Banner image by Jaymie Shearer
Looking back at the 44 She Explores podcast episodes published in 2018, the ones I’m most proud of are the ones made in collaboration. Podcasting can be a very solitary endeavor. Recording an interview from my bedroom closet, all I can hear is the guest’s voice in my ears. The edit is much the same, I listen to their voice until it makes sense what to keep and what to pull. I do love this simplicity, the exchange of conversation and patch-working it together. But that simplicity is dangerous, too. It can lead to complacency, to repetition, or worse. Goodness knows I’m often wrong.
The collaborations that follow are richer for the added time and perspectives. It’s good to have more than one take on a subject. It’s challenging and it leads to surprises. Without the Musical Mountaineers, we couldn’t smile along as they set up their instruments for the sunrise. Without Jaymie Shearer, we couldn’t meet climbers at Flash Foxy’s Women’s Climbing Festival. Same goes for all of your suggestions and comments. More is more.
Here’s to collaboration in 2019! And as always, thank you for listening. This show wouldn’t be the same without you.
– Gale Straub, Host of She Explores
If you missed them last year, enjoy!:
When Taryn Eyton emailed and told me about a bike tour her grandma Carol took in the 1940’s with her best friend Billie, I knew we had to have Carol on She Explores. Holding an interview over Skype was a hurdle, though: who was I to Carol? She was hesitant to share her “ordinary adventure” with a stranger. But after some convincing, she was game to be interviewed by her granddaughter, Taryn. So I shipped a recorder to Vancouver and Taryn sat with her grandma after dinner and learned first-hand what it was like to work at a factory during World War II to support the war effort. She found out that Carol and Billie went on a 1- day bike tour for fun, that it wasn’t scary, and that, in hindsight at least, it didn’t feel like a feminist act. We, the listeners, got to share in that experience: the bike tour, but also the connection between grandmother and granddaughter and the way we define “adventure” is transformed across generations.
After the credits rolled, I got to close my eyes and listen for my grandmothers’ voices. I got to ponder what they might have dreamed for themselves and their own grand daughters. This episode was a gift.
I sent writer Amanda Machado to a women’s “Empowher” campout with the National Parks Conservation Association, but I didn’t expect a rainstorm to hit the campground north of Malibu. The attendees found themselves under tarps with lots of time to learn about each other. Most were Latinx and bonded over what their relationships with the outdoors had in common: a need to explain their love to their parents, how gear shaming is all too real, and the unique healing found outside for first and second generation Americans.
Initially, I planned for us to publish one episode around Amanda’s weekend, but after debriefing with her, two made sense. One to share conversations of conservation, advocacy, and stewardship. And this one, about the power of having the space to connect.
Rose Freeman and Anastasia Allison didn’t just record audio of playing the keyboard and violin on Sahale Arm in the Cascades of Washington, they had “the tape” running from the drive over, to waking up in the dark to start the hike, to deciding which pieces to play for the sunrise. They’re committed to sharing the magic of their alpine concerts without violating Leave No Trace principles. While it’s incredible to watch their youtube videos and see the breathtaking concert hall of the Cascades, it was something else entirely to hear it unfold in this podcast episode.
I interviewed Rose and Anastasia separately so they could also be surprised by the end product, a weaving of song and intention. Their music is a love letter to the mountains and the opportunity to play it back for them (and for you) is one I cherish.
Jaymie Shearer was a beginner climber when she went to the Flash Foxy Women’s Climbing Festival in Bishop, CA. Not only that, but she was very nervous. She went into a situation where she didn’t know anyone, with a microphone.
Jaymie was curious about where climbers found mentors, when it makes sense to identify as a ‘climber,’ and how fear is interlaced with the sport. Jaymie did a fantastic job bringing us into the event with her. I’ve known her since early 2015, before she started climbing or mountaineering or backpacking. It’s been really fun to watch her grow as a thoughtful outdoorswoman.
My friend Anna Brones is kind of like my creativity coach. We text each other our woes and triumphs. Plus, she is the queen of action-inspiring newsletters.
When Anna asked me whether I’d be interested in her interviewing Cheryl Strayed for this podcast, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I’d been a long-time listener of Dear Sugars and reader of Tiny Beautiful Things. Anna is what Cheryl called a “seeker” in their conversation. I wouldn’t say she’s restless, but her questions hold depth. She doesn’t settle. Their talk on creativity, feminism, beauty, and kindness is a two-way transfer of wisdom that I was honored to edit.
Want to join the conversation? Connect with other listeners in the She Explores Facebook Group.