Stories of women who are inspired by time spent outside take the shape of interviews, in-the-field recordings, and listener submissions. These make up a tapestry of episodes covering themes such as solo hiking and camping; entrepreneurship; aging; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); conservation; motherhood; chronic illness; and feminism as they intersect with outdoor experiences. Hosted by Gale Straub.
We’re heading into summer and parks and trails and beaches around the US are starting to open up again amidst the pandemic. As hikers, paddlers, climbers, runners, we crave time outside, but we also have a responsibility to do so in a way that respects the health of others and the land we’re on. We hear from four women who can help guide us in the right direction as we step out into this strange, familiar world.
We often talk on this show about what we learn about ourselves in the outdoors. We share solo experiences that help us rethink what we’re made of. But there’s a special kind of intimacy that we can cultivate with family, friends, and loved ones when we’re outside. This week, we're sharing memories that celebrate togetherness.
Judith Sadora, a licensed marriage & family therapist (LMFT) who practices wilderness therapy, shares how she applies some of her backcountry work into her everyday life, and how we might be able to use those tools in the front country, too.
Chris Fagan isn't a professional adventurer, but she’s spent a good deal of the leisure time in the last 30 years of her adult life seeing what she’s made of. Chris has skied unguided to the South Pole, run 100-mile ultras, sailed and paddled thought the Inside Passage, and cycled in Tanzania. Adventure is a big part of her alone time, but it’s also formed the foundation of her marriage and family life. Today, it's helping her lean into the unknown of her husband Marty's cancer diagnosis.
....And remembering what she's made of. Like a lot of 2020 thru-hikers, Lindsey Falkenburg canceled her plan to hike the Continental Divide Trail in June. In its absence, she's allowing herself to feel the loss - and also filling her cup with urban hiking, art, and re-discovering her resilience.
Win Kelly Charles says it best: "People with cerebral palsy are strong and people with cerebral palsy are determined." In this episode, we hear about all the different ways she finds joy outdoors (snowboarding, climbing, and e-cycling to name a few activities), as well as why she's so motivated to share her life with CP with more people.
The memories of outdoor adventures are precious and nourishing. They connect us to our friends and certain versions of ourselves. They're our happy places. And they give us the fortitude to push through hard times. This is a compilation of listener outdoor memories that feel especially salient today.
For Anna Brones, the point of creating is rarely the end result - it's all about the satisfying act of doing. While a lot of us are missing the time we normally spend outside, Anna reassures us that there's inspiration to be found with the materials we have on hand.
Beth Bradley can confidently say that hiking changed her life. Doing the 52 Hike Challenge has changed the voice in her head from one that says "I'm too fat" to one that believes, without a doubt, that we need to change who we think of when we think of a hiker. We interviewed Beth live at No Man's Land Film Festival on March 8th.
For Shon’t Savage, divorce was a bad thing that turned out to be a good thing. Ten years ago, while sharing custody of her then two year old son, she found herself with free time. Shon’t grieved the days she lost with her son, but filled the space with a newfound love for hiking, camping, backpacking, and cross-country skiing. In doing so, Shon’t found herself once more -- which ultimately made her a better mother.
Meet Amanda Monthei, a hotshot wildland firefighter and creative who has made it her mission to empower women and all qualified firefighters to know there is space for them in wildland firefighting. We spoke to Amanda about her path to fighting fires as well as her project “The Women Before Me” that celebrates the women of the Zig Zag hotshot crew, the legacies they humbly left behind, and the qualities they brought to the US Forest Service.
Ever dreamed of going to space? Analog astronaut and geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor shares how she lives out her childhood dream of space exploration here on Earth. We talked to Sian just a week after Sensoria, a first of its kind, all-women’s Mars simulation at the HI-SEAS habitat on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The power of a two-night backpacking trip in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona is multiplied when it's spent with women who are motivated by a common goal: to help introduce more girls to the outdoors. We backpack with The Cairn Project.
