Updated: Jun 10, 2021
Opportunities for adventure are all around. Will you heed the call? Today we are joined by Olivia Meighan, host of The Irish Survival Podcast (@the_Irish_survival_podcast) and lover of the natural world. 13-year-old Olivia wasn’t thrilled about the idea of being locked inside during the Coronavirus pandemic. Little did she know it would launch her on a whole new kind of adventure! She’s here to remind you that you’re never too young, or too old, to leverage your unique voice to create value in the world.
1:40 The Irish Survival Podcast
3:00 Sitting around the campfire
5:40 Treat wildlife like people
7:10 Mastering 2020 online tech
8:10 The outdoors is great craic
8:50 You won’t know if you don’t try
12:00 Visualize your ideal world
16:20 Limitless possibilities
Adrienne MacIain 0:00
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your hostess, Dr. Adrienne MacIain, and today we have Olivia Meighan all the way from Dublin, Ireland. Please introduce yourself.
Olivia Meighan 0:12
Hi, my name is Olivia Meighan and I make The Irish Survival Podcast. On my podcast, I review and talk about survival kits. The reason I made my podcast is because, during lockdown, I got really bored and decided to make a podcast using my knowledge of survival and technology. I basically saw Anchor and started recording. Podcasts are becoming the number one media platform. Because of lockdown, more and more people are listening to them. So I thought, How hard could it be? And the answer: it's so easy. I use Anchor, and they actually sponsor me. I was actually so bored in lockdown I started a blog. You can read it at theirishsurvivalpodcast01.wordpress.com. And during lockdown, I actually developed so many skills, including coding, web design, podcasting, blogging, and I've actually started doing loads of courses in marketing, which I think is a definite future for me, because I am only 13. And I actually started an Instagram for my podcast that's The Irish Survival Podcast, please check it out.
Adrienne MacIain 1:19
That's awesome. Thank you, Olivia, that was wonderful. You're so prepared. Most people are just like, 'Oh, I don't know, I'm like, me, and I do my stuff.' So Bravo, coming prepared there. So I love, first of all, I love that you are 13 and doing this. I think that's so great. I love this new kind of wave of young podcasters coming on the scene. What made you decide, 'Hey, I think a podcast is the way to get my my voice out there'?
Olivia Meighan 1:47
Well, in lockdown, I was listening to loads because it was just the only thing you could do. If anybody else was watching the TV, you just find a podcast you'd like and listen to it.
Adrienne MacIain 2:00
So where did your passion for survivalism come from?
Olivia Meighan 2:05
I have no idea. I just love going camping and I have loads of survival kits, and I was like, I can review these.
Adrienne MacIain 2:13
So tell us what is a survival kit exactly?
Olivia Meighan 2:15
So a survival kit is anything that you would bring with you into the world. You can have ones that are very small, or you can have ones in big bags with loads of extra things inside it.
Adrienne MacIain 2:29
So what are some of your favorites?
Olivia Meighan 2:33
There's ones that I've reviewed, one from the UK, it's called Polymath Products. And that one is one of my favorites.
Adrienne MacIain 2:43
What's it got in it?
Olivia Meighan 2:44
It has, it's really good, it has hot chocolate in it. And yeah, it has water purification tablets, which is really good. And just things like that. It's really cool.
Adrienne MacIain 2:58
That's great. So did you start camping with your family?
Olivia Meighan 3:02
Em, yeah, I think so. I can't really remember.
Adrienne MacIain 3:06
Interesting. So tell me about a time when you've been out, you know, camping, where you had just a really wonderful experience.
Olivia Meighan 3:18
Well, I was out with my family, and we were all sitting around the campfire. And it was dark out. And we were cooking marshmallows. And I just remember we were laughing and talking and just loved it. It was great.
Adrienne MacIain 3:37
Those family connections are so important, aren't they?
Olivia Meighan 3:40
Yeah, definitely. Me and my family, we're all very close. So...
Adrienne MacIain 3:44
That's great. Do they also enjoy survival and camping, or is that your kind of thing?
