Indoor Kid: Out There Podcast

A Special Bonus Episode: The first episode of Out There’s New Season

Sarah Dealy was not outdoorsy. But at age 20, during a severe bout of depression, she enrolled in a wilderness therapy program. By the end of the program, she wanted to become an “outdoor girl.”

But becoming the outdoorswoman of her dreams didn’t come naturally. Sarah was an indoor kid at heart. She disliked many of the activities she imagined her outdoorsy self doing.

On the first episode of Out There Podcast’s new season, Sarah takes us from the desert of Utah to the mountains of Colorado and explores what happens when the person you think you want to be doesn’t mesh with the person you are.

About Out There

Launched in 2015, Out There is a podcast that explores big questions through intimate stories outdoors. Host Willow Belden just launched their new season, which dives deep into the theme “Things I Thought I Knew.” Each episode, they’re sharing a story about an outdoor experience that changed someone’s understanding of themselves, their world, or their humanity. Listen to Out There on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever podcasts are found.

A full transcript is available below the photos.

Featured in this episode: Sarah Dealy, Willow Belden

Credits:

  • This episode was written, produced and sound-designed by Sarah Dealy.
  • Editing by Willow Belden.
  • Music includes selections from Blue Dot Sessions.

She Explores is Hosted & Produced by Gale Straub

A production of Ravel Media

Join the She Explores Podcast community on Facebook

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Resources

Music is licensed through Musicbed.

Episodes air bi-weekly on Wednesdays– subscribe wherever you listen so you never miss an episode. 


Out There: Indoor Kid

Out There

This episode of Out There kicked off their new season with this episode featuring Sarah

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TRANSCRIPT

Indoor Kid

By Sarah Dealy, produced by Out There Podcast

Released on February 3, 2022

Welcome to Out There Podcast. Our stories are written for the ear, so for those able, we recommend listening while reading along. Transcripts may contain minor errors; please check the audio before quoting.

(sound of wind and rustling )

WILLOW: It is so beautiful here. I’m out on the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville. And there’s just a whole range of gorgeous, snow-capped mountains in the background, and I’m curious what they are.

(ambient sound faces out)

WILLOW: We’ve all had moments like this — looking out over beautiful vistas — and wondering what exactly we’re seeing.

That’s where an app called Peak Visor comes in handy. Peak Visor is one of our sponsors for this season.

When you open up their app, it figures out where you are, and then it tells you all the mountains you’re looking at.

They also have intricate 3-D maps to help you plan out your adventures. And for the wintertime, they offer real-time info for every major ski resort in the U.S.

Check out Peak Visor in the app store. You just might love it.

(Out There theme music begins to play)

Hi, I’m Willow Belden, and you’re listening to Out There, the podcast that explores big questions through intimate stories outdoors.

First things first: I have an announcement. We are co-hosting an open mic night, and I would love for you to come!

It’s going to be on March 31st at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time. That’s 8:30 p.m. Eastern. And we’ll be co-hosting it with our friends at Kula Cloth. 

If you’re interested in PERFORMING at the open mic night, we would love to hear from you! The deadline to sign up to perform is TOMORROW – February 4. Just go to outtherepodcast.com/openmic. That’s outtherepodcast.com/openmic. And again, the deadline to sign up if you want to perform is February 4.

If you want to attend — but not perform — that’s great too! We’ll have a registration form ready soon.

Also, this season we’re going to be bringing you a special treat at the end of each episode. It’s a new segment called Out There Favorites, and on it, our team members are going to be sharing recommendations for books, podcasts, gear, and other resources. 

These are not ads; they’re just a chance for us to spread the love and tell you about things we think more people should know about. So stick around after today’s story to hear the first installment of Out There Favorites.

(theme music ends)

This season, we’re exploring the theme “Things I Thought I Knew.” Each episode we’ll share a story about an outdoor experience that changed someone’s understanding. In some cases, the storytellers gain new understanding about themselves; in some cases, our guests learn how to rise to the challenges in their lives; and sometimes they learn important lessons about humanity.

On today’s episode, we have a story about the dreams we dream for ourselves, and how those dreams fit in with who we are.

If you’ve had a transformative experience in nature, you probably know that it can be tempting to come home wanting to make big changes in your life. We often leave the backcountry with this idea that we’re going to remake ourselves. Redesign our existence.

But it’s not always that simple.

