Simple. Boring. Tired. You might think of just going for a regular walk as being something only people with nothing better to do make a part of their daily lives.

But what if going for a walk isn’t only an easy way to spend time outside, but also one that’s so varied and beneficial that understanding the practice is a matter of scientific research?

Author Annabel Streets was so startled by how much better she felt when she started going for walks that she researched the science behind what was happening and wrote a book about it. The result, 52 Ways to Walk, details out — you guessed it — 52 different ways to go for a walk and all of the research behind the benefits of each one.

In this episode of Humans Outside, Annabel shares her least and most favorite ways to walk, her walking journey, and why any of it should matter to you.

[2:59] Annabel Street’s favorite outdoor space

[3:36] How Annabel became someone who likes to go outside and also go for walks

[7:07] Why she started researching walking

[8:14] Was it hard to find 52 ways?

[8:52] Why people avoid walking

[9:23] Her favorite new way to walk

[12:19] Amy’s night experience

[16:44] What people always think about walking

[18:43] Her least favorite way to walk

[19:39] Another perfect and underappreciated walking favorite

[24:18] Ways to walk that didn’t make it into the book

[30:38] Want to start walking? Here’s how.

[35:06] Annabel’s favorite outdoor gear

[36:49] Annabel’s favorite outdoor memory

Spending a lot of time outdoors? You might find that you’ve started caring about the environment more than you used to. While Amy was a kid, “environmentalism” was seen by her family as a bad thing. But today she knows loving nature means taking care of it. And so she’s started doing some simple tasks to put those feelings into action.

[:50] What environmentalism was to Amy growing up

[1:58] How she thinks about environmentalism now

[2:14] Why spending time outside makes you care about the environment

[3:00] The selfishness of loving the environment

[3:22] What this has to do with “leave no trace”

[3:45] What it has to do with buying used stuff

[4:00] What it has to do with how you spend your time

No matter where you live you probably regularly see at least one kind of animal outside your window: birds. City or country, birds serve the ecosystem while providing humans with beauty, curiosity and entertainment.

And if you spend any time noticing them, you are already participating in birding. Feeling curious and want to learn more about these feathered friends? That’s where today’s guest, Yamina Nater-Otero, comes in. As a program coordinator for Audubon New York based in New York City, she knows that you don’t need to live somewhere with big forests or nearby mountains to learn about and watch birds. And in her role as secretary for Amplify the Future, she knows you also don’t need to look a certain way or come from any special background to participate. Birding and all of nature is for everyone.

In this episode of Humans Outside Yamina talks to us about how literally anyone can become a birder and the importance of birds in the use of nearby nature.

[3:04] Yamina Nater-Otero’s favorite outdoor space

[4:11] How Yamina became someone who likes to go outside

[5:39] How she got into birding

[7:12] What is her favorite bird and, also, is it possible to have a favorite bird?

[8:09] Amy’s favorite bird

[11:46] How birding was an outdoor gateway

[13:58] Misconceptions about birding

[18:20] What is a birder?

[22:49] Useful bonus items for birding

[24:17] What kind of binoculars to buy if you want some

[26:39] How to create a happy bird space

[29:48] How to get started with birding

[32:07] How birding might be a gateway activity

[35:17] Birding can even make you love this place

[38:10] Yamina’s favorite outdoor gear

[39:24] Yamina’s favorite outdoor moment

As so many faith traditions celebrate holy days in the spring, Amy has been thinking about the spirituality of heading outside and the ways her faith background misses the boat on understanding and appreciating spirituality in nature.

[:47] Is nature spiritual?

[1:03] Why we rarely talk about spirituality on Humans Outside

[2:05] The mistake of some faith traditions

[3:27] Where the Bible talks about the spiritual connection of nature

[3:58] A scripture connection to nature

If you spend time with nature you might start to feel like the great outdoors is a friend that you want to take extra care of. Even if you’ve been interested in conservation before, it might now seem more personal, more important.

But spending time outside also means you’re using nature more than you used to. So how can you maximize your time in nature while also creating a minimalist lifestyle? Today’s guest, Meg Carney, offers help for environmentally-minded outdoor uses through her podcast Outdoor Minimalist and upcoming book of the same title.