Olivia Meighan 3:51
Not that much. I'm the biggest fan of it. But yeah, sometimes they go.
Adrienne MacIain 3:58
What do you have in common with your family?
Olivia Meighan 4:01
And well, we're all very sporty. And yeah, we're a very active family. We like going on hikes sometimes, so sometimes it wouldn't really be a camp, it would be a hike. And yeah, we like taking my dogs for walks. Yeah.
Adrienne MacIain 4:23
Why do you think that's important to your family, to stay active?
Olivia Meighan 4:28
Just for the future, so you're healthy and safe and yeah.
Adrienne MacIain 4:34
Yeah. So you're taking care of your own body, but you're also kind of taking care of the earth.
Olivia Meighan 4:40
Adrienne MacIain 4:41
That's got to feel really good.
Olivia Meighan 4:43
Adrienne MacIain 4:45
So where are some of your favorite places to go into the wild?
Olivia Meighan 4:50
Ah, well, down in Wicklow there are mountains and you just set up your tent there and start camping.
Adrienne MacIain 4:56
Olivia Meighan 4:58
Yeah, I love it.
Adrienne MacIain 4:58
Yeah, I think It's so important for us to go out into nature, as humans, and kind of spend that time recognizing what the wild world is sort of supposed to look like. It's actually hard to find truly wild places anymore. A lot of the places that we think of as wild are actually kind of curated forests that have been kind of planted by, and planted and replanted, you know, cut down and then replanted by by people.
Olivia Meighan 5:27
Yeah, I love spending time outdoors. And it's such a shame that those trees are being cut down and all the wildlife are in danger. I don't like it at all.
Adrienne MacIain 5:37
Yeah, I don't like it at all, either. So what would you say is, you know, I, the first question I usually ask is what's the story the world isn't getting? What do you think is the story the world isn't getting about nature or wildlife?
Olivia Meighan 5:54
Well, the story people aren't getting is that you could treat them like people. Like, how would you like it if somebody came and took you, put you in a zoo, or killed your family? You wouldn't like it. So why are you doing it to animals?
Adrienne MacIain 6:09
And why are we doing it to trees, too? I mean, actually, trees?
Olivia Meighan 6:12
Yeah, you need them.
Adrienne MacIain 6:14
Yeah. And they communicate? Did you know this?
Olivia Meighan 6:17
Adrienne MacIain 6:17
They actually did these really cool studies, you know. What we think of as trees is just like the trunk, and the branches. But there's so much more going on underground. They have these really complicated root systems, and they have fungi...
Olivia Meighan 6:34
Adrienne MacIain 6:35
...that kind of grow through them, and help them to communicate with each other and share nutrients with each other. So even old stumps that look dead to us are being kept alive by the forest.
Olivia Meighan 6:48
Yeah. And the soil, it's great.
Adrienne MacIain 6:53
That's really cool. So, I think that's so neat because we think of those stumps as being kind of like, old, dead, worthless. But they're obviously useful to the forest in some way. Maybe they're learning something from the old-timers. Who knows?
Olivia Meighan 7:07
Yeah, not just a seat.
Adrienne MacIain 7:08
Exactly. It's a seat for us. Yeah. So, you know, you've already kind of touched on this, but I want to ask you, what was the greatest obstacle that you overcame in 2020?
Olivia Meighan 7:23
Well, it definitely has to be not seeing my friends and family. But then I was able to overcome this by using Zoom Skype, FaceTime, all those and it's become the new normal. Like, don't see them anymore.
Adrienne MacIain 7:39
Yeah. Well, you talked about this at the beginning, that you've learned so much from having to...
Olivia Meighan 7:46
Adrienne MacIain 7:47
...do things via technology. Can you go over what are some of your favorite skills that you've learned and the ones that you think you'll continue to use after this?
Olivia Meighan 7:58
Yeah, well, I love coding, and there's a great app, Scratch. I always been making games on that. And then web design, because when I was, like, building my own blog, I had to like, design every little detail of it.
Adrienne MacIain 8:15
Absolutely. So what do you think is the main message of your blog and your podcast?
