What I Wonder When I Wonder: I Think A Podcast Saved My Life (plus a chance to win $300)

what i wonder when i wander

Last Updated on March 19, 2021

People often ask us why we left to go travel, and the truth is…there is no one reason. It was complicated, but most likely a mixture of wanting a sense of adventure, not being happy and a feeling that something was missing.

All this time later, and we have a sense of direction and purpose – and I believe I have a few podcasts to thank for that!

Let me explain. From the minute I explored the podcasts section of iTunes, I was hooked. I started downloading them by the dozen, more than I could listen to every hour for the rest of my life. I love that the format is so accessible; they are free for listeners and relatively easy for podcasters to produce. Plus, podcasts are personal, portable and perfect for travelers. Podcasts are like a kickback to the golden years of radio – except that rather than gathering around the big clunky box with the family, suddenly I was able to listen to a podcast during times otherwise spent idly waiting on long bus rides, bumpy boat trips, layovers in airports.

Podcasts allow me to escape, to cheer up, to wind down, but most importantly, I realized that listening to podcasts has allowed me to dream.Globetrottergirls @ workAt first, Dani treated my obsession with podcasts as if they were ‘the other woman’ and shocked at how much time I was spending with my new crush. Over time, however, we started listening to them together, using our Belkin RockStar headphone splitter (mandatory gear for traveling couples). Traveling through Laos, we once listened together to four podcasts by Pat Flynn (see below) during a 3.5 hour ride in the back of a pick-up truck from Nong Khiew to Luang Prabang.

Just last month, Dani finally ordered her very own sleek iPod Touch and downloaded iTunes. Now she’s finding even more podcasts and sharing them with me, like one of her favorites: NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.

Laughter is the best medicine

Some of my podcasts are for pure entertainment purposes only. Some might teach me a thing or two about life, of course, but no matter if we have had a challenging day or feeling a little lonely on the road, these podcasts lift my spirits, make me laugh and make me think.

Hollywood Babble-On, with Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman – crass boy/potty humor that I love not feeling bad about laughing along with.

This American Life
– a weekly public radio show hosted by Ira Glass and possibly the best podcast of all.

New Music discovery

NPR All Songs Considered – it’s hard to stay current with music on the road, so I find it easier just to stay way ahead, instead, and the All Songs Considered folks have their fingers on the pulse of what is about to pop in all genres of music. With one click of the ‘subscribe’ button on a whim, I discovered an entire genre of music that has turned out to be the kind of music I always wished people would make but had never heard.

Health and Wellness podcasts

I have made no secret about my struggle with maintaining my health on the road, and these two podcasts have helped me immensely with understanding health and wellness.

The Jillian Michaels Podcast – I instantly fell for Jillian’s super-educated, scientific, and no-nonsense content all wrapped up in a sarcastic dislike of the self-help genre in general.

Underground Wellness – I am not ‘Paleo’, but Sean Croxton’s podcast is so incredibly educational about macro-ideas like the state of our food down to the intricate workings of micro-nutrients in our bodies.

podcastsFinding the guts to live the dream

When I started listening to podcasts about working online, something inside me changed forever.

For the first time, this trip did not seem like an extended round-the-world adventure. It became about creating a legitimate lifestyle, and I discovered that there are thousands of people out there who are living a similar dream. Through listening to their stories, I could finally visualize the possibilities on how to bottle this happiness and continue our lives along this path for as long as we both want it.

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn – this is the best podcast I have ever found about making money online. Pat is honest, genuine, and entirely transparent as to how he pulls in between $40,000- $60,000 a month online.

The Suitcase Entrepreneur with Natalie Sisson
– One of the few great female voices in the online business space, Natalie – herself a successful digital nomad – interviews dozens of other entrepreneurs who are able to maintain a life of travel while growing a successful business. So inspiring.

What about the travel podcasts, then?

You may have noticed that travel podcasts are noticeably absent from my list of favorites – something you probably wouldn’t expect from a travel blogger. That’s not for lack of trying. I have downloaded every podcast out there about travel at some point. I am no expert, just a big podcast geek, but as far as I can tell, there is no travel podcast out there that inspires or entertains on par with my other favorites. No one who I want to spend an hour a week listening to.

So, I wonder: Do you know of a travel podcast that is savvy, well-produced, entertaining and inspiring? What travel podcasts would you recommend? More importantly what are your favorite podcasts in general? Would love your tips in the comments below!

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Would you like to get to know us better, keep up with where we are and what our lives are really like on the road? We are finally launching our official newsletter, and you’ll get more access to Dani and I. We will tell personal stories that don’t make it onto the blog, link to our TripAdvisor reviews and Foursquare check-ins so you know what we really think about the places we visit around the world, answer reader questions and occasionally give away some pretty serious travel goodies, like the one this week!

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courtyard by marriottAll you have to do to win the $300 Courtyard Gift Card is sign up for the newsletter here or in the sign-up box on top of this post by 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time on August 14, 2012. The winner will be selected by using and announced on August 15, 2012, in the first edition of our newsletter!

