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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside
Three years. That’s how long I’ve been recording and publishing the Humans Outside podcast. So today I’m going to talk about two things: my favorite conversations, and a birthday celebration giveaway I’m doing to mark three years of the podcast.
Podcasting is fun – so fun – but it’s not an easy job. Actually it’s not a job at all. This is entirely a hobby for me. For about the first two years I had someone helping me as a virtual assistant, making sure I could get these episodes out while also taking care of my full time job and outdoor adventures. But over time, podcasting has gotten just a little smoother – that’s what practice does — and now for about the past year I’ve created and produced every episode completely solo.
Three years of this podcast is, as of this publication, 7 seasons, 273 episodes, 101 recorded and published interviews, plus three episodes that I’ve recorded and produced but you haven’t heard yet. About 140 outdoor diary episodes, including the one you’re hearing right now. That’s a lot of episodes! And it is my hope that every single one of them has brought you something just as creating them has brought me something.
And it really has. Because when I get to sit down and spell out my thoughts for you in this outdoor diary, when I get to meet you in the wild — sometimes literally, sometimes virtually — and hear how the show and Humans 365 Outdoor Challenge has helped you, when I interview the experts and outdoor lovers whose experience I share, I learn something that helps me in my indoor and outdoor life.
101 interviews about the benefits, experiences and how-tos of heading outside is a lot of interviews, and while I have learned something from every single person in every interview I’ve done, I want to take a moment to highlight a few of the guests whose lessons and information have stuck with me the most.
I paged through every episode I’ve recorded to come up with these highlights, and as I did so I was filled with gratitude for the things people have shared with me, the incredible connections I’ve made and just the gift of each persons’ times. But it also struck me that the conversations that are most memorable aren’t because of the major takeaways the guest presented or even the theme of the show. In each instance it’s one or two things that were said that have simply stuck what me over time. They changed the way I approach any given subject. In some ways they’ve changed how I consider myself and my own experiences.
The first is Corie Weather, a licensed mental health counselor and personal friend who talked in Episode 18 during Season 1 about how spending time outside with a partner can help you build stronger connections. Why? Because you’re creating shared experiences, often doing something challenging. I think about her advice on this often as I am insisting that my kids come with me for an outdoor adventure, like our regular ski dates, or when I’m planning a date day with my husband. Shared challenges = stronger connections.
In episode 26 Nailah Blades Wylie, a life coach who uses the outdoors as one of her tools, we talked about using things she encounters outside to teach her and others how to tackle challenges inside. But what stuck with me was something she said about her own outdoor experiences — that if she tries something outside and she doesnt like it, she gives herself permission to not do it anymore. She doesnt make herself conquer it. She moves on and says yeah, this isn’t for me. I needed that permission, and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve leaned on that takeaway to give myself the OK to move on.
In episode 54, part of Season 2, wilderness therapist Judith Sadora talked to us about using nature in therapy. But the thing she she said that is often on my mind was her description of using the outdoors as a “container” for whatever challenge or problem you’re facing in life. You can take your distressing problem or trauma outside, work through it in the container of nature, and come back inside, working to leave out there as much as possible. Nature gives you the perfect container to work through whatever it is you have going on. I use that tip all the time.
And then we have the help of Sarah Hays Coomer, a wellness coach and our own habit expert who joined us in Season 3, episode 83, Season 5, episode 171 and Season 7, episode 264 to talk about creating habits and sticking to them. But of all the great advice she’s given, my favorite might be in the power of microdosing wellness, which is essentially what we’re doing by heading outside for that 20 minutes at a time. You don’t have to go big. You just have to do a little bit.
Then there was my episode with Cordele Glass, a creative wellbeing coach based in Washington D.C. who helped me think about what it means to be creative and how heading outside helps make it happen. In episode 99 during Season 3, Cordele gave me the framework to think about tackling challenges outside as the perfect onramp to getting OK with trying new things, which is basically creativity. No matter where you go outside or when you do it, you’re going to encounter something new. This is your chance to getting comfortable with change in an incremental way. What a powerful lesson.
In season 5 I had a pair of episodes on the subject of “rewilding,” or helping your urban, 21st century self get back to what it means to be someone who loves and uses the outdoors. Both Claire Dunn, based in Australia and joining us in episode 179, and Micah Mortali, an instructor at Kripalu in the Northeast U.S. and joining us in episode 208, talked about simple ways we can take time to appreciate the nature around us and absorb it into our regular lives. It’s because of their advice that I’ve taken a few barefoot walks in the woods and at least once sat down on the dirt and just sniffed it. I know that sounds a little crazy, but both were powerful experiences that helped me feel more calm, more grounded and more like myself even in the midst of the chaos of my inside life.
Finally, I want to highlight a powerful episode that I published just recently as a part of Season 6. Sarah Histand, a mental health-focused fitness coach here in the Anchorage, Alaska area talked about heading outside for new challenges in a way that is kind to your nervous system. She talked about why some challenges feel good, why some feel bad and what to do about it, especially when all of them are things you really do want to do. I have already leaned on her advice repeatedly, and talked about it one-on-one with a few people.
Like I said, these are just a sampling of the incredible advice and takeaways I, personally, have gleaned from hosting this podcast. I hope you’ve heard some things that have stuck with you, too. Every episode I’ve created of this podcast – yes, all 270-plus — has been worth it if even one person has felt inspired to head outside more or felt the benefits from doing so.
OK, so now for the giveaway. To celebrate three years of this I’m doing a giveaway over the month of February. You can score a Humans Outside decal 2-pack just by visiting Humansoutside.com and entering. The link for the giveaway is in the very top of the show notes in whatever platform you’re listening to this in. So give it a visit and enter now!
If you’re listening to this when it first publishes, I’m coming off a two-day ski adventure with my kids, taking a Sunday and a day off work to hit the slopes in some different parts of Alaska outside our normal ski area near home. You can see photos of that on Facebook and Instagram, and of course just like the podcast guests I’ve highlighted today inspire me, you inspire me with all of your own outdoor time. Share it on Facebook or Instagram – or both! – with #humansoutside365.
Until next time, we’ll see you out there.