Olivia Meighan 8:22
Well, it's that anybody can go outdoors, go camping, and just, you should. Because it's great craic and you'll love it.
Adrienne MacIain 8:32
Yeah, absolutely. So what was the most unexpected gift that you received during the pandemic?
Olivia Meighan 8:42
Definitely my podcast. I don't know where I'd be without it, and how bored I would be.
Adrienne MacIain 8:48
Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that kind of transformation of, you know, when you started the podcast, and how did you do it?
Olivia Meighan 8:56
Well, I saw Anchor and I started my first episode. It was a few minutes long, I was talking about my favorite book, and it's a survival book. And I did it in one take. And it's actually really bad because I was doing "er, um," all that.
Adrienne MacIain 9:19
We all do that, by the way.
Olivia Meighan 9:23
But over time, it's gotten better, and I've been able to, like, make it better myself.
Adrienne MacIain 9:29
Absolutely. We all get better with practice. I mean, that's just the bottom line. And by the way, we all have verbal tics. A lot of people say "you know" more than they realize. I realize this, it's so funny when I go through my transcripts, because I take the transcripts of my podcast and put them on my blog. And so when I'm going through the transcripts, I realize how many times I say things like "like," "you know," "I mean," it's so funny. We don't realize we're doing it until we listen back. So don't be self-conscious about that, everybody does that.
Olivia Meighan 10:03
One of the biggest things I do is "wait." So I, I'd be saying things like, Wait, do you know this? Wait, what happened here?
Adrienne MacIain 10:11
Yeah, yeah, you learn a lot about yourself and your speech patterns when you record a podcast.
Olivia Meighan 10:16
Oh, definitely do.
Adrienne MacIain 10:18
Yeah. So what advice would you have for someone who's listening right now? Maybe someone your age or maybe someone my age who's just thinking, I'm bored too. Maybe I want to start a podcast.
Olivia Meighan 10:28
Yeah, just do it. Like, you just have to do it. Like, you never know, if you don't try. And even if you try and fail, you can still just delete it and say, Eh, didn't work, I'll try again next time.
Adrienne MacIain 10:41
Absolutely. So what do you think is success when it comes to a podcast?
Olivia Meighan 10:48
Having loads of listeners and getting some sponsorships.
Adrienne MacIain 10:54
Yeah, that is one, I always have my little Anchor plug at the beginning as well.
Olivia Meighan 10:59
Adrienne MacIain 10:59
I think is so great that Anchor sponsors their own, you know, podcasts and allows us to make a little bit of money just right off the bat, that you don't even have to have a minimum listenership just to start making a little bit of extra cash. That's really cool, I think.
Olivia Meighan 11:16
Yeah. And it's, it's not that much, but it adds up.
Adrienne MacIain 11:20
Yeah, it adds up. Absolutely.
Olivia Meighan 11:22
Adrienne MacIain 11:25
Yeah. So if you were going to start a new podcast, what do you think that would be about?
Olivia Meighan 11:33
Um, probably about football, or should I say soccer. In Ireland, we call soccer football.
Adrienne MacIain 11:41
Absolutely. Everyone in the world calls it football except us.
Olivia Meighan 11:46
Adrienne MacIain 11:46
We're the weird ones. That's great. So I think I'm going to do with you a little exercise that I love to do with my guests, if you're up for that.
Olivia Meighan 11:58
Adrienne MacIain 11:59
So I'm gonna have you close your eyes. Okay. And so I've just waved my magic wand. And everything that you really, really, really, really want has just come true. You have everything that you want right now in this moment. And I want you to sort of, you don't have to open your eyes because you can keep them closed and just visualize this, kind of wake up in this ideal world. And just tell me, what's the first thing you see?
Olivia Meighan 12:28
Well, I'm on the top floor of a very tall building. And I'm like, the President and CEO of my own company, and I'm looking down on all my employees, and they work for me. I'm a leader.
Adrienne MacIain 12:46
That's beautiful. So you're a leader. What do you do to really help these employees to reach their full potential?
