Wild Ideas Worth Living Presented by REI

REI presents Wild Ideas Worth Living, a podcast that shares stories of adventure and beyond. On each show, host and adventure journalist Shelby Stanger interviews world-class explorers, scientists, athletes, adventurers, and entrepreneurs about how they’ve taken their own wild ideas and made them a reality, so you can too. From people who have climbed the tallest peaks, to people who have started new businesses, broken records, surfed giant waves, sailed across the Pacific, travelled to every country in the world, or just stood up for something they believed in, some of the wildest ideas often lead to the most rewarding adventures. Previous guests include Climber Chris Sharma, Surfer Bethany Hamilton, Skier Caroline Gleich, Filmmaker Cyrus Sutton, Runner Dean Karnazes, Sailor Liz Clark, Snowboarder Kelly Clark, Freediver Kimi Werner, Minimalist and Activist Rob Greenfield, Photographer Chris Burkard, Author Chris McDougall, November Project Founder Brogan Graham, fasting expert Alan Goldhamer, Triathlete Brendan Brazier, Paralympian Alana Nichols, Comedian JP Sears, and more.
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Wild Ideas Worth Living Presented by REI




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Jan 16, 2019

At Sea Change Preparatory, a school in Del Mar, San Diego that not only educates junior high and high school students in traditional subjects, but also focuses on mindfulness, physical fitness, teamwork, and goal setting, they begin each day on the beach with a ten minute meditation and a mile-long swim in the open ocean before starting classes. What’s even more impressive, these kids are training to swim the English Channel as a team this summer.

John Allcock, the co-founder and Director of Mindfulness at Sea Change Preparatory, talks about the impact this kind of education is having on these kids’ lives. John isn’t just an educator though, he’s also a Harvard-educated trial lawyer at one of the top firms in San Diego and the author of Forty Things I Wish I’d Told My Kids, a book about his journey learning mindfulness.

Mindfulness has been a hot topic for a while now, but incorporating it into education is still a relatively new idea. John and the folks at Sea Change Prep are making a huge difference in these kids’ lives, so much so that it made me wonder how long it will be until a meditation practice is commonplace in both our kids’ lives and our own lives. 

Jan 9, 2019

Last year was a big year for this podcast, and this year we’re boosting our production even more. We’re diving deeper into stories and exploring not just people, but also about topics and ideas that will help you chase down your own wild adventures.

From mindfulness to saying yes to fear, hacking your health, and changing how we think about the outdoors, fitness, and technology, we’ve already recorded the first few shows. I think you’re going to love it.

This trailer is here to give you a taste of what’s to come. I hope you enjoy it!

Dec 19, 2018

Wild Ideas Worth Living Podcast’s Idea: To interview top athletes, health experts, adventurers, and authors about their wild idea and share them with you.

We are now two years, 97 episodes, and well over a million listens into this podcast. It’s been a wild ride, to say the least. And an incredible one. Thank you for listening and for your support.

It’s been a privilege to interview some of the biggest names in adventure. This year, I’ve enjoyed the theme of exploring how we adventure inside our own heads as much as we adventure outside in the wild. 

We’ve talked about how being outside in nature can help us overcome trauma and become healthier, what it’s like seeing the earth from outer space, the changing tides of consumerism, fighting wildfires, gaining financial independence, ultramarathon trail running, becoming sober, facing failure, representation in the outdoors, breaking records, how to surf giant waves, how to face fear, how to build your life resume, and so much more. 

In the final episode of 2018, I’m sharing some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year from guests and all of you.

Some of the best parts of running this podcast are getting messages about how the show has inspired you to go on an adventure or change your own lifestyle. I hope you enjoy these highlights and I hope you enjoy your holiday. We’d love for you to share with us how this show has benefitted you. 

Click SUBSCRIBE wherever you are listening to this and reading this. We’re taking a brief break to sharpen the saw and produce an even bigger show next year. We’ll be back mid-January, and are excited to share what we have with you. 

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You want to hear a fun recap of some highlights from this year.
  • You love adventuring.
  • You want some inspiration to conquer your goals for next year.
  • You are a Wild Ideas Worth Living listener …or
  • You want to know what the show is about.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Dec 5, 2018

Jesse’s Wild Idea: To encourage people to achieve massive things in their life and focus on what matters most.

