I’m going to say something a bit controversial. I didn’t start listening to podcasts until 2016. That felt really good to get off my chest.
My love of podcasts began last March when I began my four month trip through Southeast Asia. I downloaded quite a few podcasts to get myself through the 12+ hour overnight bus journeys for when I needed a break from reading (and eating entire packets of Oreos) and it was the best decision ever.
Here I am one year later, wondering why it took me so long to jump on the bandwagon. What I love most about podcasts is that there will be at least one for literally every topic on Earth. I’ve delved into quite a few over the past year — some more interesting than others — but each ranging in subject matter.
While I love reading, I find podcasts are the best way to pass the time on the road. Are you curious as to what I regard to be the best podcasts to listen to while traveling? I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites!
Listen if you’re in the mood for true crime
I was introduced to this podcast by my best friend (and fellow murderino) a few months ago and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve always had an interest in true crime, and this podcast speaks to my soul. The hosts, Georgia and Karen, reel the audience in with funny one-liners and witty commentary throughout. This podcast has gained so much popularity that the duo is currently traveling the USA, recording episodes live in sold-out venues. #SSDGM, y’all.
Listen if you’re feeling woke AF
A pair of Chicago buds recently started recording this gem of a podcast and I’ve been hooked. The politically-charged topics discussed throughout the episodes make my left-leaning heart happy. Hosted by comedian Mike and musician Renee, its content is smart, witty and relatable (well, for most…) I find listening to the duo wax poetic over subjects like the Russia/Trump debacle, neighborhood gentrification and America’s prison system to be weirdly relaxing. Give this one a download – seriously.
Listen if you need to feel grounded
This is one of the best podcasts to listen to while traveling because each episode is so different. The way this podcast works is that each guest reflects upon a 10-minute story regarding a major life event. Sometimes it’s traumatic, other times it’s funny. Either way, it’s comedians, writers, and musicians sharing a piece of their lives and baring their souls. It’s raw, heartwarming, humbling and certainly worth a listen.
Listen if you need to feel all of the feelings
Comedian Erin McGathy doles out relationship advice and shares musings with fellow artists on this brilliant podcast. Her quirky charm and down-to-earth personality shine through in a way that I feel like I’m hanging out with an old friend. While the podcast is in fact focused solely on feelings — the good, the bad, and the ugly — it’s oddly uplifting. She’s currently living the expat life in Ireland, so, for me, it also serves as a nice reminder that other people are also living this unconventional, complicated – and at times – lonely lifestyle.
Listen if you’re feeling curious about our planet
Similar to Story Worthy, 99% Invisible focuses on a variety of subjects in a micro journalistic fashion. For instance, were you aware most of the items made in every single dollar store comes from one Chinese town in particular? Have you ever wondered about how architects and musicians have worked together to increase or decrease reverb? Are you curious as to how the AIDS epidemic impacted the art scene in the 1980s? This podcast covers such an incredible amount of content that will not only make you an excellent pub quiz teammate but will expand your mind, too.
Listen if you’re a music fan
This is by far and wide one of my favorites out there. The host, Hrishikesh Hirway, invites musical artists on the show to unpack songs piece by piece. Hirway has hosted the likes of Norah Jones, Phantogram, Blonde Redhead and Ghostface Killah — each of them describing the artistic process of a specific song they’ve produced. The fact that it gives listeners insight into the lesser discussed aspect of music making is why it is so uniquely wonderful. After listening to the dissection of the tune, Hirway plays the song in its entirety.
Listen if you’re a fan of The Daily Show
Of all the legendary NPR shows, Wait Wait has to be my favorite. Each week, host Peter Sagal and a panel of comedians discuss the week’s news. The Chicago-based show is hilarious, educational and is presented in a game show-esque format. While the show’s primary focus is on current events, Sagal also interviews celebrity guests, who later participate in their own private game show. From start to finish, this podcast is pure gold every time.
What are some of your favorite podcasts?