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Navigating the Vortex with Enrico Colantoni


Enrico Colantoni has a passion for the great outdoors that is difficult to measure.  And that’s because his awareness of his place in the world is both deep and wide.  He’s not an extreme explorer but in our conversation he offers countless insights and stories about nature, perspective, meditation and mindfulness that are certain to help anyone who is listening.

Part of the wonder of someone like Rico is his complete vulnerability combined with his ease of expression.  There aren’t many people who can move so easily from joyful laughter to tears with the facility that Rico does. We touch on so many subjects that Rico’s conversation with me will split over two episodes.  (2nd half coming in episode five.)

Artist in Nature

You may know his excellent and extensive work as an actor on Veronica Mars, Just Shoot Me, Contagion, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Galaxy Quest.

What you may not know is that he didn’t appreciate Newfoundland until later in life; that his sledding accident took place on a hill called “Sandy”; that the smell of an orange blossom can knock him out and that the weather on Thermia is “quite damp.”

I’ve known Rico for over 23 years.  First from afar as an audience member seeing him on the Guthrie stage in Minneapolis in a production of Triumph of Love.  The set design for that play is pictured here and will always be an unforgettable sight for me. Then I got to know Rico a couple years later as my acting teacher.  Soon he would become my street hockey teammate, dog-hiking buddy, roommate and artistic collaborator and friend.  


Rico has a gift for cutting to the simplicity of nature and the healing properties of being outside.  His experiences, passionately communicated at every turn, are good reminders on how we too can find inspiration, meaning, and grounding in the great outdoors. 

We touch on a wide variety of locations in our conversation: The beauty of Newfoundland and the musical Come From Away. 

The magic of Vancouver, B.C. and its location near the rainforest.

The many hiking trails in greater Los Angeles (despite the vortex nature of L.A.) including Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon and Fryman Canyon.  Modern Hiker can help you find a good hike in L.A. right now.


A Variety Show for Nature

Wonder Outside is much more than just an interview show. It’s a variety show thats specifically designed to keep discussions about the outdoors fun, useful, practical and motivating. In the 3 x3 Challenge we look at some nature escapes starting from Main Street (also known as Highway 61) in Red Wing, Minnesota.  And if you walk from the Red Wing Shoe Store or the Caribou Coffee house on Main Street you’ll find yourself quickly at the banks of the great Mississippi River and Levee Park.

3 x 3 Main Street Challenge

In just 30 mintues (part of the 3 x 3 challenge) you can be at the amazing National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN. And go just 3 hours north of Red Wing and take in all that Lake Superior has to offer in Superior Wisconsin or Duluth, MN.

The Where in the World Are You game tests your knowledge of geography and weather.  

DJ Shark is our Guide 

is our musical expert as we discuss how the great outdoors influences our art and There’s No Planet B gives you practical steps you can take to protect our planet and all its inhabitants.

Every episode of the Wonder Outside podcast features an examination of a song or piece or art that is influenced by the great outdoors.  None other than DJ Shark talks with Ted about Peter Gabriel’s masterpiece, Solsbury Hill. The nuances of this song are uncovered by our musical correspondent.  This song’s relationship to both the outdoors and our need to be outside at critical moments in our lives is clear and will make you want to go and listen to it immediately.  Look below for the  video of Solsbury Hill.

DJ Shark is a prolific musician, DJ, composer, song writer and hosts his own radio show called All Time is Now.  Podcast episodes from his show can be found at

Resources for you to use now

Building Community

Ranger Ted has been building community his entire life. That’s especially true in this podcast where you can access a wide variety of experts to help you experience the great outdoors in more meaningful ways. 

In episode 3, you’ll hear about Super Nature Adventures and their downloadable adventure kits.  You can also look forward to hearing from Mike Murawski and Bryna Campbell,  founders of Super Nature Adventures, as they’ll join Ranger Ted in a later episode as guest Wonder Guides.

Also Ranger Ted talks about the wonderful people at Save Our Monarchs. who help people everywhere plant milkweed and thus save our monarchs.  Contact them now and get planting this Earth Day!

There’s No Planet B

Rico and I touch on the Amazon Rainforest several times in our conversation. Thus, today’s No Planet B segments turn to how we can get involved with the Amazon Rainforest.  The first thing I suggest for now is to become more educated on the subject.  I suggest starting with one of the best environmental advocacy groups that exists, 

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