Today’s guest eats only fruit until noon. He loves Run-DMC. He wrote the New York Knicks anthem, “Go New York Go,” and he likes to live life out of the box. In his New York Times bestselling book, Living with a Seal, Jesse invited Navy Seal David Goggins to live with him for a month and train him. Years later he wrote Living with Monks, where he lived in a monastery in upstate New York. Both of his books are about learning lessons that others have to teach you, something Jesse is passionate about.

Early in his career, Jesse was a rapper and wrote and performed in the NBA’s Emmy Award-winning “I Love This Game” music campaign. Prior to being a best-selling and hilarious author, he co-founded Marquis Jet, the world's largest private jet card company which he and his partner sold to Berkshire Hathaway/NetJets. Jesse then partnered with Zico coconut water, which he and his partner sold to The Coca-Cola Company.

He is also a serious adventurer, running ultramarathons and launched an event a few years ago called 29,029 that brings “Everesting” to individuals around the country. Today, he’s the owner of the Atlanta Hawks, husband to Spanx founder Sara Blakely, and a father of four kids. His latest online course, called “Build Your Life Resume,” is all about encouraging you to get out there and build a life full of experiences, creating memories, achieving big goals and doing more.

With an infectious energy about him, Jesse has some great insights about how we spend our time, and how we can use this knowledge to live more fully and be more present with those we love. In our conversation, we talk about goal setting, why you have to give in order to get, how to support your partner, why we all need to get real with time, and how to achieve one massive thing every year.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You like living life on your own terms. 
  • You’re want to set and accomplish big goals.
  • You’ve ever thought of writing a book. 
  • You want to experience some amazing things in your life.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Nov 28, 2018

Eric’s Wild Idea: To create a program that helps people optimize performance and alleviate pain. 

As an athlete and human, it’s important to be able to move to the best of your ability. Injuries and pain that have kept me from running, surfing, or other adventuring have always been challenging. 

Today’s guest, Dr. Eric Goodman, has been recommended to me by many guests of this show. As the founder of the movement-based Foundation Training program, Dr. Goodman has helped thousands of athletes and every-day people alleviate pain and increase performance. Some of the people he’s worked with include athletes like surfers Lakey Peterson and Brad Gerlach, the late climber Dean Potter, as well as actors Rob Lowe, Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, and Matthew McConaughey. Both my partner Johnny and I have been using Foundation Training for the last six months to help us alleviate a nagging back injury and IT band pain, and both of us have experienced positive results. 

I wanted to have Dr. Goodman on the show because he has a great story. His wild idea to become a health practitioner and create a program to help people move and feel better is something I think a lot of people can relate to. 

A former water polo player, Dr. Goodman developed back pain that doctors told him he would need surgery to fix while he was in chiropractic school. Instead of going under the knife, he developed a series of exercises that helped him heal and became the origins of Foundation Training. Early in his career, he was also hired to train the U.S. Olympic Men’s Water Polo team, and used his methods to help them the year they took the silver medal. Today, Dr. Goodman has published two books, and there are Foundation Training trainers in over thirty countries around the world. 

Since many of you are getting ready to make New Year’s Resolutions, I wanted to get Dr. Goodman’s  advice on how to avoid injuries and train the right amount. We also dive into why healing emotional pain is as important as healing physical pain, how he got the wild idea to create a new movement practice, and what other methods he uses and thinks you might want to check out. 

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You struggle with injuries or chronic pain.
  • You want to strengthen your body.
  • You are interested in helping others heal.
  • You are curious about movement-based training programs.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Nov 21, 2018

Elizabeth’s Wild Idea: To write about people who adventure for a larger purpose.

There are some writers whose words resonate so well and whose descriptions are so deep, their words hit you to the core and transport you into their world. 

Today’s guest, Elizabeth Weil, has evoked that feeling for me time and again through her work. The award-winning writer often covers the kind of people I love - those who live outside the normal boundaries of society, and pursue their own wild ideas and make them a reality. She has written about everyone from snowboarder Shaun White and skier Mikaela Shiffrin to swimmer Diana Nyad, Senator Kristen Gillibrand and a man named Doba who kayaked across the Atlantic in his seventies. In addition to writing articles for The New York Times Magazine, Outside Magazine, Wired, and more, she has also written a book about her own marriage, and she recently penned the New York Times bestselling book, The Girl Who Smiles Beads. In addition to being a writer, she’s also a mom and a wife. She’s married to one of my other favorite writers (who happens to cover surfing and rock-climbing), Daniel Duane.

