Amy’s pretty used to eating her words by now, which is why she’s not at all ashamed to admit that she said she’d never, ever ski and now she kind of loves it — especially when we’re talking Nordic skiing.

But this week’s first ski of the year showed that skiing has brought a totally expected benefit: it’s taught her to actually look forward to winter. Never underestimate the power of anticipation.

[:46] I’m OK with eating my words even if it’s a fail

[1:10] My “never ski” proclamation was totally legit

[1:58] Yes, we’re blaming this on Luke

[2:58] Why wanting and action are not the same.

[3:55] What happened when I actually tried

[4:11] The power of anticipation

[5:05] A recent ski season win

There’s a real push and pull. On the one hand, many women want to head outside solo and have amazing adventures alone. On the other hand, doing so can feel like a huge safety risk, especially when we hear about the major tragedies some women encounter doing things that should be perfectly safe.

So what should you do? Stay home? Only head out with friends and family?

Nicole Snell, a safety expert and owner of Girls Fight Back who specializes in self-defense in the outdoors, has a different idea. In this episode she shares her best tips and tricks to empower you to get into nature solo while also staying safe.

[4:06] Nicole Snell’s favorite outdoor space

[4:52] How Nicole became someone who likes to go outside

[7:16] How she got into self-defense

[14:05] Why people (often women) feel unsafe alone outside

[20:12] What self-defense tools should people use?

[26:54] What we mean when we say “use your words.”

[28:55] Why she didn’t say “I’m sorry”

[31:57] The role of intuition

[37:41] How to make the outdoors more safe for everyone

[41:10] Top three tips for self-defense in nature

[44:41] Nicole’s favorite outdoor memory

The things we find comfort in as kids stay with us — even if we’ve forgotten what they are until we find them in an unexpected place.

That’s what Amy found when she stumbled upon the Palmer community piano sitting out on a patio on a cool fall Alaska day. And when she sat down she was transported. Hear about it in this Outdoor Diary episode.

[:46] Homeschool Amy friend problems

[1:21] So I did this instead

[1:33] Playing the piano was not actually an option but I liked it anyway

[2:15] The piano + beach = escape

[3:00] When I bought a piano for myself

[3:20] How this is like going outside

[3:51] What happened when I found a piano on the sidewalk

So you’re thinking about relocating so you can spend more time outside or be closer to the kind of nature you really love. Or, maybe you want to pack up and live the nomad van life. Or, maybe you’re looking for a fresh start and a life reset and think the best way to get is by relocating, even though you don’t actually really want to move.

Melody Warnick, author and place attachment expert, has heard all of these scenarios. She even included Amy’s story of relocating to Alaska to get closer to nature in her newest book, “If You Could Live Anywhere.” In this episode she talks through her best advice for picking where you want to live — and how to know if moving is actually what you want after all.

[2:48] First, a confession

[3:56] Melody Warnick’s favorite outdoor space

[4:53] What makes Amy especially fond of this book

[6:50] Why Melody is interested in this subject

[9:29] How people pick where they want to live

[14:10] The deal with nomading

[18:00] Did Amy regret moving to Alaska?

[19:50] Place picking vs. you changing

[25:00] Making yourself OK with moving

[29:40] Strategies + steps

[32:40] Why the military community makes this interesting

[36:15] How to know if you’ve made a huge mistake

[41:00] Why risk is OK

It started out as just a 15 minute break from computer work on a busy and exhausting Tuesday morning. But before she knew it, Amy was having an adventure in rewilding. Hear what she discovered when she took the advice of one recent Humans Outside podcast guest. Listen now.

[:45] Favorite podcasting stuff

[1:07] Which is how I got here on a Tuesday

[1:28] It all started with a walk break

[2:00] The question was the next step

[3:02] When one thing leads to another

[3:25] And when it was over. …

When it comes to nature, the idea of “pristine, untouched wilderness” is part of the American ethos. But the reality is most land was touched, valued and used — by indigenous landholders.

