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

Been feeling in a bit of a funk recently? Grumpy about summer ending or winter approaching? Even if you love fall, it can be a way too short a bridge to cold weather.

If you’re feeling the feels or have felt them, you’re not alone. In this Outdoor Diary episode Amy talks about dealing with that certain sense of loss that comes with the changing of the seasons.

Some of the good stuff:

[:30] In a funk

[1:16] Unusual weather

[2:06] Sitting in the sadness

[4:10] Embracing the changes

[5:14] Where to find Humans Outside

Making heading into nature a regular habit takes purpose and focus. Add in small children, and you just amped-up the amount of planning you have to do before you can tackle any big adventure. Have differently abled family members who require extra care and consideration? The challenge just got even bigger — and getting outside just became even more worth it.

It’s that juxtaposition that Melody Forsyth, a mom of four, discovered after her daughter, Ruby, was born with Down Syndrome. While the experience of Down can span a broad spectrum, Ruby, now age 5, is nonverbal, uses oxygen overnight and can only hike short distances. Still, it was her birth and learning how to care for her that first pushed Melody and her family into nature to find calm and adventure.

The family now backpacks together with one parent typically carrying Ruby, explores National Parks and other wild spaces and makes an intentional habit of spending time together outside not just in spite of their challenges, but because of them.

It’s that experience of watching Ruby and each other grow and discover their own interests and abilities outside that inspired Melody to start her Instagram feed, DownWithAdventure. There she shares her family’s journey to connect in nature and raise awareness around Down Syndrome.

But chasing big dreams in nature doesn’t come to Melody’s busy family without some really careful planning, factoring in the needs of all of her children and each of their special interests — not just Ruby. In today’s episode Melody gifts us insight into not just how she makes it work, but how you can, too.

[2:13] Melody Forsyth’s favorite outdoor space

[3:18] How Melody learned to head outside

[4:25] All about Ruby

[5:42] What it’s like to adventure with an awesome but heavy daughter

[9:44] What nature means to their family

[12:10] Does nature mean different things to different family members?

[15:00] How it connects them

[20:24] How nature has helped her connect with her kids

[30:02] How do we bring the calm nature gives our families to our inside life?

[33:00] How do we set and chase big outdoor family goals?

[39:27] Melody’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[43:09] Melody’s favorite outdoor moment

We know that being intentional is one of the most important keys to forming and keeping any habit, including outdoor ones. But Amy has a special knack for smashing something good into her box and then taking it way too far. In this episode she explores where she goes wrong, and how to keep that from happening.

[:26] Amy loves rules

[2:10] What is intentionality?

[2:36]Intentionality or rotten rules?

[5:25] Where to find Humans Outside

You know that intentionality is the foundation of keeping any habit, challenging or not. But maybe we’re overthinking this whole thing. What if there was a way to not only make and keep the outdoor, nature-focused habit you want to create, but also give better focus to your entire day? And what if it was only a matter of setting aside 10 minutes?

That’s the theory that drives the work of today’s guest, Christina Dunbar. Her program, Intentional Ten, works with clients (and a focus on busy moms) to give them the framework to drive focus and success all day long. And guess what? Heading outside is a vital part of that.

In this episode Christina walks us through the simple but powerful Intentional Ten framework while handing us tools for making, keeping or reenergizing a daily nature habit.

[3:37] Christina Dunbar’s favorite outdoor space

[4:33] How Christina became a person who goes outside

[10:38] Is there a moment where things changed?

[15:35] What is the Intentional 10 method?

[22:49] Why 10 minutes?

[27:01] What are the reasons people struggle to make this happen?

[29:06] Specific steps for creating a habit

[35:36] What role does nature play?

[40:33] How to create daily mindfulness

[45:04] Christina’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[47:29] Christna’s favorite outdoor moment

Amy is a sucker for a new challenge, but this is one worth doing. Between now and September 2022 she’s going to do 52 hikes as part of the 52 Hike Challenge. Why? Listen to this Outdoor Diary episode to find out.

[:28] A sucker for a challenge

[1:00] Karla Amador

[2:13] Amy’s newest challenge

[3:00] Join us—from anywhere!

When Amy started her daily outdoor habit in 2017 she had no idea there was a whole world of others already tackling an outdoor effort of their own, formed around a different idea known as the 52 Hike Challenge. Through that program participants pledge to complete 52 hikes over a year.

The things its co-founder, Karla Amador, has learned over both her own journey of hiking and by helping people around the world participate in the challenge are about more than just hiking 52 times. They are also perfect for anyone looking to build and keep a new and challenging outdoor habit like the daily one we focus on at Humans Outside.

In this episode of Humans Outside Karla shares what she’s learned about outdoor habits by helping people complete their 52 Hikes, her own journey to spending time in nature and the insight and health it has given her.

[2:23] Karla Amador’s favorite outdoor place

[4:18] How Karla became a person who likes to go outside

[6:09] Nature as a healing tool

[7:12] How the 52 Hike Challenge was born

[13:41] What derails hikers from their goals

[18:21] Advice for building the habit

[25:16] Habit pitfalls

[31:20] The healing gift of being out in nature

[32:55] How to avoid those habit pitfalls

[37:46] How to get involved in 52 Hikes

[43:23] Karla’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[44:35] Karla’s favorite outdoor moment