Life’s Tough, Explorers Are TOUGHER!

Richard Wiese

“Exploring is an innate part of being human.” Richard Wiese, spends 30 minutes every week with some of the world’s most compelling adventurers, explorers, and socio-environmental advocates, listening to their distinct adventures, unique discoveries, projects & goals, while discovering their multitude of challenges, surprises, triumphs and set-backs they encounter along the way. Join Richard as he pulls back the curtain on what it’s like to travel around the world and beyond; explore some of the most exotic and often dangerous places; and uncover what makes people, places and our planet so special.

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Life’s Tough, but JR Harris is TOUGHER… Learn How This Man from Queens Became a Wilderness Trekker!
Aug 5 2021
Life’s Tough, but JR Harris is TOUGHER… Learn How This Man from Queens Became a Wilderness Trekker!
When asked what inspired him to get started as a solo backpacker over fifty years ago, JR Harris will tell you it was Richard Burton… and the movie “Alexander the Great.” He was sixteen years old and recalled that Socrates asked Burton’s character if he wanted a short, exciting life or a long, dull one. Thinking about this later that night, he decided he would choose a short, exciting life for himself.  Listen as he shares with the host of the Explorers podcast, Richard Wiese, and tells us of his pursuit of “Mountain Man” status!  As he made some decisions about the kind of future he wanted, his parents got him involved in the Boy Scouts.  He resisted at first but found himself camping in the Catskills the following summer. He learned outdoor survival skills and there, and it afforded him an opportunity to go off on his own, camping all by himself in the woods… and he loved it!  According to Harris, it changed him… he was a different kid after that.  He loved solitary hiking and camping and the excitement of feeling like he was the only person on the planet. Yes, he found himself in scary situations from time to time but accepted it as part of living that exciting life he yearned for!  As an African-American, he realized that he was the only person of color on the trails and never saw anyone that looked like him in the wilderness.  He has raised his children with the same philosophy with which his parents raised him. They learned that there are good and bad people that come from all cultures and races.    JR has a gift for making people feel at ease and comfortable in open conversations about diversity.  He notes that we are more similar than different at the end of the day and that everyone wants the same things out of life.  There’s a lot of common ground, and the more exposure you get to other people and cultures, the easier it is to get along.  JR Harris has written a book titled Way Out There – Adventures of a Wilderness Trekker.  To get your signed copy and to learn more about his adventures, visit his website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but JR Harris is TOUGHER… Learn How This Man from Queens Became a Wilderness Trekker!
Aug 5 2021
Life’s Tough, but JR Harris is TOUGHER… Learn How This Man from Queens Became a Wilderness Trekker!
When asked what inspired him to get started as a solo backpacker over fifty years ago, JR Harris will tell you it was Richard Burton… and the movie “Alexander the Great.” He was sixteen years old and recalled that Socrates asked Burton’s character if he wanted a short, exciting life or a long, dull one. Thinking about this later that night, he decided he would choose a short, exciting life for himself.  Listen as he shares with the host of the Explorers podcast, Richard Wiese, and tells us of his pursuit of “Mountain Man” status!  As he made some decisions about the kind of future he wanted, his parents got him involved in the Boy Scouts.  He resisted at first but found himself camping in the Catskills the following summer. He learned outdoor survival skills and there, and it afforded him an opportunity to go off on his own, camping all by himself in the woods… and he loved it!  According to Harris, it changed him… he was a different kid after that.  He loved solitary hiking and camping and the excitement of feeling like he was the only person on the planet. Yes, he found himself in scary situations from time to time but accepted it as part of living that exciting life he yearned for!  As an African-American, he realized that he was the only person of color on the trails and never saw anyone that looked like him in the wilderness.  He has raised his children with the same philosophy with which his parents raised him. They learned that there are good and bad people that come from all cultures and races.    JR has a gift for making people feel at ease and comfortable in open conversations about diversity.  He notes that we are more similar than different at the end of the day and that everyone wants the same things out of life.  There’s a lot of common ground, and the more exposure you get to other people and cultures, the easier it is to get along.  JR Harris has written a book titled Way Out There – Adventures of a Wilderness Trekker.  To get your signed copy and to learn more about his adventures, visit his website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Geoff Green is TOUGHER… Learn How This Explorer Uses Trips to the Polar Region to Teach About Environmental Science
Aug 5 2021
Life’s Tough, but Geoff Green is TOUGHER… Learn How This Explorer Uses Trips to the Polar Region to Teach About Environmental Science