Often, the reality is a lot messier and a lot less glamorous than we’d like to believe.

On this episode, Sarah Dealy takes us from the desert in Utah to the mountains of Colorado, and explores what happens when the person you think you want to be doesn’t quite mesh with the person you are. 

And just to let you know, this episode discusses depression and suicidal thoughts, and also includes some adult language. 

(sound of wind blowing, birds squawking, and heavy breathing)

SARAH DEALY: HELLO…that’s so a bear doesn’t get me. Alright. Okay, this is a lot scarier than I thought it would be. Holy shit, okay.

(soft music begins to play)

SARAH: I’ve always been an indoor kid. I never scraped my knees climbing trees, never got a rope burn on a tire swing. I never came home to my mother, covered in dirt, needing to be hosed off before I was allowed in. 

I grew up in Colorado, and while other kids spent their summers jumping into rivers, I spent mine in the cool basement of my childhood home, eating kettle corn, watching movies, and reading exactly 34 volumes of Magic Tree House books. 

I was never athletic, always a bit chubby, with no hand-eye coordination. Once I had to write an apology note to my phys-ed teacher because instead of trying to hit the softball that was pitched to me, I screamed and ran away every time. 

Despite the forced note, I wasn’t remorseful. I was confident in my choice to stay inside. I liked air conditioning. I liked reading. I liked reading in the air conditioning.

I spent high school and middle school happily inside at an art school where there weren’t even sports teams, so I was fine. 

(music fades out)

But when I started college, something shifted, and I became incredibly depressed. 

Every day I would wake up, very unhappy about being awake, and my whole motivation would be to make sure I could lie down. The only thing that made me feel not actively suicidal was lying down. 

After a few years of this, I dropped out and went home.

(somber music begins)

The indoors had warped. It was no longer a place of comfort and peaceful solitude. Now being inside was a symbol of my depression. It was all crumpled sheets littered with crumbs, blinds closed to keep out the afternoon sun, a window AC unit that wasn’t cooling the room well enough. 

I had nowhere I felt safe. 

After a while of being home, it was pretty clear that I needed serious help, and a therapist I was seeing recommended I go to residential treatment. 

(music fades out)

I was given three options:

One: farming therapy, a place where you literally worked through your depression on a farm. I guess the seeds were a metaphor, and eventually you would grow into a beautiful, functioning, happy stalk of corn. 

Two: residential therapy, which is similar to rehab, but it’s just for depressed people. You sit in group therapy for hours a day inside a hospital-like building.

Or three: wilderness therapy, where you hiked off your depression, carrying everything on your back, and sleeping on the ground until you weren’t sad anymore.

I chose wilderness therapy because it sounded like something my indoor-kid self would   never choose to do. I felt like my indoor mentality had brought me to this place, and I hated myself for that. So, I went into the woods as an attempt to exorcise myself from the inside demon that had rotted my life. 

(soft music begins)

I remember talking to an admin lady for the program on speakerphone before I left. My mom asked how long I would have to stay. 

 “An average stay is five to twelve weeks,” she said. 

“You’ll probably stay for five weeks,” my mom said. “I think you’re just five weeks fucked up.”

 And so, “five weeks fucked up” became our motto. We said it to each other in the car on the way to the airport, and on the last call I could make before I had to turn off my phone. 

I was five weeks fucked up. I wouldn’t be staying for months like the kids who really needed it. I’d be turned around in no time. 

In reality though, I ended up staying for twelve weeks, a decision I didn’t really have a lot of choice in. 

(music fades out)

I was 20 when I went to wilderness therapy, so I couldn’t be forced to go. If you’re under 18, it is legal for your parents to hire people to blindfold you, stick you in the back of a van, and drive you to wilderness therapy. 

But for me, it was a choice I made myself. I felt empowered that I got to choose to do this really hard thing. I figured I was in the driver’s seat of my own recovery, and I wouldn’t have to do anything too uncomfortable. This ended up being far from the truth. 

(meditative music begins)

When I got off the plane in Utah, I was greeted by two late-20-somethings, a man and a woman. They looked like the kind of people who ran the climbing wall at REI. Already, I felt nervous. 

Where I grew up in Denver, the REI has a giant climbing wall. I’d spent a lot of time in my youth in this store, mostly drinking frappuccinos in the Starbucks attached to it, but also looking at the climbing wall longingly, knowing that my shrimpy little arms could never get me up it. 

