“Van life.” Sounds like something fancy for someone else, right? Someone who doesn’t have a job, or commitments, or a family, or stability, or … or… or.

Wrong! Using a camping van or having longterm adventures doesn’t have to just be for other people. It can be something normal people just like you use to get closer to nature near and far.

This week’s guest Kristen Bor knows that’s true because she’s lived all versions of van life as part of her work on her website Bearfoot Theory. On this episode of Humans Outside, Kristen shares with us her best tips for making van life a part of your regular outdoor adventures.

[2:50] Kristen Bor’s favorite outdoor space

[3:20] How Kristen became someone who likes to go outside

[7:05] What does “van life” actually mean?

[8:54] Why people like the idea of van life

[11:14] The security of vans

[12:53] How to make van life a part of normal life

[19:28] Why is van life different from RV life?

[24:01] How to buy a van without spending all of your money

[33:27] Kristen’s best three tips for getting into van life

What happens when you take your date day outside? As Amy knows all too well, it can go horribly wrong or be really great. The difference? Communication. In this Outdoor Diary episode Amy talks about two very different ski dates, and why one worked but the other failed spectacularly.

[:26]: Keeping busy

[1:00]: Who is Amy dating?! (spoiler alert: her husband!)

[2:00]: Dating challenges (like, the outdoor kind)

[4:45]: Sacred spaces

[6:09]: Where to find Humans Outside

If you’ve ever experienced a broken heart, you know how dramatically it can impact all aspects of your life. The ending of a relationship or loss of a loved one can be a traumatic, emotional rollercoaster than can last years. And in the midst of it you’ll likely find yourself wondering exactly how to make the pain stop and when it will stop hurting.

Heartbreak is both the subject and title of a new book by journalist Florence Williams. You might remember Florence from her work on one of her previous books, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative. She joined us to talk about the book in a previous episode of Humans Outside. In her new book Heartbreak (and the immersive audio book) Florence pairs her own experience with the kind of research she’s known for, and in the process lays out a map for using nature to heal from a broken heart.

In this episode Florence talks about her experience healing from heartbreak by heading outside and gives us our own personal how-to on doing so in our lives, too.

[4:33] Florence William’s favorite outdoor space

[5:46] All about Florence’s heartbreak

[7:00] The not entirely secret story of Amy’s heartbreak

[8:53] Why heartbreak becomes a book

[12:58] Why she decided to try a nature cure

[17:01] What she tracked for her project

[23:00] Exactly how to heal heartbreak by going outside

[29:00] Can healing happen close to home?
[32:55] Why this is all actually really simple — but not immediate

[40:05] One surprising thing Florence learned

The Humans Outside podcast hits its two-year anniversary this week. Two years! That’s two years of episodes with outdoor-minded guests who have taught Amy (and you) countless lessons about heading into nature. In this episode hear about why the Humans Outside podcast got started and just some of the things Amy has learned through podcasting for two years.

Imagine this: you live in a city or very urban environment, maybe close enough to a major highway that you can hear it, or far away enough from a space you consider a park to make heading there every day seem impossible. You can’t imagine really enjoying being outside all the time where you live because it’s just so not “nature.”

If that sounds familiar or like it could be you, Claire Dunn is just who you need. Author of “Rewilding the Urban Soul: Searching for the Wild in the City,” Claire is an Australia-based rewilding and urban nature expert who joined us to talk about what it takes to find nature wherever you are.

[2:43] Amy is weird

[3:28] Claire Dunn’s favorite outdoor space

[4:45] How Claire became someone who likes to go outside

[6:55] How Claire got back to the city after her year without matches

[13:28] What does “rewilding” mean?

[19:36] Why humans and nature are the same

[22:02] What is the “tourist test?”
[25:35] Where do you find wild in a city?

[30:14] How the city can draw us to nature

[33:07] What is a “sit spot” and how do you find one?

[38:37] What role does fire have in rewilding?

