Podcasts for the stuck-at-home traveler

Hi guys! How are you doing? It’s been a while since I posted – for obvious reasons. We’re in a lockdown again, the numbers are higher than ever and it seems like this is gonna take a while. So I’m doing the smart thing and I’m staying inside. I am looking at doing a detox yoga retreat in january, but more on that later – when I actually decide if I want to go or not.

Today I will focus again on the stuck-at-home traveler. I’m pretty sure all of you are in the same metaphorical boat as I am, wanting to travel but not being able to. Earlier, in the first months of the corona crisis, I shared my ideas for books, movies and series and other tips for fellow wanderlusters. Today I want to focus on podcasts.

Podcasts are on the rise and great to listen to while driving or doing household chores. I also love to listen to podcasts when I’m doing things like puzzling or drawing. It’s like listening to a radio show but then it’s about things you actually enjoy, depending on your interests and the podcasts you’re choosing. I started listening to the podcast of Brooke Saward from World of Wanderlust. Her blog (and her life, actually) has always been an inspiration to me and when she started a podcast, I immediately started to listen to it. It’s more about books than traveling, however, and since I’m already surrounded by books every single day, working in the library, I wanted to listen to something else. So I looked for travel podcasts and found some great ones I’d like to share today.

There are so many podcasts out there, and it took me a bit to find a couple of ones I liked. There’s not an exact rulebook on what makes a great podcast, but I noticed a few points that made me turn the podcast off really quickly. One of them was the overuse of useless filler words. With one show, I started counting the times the hosts said the word ‘like’ instead of listening to the podcast itself. Other podcasts were too informal. It’s good if a show is funny and informal a bit, but you’re listening because you want to learn something about traveling, in this case, not about when kids need to go to school or what kind of coffee they buy in the morning. This happened a lot of the times when the podcasts had a married couple as hosts. The podcasts I did enjoy, however, were fun and imformative, but not too dense with information, and they had clear speakers. The ones I liked best were the Amateur Traveler Travel Podcast, Travel Diaries and Women who travel.

Amateur Traveler Travel Podcast

The first podcast I would recommend is the Amateur Traveler Travel Podcast. Every week there’s a new episode where a travelblogger is interviewed about their hometown, country, or a trip they took that had a great impact. There are over 700 podcasts to listen to, each one covering another region. The host is witty and a great storyteller, but it’s the different bloggers that make the podcast richly filled with information.

It’s a great show to follow, to listen to while doing the dishes, but it’s even more lovely if you’re looking at visiting a specific area. For instance, the latest podcast on Wales covers the best areas, fun things to do (like a trampoline in a cave), sightseeing options and their stories (devil’s bridge) but also best times to go and things to look after. It’s a fun and informative way to learn a little bit more about the regions you’re wanting to visit, and it’s also a way to get more excited about places you’re planning to visit. For example, as you know, I had planned an extensive trip to Iceland, reading the entire Lonely Planet and filling it up with about 500 post-its, and when I put on the Amateur Traveler Podcast for Iceland, I got more and more exited. I didn’t add anything to our list that was mentioned in the podcast but still, hearing people talk about an area you’re about to visit just makes you more excited to go there.

The Travel Diaries with Holly Rubenstein

Another podcast I liked was the Travel Diaries with Holly Rubenstein. It has the same formula as the amateur traveler podcast, where travelers from all over the world join in, guests like Yotam Ottolenghi, Jane Goodall and Rick Stein. I especially love the bonus episodes where they go through an entire country really quickly. It was lovely to listen to the bonus episode on Italy with little snippets of bloggers, magazine editors and chefs, where they speak about the gorgeous places I visited in Italy as well, but also get recommendations for new places, like Ravenna and Trieste.

Women who travel

The last podcast I want to highlight here is somewhat different from the two above. Women who travel by Condé Nast traveler is cultural and historical, rather than ‘just’ great places to visit. It’s a great podcast to listen to if you actually want to learn something.

One episode I really loved was How the ‘Green Book’ shaped a generation of black travelers. It was highly informative, not about places to visit and things to eat, but it took more of a historic perspective. Janée Woods Weber talks about her roadtrip with Alvin Hall that traces the Green Book. For those of you who have never heard of that, I’d recommend watching the same-named movie that came out last year. Before I watched it, I had never heard of it either. Anyway, as Janée points out, though it is a good film, it’s still from a white guy’s perspective and with the podcast they made, they wanted to hear the black voices and the stories of the people who lived them. Janée talks about their podcast called driving the green book, which by now I also added to my list of podcasts to listen to. This episode focuses on their roadtrip, the way they found their stories and how they experienced the roadtrip itself, learning more about their own history. It’s somewhat of a documentary podcast and I really enjoyed it.

The women who travel podcast focuses on the real stories, and it has so many amazing episodes. For instance, one on how Hawa Hassan wrote a cookbook from old African family recipes, an episode about a marine biologist that is dedicated to protecting the ocean, but also podcasts on why we deserve to travel, a peek in the life of being a digital nomad and the latest podcast: life during the corona pandemic and how make your work days feel like work days and your vacation days feel like vacation days.

All of these podcasts can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Do you like to listen to podcasts? What are some of your favourites?

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