He’s led over 120 expeditions to the polar regions. Many of these trips have been in the company of students, educators, artists, and leaders. While others are planning family holidays, Geoff Green prepares to take sixty teenagers to Antarctica with the Students on Ice Program. He took some time to talk with the host of our Explorers podcast, Richard Wiese, and share some of what he’s learned.  He’s got “stuff” in warehouses all over the place—heavy-duty clothes and equipment which can be pressed into service on short notice.  Geoff tells us that the way to keep kids focused on learning about the environment is to keep them busy physically and mentally with things about which they’re passionate.  What does Geoff accomplish during these expeditions? Students learn to connect with themselves, each other, and nature… all on the same trip.  He remarks that these journeys have a habit of breaking people down and allowing the real person to come out.    The future guardianship of the earth comes down to today's youth, and they are leading the charge to help with environmental causes. Focusing on the next generation of environmental enthusiasts is critical as we move from discovery to solutions in preserving our planet.  We know that experiential education works, but how can we make it available to all students? Most students get scholarships to participate in the program, but outreach towards awareness is a challenge.  Now that we have youth delegations participating in environmental summits, we can look forward to increasing enrollment in essential programs such as these.  To learn more about Geoff Green and his exciting career as a polar explorer and educator, visit his website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Leela Hazzah is TOUGHER… This Champion Defender of Wildlife Reveals Her Winning Strategy to Save Lions
Jul 29 2021
Life’s Tough, but Leela Hazzah is TOUGHER… This Champion Defender of Wildlife Reveals Her Winning Strategy to Save Lions
From her earliest recollection, Leela Hazzah has loved animals of all types. Still, she has been wildly infatuated with lions and elephants.  She was raised in Egypt, where Barbary Lions lived before they became extinct. Leela took some time to sit with the host of the Explorers podcast, Richard Wiese and shared some insights into wildlife conservation.  After working in conservation for over twenty years, Leela has discovered that her most significant learning was from spending time living in the Maasai community. In the community, she has been recruiting traditional Maasai warriors to help with her efforts.  As Executive Director of the Lion Guardian Program, Leela has learned Swahili and worked with the Maasai warriors.   She tells us that the Maasai, the environment, and the lions all interact, and it’s a matter of finding and knowing where the balance lies.  She compares the adaptive behavior of the lions with the shifting paradigms for the Maasai.  The lions are braver than they were when they were persecuted.  On the other hand, women used to be attracted to a man who had killed a lion.  Now, women are more attracted to a man who has a job. The warriors want to be involved with the lion project, and Leela trains them in leadership and develops the idea of running towards a challenge.  As she works with partners throughout the Serengeti, she explains that we must embrace diversity if we want to get things done. We don’t have time for any other option.   To learn more about Leela Hazzah and her work with the Lion Guardian Program, visit their website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Sean Meagher, Super Yacht Captain Explains How Yachts Help the Environment
Jul 29 2021
Sean Meagher, Super Yacht Captain Explains How Yachts Help the Environment
When we think of yachts, most of us think of the “idle rich” spending days in the sun and surf without care.  When Super Yacht Captain Sean Meagher sat down with Richard Wiese, the host of the Explorers podcast, he revealed some surprises that yacht technology provides to the rest of the world, specifically how they help the environment.  Captain Sean Meagher wants you to know that the one thing all Super Yacht designers have in common is that they are innovative and forward-thinking. Yachts must be built to a stringent code, and the areas that they sail in often have environmentally fragile ecosystems. In fact, although he’s heard many definitions of Super Yachts, he feels that they exhibit extraordinary style, technology, and design. Many of these owners will make their yachts available to help in the event of natural disasters,  When it comes to Super Yacht owners, he notes that many of them are self-made, and they share an incredible work ethic and thirst for knowledge. So much of yacht technology trickles down to everyday life. For instance, we are making great strides in the science of wastewater management.  All wastewater released into the ocean must be the quality of drinking water. Super Yachts will have a wastewater processing plant on board to make this happen!  Captain Meagher got his captain's license when he was eighteen years old. He tells of trips he’s been on and different ships he’s had the opportunity to captain. One thing that Sean says about explorers is that explorers have to push boundaries. He explains that this is how we no longer live in caves and how we went to the moon.  To learn more about Captain Sean Meagher and his exciting career as a Super Yacht Captain and explorer, visit his LinkedIn Page. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Brandi DiCarli is TOUGHER… This Innovator is Making a Difference in the Planet’s Food Production!
Jul 22 2021
Life’s Tough, but Brandi DiCarli is TOUGHER… This Innovator is Making a Difference in the Planet’s Food Production!
