Rescued Podcast // Ep 008 – Mike Atkinson (Outback Mike)

Lessons from a lifetime of adventure

There is so much more to Mike Atkinson (aka Outback Mike) than what we saw of his 64 days, toughing it out in the wilds of Tassie’s west coast, on the first season of SBS’ Alone Australia. 

He’s been having epic expedition-style adventures since his first long hike at 11 years old with his family and building towards his first solo trip, skiing from Mt Kosciusko to Canberra, aged 17.

Watching him on ALONE, I was drawn in by his problem-solving and seemingly endless tinkering to build a better existence out there. As you’ll hear in this episode (and can read much more about in his book Modern Day Castaway), that canoe wasn’t his first. 

In this ep we get to know a bit more about what drives this type of life and what it takes in the form of meticulous planning and testing, before committing to something that might cost him everything and how he once made the decision to call for help.

BTS: If you listen carefully, you might hear aircraft in the background. Yep… if you’re going to be an Air Force pilot, you live near an airbase!

Key episode takeaways:

  • Why life is better with adventure
  • How Mike approaches problem-solving and mitigating risk
  • The value of calling for help early
  • What a pilot sees from the air (tips for being visible)
  • Decision-making in a crisis – how not to be ‘flappy’
  • The importance of satellite communication and value of 2-way devices eg. ZOLEO, InReach, etc
  • Choosing who will be your emergency contact
  • When emotions can surprise you and how they could affect decision making
  • Preparation and planning
  • What adventurers can learn from pilots – making plans for every possible scenario, mental checklists and rehearsing them
  • Mitigating rescue resources through smart planning 
  • The issue of sharing locations to ‘special spots’ on social media
  • The down and UP sides of risk
  • Why hardship is good for us

Mike’s website

Mike’s bookModern Day Castaway

Timelapse video of Mike building his dugout canoe

Mike and his kids do the Snowies 10 Peaks Video

Thanks to sponsor Paddy Pallin

Listen here

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Episode transcript

Download the transcript here

Thanks to

Sponsor // Paddy Pallin

Rescued Podcast main photo // Ben Cirulis and

Writer, producer and content creator by trade, search and rescue volunteer by passion, Caro Ryan started to inspire, teach and encourage people to get into hiking and the outdoors safely.

It’s all about connecting people to wild places in meaningful ways, so they can look after themselves, their mates and these precious places we visit.

She teaches wilderness navigation, authored the book, ‘How to Navigate’ and hosts, ‘Rescued - an Outdoor Podcast for Hikers and Adventurers.

In the bottom of her pack you'll find coffee grounds, instant noodles past their used by date and an insatiable curiosity.

Bushwalking & Hiking Tips from an Unexpected Outdoors Chick

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