“Against the Odds” happens when you give 2 Adventure Junkies microphones

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Against The Odds just got its first month on the air. We sat down with the hosts on the podcast to find out what it’s all about – and why you should listen.

The Against The Odds podcast essentially retells (in detail) some of the greatest survival stories make headlines around the world. They are stories of adventure, survival, daring rescues, and difficult decisions.

The hosts Mike Corey and Cassie De Pecol are two travel experts and self-described “adventure junkies”. They’re also a dream podcasting team, the voices behind the Against The Odds audio series. And they have never met before.

The duo record the podcast remotely and they work together and connect over the internet. They have recorded podcast episodes everywhere from motel rooms in the US to tents in Tanzania.

Mike Corey’s Bio: Mike Corey is a Canadian Adventure Travel YouTuber (Fearless and wide) and TV presenter who wants to inspire others to pursue their fears in a teaching-by-doing style. He has neither a home nor a car and travels the world all day. He often takes part in cultural festivities in the area he visits – be it exploding sledgehammer festivals, rituals with Kambo frog poison or camping in abandoned castles.

Cassie De Pecols Bio: In 2017, Cassie De Pecol became the first woman to travel to any country in the world, breaking two Guinness world records for fastest person and fastest woman to do so. She works as a motivational speaker, author and content creator and is an avid Ironman triathlete.

Behind the microphone: questions and answers

GearJunkie: How and when did you get into the podcast?

Mike Corey: I received the email for the casting call “Against The Odds” at 2am in Romania after returning from a week of camping in Transylvania. Normally I would wait until the next day to address these things, but I was called at that moment to record.

The first season was [going] to be the Thai Cave Rescue, a rescue story that captured my heart a few years earlier. I read the script right there on the hotel bed and got the gig!

De Pecol: My manager gave me the opportunity to work with Wondery and I thought it was a wonderful concept for a podcast. It really impressed me based on my travel and adventure experience.

They both identify as “adventure junkies”. What are your favorite adventure activities (backpacking, hunting, etc.)?

Mike Corey freediving near a colorful reef

Corey: I was a competitive break dancer for about a decade and then switched to diving. Now I do a lot of backwoodsin camping, freediving, and tracking down distant cultural experiences.

De Pecol: I’ve always loved the kind of adventure that allows me to explore remote and precarious areas around the world. Countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, North Korea and other less traveled places.

Apart from traveling, I love to train for Ironmans in unique places: swimming in different lakes and oceans in the world, running through deserts, cycling in different conditions like snow.

I finished a full 140.6 mile Ironman distance race and about a dozen half Ironman races. In 2019 I circled the world with six Ironman 70.3 in Australia, Thailand, Oman, South Africa and Argentina.

What’s the craziest adventure that any of you have had?

De Pecol: We’ll probably take part in Discovery Channels Naked and Afraid in Panama.

Corey: A few months ago I went baboon hunting with the Hadza hunters and gatherers in Tanzania, Africa. We sprinted through the African bush, torn by thorns, stole honey from killer beehives, and chased everything we could find. We didn’t get baboons in the end, but spending 24 hours with these guys changed my life.

What advice would you give other adventure junkies?

Corey: You don’t have to choose what is on the brochure. Often times you can order “off-menu” and ask tour operators if they know of other temples, waterfalls, hikes and the like that would be less touristy. Where would you take your family on the weekend? is a question I ask a lot. This way, you can find yourself alone in some amazing places.

De Pecol: To do your research but stay open. Leave prejudice at the door and formulate your own epic experience.

The show is really part of the theater. How do you immerse the audience in these outrageous stories of kidnapping, survival, and rescue?

Corey: We read stories. We have to be ready to act. The end product may just be audio, but we wave our arms, put huge smiles, blush – literally play out some of those lines because if we don’t, you won’t be able to hear it.

This is how you tell a good story – by feeling it. If you don’t feel it, neither will the listener. That’s why the podcast is so impressive.

De Pecol: I think it’s all in the different tones of the voice, the emotion, the cadence and the slow posture so that the listeners can grab every word and feel the experience.

Corey: A whole team comes together for the podcast. Authors, producers, sound artists – you need a big team to produce something of this quality. For Cassie and me, we come in with our voices and our experiences. But speaking or reading is really difficult. People have a very keen ear for every syllable of a word, every fluctuation in your tone, the speed and volume of the way you say things. We must [convey that].

There are many different parts that come together to do this job and I am grateful to be part of this well put together machine.

A man in a red jacket near a red tent on a castle property

Favorite part about recording a podcast?

Corey: [As someone who’s] I’ve been making YouTube videos for 10 years. Recording a podcast isn’t really the same thing. I never had to act, but I always had to tell a story.

As you’d expect, some of these survival stories are going dark. People reached their limits. It’s also fun to go dark and try to put yourself in your place – in the prisoner of war camp that is being tortured deep in the underwater cave. And on the flip side, it’s just as fun channeling the joy of the character and loved ones when they survive despite the odds (see what I did there). You might call me a softy, but I only like emotions. I like to make people feel things.

De Pecol: My favorite part about recording is changing the feel and tone based on the different plots and sequences of the story. It keeps the storytelling alive and I feel like I can really get into it – and so the audience will.

Convince me why I should listen.

De Pecol: “Against The Odds” is amazing in the fact that these stories are compelling – and true. The immersive experience makes it difficult to leave the zone, and each episode leaves you wanting more – to hear what happens next and to connect with the heroes of each episode on a whole new level.

Corey: It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck at home or on a mountain in Nepal during a pandemic – we all have our struggles to endure. We can succumb to these struggles or find the strength deep within us to survive. On “Against The Odds” we will tell some of the greatest survival stories ever recorded.

It all comes together with amazing writing and sound design to teleport you into the event itself. It’s an adventure, not a podcast. I guarantee you: you will get lost in the stories – and be on the edge of your seat.

The podcast “Against The Odds” is broadcast weekly with five episodes per season and a running time of 35-45 minutes per episode. Each season has a single story. Four of these episodes are scripted, while the fifth and final episode is a one-on-one interview with someone close to the story.

So far, two seasons have been broadcast. Against The Odds is available on Apple Podcasts, Wondery, and Audible, or anywhere you can get your podcasts. But instead of just reading about a podcast, we thought you’d love to hear from its hosts.

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