#DefendersofFun: Gale Straub, She Explores Founder, Podcast Creator

#DefendersofFun is a look into the adventurous lives of outdoor advocates who are working to better the outdoor community and protect the wild places we have fun in. Their story, their own words. Share your outdoor story on Instagram @DefendersofFun #DefendersofFun.


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“I’m Gale Straub and I live in New Hampshire and I run She Explores, a podcast and lifestyle website for creative women who enjoy spending time outside.

Right now, my favorite aspect of She Explores is working on the podcast. It’s a lot of fun to create a story in audio form, and the best part is receiving voice memos from listeners and incorporating their points of view. I’m learning all the time and (hopefully) improving my audio editing skills.

I had the idea of a podcast in the back of my head for a while. I love listening to them—Reply All; Death, Sex, and Money; Dirtbag Diaries. I was intimidated by the idea of starting a podcast, but I did the research and found that I wouldn’t need too much equipment and the learning curve was steep but relatively quick. The biggest hurdle was recording and hearing my own voice. It turned out that fear was ungrounded.

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I’m embarrassed to say this, but the biggest unforeseen challenge of She Explores has been maintaining my own creative practice while curating and editing those of others. Lately, I’ve found myself a bit tapped and I need to gently remind myself that it’s okay to rest for a while. I’ve found the best way to draw the line between work and play is to turn everything off that plugs in. I really enjoy spending time at my parent’s cabin in Maine because there isn’t any cell pone service or Wi-Fi. I’ll be sad when it inevitably gets there!

Since moving back to New England, my boyfriend, Jon, and I spend a lot of time with our respective families. We lived on the road in a Sprinter van for about a year and both found that we missed lake time with family above all. I also really love playing cards. Jon and I keep an ongoing tally of cribbage games (I think I’m up by about 15 all the time) and we’ll play trump games with anyone who will sit down to a table with us: hearts, spades, high/low/jack, you name it.

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My mom always says my spirit animal is a mountain goat, which makes me laugh because they’re visually awkward but are hardy and can balance on pretty much anything. I ran track and cross country growing up and that endurance translates well to the trail. I’ve never been coordinated, but there is so much satisfaction in summiting a mountain. Coming from a rural area, there wasn’t a lot in the way of entertainment, but I grew to love the feeling of lacing up my boots at the trail head.

I just camped alone for the first time and I made so many mistakes. Because I knew I was only about four miles from the trailhead, I was laxer than I would have been on a longer backpacking trip. First, I forgot my snacks and breakfast in my car. I had dinner and plenty of water so I knew I wasn’t in danger, but I felt foolish and hungry by the end. Second, I didn’t know it was going to rain and I didn’t have a rain jacket. Luckily I had a thick trash bag to line my pack and my boots were grippy on the rocky terrain. On the plus side, I learned a lot about slowing down and giving myself time to prepare. Little good comes out of anxious, hurried behavior.

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Last September, I backpacked the Lost Coast of California with five friends. A defining moment for me was waking up the fourth day, just a mile from the end of the trail and not wanting it to end. I was excited for real food and cellphone service, but I knew I could keep going. It was an amazing feeling to carry my home on my back and look down the coast as far as I could see and know I would walk it all.

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I think the modern outdoorswoman is kind and generous. She listens and enjoys taking on new challenges even if she’s not going to be perfect. I think she knows that the key to a good life is staying open to beauty and acknowledging the small accomplishments in herself and others. I aspire to embody these characteristics, and I hope to succeed in doing when I can.”

–As told to Dirtbag Darling

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