[2:51] Meg Carney’s favorite outdoor space
[4:01] How Meg learned to love to go outside
[5:54] Why people get into conservation
[7:15] What is “minimalism?”
[11:45] Meg’s book and podcast
[13:55] How to be a minimalist without also living in a tiny house
[23:40] Does one person’s minimalism matter in the big picture?
[30:00] How should the outdoor industry fit into this?
[36:34] Simple steps you can take towards minimalism right now
[40:00] Meg’s favorite outdoor gear
[44:30] Meg’s favorite outdoor moment

The great thing about nature is that it will always have what you need. But how do you know what that is? In this episode, Amy talks about a little bit of her journey to understand how to get what she needs from heading outside.

[:45] How seeking what I need got started
[2:00] The unique thing about a relationship with nature
[2:11] Why you’re not actually giving anything back so don’t say you are
[2:25] Why nature is like a buffet
[3:00] How people figure out what they need
[3:40] What you really have to do
[3:51] What I’ve been up to

If you love spending time in nature like it’s your job, you might start looking for ways to make that literally true. If that’s you, you’re not alone — it’s the inspiration behind the careers of many members of the outdoor industry. But how do you make the jump from one industry to another? And is making nature your job a good idea?

Those are just some of the questions Jenna Celmer helps address through the outdoor industry job company Basecamp Outdoor and its Facebook-based networking group. In this episode Jenna talks through the why and how of making the jump into the outdoor industry.

[3:31] Jenna Celmer’s favorite outdoor space
[4:01] How Jenna became someone who likes to go outside
[7:05] What is Base Camp?
[8:27] How Jenna got involved in Base Camp
[12:51] Creating accountability in the outdoor industry
[15:50] Why it’s easy for people in the outdoor industry to be taken advantage of
[20:00] Why does going outside make you want to make it a job?
[22:41] Is it easy to break into the outdoor industry?
[24:41] How to break into the outdoor industry
[27:17] What is networking?
[30:44] What does Jenna tell people who want to get into the outdoor industry?
[34:04] What to expect in the outdoor industry
[35:03] Tips for breaking into the outdoor industry

What are your expectations for yourself? For how you get outside? For what you find there? For what you do there?

As the weathers changes into spring and summer, it’s easy to look outside and expect yourself to want to be there more or experience certain things when you get out there. But what would happen if you simply listened to yourself instead?

In this Outdoor Diary episode, Amy talks about getting outside without self-judgment and how hard it is for her to do so.

[:45] The deal with expectations

[1:10] What the real problem is

[1:29] What I can control

[2:04] The balancing act

[3:13] Start listening

[4:37] Why spending 20 outside is perfect for this

[5:22] What I’m working on

[5:40] What I’m doing outside now

Spend enough time outside and you’ll start to notice all of the things growing around you — and that some of those things look delicious. From greens to berries, to gardening, fishing and evening raising chickens, nature in your backyard can be full of food.

For today’s guest Tamar Haspel, the possibilities of gathering or growing at least a portion of her own meals, an experience she calls “first-hand food,” became the spark for a personal challenge to eat at least one thing she sourced herself each day for a year. In this episode Tamar talks about first-hand food, how growing and sourcing it connected her with spending time outside and how you can get started on a first-hand food journey, too.

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[2:41] Tamar Haspel’s favorite outdoor space
[3:47] How Tamar became someone who likes to go outside
[6:14] Tracking her first-hand food challenge
[8:10] Going from city-dweller to farmer
[9:33] Best and worst first-hand food experiences
[11:59] Why first-hand food is such an appealing idea
[14:17] Don’t be afraid of foraging, Amy
[17:54] How to balance first-hand food around the rest of your life
[19:43] Amy is a first-hand mooch
[25:07] How first-hand food has changed Tamar’s experience of nature
[27:41] Has it changed how she feels about her place in nature?
[31:23] Why first-hand food doesn’t have to be extreme
[32:52] Is there a middle ground and what is it?
[33:50] How to get help doing it
[38:32] Tips for getting started
[39:34] Tamar’s favorite outdoor gear
[40:33] Tamar’s favorite outdoor memory