[40:54] Quick tips for people looking for nature close to home

[47:27] Claire’s favorite outdoor gear

[49:12] Claire’s favorite outdoor moment

Disliking new things doesn’t make you weak or scared — it makes you normal. But the good news is that nature is the perfect tool for teaching us to be OK with the new and uncomfortable. Why is that? And how has it impacted Amy? In this week’s Outdoor Diary, Amy talks about why heading outside makes it easier to try new things in all parts of life, plus the new thing she’s finally working on.

[:26]: Life is full of trying new things

[:58]: Amy, the Queen of Avoidance

[1:37]: Avoidance is limiting

[3:08]: Skate skiing

[5:53]: Where to find Humans Outside

Getting outside with kids looks pretty easy and fun if you’re basing your expectations on social media photos. Delightfully grubby kids frolic through a meadow near a perfectly set-up campsite, and zero people are throwing a temper tantrum or muddling through a poor night of sleep. Also, they all look warm.

But of course that’s not the full picture. Getting to that moment required overcoming all sorts of challenges from mindset to using the appropriate gear. And when you think about getting your own kids out for adventure, you might see those challenges and simply feel, well, tired. I mean who wants to deal with a crying kid in the middle of nowhere when you could deal with a crying kid in the comfort of your home instead?

Today’s guest, Heather Balogh Rochfort, has made a lifestyle and career out of getting herself out for adventures and, since the birth of her daughter, doing so with her whole family. Now she offers advice for parents who want to overcome those obstacles in practical, normal-person ways.

[2:46] Heather Balogh Rochfort’s favorite outdoor space

[3:32] How Heather became someone who likes to go outside

[7:31] Going from college to total vagabond

[12:02] Figuring out that transition from adventure single person to parent

[15:06] How she found freedom from the “should” of the baby years

[17:37] How outside time with kids reality is different from expectations

[23:23] How to avoid feeling like you’re forcing your kids to do stuff outside they don’t want to do

[25:57] The challenges to getting kids outside and how to overcome them

[28:06] How to even afford gear for kids

[31:22] This is a bigger problem than gear

[34:00] What mindset has to do with it

[38:12] Why categories of fun matter

[39:14] Tips for getting your family outside and overcoming those challenges

[47:01] Heather’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[50:39] Heather’s favorite outdoor moment

This month Amy hit 1,600 days in a row spending at least 20 consecutive minutes outside. Along the way she learned two important lessons about what happens when you encounter something you don’t like. Hear what she learned on this week’s Outdoor Diary podcast episode.

[:25]: 1600 days outside

[2:16]: Some things you only know in discomfort

[ 2:38]: What Amy is most proud of

[4:05]: Change will come

[5:58]: The Humans Outside Challenge

Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

One of the things that can hold people — adults, kids, families and otherwise — back from purposefully spending time outside is the idea that “nature” looks like something other than what is right outside their front door. If it doesn’t look like a National Park, does it really count as “nature?”

The truth, of course, is that “nature” is whatever is in the fresh air right outside your front door. But can you help yourself and your family see, appreciate and enjoy that, especially when you think parts of it — bugs, weather, etc. — are things you really don’t like?

Today’s guest Zenovia Stephens has made a mission of helping kids and families get outside near her home in Alabama. Founder of the nonprofit Black Kids Adventures, Zenovia and her family, known as the Black Adventure Crew, work to help Black families get outside while working to increase representation in the outdoor community.

[3:19] Zenovia Stephen’s favorite outdoor space

[4:37] How Zenovia became someone who likes to go outside

[8:11] How Black Adventure Crew and Black Kids Adventures got started

[9:17] Common misconceptions about heading outside

[11:10] Do people think nature has to be something that it isn’t?

[15:50] How she got to liking nearby nature

[19:23] How do you create a mindset to welcome discomfort?

[29:00] The trick of using our kids to get us outside

[40:30] How people can connect with Black Kids Adventures