In our conversation, Liz and I talk about a few of the subjects she’s covered including Doba, and some other adventurers who have done wild feats without the desire for any recognition. We also talk about why she is attracted to stories about people who live wildly, why they do it, what she has learned from them, and her advice for anyone who wants to make a living as a writer.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You want to be a writer. 
  • You love reading amazing stories.
  • You like stories of adventurers who do wild things just for themselves.
  • You are looking to improve your relationship.
  • You need help balancing your personal and professional life.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Nov 14, 2018

Samin’s Wild Idea: To share the power of food with the world and inspire everyone to get in the kitchen and cook with confidence using salt, fat, acid and heat.


If you have been anywhere on the internet lately, you’ve probably seen something about Netflix’s new series, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. The show follows today’s guest, Samin Nosrat, around the world as she teaches the importance of cooking with each of these four elements. On the show, she travels from Italy to Japan to Mexico and back to Berkeley, California working with internationally known foodies to discover how things like miso, soy sauce, corn tortillas and parmesan cheese are made. The whole series is beautifully documented, and she makes cooking and eating accessible and fun for everyone.


Samin’s cookbook of the same name came out just a year ago, and it quickly became a New York Times bestseller and won a James Beard Award (which is like an Oscar of the food world). She has been cooking since 2000, when she started working in the kitchen at the world-renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California and has been called the next Julia Child by NPR’s All Things Considered.


I actually know Samin from high school where we were on the same cross-country running team. I remember her being very nurturing, making cookies to share and always bringing people together. As the daughter of immigrant parents, food has always been an important part of her life and identity. She didn’t always feel like she fit in, which taught her some important life lessons about failure and self-acceptance. It was a joy to talk to her about her success and her journey. We get into her upbringing, her mother’s cooking and the impact our cross-country coach had on her life. She also talks about how author Michael Pollan became her mentor and the work that went into creating her Netflix series. Plus Samin shares a few tips on how to make your Thanksgiving or holiday meal the best one yet. Listen to this one through to the end.


Listen to this episode if: 

  • You love to cook or want to learn how. 
  • You love to eat and are passionate about food.
  • You are an immigrant or come from an immigrant family.
  • You need some inspiration to be persistent and go after your goals.
  • You want to hear from one joyful storyteller.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Oct 31, 2018

Gabby’s Wild Idea: To continuously learn new ways to optimize health and fitness while helping others be their best selves.

Gabby Reece is a woman of many talents. She is a health and fitness expert, a former professional volleyball player, a best-selling author, a model, a TV host, wife to big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, and a mom. She is also the co-founder of XPT (extreme performance training) and founder of HighX Training.

I have looked up to Gabby since I was young, and have even written a few stories about her throughout my career. It was pretty exciting to interview her at her house in Malibu (they have a slackline over their pool), and this conversation is different than many that you usually hear on this show. Instead of asking Gabby about her one wild idea, I ask her for advice on health, nutrition, training, how to have a great relationship, being a female athlete, being a mom, and so much more. She has a huge passion for what she does and an incredibly intuitive sense about her. It makes her an awesome coach and a great person to ask for advice. Enjoy the show!

Listen to this episode if:

  • You want to train smarter.
  • You want to get motivated.
  • You are trying to eat healthier.
  • You have ever felt insecure.
  • You are trying to raise strong, confident kids.
  • You are looking for a healthy and balanced relationship. 

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Oct 17, 2018

Shannon’s Wild Idea: To work for NASA and spend months aboard the international space station.

Shannon Walker first dreamed of becoming an astronaut in the 1960s. After getting her undergraduate degree in physics and her Masters of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy in Space Physics, she got her start with the Rockwell Space Operations Company at the Johnson Space Center in 1987 as a robotics flight controller for the space shuttle program. In 2004, she was selected to be a part of NASA, and six years later she served as a flight engineer for a long-duration mission aboard the International Space Station. Not only did Shannon need to know how to work a spacecraft, but she had to know how to do it in Russian.