And suddenly there I was, in the tiny airport in St. George, Utah being guided by two muscley, tan, Patagonia-wearing people who could probably climb that wall in a minute flat with a bad flu. I felt like that little girl again.

(music ends)

But they were nice, and they drove me to get lunch, and then took me to their headquarters, which was tucked away in a strip mall and filled with brand new outdoor gear and clothes. 

When we entered the small building, the tone changed. We were the only ones in there. The man excused himself to the bathroom, and the woman took me behind a shelf and told me to take off all my clothes and squat. I hated the moment where she had to look at my non-athletic, plushy body, scanning me for hidden drugs. I exhaled. Then she handed me brand new clothes: tan cargo pants and a bright orange t-shirt. 

(sound of key turning in the ignition and car driving along a road)

We got in the car and drove to the edge of town, where they blindfolded me with a bright yellow bandana. “Sorry”, they said, tying the knot around the back of my head. “This is just what we have to do.” 

We drove for what felt like hours through bumpy, dusty dirt roads, until they parked and walked me, holding both of my hands, through an uneven patch of desert. 

(sound of footsteps on dry earth and voices in the distance)

I realized I was walking towards voices. The voices seemed to be making dinner. One voice noticed me. Another voice — deeper — told the first voice to stop noticing me and keep making dinner. 

“Here it is,” the REI climbing wall woman said as she took off my blindfold. 

(footsteps stop)

Standing in front of me were two more REI climbing-wall-type people. They were smiling. They were trying to be comforting. They said hello. 

Immediately, they told me a few things. The voices in the near-distance belonged to my peers. They were the group that I would be spending the foreseeable future with. 

The staff members told me I was not allowed to speak to my peers, and my peers were not allowed to speak to me, until I sat on a hill and wrote out my life story. They were not joking. I had to silently sit on a hill and write my entire life story. When I was done, I would read it to the group, and that’s how they would meet me. 

Also, when I had to go to the bathroom, I had to call my name every three to five  seconds so that staff members would know that I wasn’t running away. 

I had to pee. The woman reminded me to call my name. As I stepped away from them, I began saying my name.

SARAH (echoey, layered under narration): Sarah.

SARAH: Quietly at first.

SARAH (echoey, layered under narration): Sarah.

SARAH: Then in a regular speaking voice. 

SARAH (echoey, layered under narration): Sarah…

SARAH: Then I was screaming, uncertainly, my voice shaking. 

SARAH (echoey, layered under narration): Sarah…

SARAH: This, I realized, is how my new peers would learn my name. This was truly my introduction.

SARAH (echoey, layered under narration): SARAH…

(whimsical music begins)

SARAH: Wilderness therapy is similar to any type of treatment in that there are a lot of strange rules like:

One: we cannot know what time it is. If we know what time it is, we won’t be able to be fully present. This is closely related to…

Two: we cannot know what we are doing next. This, they believe, will truly make us present and focused on our therapy. 

At first, I hated it. On my second week, a staff member said I wasn’t allowed to eat hot food unless I used a bow, drill, and rock to “bust” a fire, an arbitrary and ineffective way to create a flame that is supposed to “build character.” I didn’t bust a fire. I ate cold beans. For some reason, I was also forbidden hot sauce. 

(music fades out)

One day, I was pretty fed up, and I walked out of camp. Because of this, I was put on “safety.” Safety meant I had even less freedom. Safety meant that I had to sleep next to staff, rolled up in a tarp, so that they could hear me crunching the tarp if I moved in the middle of the night. 

Safety meant I had to pull up the sleeves of my shirt to show staff I hadn’t taken a rock, or particularly pointy stick, to my arms. It also meant that I needed to be escorted to the bathroom by two staff. The bathroom was a large hole in the ground.

Eventually, I got off safety. And surprisingly, I started to enjoy hiking.

And not totally hating hiking led me to stop totally hating the rest of it.

My positive shift in feelings might have to do with the indoctrination that can come from programs such as these. There is truly a touch of brainwashing in all therapeutic programs — I’ve been to a few since. 

It’s kind of a part of it; you just have to buy into the program’s philosophy — believe it’s going to make your life better — in order to get something out of the experience. 

In this case, I bought into the idea that waking up every day and packing my tarp and sleeping bag within the count of 10 was vitally important to my recovery. 