She used to volunteer at a food bank. Today, she’s expanded that role and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Farm From a Box.  This innovative company provides parts of the world with everything they need to grow the food they need. The host of our Explorers podcast, Richard Wiese, interviewed Brandi DiCarli about the project and her views on world hunger.  What followed is an exciting look into what’s possible for our planet.  Brandi DiCarli and her Co-Founder Scott Thompson saw food access throughout the world as a problem for which they had a solution. What resulted was a new idea with no preconceived rules.  They offer shipping containers full of plants and agricultural technology. Each container is stocked for its growing environment and is rapidly adaptable to the area.  These “farms” are designed pre-installed with all the necessities and are locked and loaded. They operate independently of grid access and provide everything from a solar pump and drip irrigation to cold storage.  In addition to being tailored to specific growing environments, Farm From a Box trains the local population to use their agricultural technology and grow crops.  Partnerships are developed all over the world to work with Brandi and Scott’s organization. By forming these partnerships, they can overcome language barriers and foster community building by building teams.  The shipping container “farms” come in two models.  You can use a 20-foot shipping container, which represents 2-4 acres of food production. Or, you can use a 40-foot shipping container, which will yield 10 acres of food.   To learn more about Brandi DiCarli and her work at Farm From a Box, visit their website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Richard Garriott is TOUGHER… This Explorer Reveals What’s Next in the World of Exploration
Jul 22 2021
Life’s Tough, but Richard Garriott is TOUGHER… This Explorer Reveals What’s Next in the World of Exploration
You might say exploration runs in the family.  Richard Garriott, astronaut, and pioneer of private space flight is the son of astronaut Owen Garriott.  When he spoke in an interview with Richard Wiese, the host of the Explorers podcast, they discussed the fact that when it comes to exploration, paradigms have changed.  We’ve exceeded previous boundaries, and yet there is still so much more to learn about.  In addition to being an astronaut, video game developer, and President of the Explorer’s Club, Richard is a record holder. He is the first man to fly in space and go to the bottom of the ocean. He is the first person to travel and explore from the North to South Poles and space and the sea.    When asked what exploring means to him, Garriott describes his exploring as getting into places of awe and wonder… mystical, magical, and inspiring. He remarks that right here on planet earth, there are vast areas yet to explore. The future of humans will eventually be as multi-planetary beings, according to him.  A big fan of science communication, he is interested in the necessary development of diversity in exploration.  Richard notes that in most exploration, the people doing the hard work and most of the discovery are the indigenous people, and not those getting credit for the work.  His advice is to look to the younger generation to address challenges to the planet. He tells us to remember that there are great, positive examples of people working to solve problems great and small throughout our world.  To learn more about Richard Garriott and his exciting career as an astronaut and explorer, visit his website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Rachel Graham is TOUGHER… This Shark Expert Explains Her Work in Preservation of Shark Species
Jul 15 2021
Life’s Tough, but Rachel Graham is TOUGHER… This Shark Expert Explains Her Work in Preservation of Shark Species
Dr. Rachel Graham is practiced in the art of connecting with people. She has a love of sharks and a passion for the preservation of sea life that transcends any fear she might feel.  In fact, she’s always had a love of maligned animals. And, when she sat down to speak with the host of the Explorers podcast, Richard Wiese, she talked about her vision of preservation and the team she’s put together to make it happen!  Raised in Tunisia, she had the opportunity to camp with her family in the Serengeti and to observe the wonders of nature. Her parents were perpetually curious and supported her love of animals… even snakes! Educated at Oxford, she dove into science in the hope of making a difference.  She notes that science is frequently done within a vacuum, just to produce papers or statistics.  Dr. Graham points out the gap between researchers on the frontlines and policymakers that prevents progress from being made in many cases.  It should be noted that kids today are more disassociated from the world around them than ever and don’t experience the melding of different cultures.  In addition to English, Rachel speaks French and Arabic, which helps her communicate with her teams.  This fascinating interview can shed some light on the behavioral aspect of sharks, as you learn about her aha moments and her organization, MarAlliance. The group, led by Dr. Graham, works towards the education, conservation, and preservation of sharks and other sea animals.  To learn more about Rachel Graham and her work as a shark expert, visit the MarAlliance website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Luca Parmitano is TOUGHER… This Italian Astronaut Shares the Adventure of His Journey!
Jul 15 2021
Life’s Tough, but Luca Parmitano is TOUGHER… This Italian Astronaut Shares the Adventure of His Journey!
