Out There is not your typical podcast focused on nature or the Outdoors enthusiast. It digs deep into social issues and how they’re reflected on the Outdoors and the people who enjoy them. It’s a refreshing look into a subject which tends to be overdone by other shows.
When I discovered the podcast my first thoughts on the host, Willow Belden, were “This sounds almost like an NPR show.” Then I did some research and discovered Willow was an NPR host and reporter, which really shows, and is a bonus.
She is well-spoken, clear, and keeps the episodes moving, but doesn’t make them sound rushed or leave you wanting more. It’s also very apparent Willow does her research into each topic and guest, which makes for a more thorough experience.
Each episode has it’s own theme, and Willow doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to subject matter. She likes to bring the major issues facing society as a whole and discuss how they impact, effect, and are changing in regards to the Outdoors.
It’s an interesting concept to say the least, and very unique. I’ve seen podcasts that delve into issues facing the Outdoors (i.e. federal funding, mountain bikers vs hikers, etc.), but never one that discusses race, equality, or the morality of leaving a fellow climber to die on the trek up Mt. Everest. Yeah, it goes deep.
Willow is adept at telling a story, whether it be triumphant or a struggle. The episodes weave her commentary, with the guest’s audio, beautifully, and it plays more as a narrative than a sit down, one-on-one interview. It’s not all her, however, as she points out on her website.
Willow’s style, cadence, and empathy come through on each episode, but it doesn’t overwhelm the guest or the content. At once a week, and anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes for each episode, it’s a nice break from the monotony of typical Outdoors podcasts.
This is also one of the few podcasts which comes with a blog, and it’s a legitimate, well done blog. The whole site is actually really nice and easy to navigate, but again, that’s just a bonus.
I would highly recommend this podcast for any Outdoors lovers, either casual or lifers. It really is a unique listen, and very well put together.
I highly recommend the Moral Compass, The Outsider, and When a Thru-Hike Falls Through episodes. Tremendous stories that really made me think and reconsider somethings.