’cause they’re just so, they’re so full of hubris. And so to me, I feel like everything that I thought about the outdoors and I’m like, it is a space that you should respect, and you know, and have a very healthy amount of concern for your wellbeing because it does not care if you live or die.

I think I have largely been validated.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. I would say like, when I invited you to the show, I told you about the, my everyday outside thing and your response was, I think that sounds exhausting and I get that. I totally get that. It is kind of exhausting. But the benefit to that is that I have by having that practice, Which again, for me works, right? It doesn’t have to work for everybody. I have learned, it doesn’t have to be something that conquered, like I, that going out on the patio is going outside, like the, that the definitions and like gatekeeping that we put on ourselves, like it’s all self-inflicted to say this is, if you’re not doing this, it doesn’t meet that, standard

Ivy Le: no. Don’t put me in that. Don’t put me in that. I never inflicted that on myself at all. That’s girl, that’s a you problem. You inflicted that on yourself. That’s a, you don’t, don’t put me in that with you.

Amy Bushatz: Fair enough. That, that we broadly white people, um, put on ourselves is something that is fake. That is something that we made up, and then we spend all of this time and money to unmake it up, and that’s ridiculous. That’s what I’ve learned.

Ivy Le: Yeah. There’s a real historical reason for that. One of the greatest lies that we have told in order to justify taking this land. When, you know, taking this land, and I say we, because, you know, I know my family wasn’t here. Kind of at when America was founded. But I am an American and I think part of being an American means like, yeah, I get the benefits and I have to pay the debts like the pluses and the minuses, they all belong to me.

The problems of America are also my problems. Even if I wasn’t here when they started, you know, they are my problems to solve. They are my responsibility to bear. The we told this lie that’s like this land is untouched and we are the protectors of it. And we, and therefore it belongs to us and we are, the righteous and correct stewards of this land.

And because we are conquerors and we are, you know, we are the swaggering, swashbuckling, you know, intrepid explorers who know how to go out and do this and that carries through to this day, and it’s like the whitest lie and most harmful lie in the sense that it’s a very white lie. but not in the sense that it’s a harmless lie. It wasn’t a harmless lie, But instead of just being like, Hey, you know, we were fibbing we’re gonna go back on it. It’s a lie that we perpetuate down to you in your closet that you have had to be grow up in this lie. It’s a lie that we are so in for a penny, in for a pound, you know that we are so invested in that like materials engineers have to invent new textiles to allow white boys to go to Alaska to perpetuate this idea, which was, which as you have found, is simply,is simply a myth, simply a mythology that we made to justify taking this land.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. so, so many super good points. I hope people are just gonna turn this off and then think about it.

Ivy Le: They probably already turned it off at this point, Amy.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Fair enough. Okay. Well whoever’s still here, we usually wrap up this show asking guests to describe favorite outdoor moments. Life something that you go back to, but I’m not counting on you to have a favorite outdoor moment. ’cause that’s totally fine. You don’t have to. is there something out there though that you’re like, yeah, I did that. Like something empowering.

Ivy Le: Empowering. There was, there, there were some folks poking around my campsite, trying ’cause because I am a little bit of a spectacle, you know, I don’t look, I am, an extremely fashionable person and I, and no one else at our state parks appeared to be a very fashionable person. So, ’cause I wasn’t gonna buy weird clothes to just hang out at my own campsite, you know?

So I just wore my regular summer clothes, which are gorgeous. And so I think it attracted some attention, you know, and people were poking around our site to be like, what are these girls doing? That’s also, I was the only woman of color. I was the only person of color that stayed overnight during the day.

There are plenty of people of color, ’cause Texas is. It’s a very diverse place, you know, but, but I was the only one that I could see that decided to stay the night. And my campsite was all, was all female and non-binary. So there were no men in our site. which also was, unusual for the campsites that we were around at- those are my guesses, right? I can’t get into the heads of people why they decided to poke around. There were people poking around our campsite. And, because to them they’re like, what are these people doing? And are, but are they gonna be okay? But kind of in like a condescending way, you know? And I, they were hanging out. This guy was hanging out watching me make dinner for my camp according to what I thought was cookable outside. I don’t know what, I don’t know what quote unquote camp food is ’cause I’ve never been camping with people who cooked it for me, you know? So I just cooked what I thought was appropriate given the conditions that I had, and the limitations and refrigeration or whatever.

I cooked this, kind of like big Italian spread. I guess I figured people, my camp would need carbohydrates after a long day outside. I figured, you know, we would need some pasta. I figured some vegetables would be, kind of help settle the stomach. I think I had some prosciutto. I had some prosciutto in this, like green bean, and pasta and stuff that I made this,I deglazed a sauce, you know, after I was done with everything or whatever, . And when I finished cooking and we sat down to eat and the people who were poking around were just like, oh my God, we can do that.

They were just like, wait, what? They just saw me with my chopsticks in one tiny little pot, you know, and quote unquote, like the wrong stove. They people, so many people told me it was a wrong stove. I don’t even know what that means, you know? And then at the end, everyone just walked away and I think it’s this feeling that outdoor people, some outdoor people not, obviously, not most. Most people are just chill, regular people. Right. But kind of outdoor people who kind of feel like they, they own it, you know? And that it makes them morally superior sometimes, somehow. They wanted me to become like them, because they kind of wanna feel like you have to be like them to be outside, I guess. ’cause that’s what they wanna believe, right? It’s just a part of their identity, you know? And then what consistently happens is they leave, like I do not become like them. I make them camp a little bit more like me. People leave and they’re just like, they’re just like, we could do that at a campsite. I think a lot of hunters listen to season two and were like, we can do that. I can’t tell you how many people of color have written me and being like, I have been in archery for years and I listened to your episode, and I finally figured out what was wrong with my archery. Right, because there’s just no telling. There’s just no telling what’s gonna happen when somebody like me lands on your campsite, you know, asking the real questions that indoor people wanna know, got them question their whole lives.

Amy Bushatz: That’s great. That’s right. I love it.

Ivy, thank you so much for joining us on Humans Outside today I so appreciate your fresh perspective and challenging, challenging conversation. I loved it. Thank you so much.

Ivy Le: I appreciate you being open-minded and letting me on your show. It’s a great show. It’s a great, you do such a good job with the show, but I was so worried. I was like, why would you want me on your show?

Amy Bushatz: That’s a wrap on this episode of Humans Outside, but hey, I need your help. Enjoy this show. Leave a five star rating or review or both wherever you get your podcasts. It makes me feel good, but it also helps others find a show too. Now, go get outside. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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