There's a well-kept secret in the international trekking industry. The Porter Voice Collective is raising up the backbone of the industry to advocate for change. In doing so, they're empowering both porters and tourists to speak up for an equitable workforce.
In partnership with Smartwool, we talk with their CEO Jennifer McLaren about how her love of the outdoors and a career in finance collided to take her where she's at today: the leader of a purpose-driven company.
Briana Feola gets to wear the hats of biologist, geologist, and environmental scientist through her work at Brainstorm---all by creating affordable, nature-inspired screen prints and other art that we can hang on our walls.
In partnership with Sherpa Adventure Gear, guest host Laura Hughes interviews Wasfia Nazreen-- mountaineer, activist, and writer-- to learn about what it was like to take a journey up each of the Seven Summits, what it was like to be the first person from Bangladesh to do it, and how approaching external mountains in our lives mirror the personal work it takes to summit our internal ones.
Jenny Bruso's multi-day trek on the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru transformed what she thought was possible for herself; it's opened her up to the idea of hikes around the world and helped refine her mission as the founder of Unlikely Hikers. And while Jenny's enthralled by all this possibility, she's still working through how to trek internationally in a respectful way.
Krystle Wright is an Australian adventure photographer who's worked really hard to make a name for herself taking risks and creating images all over the world: base jumping in the arctic, storm chasing in the American West, free diving with orcas, wandering the desert in Morocco. As she looks ahead to the new year, she's welcoming rest and building more room in her life for play.
For Sydney Williams, “Hiking My Feelings” means identifying trauma, figuring out how it manifests in our bodies through physical and mental disease, and figuring out how to heal from that. For Sydney, it’s been hiking - and taking her story on tour to connect with other people who benefit from it. She believes that showing up as your whole self is how we’ll changed the world: one hike, kayak, bike ride, (fill in the______) at a time.
Kara Richardson Whitely is the author of Gorge, a memoir about her climb up Mount Kilimanjaro and her lifelong experience with binge eating disorder, the most common (but least talked about) eating disorder. Kara's proud to be part of a growing community of plus-size adventurers, while simultaneously acknowledging that her relationship with food and her body is forever unfolding.
Verna is Navajo, a mother of four, and days away from running a 50-mile ultra run. She started running after having her second child 12 years ago. Hear about Verna's journey as a runner and how it’s underlined her resilience as a person. Now she's bringing native women together by uplifting their running journeys, too.
With the help of listeners and Backpacking 101 author Heather Balogh Rochfort, we share stories of first-time backpackers, as well as advice to get you started. Whether you're a seasoned backpacker or a beginner, there's inspiration and a little trail magic (not the thru-hiking kind) to be found in this episode.
Sometimes the hardest thing isn’t running an ultra marathon or topping out at a climbing competition, it’s showing up for yourself in small ways, taking a step back and figuring out what you need so you can figure out who you are. For a long time, Emilee Struss identified as a climber and an endurance runner. Persistent injuries have made her dig into the hard work of self-love.
Sara Wolman is an interpretive park ranger for US Fish and Wildlife in King Salmon, Alaska. Find out how she's building a career, fostering community, and raising a young child in the rolling tundra, and what you can do to help gather valuable scientific data to help tell the story of environmental change.
How can you do what you love without losing yourself in the process? Putting your voice out there can be a very vulnerable thing: just take it from Outside Voices podcast host Sarah Shimazaki. We talk about the very real struggle of how to balance work, passion, and your own wellbeing.
Conservation photographer Krista Schlyer describes the almost 2,000-mile border between the US and Mexico as a vibrant landscape teeming with life. Raising awareness for its biodiversity has become an integral part of her life’s work and is the focus of a new documentary film she directed, Ay Mariposa, which came out in May.
Sharlene Jones is allergic to exercise (literally) but because hiking feels like home, fear of what could happen isn't enough to keep her from hitting the trail. Instead, she's developed a familiarity with her body that makes it possible to keep moving forward.
It's hard to say what the bigger challenge from the universe was: the exercise-induced anaphylaxis or winning the lottery to hike Mount Whitney after being diagnosed. Either way, Sharlene Jones is not one to back down from a challenge.
