It started with a year-long shopping ban and a decision to downsize. But like so many big life changes, the decision to shift who she was and how she interacted with the world had a much bigger impact than she expected. Now Cait Flanders, author of the best-selling book Year of Less, has morphed her “less” habit to one of purposeful opt-outs, choosing to say “no” to the cultural expectations that keep her life from looking the best way it can for her.

So what does that have to do with going outside? Both her book Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Leading an Intentional Life, and her podcast with a similar title, Opting Out, take a look at saying “no” to things that won’t help you make the life you want — whatever you believe that to be — and “yes” to what will move you forward.

In this episode of Humans Outside, Cait takes us on her own journey, giving us opt-out tips and teaching us what it means to make space for your own joy.

[3:22] Cait’s favorite outdoor space

[4:54] How Cait became someone who likes to go outside

[7:59] All about her shopping ban

[16:46] Preparing for the stories you wish you were telling yourself

[18:38] The decision to opt-out

[24:37] The importance of helpers

[27:04] Where do you find such a helper?

[32:25] What hiking has to do with going outside

[36:56] Can you pursue life with a nature emphasis without opting out?

[41:00] Does spending time in nature help you understand your opt-out choices?

[43:27] Tips for opting out

[52:03] Cait’s favorite outdoor gear

[55:34] Cait’s favorite outdoor moment

What do you do if you just don’t feel like going outside? How do you talk yourself into it? This week Amy was dealing with a nasty cold and just wasn’t feeling that nature vibe — especially not in the highs of 40 degrees they are rocking in Alaska right now.

That had her thinking about what to do when you’re trying to motivate yourself out the door when you just don’t feel like going outside. Listen to this episode to learn more.

[:27] When you don’t feel like getting outside

[2:14] Check in with yourself

[3:14] Remember your “why”

[3:49] Consider a favorite activity

[4:21] Think about your goal

Today, LGBTQ outdoor advocate Mikah Meyer is known for his work representing his community and advocating for inclusion in nature. But that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, when Mikah set out on his journey to become the youngest person to visit the over 400 National Park units in the U.S., inclusivity advocacy wasn’t his goal at all.

MIkah’s story is not just one of growing into an advocacy role, it also is a perfect demonstration of how immersing ourselves in nature can help us discover what we really want to be doing with our lives and who we want to be doing it for. In this powerful interview Mikah reveals the steps on that journey, empowering us to find out our own whys just like he did.

[3:55] MIkah Meyer’s favorite outdoor space

[7:11] How MIkah became someone who likes to go outside

[9:30] The importance of the stories we tell ourselves

[10:43] Mikah’s original ‘why’

[17:20] Changing goals

[20:09] Finding his focus of advocacy

[26:05] Finding a vocation

[29:21] The role of nature in making that happen

[36:13] How that practice can help everyday life

[37:45] What’s next for Mikah

[44:07] Mikah’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

We all tell ourselves stories about ourselves. Sometimes they’re true, sometimes they’re not. Whatever the case may be, don’t let any story stand in the way of you doing something you want. Listen to Amy unpack this concept in this installment of her outdoor diary.

[:27] The unintentional theme of Season 4

[1:17] Outside is for everyone—even you!

[2:05] The stories Amy tells herself

[4:12] Tell yourself stories, but make sure they’re true

[5:10] Where to find Humans Outside

I know what you’re thinking. “What is a ‘pee cloth?’” And, maybe, “do I want to know?” And possibly also “gross.”

If you’ve ever been a woman trying to pee outside you know that the struggle is real and the solutions are sparse. Your options for good hygiene while taking care of business are limited to: a drip-shake dry method, which is ineffective at best; packing out dirty toilet paper, which is not great for obvious reasons; or using some kind of fabric that you plan to wash later. (And if you’re a dude who is thinking “what about those female urination devices like a ‘She-wee?’” — great idea for solving the squatting issue, but it doesn’t actually impact this hygiene conundrum at all.)

So what’s a girl to do? That’s exactly the problem Anastasia Allison was trying to solve when she got the idea for Kula Kloth. Instead of using an ugly piece of fabric, why not create and produce a product for women that can make using the outdoors not just more sanitary, but at the same time also create community and be fun.