Luca Parmitano has the distinction of being the first Italian astronaut to walk in space.  On his second spacewalk, he nearly drowned when his helmet filled with water.  During the Explorers podcast, he talks with host Richard Wiese about the thrill of the spacewalk and what he’s learned about what’s important.  Luca had a wonderful childhood in Catania, Sicily, and didn’t realize that this place was special.  It’s a vacation destination for people around the world.  His parent were both teachers. The first recollections he has of interest in space was through television and stories about the space shuttles.  Luca said he wanted to be an astronaut from an early age, but he didn’t grasp the full meaning of that until he was older.   He was intentional in his career path, trying out for the Italian Airforce Academy.  Competition for a place as a cadet there is steep… 80 cadets accepted from 8000 applications.  He was pleased to be accepted.   He knew he’d have to become a test pilot to make the progression to astronaut, so that was his next goal.  As a test pilot, he was the youngest in his squadron and didn’t think he had a shot at being selected for the European Space Agency (ESA). His squadron commander encouraged him to apply, noting that he would not be chosen without submitting an application. Three days before the public announcement, he got word he had been accepted and was overjoyed.  When it comes to setting records, he tells us that almost everyone in the program would rather talk about ideas and possibilities rather than what they’ve done in the past. He shares that his belief that it’s about the next guy and what he will accomplish, and that’s where we should put our emphasis.  Hear the incredible story about his problems during his second spacewalk that almost cost him his life!  His advice to new cadets – You can only solve one thing at a time – Focus on the solution and not on the problem.  To learn more about Luca Parmitano and his exciting career as an astronaut, visit the ESA website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Wade Davis is TOUGHER… This Cultural Anthropologist Talks About His Life as a Storyteller
Jul 8 2021
Life’s Tough, but Wade Davis is TOUGHER… This Cultural Anthropologist Talks About His Life as a Storyteller
Although he certainly has a way with words, as evidenced by his success as a writer, it will surprise most people to know that he never thought of himself as a writer.  As the author of 23 books, and countless articles, Wade Davis sits down with host Richard Wiese on the Explorers podcast to tell us about where he came from and what he’s passionate about.  Wade Davis grew up in Canada, and that’s where he lives today. He made many alternative choices that others might not have but felt he didn’t get much direction from his parents when he was young.  Later in life, on the other hand, his dad told him that there’s good and evil and that he needed to take his side and get on with it.  That’s pretty sage advice.  In the discussion about intentions, Wade tells us that you must own your choices to become the architect of your own life!  He considers his role as an “elder,” encouraging us to appreciate the younger people coming behind us. They are essential and should be acknowledged, according to Wade.   The empathy and love for people he brings to his work have played a huge part in his success. Interestingly enough, he reminds us that a lot of talent comes from hard work.  To learn more about Wade Davis and his work as a cultural anthropologist and writer, visit his website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER!! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Austin Gallagher is TOUGHER… This Marine Biologist is known as the “Tiger Shark King!”
Jul 8 2021
Life’s Tough, but Austin Gallagher is TOUGHER… This Marine Biologist is known as the “Tiger Shark King!”
Suppose you’re a fan of “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. In that case, you’re likely to be familiar with shark expert Dr. Austin Gallagher. Austin spent some time with our podcast host, Richard Wiese, for our Explorers are Tougher Podcast. They talked about ocean conservation, and we learned that sharks could be so much more than the subject of marine studies.  They can actually be partners and collaborators to help us gain new scientific insights into the oceanic world.  Dr. Gallagher has always had a keen interest in marine biology, even from a young age.  He credits his parents for keeping him supplied with books to feed his quest for knowledge. He became intrigued by the huge animals living under the water, and so began his life-long enthusiasm for marine life. A pivotal point came when he was twelve years old and took a marine biology field trip to the Florida Keys and had the opportunity to swim with sharks.  One of the interesting points that Austin makes during this interview is the fact that although wild animals, as a rule, are unpredictable, sharks are relatively predictable. You must, however, meet them on their terms, not ours. He shares insight into their hunting logic and offers suggestions for deterring a shark attack.  When asked about shark attacks, Austin points out that conservation efforts for white sharks have gone exceptionally well.  As shark populations grow and thrive and human beachgoers increase, there will inevitably be more interactions.  To learn more about this marine biologist and shark expert, visit his website, or watch him on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! !At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Alex More is TOUGHER… This Climatologist Explains the Truth About the Worst Year to Be a Human
Jul 1 2021
Life’s Tough, but Alex More is TOUGHER… This Climatologist Explains the Truth About the Worst Year to Be a Human
When he sat down with host Richard Wiese to record a podcast session for our Explorers are Tougher Podcast, Alex More talked about his life as an academic, pursuing the American Dream, and working as a researcher in the field of climatology.  He’s taken an intense look at the relationship between the state of the environment and virology and pandemic health crises.    Dr. More grew up in Italy and Greece, where he learned to dive for the first time at three.  When he was seventeen and pondered his future in a depressed economy, he struck out for America.    While he was working at Harvard, Alex taught ten different courses. Currently, he holds two positions at Long Island University in New York; He is Assistant Professor of Environmental Health and Director of the Honors College there. His work involves study the relationship between our climate and world pandemics.  He explains that while research is essential, having the ability to communicate ideas to the general public is key to measuring the research's effectiveness.  He feels his strong sense of empathy helps him to get his thoughts and research out there to the people.  The effectiveness of researchers is generally measured by the number of people who view and cite the research.  Alex discusses his work and draws parallels between times of environmental change and times of pandemic illness.  He discusses the environment during the Black Plague, the Spanish Flu, and during our latest COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s interesting to note these examples and consider the possibilities of future research on this topic.  To learn more about this climatologist, visit his website, or watch him on the To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! !At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Alan Stern is TOUGHER… This Planetary Scientist Realized His Boyhood Dream!