I bought into that when I ate breakfast, I needed to eat every bite of oatmeal, and then when it came time to clean my cup, instead of squirting a bit of water in there and sloshing it around like the staff members did, it was essential that I, and the other members of our group, fill our cups with dirt and use that as a scrubbing sponge. I don’t remember the logic behind this one, but at the time, I knew the dirt scrubbing was building character. 

I happily called my name while I peed, while I pooped in a hole, and while I washed myself with a tiny bucket of water. 

I also bought into a lot of therapeutic stuff that I honestly can’t remember. But buying into the wilderness stuff caused me to look around at the environment, and I started to have a lot of really meaningful outdoor moments. 

(relaxed music begins to play)

I went on a “solo,” where basically for 48 hours I just hung out far enough from camp so I couldn’t see anyone, but close enough that if I screamed, staff could come help. I loved being alone. I loved listening to the wind, and dancing around my little campsite. 

I earned the opportunity to lead a hike, and at the same time we reached the peak of a hill, a group of wild horses ran through the valley below. The sun broke through the clouds to illuminate them. I was very affected by this. 

And eventually, I did become amazing at busting fires, and I ended up teaching everyone in my group my techniques. 

(music ends)

And all while this was happening, I started to create a new version of myself: the Outdoor Kid, a tan mountain climber with ripped calves and a well-trained dog. I could see her so clearly. She was about 70 pounds thinner than me. She was someone who had her life together, and that life was wild — someone who thru-hiked every summer and thought car camping was luxurious. She didn’t need AC because she wasn’t really inside a lot. She was beautiful. 

(rambling music begins)

After wilderness therapy, I tried to be that person. I moved to Boulder. I tried rock climbing. I bought a tent. I attempted to off-leash train my dog, but he ran into the woods to chase a fox immediately. He’s fine. He’s right next to me. But he would definitely get us both killed if I brought him into the wilderness.  

Soon, I started to turn into an indoor kid again. I moved back to a big city. Rewatched Gilmore Girls a lot. Closed my blinds. I couldn’t be an outdoor kid. I hate rock climbing. And I love taking long baths. And AC. Eventually, I gave up on my outdoor self altogether. 

(music continues for a moment and then fades out)

WILLOW: Hey, it’s Willow. We’ll hear the rest of the story in a moment. But first…

If you enjoy skiing, I’d like to tell you about our sponsor, Powder7.

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Shop online at Powder7.com, or feel free to call or email them and chat with their team of experts. That’s Powder, the number seven, dot com.

And now, back to the story.

(sound of gear being moved around)

SARAH: Okay, I have my trekking poles.

(sound of zipping)

SARAH’S GIRLFRIEND: I think you need to get new trekking poles.

SARAH: I don’t think so. 

SARAH’S GIRLFRIEND: But one of them’s bent.

SARAH: It’s bent but it works. It’s bent, it’s not broken.

(Sarah laughs)

SARAH: Bent but not broken.

SARAH: That’s me talking to my girlfriend. It’s been eight years since wilderness therapy. 

SARAH’S GIRLFRIEND: Do you have your bear bag?

SARAH: I have my bear bag, yeah. It’s at the bottom. 

(sound of thumping)

SARAH: Cuz it’s heavy.

SARAH: We’re sitting in our bedroom double-checking that I have everything I need in my backpack that I’ve been obsessively packing for the past month. A lot has happened in the last eight years. 

My depression came back. I went in and out of treatment centers (all indoor). I got on medication. I got great therapists, and I really worked on my mental health in a way that I couldn’t fully in wilderness therapy. I got into a healthy relationship, I got a job I liked, I met great friends. I ended up getting to a really good place that depressed me couldn’t even have imagined. But I still wasn’t the Outdoor Kid. I was still me: fat, someone who is actually very gay, and accepted that. 

But even with all that acceptance and love, there was one thing that still gnawed at me.

I wanted to be outdoors more. I knew I was never going to be that rugged outdoors person I imagined, and I didn’t want to be, but when I completely gave up on this idealized version of myself, I also gave up on being outside. And I ended up taking something out of my life that would probably improve the quality of it. 

Also, I had set a goal for myself in wilderness therapy. I wanted to go backpacking alone. And even though I have forgotten about more goals than I’ve achieved in the course of my life, for some reason, I couldn’t forget about this one. I never did. And so a few months ago, I decided it was time. I was gonna hike a section of the Colorado Trail, over a weekend, all by myself. 