We humans have a habit of getting in the way of wild animals, but wildlife rehab is one way we can give back. Sirena Rana Dufault has spent nine of the last ten years volunteering at Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tuscon. She shares why it's needed, what happens when an animal is taken in, funny stories along the way, and the beauty of the release.
Becky Marcelliano shares how she pivoted from working as an art teacher to working her way up to be a marketing manager in the outdoor industry (first Deuter, then Salomon). Her interview is full of tips for breaking into a new industry, but it’s also about her openness in the face of big life changes, living with chronic illness, and an omnipresent passion for lifting women up.
Laurie Young stepped into her daughter Meghan's world by joining her on a trek to Annapurna base camp in Nepal. Together they pushed through every challenge that presented itself while learning that limits are flexible and the mother/daughter relationship is more fluid than we think.
Nikki Smith likes to say that she is a climber, photographer, and writer who just happens to be transgender. Professor Brené Brown inadvertently changed Nikki's course when she wrote about midlife, "it's time to show up and be seen." It was the inspiration Nikki needed to step into herself, and it's since served as a reminder of what she wants to do for others.
What changes about the environmental movement when people of color are both the leaders and the audience? We teamed up with REI to send writer Amanda Machado to the third annual PGM ONE Summit in Philadelphia to answer that question first hand.
Sam Ortiz has gone from a beginner to a hiker to a climber to a mountaineer to a plus-size outdoor model in under five years. Her progression has happened in part due to curiosity, timely mentors, and the best kind of fear: the kind you move up and over and end up just a little bit changed on the other side.
Jen Gurecki is a serial outdoor entrepreneur who isn’t afraid to go against the norm when it comes to the businesses she’s started in the industry. With over 20 years of experience, Jen’s the CEO of Coalition Snow, editor-in-chief at Sisu Magazine, and founder of Zawadisha. She even used to co-own a river rafting company. From the outside, each company is quite different - hardwood skis and snowboards vs. editorial print vs. a micro lending venture, but each contains a common thread: an unwavering devotion to putting women in front.
Cindy Villaseñor is an Enrich LA Garden Ranger who strives to live a low waste lifestyle. She also loves camping, gardening outside of work, and eats vegan. Cindy didn’t grow up doing any of these things, but keeping herself open to learning and opportunities have led her to where she is today.
For International Women's Day, 20 plus-size women hiked Mount Kilimanjaro. Each had a different reason and background, but they came together to take up space on the highest mountain in Africa. One goal? To normalize fat hiking around the world. Diandra Oliver brought along a recorder to share the seven-day trek with us.
A celebration of motherhood, outdoors and otherwise. In this episode, you’ll hear from mothers and daughters; it's equal parts a letter of thanks and a guidebook of sorts for a life best lived outdoors.
Hiking has become both a side hustle and a form of therapy for weekend adventurer Holly Johnson. We talk about how work and play blend together in her life, but also how she deliberately keeps them separate. From her first solo backpacking trip to carving out time for adventure travel outside of her 9-5 job, Holly, aka @missholldoll, is above all else a hiker.
This Earth Day, we’re looking on the bright side. We’re asking, how can a sense of environmental optimism keep us facing forward? What strength do we gain when we’re comfortable starting fresh - whether it’s a climbing route, in our personal lives, or in our approach to sustainability? We climb and camp Kylie Fly in partnership with Mountain Hardwear.
Anyone else a ‘bad’ science student in high school? For those who haven’t been indoctrinated, earth science can be all intimidating facts and hard edges. Hannah Perrine Mode is an abstract artist who has found a connection to science through her artwork. Her experiences as a science communicator as part of the Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska have opened her up to more diverse methods of sharing glacial and earth science with people - on and off the icefield.
Shouldn't it be easier for women to use the bathroom outside? Shouldn't pants be made for female anatomy? The founders behind SheFly Apparel think so. They've reinvented pants for us to wear on the trail and elsewhere. Meet two of the three co-founders, Bianca Gonzalez and Charlotte Massey.