In addition to spending time far above the earth, she has also spent time below sea level as an aquanaut on the NEEMO, an underwater space station. She also loves the outdoors and has seen earth from a rare perspective so I was excited to get her thoughts on how the planet and the environment are changing. 

Shannon and I discussed how she became an astronaut (which I think most people dream about as kids) and she shared her advice for anyone who wants to work at NASA or who wants to go to outer space. We also talked about overcoming rejection, the excitement that comes from actually learning about science, and how there is so much to explore here on earth.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You have ever wanted to go to space.
  • You’re interested in getting a new perspective on our planet.
  • You are focused on achieving a huge, long-term goal and need some inspiration.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Oct 10, 2018

Tate’s Wild Idea: To climb over 13,000 feet up Grand Teton in Wyoming after seeing an image of the mountain in the hallway where he received cancer treatments. To not let his diagnosis affect his sense of humor and positive attitude. 

Today’s guest is a skier, filmmaker, and all around awesome guy who I’ve known for a few years. Tate MacDowell got his start as a filmmaker making ski movies for companies like Teton Gravity Research and Brain Farm. His current company, Death Cookie Entertainment, specializes in editorial action sports films. He’s very present in the outdoor and action sports industry, and I have loved watching his movies. I started following his story more closely the last few years after he shared some vulnerable posts.

In 2008, Tate and his wife moved from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Cardiff, California and a few years later had a son, Wilson. Just two years ago, Tate was diagnosed with cancer, which has now advanced as he is going through stage IV metastatic rectal cancer. While undergoing treatments, he got the wild idea to climb Grand Teton after seeing a picture of the mountain in the hallway where he was getting cancer treatments. His journey to the top has been an emotional ride, and one that he shares in detail in our conversation.

We talk openly about his journey with cancer, being a dad and husband, his new hobby painting with watercolors, and why we shouldn’t waste any time in going after our dreams. His honesty in this challenging time is astounding, and I love his message and his story.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You or someone you know has had cancer.
  • You’ve ever dreamed of going to the Grand Tetons.
  • You aren’t one to let some obstacles stop you from achieving your goals. 
  • You are in need of some inspiration to go out and make your dreams reality.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Sep 26, 2018

Rue’s Wild Idea: To start a movement that celebrates diversity, and helps gets more people outside and connected in nature.

Rue Mapp is a true force of nature. The activist, nature-lover, and mom of three founded Outdoor Afro as a blog in 2009 and has since grown it to become the nation’s leading nonprofit network that encourages African-American leadership in nature. With nearly 80 leaders in 30 states around the country, the organization has connected thousands of people to outdoor experiences, changing the conversation around who plays outside. Diversity in the outdoors is a hot topic these days, especially at the Outdoor Retailer show where we did this interview. Rue’s voice is a valued leader in the conversation.

Outdoor Afro started as something small and personal to Rue, but has grown and become incredibly influential in the outdoor arena. Rue herself has been invited to the White House to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference and was part of a think tank for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. In 2014, she was appointed to the California State Parks Commission by California Governor Jerry Brown, and her work has been featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal and NPR, to Sunset and Ebony Magazines. 

Rue’s ability to connect and empower communities from across all cultures is inspiring and has made her a sought-after speaker. We talk about diversity in the outdoors and who is doing it well (you might be surprised), how nature doesn’t discriminate, and the power of joy, humor, and relationships in your life.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You are trying to create or grow a community.
  • You want to see more diversity in the outdoors.
  • You want to know which companies are showcasing diversity well.
  • You are looking for inspiration to do something meaningful with your life.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Sep 19, 2018

Pete’s Wild Idea: To surf on the Big Wave World Tour, and create a life and career around surfing.

You may have seen today’s guest gliding down a giant wave at Mavericks, or heard his voice behind the microphone as the commentator for the World Surf League. The long-time Quiksilver athlete, WSL commentator, owner of his family surf shop in Santa Cruz, husband and dad, Peter “Pete” Mel has a lot of roles he balances. We talk about how the man with one of the longest and most robust surfing careers does it all. We also chat about the complexities of big wave surfing, how he conquers fear, his sobriety, parenting advice, his take on failure, why he’s so into Eckhart Tolle, and so much more.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You’ve ever wondered how people surf six-story tall waves.
  • You want to ask better questions.
  • You love surfing.
  • You are on a journey to find a better work-life balance.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Sep 5, 2018

Courtney’s Wild Idea: To battle her autoimmune diagnosis by embracing minimalism, being less busy, having more JOMO, and sharing her journey and tips with the world.