Olivia Meighan 12:55
Well, I just help them if they didn't know what to do, I'd explain it to them. And people don't know the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss would say, Do this now. But a leader would say, This is how you do it.
Adrienne MacIain 13:13
Olivia Meighan 13:15
Adrienne MacIain 13:16
Yeah. So you're leading by example, in this ideal world?
Olivia Meighan 13:21
Adrienne MacIain 13:22
Where does... actually let me say this, I'm going to have you leave that building, your wonderful work space where you create all this great stuff, and you're a leader leading by example. And I want you to go to the wild, I want you to go to a space where you just feel really yourself. And describe that to me.
Olivia Meighan 13:47
Well, I have my tent set up, and there's a fire and I have my food cooking. And then there's loads of trees around me, and squirrels wandering, running open down the trees. All the birds I see, and all the animals are around, and they're not scared of me. I'm not scared of them.
Adrienne MacIain 14:07
What are you cooking?
Olivia Meighan 14:08
Um, well, my favorite thing is pizza. So I don't know if I'll be able to cook a pizza in the wild. So probably sausages.
Adrienne MacIain 14:17
Maybe you have a hot stone there. Let's say you got it. Yeah, got a hot stone and you're making your pizza and you can smell that pizza cooking.
Olivia Meighan 14:26
Adrienne MacIain 14:26
Anything is possible in this world. So yes, you have a pizza stone out there in the wild for sure. And then I want you to, you just go for a little walk. And as you're walking something just unexpectedly wonderful happens. What is it?
Olivia Meighan 14:43
I come across this river, and it has this really beautiful and cool waterfall. And then I take off my socks and shoes, roll up my trousers, and I just go for little paddle in the water.
Adrienne MacIain 14:59
Love it. Yeah, that's fantastic. So what would you say is the greatest obstacle that you've overcome in your life so far?
Olivia Meighan 15:12
I don't know. Probably, like, lockdown is one of the hardest ones, like, as I said before, not seeing your friends and family. And there hasn't really been obstacle yet.
Adrienne MacIain 15:26
There's so much to look forward to.
Olivia Meighan 15:28
Adrienne MacIain 15:30
I think it's really true. The lockdown has been especially hard on young people. You know, when you're my age, it was actually sort of a relief in a sense, that we were like, Oh, we don't have to do all this stuff that we're usually obligated and required to do, we can just stay home for a little while, read a book, and, you know, spend time with our families. It was kind of nice for us, honestly. But I think, you know, my daughter's nine. And I know, she really, really struggled with it, it was really hard to watch her, you know, just be by herself. And so bored. So I really feel for her, I really feel for you young folks dealing with this.
Olivia Meighan 16:16
Adrienne MacIain 16:17
Thank you so much for being here today. And what do you want to leave the audience with?
Olivia Meighan 16:25
If ever you want to start a podcast, do it. If you want to start a business, do it. If you want to go for a walk, go for a walk. Just do whatever you want to do, and put your mind to what you can do.
Adrienne MacIain 16:39
Absolutely. I think we forget that there are limitless possibilities out there. And we try to start limiting ourselves and saying, Oh, well, this is what's realistic, or this is what I should be doing. It's very true that you can do anything you want, as long as you're willing to face down fear and keep doing it even when it gets scary and tough.
Olivia Meighan 16:59
Adrienne MacIain 17:00
Yeah. Well, I hope you'll keep making your podcast, even if it gets scary and tough. I hope you will become that leader that you see yourself as, I know you will. And you're always welcome to come back anytime and tell people about what's going on with The Irish Survival Podcast.
Olivia Meighan 17:17
Adrienne MacIain 17:17
Thank you so much, Olivia.
Olivia Meighan 17:19
Adrienne MacIain 17:20
Where can everybody find you?
Olivia Meighan 17:23
Well, Anchor distributes to Spotify, Apple Podcast, any of those main ones. And my blog is theirishrevivalpodcast01.wordpress.com. And my Instagram is just The_Irish_Survival_podcast.
Adrienne MacIain 17:42
Fantastic. Thanks, Olivia.
Transcribed by Rebecca MacIain