Both filmmaker Sarah Menzies and The Musical Mountaineers accomplished big things after our conversations last year. Sarah debuted her film Afghan Cycles. Rose and Anastasia played music in Seattle's Benaroya Hall. We catch up and celebrate what's next.
How has the She Explores podcast impacted you? That's what we wanted to know. So we made a special secret bonus episode to celebrate all of the voices on the She Explores podcast, as well as the dedicated work Gale Straub puts into the show.
Stories connect us, help us learn, and help us better understand each other. Melanin Base Camp founder Danielle Williams taps into the power of storytelling to showcase the many different ways people of color and LGBTQ+ folks experience the outdoors.
What's the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge? Teresa Baker and Danielle Williams share why it's important for diverse people to take the lead doing the work to make the outdoors a more inclusive, equitable place for all. They also comment on the recent announcement of a CEO Outdoor Equity Pledge by Camber Outdoors.
Meet Jeanine Pesce, creative connector and founder of RANGE, a creative agency and magazine inspired by the culture of the outdoor movement. We talk about how she's carved out a place for herself in the outdoor industry and the tenth issue of RANGE Mag, centered around the theme 'Work in Progress.'
Caroline Gleich is a ski mountaineer who knows the meaning of scary but rewarding: whether she's climbing 8,000 meter mountains in the Himalayas or anticipating her future as an adventure-seeking wife and mom. Plus, we catch up with Karen Wang two years after we interviewed her for Episode 9, "After the Pacific Crest Trail."
Heather Hansman went on a solo pack rafting adventure for the sake of conservation. Paddling the 730 mile Green River, she learned about the future of water in the west and documented her journey in her upcoming book, Downriver.
Ask Hannah Andry, and she’ll tell you she feels like the luckiest girl in the world. She’s in love, she has a new dog and easy access to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She’s also had two heart surgeries within the last year. Hannah’s is a story about how quickly things can change and the ways in which nature can fill up your heart.
Nicole Antoinette quit her thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail after about 1,600 miles and she's ok with calling it a failure. In fact, Nicole questions why we have to choose either success or failure. Can't we be kinder with ourselves? Can't we set out to both succeed and fail?
Becoming a new mom has changed the way Kristina Frost experiences the outdoors. And she's realizing, it's not better or worse - it's just different. We talk to Kristina before and after she takes her two-month-old daughter Emma camping for the very first time.
Lost in the mountains is a vulnerable place to be. Lydia Sturgis shares her experience losing the trail for a night in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, and heli nurse Krista Elkins gives advice for both how to prevent getting lost and what to do if it happens.
Hiranya de Alwis Jayasinghe set out to be the first "BAME" woman in the United Kingdom to thru hike the Welsh Coastal Trail. She didn't achieve her goal, but after 570 miles on foot, she could hear herself loud and clear.
Elyse Rylander is the founder and executive director of OUT There Adventures, a nonprofit dedicated to empower queer young people through their connection with the natural world. Elyse believes nature is a disruptive force for queer youth and hopes to foster their identities and love of the outdoors.
Mary Ann Thomas loves bike touring because it's accessible, it helps her care for her body, it connects her with people she might not otherwise meet, and it has helped her express the truest parts of herself.
Kristin Link is a science illustrator and an artist living off the grid in McCarthy, Alaska. She shares about her life there, why she loves helping people see the natural world up close through science illustration, and her tips for applying to artist-in-residencies at National Parks.
Georgina Miranda lives mindfully in business and while pursuing the Explorer Grand Slam: standing on the highest summits in each continent as well as the North and South Pole. The founder of She Ventures and Altitude 7 shares how years spent summiting the highest mountains in the world drove home her devotion to creating businesses and taking adventures that have a positive social impact on the world.
Anastasia and Rose hike their violin and keyboard, respectfully, into the mountains of Washington to play music to greet the rising sun. In doing so, they hope to inspire others to share their own gifts with the world.