(ambient sound of a large store)

SARAH: I’m at REI, and I’m not sure if I can fit into all the sleeping bags here. And they’re all sort of like hanging by a rock. So I keep like unzipping them and then putting my head in them backwards. 

SARAH: I have spent hours and hours in REI in the past few weeks, including an entire hour dedicated to trying to find a woman’s pack that fit me, until eventually the sales associate had to rent me a pack with an attached waist-strap extender. He also got my information to call me when the plus-size line of Deva packs comes out. However, the message that I’ve gotten loud and clear is that my body isn’t supposed to be doing this activity. 

And my worries didn’t end there. The night before my trip, I was spinning with anxiety.

SARAH: And I also just remembered that mountain lions exist, and honestly, that’s fucking scary. And I have a cat, and I would be so much scared, I would be so scared if he was bigger. 

(Sarah switches to a creepy voice)

You would kill us all.

(Sarah’s normal voice resumes)

SARAH: But I don’t let the fear of a larger version of my cat cancel my trip. I get up, and I put on my hunter’s orange, Carhartt, men’s workwear t-shirt. And I get in the car with my friend and my girlfriend. And suddenly we’re at the trailhead. 

SARAH and FRIENDS: I love you so much. I’m so excited. Love you. You fucking got this. You rock. Bye.

SARAH: And then I’m alone. 

(sound of breathing)

SARAH: Okay. Part of me wants to turn around and be like, “Wait, don’t go.” But part of me is excited.

SARAH: I’m going uphill. And I don’t think I’ve been alone with my thoughts for two years, and suddenly I can only hear my breath and the dirt beneath my feet.

The air is crisp and fresh in a way it can only be in late September. The trail is shrouded in Aspens all in the process of changing from green to yellow to red. Within my first few minutes on the trail, I can see a deer chewing some grass. I’m feeling excited, peaceful, and I start to philosophize… 

SARAH: Okay. I guess why I’m doing this is because I think I like it, and that’s a good reason to do something. Because you like it. Right?

(sound of footsteps)

SARAH: I’m walking! I am walking! 

I just saw a girl walking her horse, and I’m kind of jealous because I want to have a friend.

(breathing in and out)

But, like, I’m not out of shape. I’m just in a shape that I’m in, and that shape is this shape. And I’m going to go as far as I feel like I can in that shape.

SARAH: And then things take a turn. 

SARAH: I’m feeling…I am in pain. I already kind of pulled a muscle. 

Panic, here’s a slight panic. Like why do I like this? I don’t totally remember. Ow, fuck. My body really hurts.

Cool cool cool. Sick sick sick. Love this. This is so fun. Who wouldn’t wanna do this for fun?

SARAH: At this point, I have pulled a muscle in my groin and every time I take a step, a shooting pain surges across my body. I’m less than halfway to the place I was going to camp, and I’m feeling really defeated. I’m wondering if I can even get there, let alone complete the whole trip I planned. 

I stop and take my pack off and immediately fall onto a rock and skin my knee. I feel like my body is failing me, and there’s no good moral to this story. Nothing positive will come from this. Just the confirmation that the people who decided not to make the backpacks that fit me were right.

(sound of Sarah sniffling)

SARAH: It just feels like, yeah, like I just…I don’t know. Like I pulled a muscle in a fucking mile and a half, and I can’t walk now, and now what the fuck am I gonna do? I can like barely move. 

SARAH: But the thing about backpacking, the thing I really liked about it before, is that you can’t just bail. Well, not without getting airlifted. I can only go forward or back. So I decide to go forward. 

SARAH: Okay. Step, step. Okay so my muscle is not feeling great, but the flatness is making it feel better as I walk.

(Sarah sings next part)

Step. Stepping the muscle. I’ve gotta step. I’ll step it out. Then I can step…

SARAH: I keep stepping. And eventually, I get farther than the place I was going to camp. My pulled muscle starts to feel better because I remember that I have packed Advil. And I finally find a place to sleep, and start setting up camp and making dinner, and I suddenly realize there are all these things that I never got to do. And now I can do whatever I want. 

SARAH: I’ve never stayed alone in my own tent. I’m realizing. Yeah, I’ve never actually had my own tent. 

