For most of my life, I have lived with the radio constantly on in my bedroom or my living room, even when I’m sleeping. I just like to have a sound in the background. There is always something interesting to learn or some great music to listen to. I don’t have a radio anymore, but I have podcasts. Lots of them. And they are the perfect companions to travel with!

Photo by Melanie Pongratz on Unsplash

Podcasts about books

Overdue Pod

A literary podcast for all of us who think we should read the book but honestly, do we really want to dig into Moby-Dick? For 40 to 90 minutes, Andrew and Craig discuss once a week “the book you’ve been meaning to read”. Their friendly complicity is obvious and I have found myself many times laughing out loud in the street or the bus listening to their freestyle literary critics. They discuss grand literature classics, but also spooky books, Choose your own adventure books, Sci-Fi and fantasy stories…

My favourites are “The Comte of Monte Cristo” with Andrew and his wife, while Craig is gone on his honeymoon; all the “Stop! Homer time” in which the two friends discuss Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey; “You are a shark (Choose your own adventure)” in which they try and fail to become the story’s shark.

Fictional

Audiobooks take much less space than their originals. Fictional is “Classic lit with a modern tone, every other week” by Jason and Carissa Weiser. As if a bookish friend would tell you in details some literary masterpiece, from Dracula to Sherlock Holmes. Close enough to an audiobook but with a twist in the reader’s funny tone and choices of words.

I really liked the format for Dante’s Inferno and Macbeth!

By the Book

A sort of experimental self-help podcast in which comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her friend Kristen Meinzer take two weeks to try and follow the rules of a self-help book. Some might inspire you! I laughed very hard at Kristen Meinzer’s obvious scepticism. She gets really angry and the book and the author sometimes. I am myself not a fan of self-help book but I enjoy the way they give it a try and discuss what works and what doesn’t. I also love how their husbands get a tiny sidekick role in some of the discussions.

The one about A Simple Act of Gratitude got me thinking a lot (not doing it). I also recommend You Are a Badass and Zero Waste Home.

Fiction and radio drama podcasts

Limetown

Do we still need to convince anyone about Limetown? This show has gotten me immediately hooked. I’m not sure how I survived the wait for season 2 and I’m even less sure of how I can be patient for season 3! The pitch: Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from Limetown in Tennesse… Reporter Lia Haddock sets on a quest to discover what happened to those people, and especially to her uncle. But looking into the past will rise dark and dangerous figures and put her life at risk.

There is also a book (!) and there will be a Facebook series starring Jessica Biel (!!)

Photo by Siddharth Bhogra on UnsplashPhoto by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Tanis / Rabbit / The Last Movie

All the radio-dramas by the Public Radio Alliance. Their slogan: “Television for your ears”. And that’s exactly what it is. And all the podcasts are intricately linked. In Tanis, radio host Nic Silver tries to pierce the mystery of Tanis, a place out of time highly sought-after by a shady tech company and a very mysterious organisation. In The Last Movie, Nic Silver and fabulous hacker MK explore a lead that came up in Tanis, the urban legend of a movie reputed to drive you insane. Rabbit is the desperate attempt by Carly Parker to find her best friend Yumiko who disappeared after having started playing the mysterious “Rabbit” game.

The Black Tapes

Similar to the Public Radio Alliance’s podcasts (they are linked) but way spookier. I used to listen in my bed in the evening to relax before sleeping but it ended up keeping me up until 4 am once so I had to keep it for daylight! Alex Reagan thinks she is simply debunking urban spooky myths but when she starts looking into Dr Richard Strand’s “Black Tapes”, recording of mysterious events that he has been unable to scientifically debunk, they both find themselves facing dark powers and mysterious organisations.

The last “episode” dates from March 20th 2018 and lasts one minute. It just says “They know”. Come on, Pacific Northwest Stories, give us season 3!

Podcasts about feminism

Unladylike

One of my favourite podcast ever. Cristen Conger and Carolin Ervin tackle patriarchy and explore what happens when the women of this world decide to break all the BS rules society is using to keep us in check. This podcast is inclusive and all the men of this world should listen to it because 1) you will learn a lot about the everyday life and struggle of the women around you and 2) you will learn a lot about how to be a better person and an #ally.

The “How to #freethevibrator” episode was great. They are all great and you should definitely listen to them all but let me just highlight the short “Pep Talk: Supreme Rage Edition”; “How to Smash the Patriarchy” and “How to Be a Boss Witch”.

Photo by Siddharth Bhogra on Unsplash

Stuff Mom Never Told You

Bridget Todd and Anney Reese explore the past and present of women’s lives and history and bring in the discussion activism and practical solutions. It’s good to remember that women have always -will always- played a major role in the world’s development. The reason you did not know about the wide majority of them is, well, because the patriarchy has worked hard to erase them. Not on SMNTY’s watch.

