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!
Even the book lovers (like me) know it’s not always possible to read while travelling. I love to read and always carry books with me, particularly books about travel like Nellie Bly’s Tour Around The World in 72 Days or Sur les Chemins de Chine by Clara Arnaud (pardon my French!). But when embarking on a long train or bus journey across the Balkans it’s sometimes too much to bring several books. Sometimes it’s impossible to read because you are on a night bus from Sarajevo to Belgrade. That’s when having a bunch of podcasts ready becomes the secret to happiness.
Podcasts about books
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.
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 a 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
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 (!!)
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
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”.
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.
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
Including a colleague of mine, Jelena
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.
What did the llama say when he got kicked off the farm? Alpaca my bags. #ClassicJokeTueday— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) 25 juin 2013
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!