Beyond the prompts themselves, we imposed no parameters. We have collected the responses to each prompt into crowdsourced articles. The fourth prompt, with responses collected here, was: How do you find your stories and choose which to tell?
Through connecting to our community primarily. We’ve found so many fascinating people with really interesting and inspiring stories in the Millican world. Then it becomes a process of trying to find a balance in the stories too, not just one specific angle, but many perspectives on the same themes … the meaning in life, adventure and the outdoors. I wish we could tell everyone's story but we’re doing our best with the ones we have.
We all have a responsibility to use what talents we have to share the stories and struggles of wild places and help stem the tide. I can’t help feeling we are at such a critical moment in human history, in which the fate of the world quite literally hangs in the balance. Open lands and wild places, such as Bears Ears and Indian Creek, are under dire threat from human development, resource extraction, corporate exploitation, and climate change.
I aim to bring awareness to these issues by creating music that incorporates the vanishing sounds of nature and donating a portion of proceeds to environmental protection organisations.
Creative projects such as Creek Sessions, I hope, will connect the public to the natural world in new ways, and will encourage them to use their own talents to protect it.
'We all have a responsibility to use what talents we have to share the stories and struggles of wild places and help stem the tide. I can’t help feeling we are at such a critical moment in human history, in which the fate of the world quite literally hangs in the balance.'
Because we do open submissions, it's always a bit of a surprise. But we choose the pieces that stand out most to us in terms of quality of writing, a strong voice, and groundbreaking subject matter. We try to choose pieces that reflect a number of different geographies and cultures, as well as voices from a range of communities.
Wanderland grew in an organic way, my interests and desire and curiosity coalescing. I travelled in natural landscapes across the UK for the book (which has a more spiritual vibe), and I had the opportunity to write in a reflective, personal way, so I was drawing from memory and life experience. You lay yourself bare, but it felt cathartic to explore themes that I’ve not had the courage to write about previously. When you write about your experience of a place for a newspaper or a magazine, you are limited by the format, and the brief can be prescriptive, but even so there’s often been something about a landscape that has drawn me to it on a deeper level. That’s been the catalyst for wanting to write about it. For example, I was really drawn to Maori culture and that led me to New Zealand.
I deliberately showcase women, who in my experience are far less likely to put themselves forward as having something interesting to say.
I am connected to a lot of wild swimmers all over the world on social media. I see whose stories interest me and then approach them and ask them to be guests – this is usually because they are doing something in particular (swimming every day in January), or showcasing an issue (swimming against depression), but it might also be because I have location envy and want to talk to them about where they are swimming. Sometimes I also put a shout out at the end of an episode asking for people to come forward and volunteer as guests – most of the time it is men who respond in this way, which is why I deliberately go out and encourage women to talk to me.
I’ve found that stories come from all walks of life. The more you allow people to open up the more apparent it is how many interesting people are surrounding you. It’s about giving people that space to comfortably share their stories. I think almost everyone has an interesting aspect about themselves that others can relate to. Certain traits of a story resonate with people differently so having the ability to really relate to the subjects is super important.
Stories and ideas pop into your head every day … It's the ones I keep coming back to, the ones that won’t leave my head, the ones I dream about, the ones I end up telling my friends and family about that finally make it. It’s like they choose themselves!
Listening to others. Talk less and listen more. Don’t look far away for great stories. There are thousands of ’em close by. Just look for it, listen and do something with it.