If you have social media or are connected to our current tech-savvy world, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced some FOMO (fear of missing out). Or maybe you’ve experienced a sense of feeling overwhelmed, being too busy, or had this deep desire to simplify your life and be happy with where you are and what you have right now? 

If those questions spark something inside you, you will love today’s guest. After years in a fast-paced career as an ad executive, Courtney Carver was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that forced her to rethink her whole life. Stress caused major flare-ups for her, so she went about eliminating as many sources of stress as she could. This led to a passion for minimalism, the creation of Project 333, and her book Soulful Simplicity, which has become a huge hit and really touched me when I read it.

I don’t talk about it much, but in the last few years I’ve struggled with an autoimmune condition Vitiligo that only affects me aesthetically. It seems to also be exacerbated by stress, and I’ve tried a lot of remedies to combat it. You can hear me talk a bit more about it in this episode, and you’ll also hear about how Courtney’s book and her message of living with less can give you so much more. I loved talking to her about how to minimize your life, how to be less busy, her love of hiking, and how to embrace JOMO (the joy of missing out) instead of suffering from FOMO.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You’ve ever suffered from FOMO and you want more JOMO.
  • You want to minimize your life.
  • You dislike the busy-ness epidemic.
  • You have an autoimmune disease.
  • You feel stressed out by technology and social media.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Aug 29, 2018

Alex’s Wild Idea: To climb El Capitan without ropes and tackle some of the world’s most challenging routes, setting records, inspiring others, and giving back through his foundation.

*Editors Note: Do not try this at home.

Alex Honnold is the most exciting and recognized climber in the world, in addition to being one of the best climbers ever. Last year, Alex completed the most terrifying, challenging climbing feats to date. He climbed 3,000 feet up El Capitan in Yosemite without ropes. (Yes, if he fell at any point he could have died). The film he made with National Geographic about his journey, and the training and everything else leading up to it will hit theaters nationwide in just a few weeks. 

For years, Alex has lived the life that many athletes dream of -- living out of his van, traveling around, and climbing some of the toughest and most stunning routes. Along the way, he set plenty of records, but remains humble about his talents. He strives to live his own terms to the fullest, and encourage others to do the same. He also is incredibly generous and gives away a third of his income to through his foundation. 

My conversation with Alex goes from his amazing free solo ascent of El Cap to his perspectives on life and death, his unique mindset on conquering huge goals, what he does on his vacations, how he met his girlfriend, and why being in danger can make for having a better perspective on the present moment.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You’re a climber.
  • You have ever thought about free soloing.
  • You want to achieve a huge goal and don’t know where to start.
  • You think about life and/or death.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

Aug 22, 2018

Jamie’s Wild Idea: To overcome asthma and become a world-champion paddleboarder and big wave surfer. To educate himself and the world about sustainable aquaculture practices.

Today’s guest exemplifies what it means to make your wild idea a reality. Jamie Mitchell is one of the best athletes in the world and a ten-time winner of the Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race, one of the most challenging, prestigious races in the world where competitors paddle 32 miles between the Hawaiian Islands.

Jamie was passionate about a sport, that at the time he started, wasn’t particularly popular, but he pursued it and made a great career out of it. He isn’t paddleboarding much anymore, but he is on the Big Wave Tour where he has taken the podium many times. If he wins the Big Wave Tour, he’ll be the first person ever to win both this title and the paddleboarding title. 

In addition to his amazing career, we talk about Jamie’s struggle with asthma as a kid, and how it actually got him into water sports in the first place and eventually even saved his life. We also talk about the often-controversial aquaculture practices that he is working to learn more about, and how he hopes to educate others. To do this, he recently partnered with Verlasso, a sustainable fish-farming company based in Chile, and he recently made a film with previous guest Eric Wolfinger about his participation with them. We also talk about how much he trains today and tips to living wildly and achieving any goal.

Listen to this episode if: 

  • You love the ocean.
  • You like paddleboarding and/or surfing, especially bigger waves.
  • You love a good Aussie accent (I do).
  • You want to hear from one of the best athletes on the planet.

For full show notes, including guest links and books mentioned during the episode, visit:

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