Jul 1 2021
Life’s Tough, but Alan Stern is TOUGHER… This Planetary Scientist Realized His Boyhood Dream!
He was seven years old when he knew he wanted to be a scientist or an engineer. So he focused his school studies on the subjects that would support that career choice.  Now, he wishes he’d spent a little more time on English and History. He didn’t realize as a scientist how much writing he would have to do.   In a recent interview, Alan Stern sat down and talked with our host, Richard Wiese, for the Explorers podcast. We learned about the journey he took to become a scientist and some highlights and disappointments along the way.  Alan worked as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman between his Freshman and Sophomore years at college.  He learned the art of selling, which helped him pitch ideas later in life.  Once he finally completed his college years, he took a job in Colorado in a big scientific lab and found his calling.    He was off to a rough start, being put in charge of the satellite being carried into space by the Challenger, which was obviously destroyed during that ill-fated expedition.  These days, Alan works on multiple missions concurrently to take place in deep space.  He regards space exploration as a kind of gateway drug to STEM careers.  He observes that kids are always keenly interested in dinosaurs and space… and that the dinosaurs always lose to space!   His bucket list is simple.  He wants to go into space… a lot!  He wants to be able to work in space as a researcher.  To learn more about Planetary Scientist and Space Explorer Alan Stern, visit his website. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! !At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Shelton Johnson is TOUGHER… This Explorer Enjoys Life’s Majesty as a US National Park Ranger
Jun 3 2021
Life’s Tough, but Shelton Johnson is TOUGHER… This Explorer Enjoys Life’s Majesty as a US National Park Ranger
Many people have never been to a US National Park.  If you’re African American, the chances are even less that you feel compelled to visit.  But today’s guest on the Explorers podcast tells us that the closest we can come to visit Africa is to spend time in one of America’s National Parks.  Our podcast host, Richard Wiese, sat down and enjoyed a conversation with Shelton Johnson, a US National Park Ranger in Yosemite National Park. He is also a prominent speaker on our national parks. He also shares the history of the Buffalo Soldier with those who are interested.  Shelton was featured on Ken Burn’s documentary special on the National Parks.  When he spoke with Richard, Shelton said he gets paid in “gasps” and that he lives for that moment when young people experience the parks for the first time and have those “Wow” moments.    He’s had the pleasure of camping with Oprah and showing President Obama and his family around the park.  He enjoyed watching them as they experienced all the grandeur of the falls, sequoias, and all the rest that comes as part of the Yosemite experience.  African American cavalry and infantry troops served in the west after the civil war. The name “Buffalo Soldier” was bestowed upon them by the Plains Indians. The hair on their heads was not dissimilar to the hair on the buffalo head, thus the name. Although many Americans are not familiar with the Buffalo Soldiers, they were memorialized in the song “Buffalo Soldier” by reggae musician Bob Marley.  Ranger Shelton works to get more African Americans to visit our National Parks and realize and acknowledge that the parks are for all people, including them.  He feels like all Americans should be encouraged to visit the Parks, here and abroad, and experience the wonder of them.  To learn more about explorer Shelton Johnson and his experience with the US National Parks, check here. Learn more about the role of the Buffalo Soldier in our history. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Silvia Vasquez Lavado is TOUGHER… This Explorer Has Overcome Great Odds to Stand on the Seven Summits
Jun 3 2021
Life’s Tough, but Silvia Vasquez Lavado is TOUGHER… This Explorer Has Overcome Great Odds to Stand on the Seven Summits
Growing up in Lima, Peru, life wasn’t always easy for Silvia Vasquez Lavado. In fact, it was incredibly challenging and quite chaotic at times. Turbulent political groups and governmental change made it difficult for any consistency to develop. The environment was constantly changing and often unsafe.  Recently, on our Explorers podcast, our host Richard Wiese had an opportunity to sit in with Silvia and hear about her experiences as the first openly gay woman to climb the seven summits successfully.   At the age of eighteen, Silvia came to the United States on a college scholarship for academics. She moved from turbulent Peru to the Amish Country in Pennsylvania. Needless to say, there was a period of adapting to go through.   Although she comes from a tough background, Silvia comes across as open and friendly. She says that instead of imposing her beliefs on others, her philosophy is about respecting where she is and learning about other cultures.  