In this episode Anastasia shares her infectious joy, personal story of getting close to nature — including the time she literally stole toilet paper during her first-ever backpacking trip — and a window into how she is working through her small brand to make heading outside more accessible for everyone.

[2:50] Anastasia Allison’s favorite outdoor space

[5:00] How Anastasia became someone who likes to go outside

[9:35] How a change of identity changes your perspective

[14:55] How Kula was born

[20:30] The danger of over-thinking

[27:55] What exactly is a Kula Kloth?

[34:35] What has running Kula taught her about inclusivity?

[40:00] Why Kula is a small step for inclusivity

[44:31] That time she stole toilet paper — like, literally stole it.

[53:49] Anastasia’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[56:45] Anastasia’s favorite outdoor moment

Is there ever a time that keeping a habit with intentionality and focus is simply easy? Amy hit 1,500 days outside this month, and she noticed that the answer is, well, not really.

But there’s a reason for that — a solution. In this episode of the weekly Outdoor Diary, Amy talks about what it takes to keep a focused habit going.

[:25] One might think…

[1:09] Disruptions and habits

[2:23] Going outside with intentionality

[3:10] This week’s hike

[4:22] Stay accountable with Humans Outside

There’s something about getting hooked on nature that can help you move past the things that are stealing or numbing your ability to experience life. For the sober or sober-curious, heading outside can offer the fresh perspective and push needed to find freedom from reliance on substances or habits that distract from living fully.

That’s the subject Emily Holland explores in her own podcast, Nature Untold. In this episode of Humans Outside, Emily shares with us the lessons she’s learned about heading outside for sobriety from her guests and through her own journey. She offers a window into how our listeners can use the outdoors that way, too.

[2:31] Emily Holland’s favorite outdoor space

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

[9:40] Why she got sober

[14:08] What COVID had to do with it

[22:19] What is “sobriety” anyway?

[29:18] What sobriety has to do with going outside

[33:09] Is sobriety especially important for people who want to be close to nature?

[36:16] What’s the most powerful sobriety tool from nature?

[38:42] How to use nature for sobriety

[49:02] Emily’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[51:47] Emily’s favorite outdoor moment

When things outside are absolutely miserable and you’re in the thick of it, what do you do? Do you stick it out? Is it worth it? Why even bother?

In this episode Amy talks about a recent miserable outside experience and why she’s been thinking about being uncomfortable outside, why being uncomfortable is OK and why it’s worth it.

[:27] Unexpectedly uncomfortable

[2:20] Amy’s interview with Michael Easter

[3:58] The benefits of discomfort

[5:20] Preparing yourself for discomfort

[5:45] Where to find Humans Outside

When the boredom first set in as he sat in the middle of nowhere for more than 30 days during a caribou hunt on the arctic tundra, Michael Easter looked for a way to entertain himself. He read the labels on his food. He made his Christmas lists. He wrote portions of his book by hand in a small notebook. And when that was done he did, well, nothing.

Looking back on the experience as part of his new book, The Comfort Crises: Embrace Discomfort To Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self, Michael has since discovered that boredom doesn’t just make you feel crazy or give you a perfect excuse for understanding the contents and labeling on every food package in your bag, it also does something actually useful: it makes you happier.

In this episode Michael discusses the experiences that brought about his book, boredom and what he discovered about happiness and nature along the way.

Warning to those listening with tender ears: there’s some salty language towards the end of this episode.

[2:31] Michael Easter’s favorite outdoor space

[4:47] How Michael became someone who likes to go outside

[7:18] What, exactly, the middle of nowhere in Alaska is like

[10:41] Why being open to stuff matters

[15:47] What it’s like to be out there for 33 days

[18:41] Why do we get bored?

[23:43] What does boredom do to your brain?

[27:47] What’s the intersection of discomfort, boredom and going outside?

[30:37] Why does it make us happier?

[33:05] Why do we shy away from risk and boredom?

[36:19] How do we insert boredom into our lives?

[38:52] How to get bored and stay bored

[44:07] Michael’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[50:37] Michael’s favorite outdoor moment