I’m still such a huge fan of podcasts. It’s almost all I listen to while traveling, cleaning, or trying to sleep. That’s why I put together my original blog post, 9 Podcasts for Long Travel Days back in 2017. I’m still following all those podcasts…and more! I recently found a few new [or new seasons] of podcasts that I just had to rave about. These episodes are sure to help pass those long travel days in no time, whether traveling by plane, boat, car or train!
This excellent podcast by the New York Times grabbed my attention from the first episode. It’s the story of ISIS, who they are, what they believe and their rise to power. It’s the story of an incredible reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, of whom I’d listen to podcast about for the rest of her life. It’s the story of individuals feeling lost and looking for an identity. It’s the story of a terror so evil, you may be tempted to stop listening. Don’t stop. Finish the final episodes. They will take your breath away and bring tears to your eyes. The podcast is put together in an interesting format, as Rukmini, a war correspondent for the NY Times, is being interviewed by another reporter for the NY Times. This unique format gives both reporters a chance for necessary exposition on the topics without feeling dry. If you’ve ever asked “Who is ISIS?” or “What are their goals?” or “How are they recruiting non-Middle Eastern peoples in their terror war?” … this is your podcast. The series is at it’s best when it’s following Rukmini around the battlegrounds, as she hunts for ISIS paperwork left behind.The series is not at it’s best when it’s stuck in a hotel room in Canada. But overall the series is SO GOOD. Your next international flight is sure to fly by [pun intended] with this series to binge.
As a forever traveler living in a home country not my own, I feel like NPR’s Rough Translation was made just for me. It’s a podcast that takes a conversation happening in America and shares how that same conversation is happening somewhere else in the world. Although it’s sure to sound a little different. There’s been two seasons so far, and I listened to all the available episodes in a matter of no time. From racism to sexual assault to fake news to feminism, Rough Translation tackles some pretty big topics. It’ll take you from Brazil to Ghana to Ukraine to Afghanistan to India. A standout episode from the first season is “The Congo We Listen To”. It’s a challenging episode because it’s about mass rape in the Congo. And it’s a challenging episode because it taps at the foundation of truth & lies. As someone who has done countless hours of nonprofit work, both in America and overseas, the premise of this episode hit home hard for me. It left me thinking long after the episode ended. Another fabulous episode from the second season is “War Poems”. This episode takes us to Afghanistan, back when Americans were fighting a war with new & creative strategies..including poetry. I love how this episode tackles cultural sensitivity, especially since it’s a military story. It’s funny and sad, beautiful and tragic all at the same time. This is a great podcast series for when you are dreaming of wanderlust, but can’t quite getaway. Escape into a new culture and another story, even if it’s just 30 minutes at a time.
In the Dark Season 2
In my last podcast recommendation list I included In the Dark Season 1. And then I listened to In the Dark Season 2 and thought, how did this series manage to get even better?!? In the Dark Season 2 focuses on the case of Curtis Flowers, a black man charged with killing 4 people in rural Mississippi. Curtis has been tried for this same crime SIX different times. Madeline Baron, lead reporter & voice of the podcast, tells the story of Curtis, the crime, the evidence, the trials, and the white prosecutor of this case. The team uncovers new evidence that the defense had never seen. The level of journalism on this podcast is mind blowing. I love the peek behind the scenes into their research & discovery process. This team of journalists goes above and beyond any time of research and reporting for any true crime podcast that I’ve ever heard. Including Serial season 1, which is kind of the gold standard of true crime podcasting. Side note, Mississippi has the strangest storage facilities for official court documents. Each episode manages to be interesting and infuriating at the same time. At the end of this season of In the Dark I wasn’t asking how had Curtis been tried for this crime six times, I was asking how had he even been tried ONCE.
Recently, I’ve been obsessed with the Enneagram. If you’ve never heard of it, the Enneagram is tool for self growth, exploration, and discovery which identifies people with 9 different types. [I happen to be a Type 7, in case you wanted to know.] The Typology podcast hosted by Ian Cron, author of Enneagram book The Road Back to You, features musicians, authors, artists, public speakers, and more discussing their types with Ian. It’s really interesting to hear these “real world” applications of the Enneagram as couples talk about their marriages or individuals share their career goals using the Enneagram. I’ve always enjoyed personality tests and quizzes about myself, even when I was teenager reading Seventeen magazine. I’ve been fascinated by self discovery. But when I began reading about the Enneagram, I realized it was much more than a personality profile. It helped me understand some of my weaknesses and bad habits. It gave me language for the things about myself I don’t like. It allowed me to understand what I look like when I’m healthy and when I’m not. I first heard about the Enneagram through my favorite band, Sleeping at Last, who is creating a song for each of the Enneagram types. To hear the story behind of each of the songs, the Sleeping at Last podcast is pretty fabulous as well. If you are already a fan of the Enneagram or you want to know more, check out this podcast to take a deeper look inside yourself…or just to try to type the people staying in the hostel with you.
Revisionist History Season 3
I’m such a nerd for Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve read every book he’s ever written. And when I saw he was releasing a podcast, I knew I’d subscribe. I liked Seasons 1 & 2 of Revisionist History well enough, with it’s classic Malcolm Gladwell storytelling style. Each episode he examines an event in history that has been misunderstood or misremembered. Some as controversial as racism and others as mundane as golf. But Season 3 has been the strongest season of Revisionist History so far. An episode centering around a semicolon that could forever change the fate of Texas. Another calling into question the health of college football players. And yet another suggesting that Brian Williams isn’t so different from each of us when it comes to recounting a story from our past. Don’t let a long train ride or road trip get you down, tune into Malcolm Gladwell and enjoy the ride.
What podcasts do you enjoy to listen to while traveling? Let me know what you are listening to in the comments below! Happy travels!