She’s written a book, In the Shadow of the Mountain, which comes out in Winter 2022. It’s already in development as a movie, with Selena Gomez playing the role of Silvia.   Silvia reminds us that affecting change is often complicated. It’s a case of finding out about local changemakers and local grassroots organizations that support your causes. It’s important to her that she provides a platform that allows people to express themselves. Her nonprofit organization, Courageous Girls, helps victims of sexual violence in their recovery.  When asked about challenges as a gay woman, she reminds us that sometimes being a woman is scary enough. There are, however, many parts of the world where being gay is dangerous, and it’s tough to impose western culture on the rest of the world. Bringing change and understanding will be a gradual process.  If she were given the opportunity to advise her younger self, she would say, “ You can do anything. You are not alone. There are lots of people here to help, support, and protect you.”  To learn more about explorer Silvia Vasquez Lavado and her observations as an extreme explorer, check here. Learn more about her nonprofit, Courageous Girls, here. Information about her upcoming book can be found here. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Chris Nicola is TOUGHER… This Rugged Caver Uncovers an Amazing Story of Survival
May 27 2021
Life’s Tough, but Chris Nicola is TOUGHER… This Rugged Caver Uncovers an Amazing Story of Survival
When you’re inside a cave, there’s a chance you will see something that no one else has ever seen.  Cavers look for darkness beyond void – nothingness.   In a fascinating recent episode of our Explorers podcast, Chris Nicola revealed an incredible story. It’s his recounting of how one cave exploration in Western Ukraine led to the journey he’ll never forget.  Our host, Richard Wiese, spoke with Chris during the podcast about this story's pursuit and the challenges he overcame to tell it.  It is the story of how 38 Ukrainian Jews beat the odds and survived for 511 days underground in a cave during World War II.    Chris spent his earliest years in Northwest Massachusetts, where he loved being outdoors.  When his family relocated to New York City, he would create “caves” with a blanket over the dining room table.  Richard reminds us that cavers are a different breed. Chris says that as an adult, caving became second nature to him.  Where most people would find it claustrophobic, he came to feel that caves started fitting him “like a glove.”  Ever the explorer, Chris maintained his passion for caving even after a heart attack in 1993.  That same year, he made the acquaintance of a Ukrainian caver he met on Coney Island. When he visited his friend and explored the caves in Western Ukraine, he studied a cave called “Priest’s Grotto.”   It was there he began to find household artifacts that were obviously decades old and sparked his curiosity.  When he started to ask around about the origin of these finds, nobody wanted to discuss the possibilities.  Finally learning from an older woman that there were Jews who lived in the cave during World War II. During this time, a Ukrainian Jew had a 5% chance of surviving the war.  Although he remained dedicated to his quest for information, it wasn’t until 2002 when he had a breakthrough. He received an email that began uncovering the truth about the survivors who lived in the cave for nearly a year and a half.  Chris did not have the families' cooperation when he began putting together the book and documentary film detailing the ordeal the families went through at that time. Through patience and perseverance, he eventually got the story out. In the process, he gained the love and trust of a family through this story of triumph.  To learn more about explorer Chris Nicola and his adventures as a caver and explorer, visit his website. The dedication to his book The Secret of Priest’s Grotto is to the Human Spirit – It’s Strength and It’s Endurance. Watch the documentary film for an in-depth study of this exploration. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Mikael Strandberg is TOUGHER… This Consummate Explorer Shares Insight on Perspective
May 27 2021
Life’s Tough, but Mikael Strandberg is TOUGHER… This Consummate Explorer Shares Insight on Perspective
He’s been called the most respected explorer. Mikael Strandberg is known for carrying the legendary flag of the Explorers Club five times, more than any other Swede. His journeys into extreme conditions and harsh climates have taught him important life lessons that he can share as a public speaker and documentary producer.  He’s been exploring Yemen on a camel.  He’s trekked through Siberia with reindeer and sleds. After all these journeys under adverse conditions, he tells us of his absolute toughest exploration… Fatherhood.    Several times, he’s taken his young daughters, aged eight and ten at the time of this writing, on expeditions and outings and worries about them the whole time. He moved to Greenland with his family and lived together with the girls in a small house.  He remarks that the days when it’s dark for 24 hours are the worst.  Interestingly, he has a passion for the people who survive in harsh and brutal climates and seems to thrive under these conditions.  He shares that he’s learned, “Life is the way it is. The sooner you accept that, the easier it will be.” His dream expedition is to take the girls to the North Pole.  Mikael is interested in the study of longevity and started running while living in Greenland.  He’s determined to continue explorations as long as possible. A word to the wise from this extreme explorer… “Enjoy every day…even the difficult ones.”  To learn more about explorer Mikael Strandberg and his adventures as an extreme explorer, check here. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Adrian Shine is TOUGHER… This Monster Chaser Learned About Human Nature on Loch Ness