(sound of moving around a tent)

I had this idea that maybe I would, I don’t know, like bring my like busting stuff and like bust a fire here, which is funny because I’m not going to do that. Why would I do that? I didn’t, I don’t want to. 

SARAH: I don’t end up busting a fire, because I don’t want to. Because I don’t see the benefit. 

That sentiment – the “I don’t have to do things that I don’t think will benefit me” — that becomes my motto, and my energy for the rest of the trip. 

There’s nobody telling me what to do. No one making weird rules. No therapeutic games or rituals. The only thing that I have to buy into is myself. The only thing I have to focus on is my enjoyment. I can camp where I want, I can pack up as slowly or quickly as I want, I can hike at my own pace, I can clean my cup with water. And I actually do enjoy this activity. I enjoy myself a lot. It feels amazing to take the good things that wilderness therapy gave me and kick the rest to the dirt. 

SARAH: Okay, so it’s dark out, and I put my tarp in front of my tent so that I could pull my sleeping bag out onto my tarp and lay and look at the stars for a bit. I feel very happy right now. I’m very content. This is like my favorite thing. All I have are my own thoughts and the stars, which is pretty good.

SARAH: Before I knew it, it was the last morning of my trip. I packed up my things, made myself breakfast and walked to the parking lot where my mom and girlfriend were waiting for me. 

(sound of footsteps)

SARAH: Hello!

FAMILY: Hello!

SARAH: I felt proud. I went on an adventure, I put myself out of my comfort zone, and I liked it. But the trip gave me more than just a sense of accomplishment. It gave me a new way of looking at myself.

I invented the Outdoor Girl because I thought she was my only way out of depression. Basically, I thought that my only way not to feel miserable every second of every day was to become a completely different person. That I needed to be this extreme, toe-shoes-wearing adventurer in order to be happy. The problem was being her meant not being fat, not being gay, not being me.

It’s taken me a long time to realize how wrong that was. You don’t cure depression by becoming a different person. And mine isn’t cured. I still have depressive episodes, and I still take medication — something I’m not planning on changing. However, my life has been significantly better since I accepted that this is the brain, the personality, and the body that I have. 

And I don’t have to change those things to be outside. I just have to do the things in nature that I want to do, and not do the things I don’t.

(easygoing music begins)

Maybe I’m an indoor/outdoor girl. I won’t live in a van. I won’t wear those toe-shoes — I’m sorry to anyone who does, I know they’re like good for your feet or whatever, but that’s just really not my thing. I won’t climb Mount Everest. But I think I’d like to go on some more weekend trips. Until then though, I’ll be chilling in my air-conditioned apartment watching Netflix. I mean I’ll go for like day hikes and stuff; I do live in Colorado.

WILLOW: That was Sarah Dealy. She’s an audio producer and writer, and she’s currently working on a series about Troubled Teen wilderness programs. If you’d like to get notified when that series comes out, I have a link for that in the show notes. You can also see more of Sarah’s work at sarahdealy.com

Also, Sarah wanted me to mention that if you are a parent who is considering sending your kid to a wilderness program, she recommends a book called Help at Any Cost by Maia Szalavitz. I have a link to that in the show notes as well.

(music ends)

Coming up next time on Out There, we have another story about someone who didn’t consider herself outdoorsy.

But for Angie Chatman, the reason she was so reluctant to spend time outside was very different than the reasons you heard about on today’s episode. 

ANGIE CHATMAN: As an African-American woman in an all-white, upscale neighborhood, I am conspicuous. At any time, day or night, I could be stopped by the police.

WILLOW: But when the pandemic began, and Angie was feeling profoundly isolated, she started taking walks with a friend around the streets of Boston. She didn’t know it at the time, but those walks would give her a new way of finding peace. And a new way of finding community.

Tune in on February 17th to hear that story.

(soft music begins)

It’s time now for Out There Favorites. This is a new segment we’re bringing you this season, where we share some of our favorite resources. Favorite apps, favorite books, favorite podcasts, gear…

These are not ads; we’re not getting any money from the things we recommend. It’s just a chance for us to spread the love.

JESSICA TAYLOR: Hi there! My name is Jessica, and I’m the advertising manager here at Out There Podcast. And I’m so excited to share my three favorite resources with you today. 

My first favorite resource is an app called Hipcamp. It’s for all levels of adventurers to find unique outdoor stays. There’s options like tent camping, RV parks, cabins, treehouses, glamping, and more. 