The first episode I listened to was “The Magnificent History of Women & Whiskey”. Women are actually behind the renaissance of the drink and they have been essential to the development of the American market during the Prohibition. You’re welcome. The “Gaslighting 101” episode is forever saved on my phone.

Heroine Cheek

Coming from South Africa, a podcast by “lipstick enthusiasts Kenya and Zee” that covers “pop culture, societal issues and the two hosts’ take on the Football highlights”.

I recommend “Sex positive Glory”, “Sex Work Education” and “Patriarchy Princess”.

Podcast to and about travel

Step One

Including a colleague of mine, Jelena Prtoric, and other members of the Bosch Alumni Network. Step one is “a podcast about people striving to change their world – our world”. The third episode will take you close to me, in a Taxi to Sarajevo, a wild ride and an attempt to understand the complicated political and societal environment of Bosnia. When I go to new places I always do some research to understand the context and not only to find the nearest pool. Travel is not all about white sand beaches and anti-worries cocktails!

Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash
Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

Zero To Travel

Travel Expert Jason Moore from ZeroToTravel.com interviews fellow travel entrepreneurs, adventurers and travel writers about how they made it work. There will be a lot of inspiration for you, listeners, to pack your bags and hit the road! Jason Moore talk about being location independent, finding a business that suits you, travelling solo or not, with or without technology…

I appreciate that he does not ignore gender issues and makes a point of giving space to female travellers, for instance with his “Inspiring Female Travellers Series”.

Alpaca my bags

What did the llama say when he was kicked out of the farm? The name of this podcast is a reference to a joke by Ellen DeGeneres that got a good laugh out of the host Erin, writer and creator of Pina Travels. She’s just starting her show but I really like her takes on privileges and the social and environmental responsibility of all the travellers.

In the first episode, she recounts with her friends their trip to Cambodia, tell a funny/horrifying story of the “rat island” and talk about the ethics of wealthy tourists coming to shoot rocket launchers.

Women on The Road

A podcast exploring “life on the road from the feminine perspective” by Laura Hughes in partnership with She Explores. How to start travelling alone? What does it mean to be home for the holidays? How to live on a bus and travel non-stop in a van? Find inspiration and answers to your many questions in the podcast while Laura Hughes herself discovers the dos and don’ts of living in a Ford Transit Van.

Episode 44, “Walking into wellness” was very inspiring. I also enjoyed the one with environmentalist Noami Grevemberg on “love, understanding and eco-travel”.

What do you listen to? Share your favourite podcasts!

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24 thoughts on “My favourite English-speaking podcasts to travel with”

  1. This list will come very useful to me soon as I’m going to Maldives next month and I have a lot of time to kill 😀 “Women on the road” sounds a very interesting one. I find people who live in a van so inspiring! They have so many stories to tell. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I have never thought about listening to podcasts when I travel. Wow! A whole new world out there for me to explore. I think that I’m now hooked on Limetown just from your description. Sounds great.

  3. You’ve given me plenty of inspiration of podcasts to listen to. Honestly, I prefer reading, but sometimes it’s good to just close your eyes and listen to podcasts or audio books instead.

    1. I read a lot as well but when I travel by night it’s not really possible. Or sometimes I just need to isolate myself while walking or in the hostel. Both works for me 🙂

  4. I knew that there were lots of podcasts out there, but never really knew there were so many niches! I have wanted to start following some podcasts in my day-to-day commute and travels. This list will definitely be helpful as I search for some topics!

  5. Well, I am still a bit old world when it comes to books. I prefer my paperback always. But I would definitely want to try the others. Infact, I have never thought of listening to podcasts while on travel. This gives me something to think about when I plan my next. I might start of with the ones you suggested!

    1. I also read tons of books and I love my paperback, but I can’t always take a book or read and then podcasts are the perfect alternative 😉

  6. Podcasts are my secret weapon for long travel days, they make waiting in lines and sitting on planes much more bearable!! I’m definitely going to check out your recommendations 🙂

  7. I’ll be on some long flights next week, and I’ll definitely check out some of these podcasts then. 🙂 Thank you for the recommendations! (I have yet to really follow any podcasts, as I’m either at work where I find most podcasts are too distracting, or I’m reading books on my commute to work. But for long flights a podcast sounds awesome!)

    1. You’re welcome! It took me a long time to get into podcast but when I got hooked… I still make time for books but sometimes I just want to close my eyes and not be physically active.

  8. I love listening to podcasts, but I feel like I’ve been living under a rock, because I haven’t heard of so many of these! How did I not know about Limetown? Some of my favorite podcasts are Someone Knows Something, Criminal, and My Dad Wrote A Porno. If you are into history, The British History Podcast, The RFK Tapes and Cover-Up are really good. I just recently downloaded Audible and listened to West Cork which was also really well done. Thanks for sharing your list! #GLTlove

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