May 20 2021
Life’s Tough, but Adrian Shine is TOUGHER… This Monster Chaser Learned About Human Nature on Loch Ness
As a boy, Englishman Adrian Shine became enthralled with stories about sea serpents that lived in Loch Ness. He began reading books about the expeditions to explore and seek new understanding about these serpents below the Loch's surface. In our recent Explorers podcast, our host, Richard Wiese, had an opportunity to learn about his adventures and what he now knows.  Eventually, as an adult, Adrian decided to explore the Loch by starting his own expedition. His first study environment was nearby Loch Morar, which also was rumored to be inhabited by serpents and monsters of the deep.   Finally, in 1969, while in his boat on the Loch, he saw a hump. As he slowly progressed towards it, he saw it moving. When he stopped rowing to have a better look, the creature stopped moving. Adrian became frightened, and what he thought was a hump had turned into a giant, submerged head. Fighting his fear, he slowly moved to meet the creature. It turned out to be a rock.  Adrian learned two critical things on that day… Follow everything to its end, and If you can’t believe it with your own eyes, you shouldn’t believe what others see.   After moving to Loch Ness for further studies, he didn’t find any beasts. But he did learn a lot about the biology of Loch Ness. Soon, people from the Universities started taking an interest and joining his expedition teams. They worked on studying what COULD live in Loch Ness, according to the environment in the Loch.  In time, Adrian shifted his study from the monsters to human perception. What causes people to see what they see? The fact is Myths are typically based on Something. When we hold a stereotype in our mind and then see things in the environment around us that confirm those beliefs and stereotypes, we are more apt to “see” the very thing we set out to see.  To learn more about explorer Adrian Shine and his adventures as a monster chaser and explorer, check here. To find out more about the Loch Ness Project, click here. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Joe Rohde is TOUGHER… This Imagineer Helps Us Understand the Link Between Diversity, Creativity, Exploration, and Adventure
May 20 2021
Life’s Tough, but Joe Rohde is TOUGHER… This Imagineer Helps Us Understand the Link Between Diversity, Creativity, Exploration, and Adventure
Consider for a moment that exploration is compulsive behavior… something you must do.  It’s an engine that runs a lot of life energy.  Our host of the Explorers podcast, Richard Wiese, had the opportunity to talk with Joe Rohde about this on an episode recently.    Joe retired after working as an Imagineer at Disney for forty years. He started working for the company when Epcot Center was being built and helped design several country pavilions there. Imagineering is the company's branch responsible for conceptualizing, planning, and building everything that Disney makes.  Imagineering blends engineering with the arts. It strives for authenticity and diversity of ideas. Joe Rohde worked in the conceptual department. This means he is an “ideas” man, where every project starts. During his research into projects, Joe would often look for creating a kinesthetic experience for theme park goers… Asking the question, “What does it FEEL like to be here?”  His work on the Animal Kingdom project at Disney meant facing the challenge of creating an animal experience while moving away from the zoo paradigm. He stresses the importance of sending messages about our relationship to the world and conservation. At the same time, it’s about appreciating the chance to explore the relationship between the animals and us.  At the heart of it, explorers are storytellers. Joe Rohde is an advocate of the diversity of ideas, noting that you need to be encouraged to think differently to create new ideas.  It’s essential to look for diverse input to change yourself and your approach to creativity.    To learn more about explorer Joe Rohde and his adventures as an Imagineer and explorer, check here. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but Hugo Vau is TOUGHER… This Big Wave Surfer Had a Life-Changing Experience with BIG MAMA in Nazare´
May 13 2021
Life’s Tough, but Hugo Vau is TOUGHER… This Big Wave Surfer Had a Life-Changing Experience with BIG MAMA in Nazare´
