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Why, How and Where to Wonder

Ranger Ted is Your Wonder Guide

Yours truly is your Wonder Guide for episode 13!  I’ll break down some simple, easy, fun and useful ways to wonder. This episode I’m going to be your Wonder Guide.  And I’m going to do that by giving you some concrete steps that will inspire and motivate you get outside more easily often and confidently.

WONDER is the key.

It’s easy to speed right on by that word. We’ve got texts to return, kids at home on zoom school, bill’s to pay and endless devices demanding our attention.

It’s ALL about WONDER

That sense that makes us slow down or speed up. That feeling of awe that leaves us speechless. That magical place where time stands still and we feel simultaneously small and all powerful at the same time. It’s a GREAT feeling.  It’s an IMPORTANT feeling.  It’s something we probably could stand to feel a LOT more of.

It took me more than 2 years to figure out the name of this podcast, this new venture. I knew Ranger Ted was good, catchy, fun and engaging but it wasn’t a big enough idea, it wasn’t universal enough.

So after lots of thinking and talking with  people who inspire me we all landed on wonder.   The next word was pretty obvious.  It’s the place where I’ve experienced wonder the most and helped others find it too: outside.

Yes, it’s got a nice similarity to the term wander which I also strongly believe in but it wasn’t because of that nice coincidence that I named the show Wonder Outside.

So let’s get to my theme for this episode: Why, how and where to wonder.

Why Wonder? 

No, really WHY should we WONDER?

One, you and your loved ones will feel better and be healthier. You’ll feel better physically, emotionally and spiritually.

One thing you can try to get that wonder muscle working again is to take a walk outside and say out loud, I wonder why ____________.  And just fill in the blank with whatever natural things you are encountering.

For example, “I wonder why that tree leans to the left. I wonder why that squirrel is flicking its tail.  I wonder if it’s gonna rain.” 

If you RE-TRAIN your sense of wonder, suddenly you’ve taken (as Mark Hennessy says) a one minute vacation. Feel free to stretch that out into two or even five minutes!  Suddenly you’re re-charged, and ready to take on new challenges.

Wonder Spreads

The second reason to wonder is because wonder spreads.

Have you ever had someone come up to you and say “YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!  YOU HAVE TO GO THERE! YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!  That’s wonder in action. Wonder creates strong relationships. Wonder is about sharing with others. I want you to be that person who seems half crazy with excitement about something outside.

Why wonder? Because wonder heals our planet. My wife and I didn’t preach to our 3 year old at the time that plastic is overtaking our oceans and all that garbage on our local beaches was the result of a disposable society that prizes convenience over all else…

Trash as Scavenger Hunt

We just saw a bunch of trash on a beautiful beach and decided we’d better do something about it. And now our daughter simply expects (as she should) that our outdoor spaces should be nice and healthy and clean and safe….and that she’s part of the solution who is HAPPY to pick up trash.

Three ways HOW to wonder.

What Do You Notice?

Ask, “What do you notice?”

This is very important. Get rid of labels and knowledge (for a little while, at least) and just be curious. Or as Annabeth Gish says in episode 1, be intrigued.

Say “I notice that that river bends to the left twice before it bends back to the right. I notice that that bird only really chirps like crazy when the crows come by…that ant seems a lot bigger than the last time.

Two, go to the same place and/or go to a different place.  Find a sit spot. Go there regularly and start paying attention to your environment.  Also, if you are stuck in a routine, then go somewhere new and different.  Pay attention to the new natural signals that a new adventure creates.

Give Alexa the Day Off

Finally, do not consult a device!  Deal with the weather. Trust your God-given instincts on what to wear and how to prepare..  Become obsessed with weather.


  1. Wonder right where you are.  Right in you own neighborhood, on you walk…see a place on your drive and go back there. There’s wonder all around you if you SLOW down and let it surround you.

  1.  Make a plan for something BIG.  A National Park, a remote island, a road trip further than you’d ever imagined a road could go…  But STARTING that plan will fuel wonder. It’ll infect others around you. It’ll change your conversations.  People LOVE to tell others how to go places..and ACCEPT that…don’t judge it…just let it all seep in AND you may even find that the sound of the cold tundra actually sounds great even though you consider yourself  a “beach person.”

  1. Take the 3 x 3 Main street challenge! YOU WILL FIND something NEAR you that you never noticed before.

Art Meets Nature with DJ Shark

It’s difficult to write a great rock song. It’s even more difficult to make it moving, poetic, meaningful, mysterious and about trees.  Rush does it with typical mastery. You’re gonna love DJ Shark’s insights about this wonderful song that was obviously inspired by the great outdoors.

Rush: The Trees

No Planet B

Coffee Choices Matter

Inspired by JJ Bean Coffee Roasters, I’d like to remind all of us (and myself) that coffee is a huge business that makes a major difference to our planet.

It can start simply by just bringing your own cup.  Then you can graduate to choosing coffee’s that are truly responsibly sourced.  And if you care to really spend a few more minutes you can get more actively involved with influencing those around you. A great way to do that is to support businesses like JJ Coffee Roasters.  

Much more about their approach to coffee is here.


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