Cheryl Strayed never planned on giving advice professionally and doesn't love a guru, but she agrees with Anna Brones that everyone has wisdom to bestow upon others. The key is to seek as much as you share.
Sirena Rana Dufault is an expert on trails, but that hasn't always been the case: hers is a hard-won expertise born of patience. Trails inspired her to persevere through the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, develop an intimate relationship with her newfound home state of Arizona, and change the course of her career.
Your stories of spending time solo in the outdoors. Including a bikepacker, a so-called fat hiker, an aspiring astronaut, an extrovert, two med students, and a backcountry paddler, in short - you and me.
Ultrarunner Mirna Valerio is a role model for many because by doing what she loves, she shows others what is possible. She’s modeling being a black, fat girl running, moving her body up and over mountains.
Sheri Tingey has been making gear in the outdoor industry for the past 50 years, and she's done a lot of it with her own two hands. Learn about what drives her to solve problems, how she learned the important lesson of slowing down, and what happened after she re-started her career in her 50's by founding Alpacka Raft.
A beginner's guide of sorts to advocating for land we can all love and enjoy. This week, we’re back camping with Amanda Machado, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and 13 women who are passionate about learning about championing public land.
Ever feel like you're alone in your relationship with the outdoors? Join a group of women who are leading the way in their communities by spending time outside and breaking ground for others to do the same.
Could a hike a week change your life? Interview with Karla Amador, co-founder of 52 Hike Challenge. We talk about why she chose to hike 52 times in a year, how It helped clarify what she wanted out of work and life, and how a feeling of accomplishment can carry with you long after the trail.
Kareemah Batts is a cancer survivor and the founder of Adaptive Climbing Group. After finding climbing after losing part of her leg to cancer, Kareemah wanted to share the feeling she has on the wall with others. She's done with sympathy, she just wants to climb.
Simone Martin-Newberry is a plant person. And the attention she pays to flora has led to her discovery that contrary to what most media would have you believe, nature is everywhere - especially if you're open to finding it.
In climbing, it's key trust yourself and your community. Discover what it's like to attend the Flash Foxy Women's Climbing Festival through the ears of a beginner. Jaymie Shearer takes us to Bishop, CA to climb, contemplate, and learn some life lessons.
Those moments on the trail when you just have to laugh because it's the only way forward. Live storytelling of mishaps in the outdoors and an interview with Marielle Cowdin of Oregon Wild. Recorded at the Columbia Flagship store in Portland, OR.
Sarah Menzies is all in. Whether it's her adventure documentary film career or her relationships, Sarah is fully committed to following through on giving back to others. Sarah’s story is about what she would do for her many loves, and in turn, and what they would do for her.
Sisters Alex and Sage Herr have been summiting peaks in the White Mountains since they were 5 years old. Now 15 and almost 13, respectively, their enthusiasm for hiking has remained the same as ever. Proof that for all the activities we grow out of in life, there’s no saying you have to grow out of hiking.
Maybe it's a list of mountains to climb, or debt to repay, or a family to grow - we all tuck dreams in the back of our minds. And yet the older we get, the more we realize that life gets in the way. Many of us end up looking in the mirror and asking the scariest of questions: Am I allowed to change my dream?
Caro Luevanos-Garcia believes the key to closing the gaps between generations can be found in the outdoors. And she also believes the inverse: that people across generations can find the outdoors with the help of each other.
A book is often just a jumping off point to talk about other topics we care deeply about. In this episode, we bring mountain guide and writer Charlotte Austin's Adventure Grapes Online Book Club to life. Along with Charlotte and outdoor author Shawnté Salabert, host Gale Straub discusses questions of gender roles in the outdoors and adventure narratives, as well as the outdoors' role in mental health issues.
Interview with Annette McGivney, author of Pure Land. When she says she has something in common with a murderer, she’s right. And she also has something in common with a tourist from Japan, as well as the American landscape. Annette's is a story of trauma, healing, and connection. While there's darkness, there's a whole lot of light.