Surfing wasn’t always popular in Portugal. It’s only in the last 35-40 years that it has been acknowledged as a sport. During this podcast, big wave surfer Hugo Vau talks with our host, Richard Wiese, about taking risks and pushing yourself to new extremes in exploration.  In 2006, surfers began exploring and surfing on bodyboards in the Nazare´ Canyon area of Portugal. This huge underwater valley creates gigantic waves away from shore and out in the ocean. Watermen started telling surfers stories about these big waves, and some couldn’t resist the desire to see them.  There was one wave somebody told them was bigger than the rest. It was nicknamed “Big Mama.” She was 0.8 miles out in the ocean, and they used a jet ski to tow surfers out. In 2011, fellow surfer Garrett McNamara set a world record by surfing a 70-foot wave in Nazare´.  In his attempt to conquer Big Mama, Hugo studied forecasts and charts to calculate the best time to make his approach. They went out at around 4:30 in the afternoon. There were high wind warnings, but Hugo wanted strong winds. He planned to work with the wind instead of fighting against it.  When asked what it was like, Hugo says it was unique, really beautiful, a scenic array of colors. Although he has been surfing for a long time, he was overwhelmed with the intensity of nature and the ocean's hugeness.  You might be wondering how Hugo’s life changed after conquering Big Mama. He wasn’t really prepared for what happened after this worldwide event. He got huge media exposure and lots of interviews.  He’s able to stay humble, telling us that this whole adventure is a testimony to the magic of teams – supporting and believing in each other… working together for the moment. His surfing partner and best friend, Alex Botelho, was there with him. Another team member, who served as the spotter and videographer, was stationed in a church onshore and nicknamed Jesus. Although you think that surfing might be a solitary sport, a team is necessary.  These days, Hugo appreciates the simple things. He remembers to celebrate them with others… the fact that we get to breathe everyday… we’re able to walk and smile at each other. It sounds like Hugo Vau has things in proper perspective!  To learn more about explorer Hugo Vau and big wave surfing, check it out here. Hugo is featured in many videos and surf magazines as well. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.
Life’s Tough, but George Kourounis is TOUGHER… This Storm Chaser is Fascinated with the Line Between Natural Force and Natural Disaster
May 13 2021
Life’s Tough, but George Kourounis is TOUGHER… This Storm Chaser is Fascinated with the Line Between Natural Force and Natural Disaster
Most explorers study the weather charts to look for clear weather before starting an expedition. Our recent guest on the Explorers podcast, George Kourounis, does the exact opposite! His passion and appreciation for science and nature have helped him become one of the world's most famous storm chasers.  George, the host of the television show, Angry Planet, sat down with Explorers podcast host Richard Wiese. They talked about his attraction to the extreme elements and his obsession with the line between natural force and natural disaster.  As a child, George always had a fascination with science and nature. He loved being outdoors, where he grew up in Canada.  As a young teenager, his mother gave him the gift of a waterproof camera, which opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him.  When chasing tornados, George recounts the full-body experience involving all the senses.  These tornados are exciting and photogenic – while evoking terror and the realization that they can kill.    His teams are all first aid trained. When they are on the scene at an extreme weather event and see someone who needs help, they stop the chase to help a person in need.  At the heart of it, explorers are storytellers. It’s been said of George that he communicates science well.  He’s made a career of it. He tells us the trick is to report without letting your ego get in the way and making it about yourself.  As Richard spoke with his guest about the COVID pandemic, George remarked that the pandemic is an extraordinary force of nature and has encouraged in all of us the essential skill in an expedition… The ability to adapt to ever-changing conditions.  George hopes to leave a legacy of curiosity.  He views curiosity and fear as two sides of the same coin. His hope is that people grow to know why curiosity matters and why we should love being curious.  To learn more about explorer George Kourounis and his adventures as a storm chaser and explorer, visit his website. Watch the television series Angry Planet on Amazon Prime Video for an in-depth study of his exploration. To hear about other explorers, join us for new episodes of Life’s Tough: Explorers are TOUGHER! At   Richard Wiese, the host of this podcast, is an American explorer. He is the author of the guidebook, Born to Explore: How to Be a Backyard Adventurer. He became the youngest person to become president of the Explorers Club in 2002. Richard is also Executive Producer and Host of the PBS weekly television series Born to Explore with Richard Wiese.