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It’s a good place to become who you’re trying to be instead of being who the world is trying to turn you, is trying to make you.


Out Here tells the stories of people who've dared to live life differently.

Focused on the end-of-the-road community of McCarthy, Alaska, it explores off-the-grid living, raising children in the wilderness, bucking the 9-to-5 and living off the land. It's easy to romanticize, but what's it really like living at the end of a 60-mile dirt road in Alaska surrounded by the country's largest national park?

Here you'll find grizzly bears, a rugged landscape, a community of individuals, self-reliance and self-governance. Here you'll learn about the boundaries of freedom and what happens when a community of transplants tries to make a go of it living in the woods. You'll hear stories of tragedy, triumph and a whole lot of floundering. And you'll hear about my own journey to make a life out here.

The podcast comes from my own experiences and those of 18 residents of the McCarthy area. You can learn more about the project and about me here

Music from Galen Huckins and Blue Dot Sessions / Slate Tracker, Ultima Thule, The Kennicott, ZigZag Heart / Episode artwork from Ian Gyori / Financial assistance from the Duffy Fund and the University of Missouri / Guidance and support from Scott Swafford, Sara Shahriari and Dr. Cristina Mislan / Featured in this episode: Tony Tengs, Ali Towers, Martin Morrison, Greg Fensterman, Stephens Harper, Tamara Harper and John Adams





Your kids are out there exposed to whatever nature can hurl at them, and you have to be okay with that as a mother. We’ve taught them how to deal with it. We’ve taught them how to stop and build a fire or whatever it is they need to do. We’ve taught them to be prepared.


In 2000, Laurie Rowland and her husband Keith uprooted their family of five from Fairbanks and moved to the end of the road. They wanted their kids to grow up in a place where they would learn how to do things for themselves.

"We wanted our kids to be not just educated but competent," Laurie said.

Life in the wilderness with young kids wasn't always easy. Sometimes they did really dangerous things. Sometimes they got hurt. And they had to be intentional about their relationships because there weren't many other kids to run off and play with.

"You have to realize these are my people. I've got to make whatever relationship work with them. It has to be right," Laurie said. "Otherwise, I'm kind of by myself."

The solitude scares many, but the intimacy might be more intimidating. Living through a winter with another person in a tiny cabin is no small feat. What happens when you add kids to the mix?

On this episode of Out Here, hear the benefits and challenges of living in a place where loneliness and aloneness aren't the same things.

Hear the secret to surviving winter after winter in an 11 x 13-foot cabin.

And hear what it's like raising a family in a place with no school, no hospital and a whole lot of wilderness.

Music from Galen Huckins and Blue Dot Sessions  / Ultima Thule, Lead In, Bell Solo, Nuthatch, Deathly Recitation, Villager, Tidal Foam, Colrain, Flagger, The Kennicott / Also from Podington Bear / Boardwalk / Episode artwork from Ian Gyori / Financial assistance from the Duffy Fund and the University of Missouri / Guidance and support from Scott Swafford, Sara Shahriari and Dr. Cristina Mislan / Featured in this episode: Gary Green, Martin Morrison, John Adams, Mark Vail, Greg Runyan, Kristin Link, Greg Fensterman, Malcolm Vance, Karla Freivalds, Tamara Harper, Stephens Harper, Scott Anthony, Ali Towers, David Rowland, Laurie Rowland and Carole Morrison