Recreating outside today means using that land in new ways. Yet honoring the past not only doesn’t have to be complicated, it can also broaden our appreciation for the land and what it gives us by connecting us with those who called it home for centuries before we arrived.

In this episode Aaron Leggett, president of the Native Village of Eklunta near Anchorage, Alaska and senior curator of Alaska History and Indigenous Culture at the Anchorage Museum shares with us his perspective on use of traditional Dena’ina lands and how outdoor lovers today can respect and honor the past.

[3:03] Aaron Leggett’s favorite outdoor space

[5:15] About the Native Village of Eklutna

[7:39] About growing up in Anchorage and getting passionate about Native history

[11:13] Who are the Dena’ina and what is their land?

[13:46] What is a Native Corporation?

[21:12] How to tell where Native land is and isn’t

[24:50] What the Native place name project is and why it matters

[34:00] What are the best practices for using traditional indigenous lands for recreation?

[35:50] What “leave no trace” has to do with it

[39:30] How to give back to a space while using it

[41:00] What just having it in mind does

[48:41] Aaron’s favorite outdoor memory

Blame it on the optimism of Past Me: she really felt like Future Me was going to have it so much more together than she actually does.

But making actionable outdoor plans for the upcoming winter season is key to getting out the door when it’s hard to want to. That means we’re spending time right now making some commitments for things we’ll do in the future — and hoping that it’s not the optimism coming to bite us yet again. Listen now.

[:45] We’re helping winter me

[1:10] The problem of the three Mes

[1:46] Facing the music

[2:15] This isn’t really a winter me problem

[3:00] Doing winter me a favor by making some plans

[3:40] Why now is great for this

[4:14] A quick privilege acknowledgement

[4:50] What I’ve got on tap for this winter

[6:15] Why having a new skill goal matters

[7:05] What I’ve been up to now

So you want to learn how to handle tough challenges in life, both those you encounter while playing outside and those you find just going about your day-to-day, indoor life and job. But how do you make it happen?

Steve Magness, a world-famous coach, human performance expert and author of the new book Do Hard Thing: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness says part of the reason toughness against life’s challenges is so create is that we are going about it wrong.

In this episode, Steve walks us through what the research shows about building a lifestyle around getting and staying tough, why that matters and what heading outside has to do with it.

[2:52] Steve Magness’s favorite outdoor space

[3:48] How Steve became someone who likes to go outside

[6:00] Why going outside is so important to him now

[9:18] What’s the difference between toughness and resilience?

[10:41] Examples of awareness

[15:28] What’s wrong with how we tend to think about toughness

[18:06] How do you build toughness?

[21:40] The difference between thoughtful response and reaction

[28:10] How this applies to everyday life

[29:35] Creating a strong why — and why it matters

[35:41] What this has to do with setting incremental goals

[38:07] Why the Humans Outside 365 challenge is great for this

[41:48] Is toughness a muscle you have to maintain or something you only have to learn once?

[46:44] Steve’s favorite outdoor moment

What happens when you head outside way past your comfort zone into a risky area like staying up after bedtime? You might just see what Amy got to see in the early morning light on Resurrection Pass, Alaska during the Resurrection Pass 100 race. Amy recently presented a version of this story at Trail Tales in Anchorage and had such a good time doing so, she decided to share it here, too.

[:46] Invited to Trail Tales and it was oh so fun

[1:30] What this story is about

[1:40] The first thing you need to know

[2:02] The next thing you need to know

[2:22] An entirely different kind of risk I don’t like

[2:38] Why that made me try to run 100 miles, which is crazy

[3:00] Your Resurrection Pass briefing

[4:15] What I found thanks to the risk

[4:30] And so the run begins + snacks

[5:00] The thing we saw worth seeing

[6:10] Why it was worth the risk

[6:33] What I’ve been seeing recently

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