I recently used this app when I took a road trip from California to North Carolina. One night I stayed in the desert land of Arizona, and another I stayed in a cabin of the Tennessee mountains, and it was so beautiful. There’s so many hidden gems all over this country. I would suggest checking out this app, and seeing what’s around you just where you live. That’s Hipcamp. H-I-P-C-A-M-P. 

My second favorite resource is Campendium. It’s a free camping app, and I use it to find dispersed camping. The app shares helpful information like cell coverage, elevation, maps, pictures, reviews — so you can get a sneak peek into the location you’re looking at. It also shows dump stations, public lands, and more. That’s Campendium. C-A-M-P-E-N-D-I-U-M. 

My third favorite resource is Harvest Hosts, and it’s more geared for RVers. I’m a fulltime RVer, and I sometimes have trouble finding free public land in the more eastern states. That’s how I found Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts is a yearly subscription with over 3,000 locations to park your RV and stay for the night, like museums, breweries, distilleries, wineries, farms, and more. I would highly recommend looking into it. That’s Harvest Hosts. 

WILLOW: Again, that was Jessica Taylor. She’s the advertising manager here at Out There. 

We have links to the apps she recommended in the show notes. And I also have links to a short video that Jessica put together about Campendium, plus a special Mother’s Day feature they did about her and some other great moms a while back. 

(music continues for a few notes then fades out)

Before you go, I have an announcement to make.

Out There is going to be seven years old this spring. And to celebrate, we are hosting a virtual Happy Hour for all of our patrons!

Patrons are listeners who support Out There financially. They make monthly contributions to the podcast, through a crowd-funding platform called Patreon.

It’s that support that makes this podcast possible. Seriously, we could not be doing this show without you. 

So to thank you, our patrons, for your generosity, I’d like to hang out with you and get to know you a little better. So I’m hoping you’ll join me for Out There’s birthday happy hour.

It’ll be on March 9th at 5 p.m. Pacific Time / 8 p.m. Eastern. If you’re already a patron, there’s nothing more you need to do. Just keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation.

If you’re not yet a patron, you can become one by going to patreon.com/outtherepodcast. As I mentioned, Patreon is a crowd-funding platform for creative endeavors. It lets you make monthly contributions to projects you care about. Like this podcast. You pick the amount to give, and they take care of the rest. Again, just go to patreon.com/outtherepodcast to sign up. Or just click the link in the episode description.

Make sure you sign up by March 4th so I can send you an invitation to the happy hour!

Speaking of patrons, I’d like to give a big thank you to Doug Frick, Phil Timm, Tara Joslin, and Deb and Vince Garcia, for their ongoing financial support of Out There. I truly mean it when I say we couldn’t produce this podcast without you.

(sound of light wind starts)

WILLOW: OK, so I am opening up PeakVisor…

WILLOW: Peak Visor is an app that helps you make the most of your adventures in the mountains.

They are one of our sponsors for this season, and as I mentioned at the top of the episode, I recently used PeakVisor when I was on a ski trip in Colorado. 

I was out on a nordic trail, and I had a gorgeous view of some of the tallest mountains in the lower 48. But I wasn’t sure which mountain was which.

When I opened up the PeakVisor app, it showed me a panoramic picture of everything I was looking at. And each mountain was labeled.

(sound of strong wind blowing)

WILLOW: So, Bald Eagle Mountain. 11,896 feet. Sugarloaf Mountain — eleven three….

(wind sounds stop)

WILLOW: If you’d like your own personal mountain guide, check out PeakVisor in the app store.

(Out There theme music begins to play)

If you’re new to Out There, check out the Best of Out There playlist. This is a collection of some of our favorite episodes of all time — and it’s a great introduction to the range of stories we do on the show. You can find Best of Out There on Spotify, and at our website outtherepodcast.com.

Today’s story was written, produced, and sound designed by Sarah Dealy. It was edited by me, Willow Belden. Out There’s advertising manager is Jessica Taylor. Our audience growth director is Sheeba Joseph. Cara Schaefer is our print content coordinator. Our ambassadors are Tiffany Duong, Ashley White, and Stacia Bennet. And our theme music was written by Jared Arnold. 

Have a beautiful day, and we’ll see you in two weeks.

(theme music ends on a last whistling note)

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