We can’t wait to go Beyond the Blog with you – stay tuned!

Tags : What I Wonder When I Wander


  1. You should check out the Moth podcast. It’s a great storytelling series with a weekly podcast of a 10-15 minute story told live. Perfect for when you don’t have time for a long, involved story.

  2. I know what you mean… I haven’t really stumbled upon super inspiring travel podcasts, either, and not for lack of trying! I’m excited you opened up a forum for this, though – I’ll have to keep checking back to see if anyone else has some good ideas.

    Have you ever listened to the podcasts from The original “Stuff You Should Know” is so entertaining, and I also love “Stuff Mom Never Told You” for a bit of a feminist bent on pop culture topics.

    I’m also a massive fan of BBC’s Witness podcasts – they’re each about 10 minutes long and they feature intereviews with people who were witness to defining moments in history. Really well done, and I’m amazed at how much more I know about the world after listening to these podcasts consistently for a year or so.

    Also much love for NPR’s everything, especially Planet Money!!

    1. Love all the Stuff You Should Know, etc podcasts (particularly the v. nerdy but great convo that is Popstuff) and Dani actually turned me on to Planet Money and it’s great! I’ll def have to check out BBC Witness, I’ve just started listening to the Memory Palace, also a history podcast that is short and not so boring! 🙂

      1. Definitely going to look Memory Palace up! Another cool history series is one from the BBC, also in 10 minute segments, called “A History of the World in 100 Objects”. It follows human civilization all the way up using, you guessed it, historical objects to tell about a different aspect of the world during that time. A little serious, but fascinating, and the narrator has a very soothing voice so it’s a nice one to fall asleep to…

        Comedy: Totally check out “Risk”. Hilarious stuff. Had me laughing my face off on the full yet silent subway cars in Seoul. Seriously enjoyable.

        Cheers and thanks for the recommendation back!

    1. Hey Andi, would love to know which you listen to now! We had them on constantly during our road trip last year through the U.S. and learned so much rather than listening to the same 5 songs on the radio all the time!

  3. Thankyou thankyou thankyou! I really need more podcasts in my life and I haven’t had the time to find any good ones. I do listen to This American Life and Pat Flynn (do you girls have any niche sites up your sleeves?)

    I love Jillian Michaels and didn’t know she even had a podcast!

    I agree on the travel podcasts… and they’re all really poor sound quality too. I do like Amateur Traveler and I’m hoping to find some other good travel ones.

    1. Hi Scott – if you like Jillian, then definitely just click ‘Get All’ and download all of her podcasts. She doesn’t play a sort of ‘tough trainer’ role like I guess she did on biggest loser (I never watched it), but the podcasts are very real, super-informed and she has some great guests on as well. As for the niche sites, we definitely have looked into it and considered it heavily, but are looking at other more transparent routes toward monetization in line with GlobetrotterGirls instead.

  4. I used to listen to a lot of comedy podcasts when I had dead time to fill 🙂 And can’t agree enough on the essentialness of the headphone splitter for the travelling couple 😀

    1. Would love to know which comedy podcasts – I have the Comedy Mixtape but they are rarely something that cracks me up. I love stand-up though so always on the look out for more!

  5. Thanks so much for featuring me here. I love getting to interview awesome people on my podcast and the lessons you learn from accessing these peoples’ minds is quite incredible so I’m glad you get as much enjoyment out of it as I do from doing them.

    There are a few other podcasts I enjoy including Tropical MBA by Dan Andrews. Us lifestyle people are pretty cool to hang with 🙂

    1. Hi Natalie, I had Dan Andrews on the list, actually, with ‘Yeah, Buddy’ next to it 🙂 but had to make some definitive cuts – the post was actually way too long and I had at least a baker’s dozen in there at first. Funnily enough, I also had your most recent interview, the Internet Business Mastery guys on there as well, but find that your business model + lifestyle is much more aligned with our goals and way of life! Keep inspiring us! 🙂

  6. I subscribed to the newsletter! Thanks for the chance to win!
    gina.m.maddox (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  7. I have to admit I never listen to podcasts. However, a couple of these intrigue me so I may have to check them out. As for a favorite travel one, I don’t listen to podcasts but I do know about the Amateur Traveler with Chris Christensen. So you may want to check that one out.

    1. Hey Jeremy – ooooh, I love podcasts, so definitely recommend you find some you like! I’ve only listened to a couple of Chris’ podcasts, I’ll have to take another look.

  8. You’ve just inspired me (seems to be a running theme) to download a whole bunch of podcasts. Steve says he can’t believe I haven’t got into them already as he’s convinced I’m going to get hooked. I also recently discovered TuneIn radio app, which is great for listening to radio programmes from all over the world. I’m a big fan of BBC Radio 4 in the UK so am excited about keeping up with that.

    1. Oh, great! I am so glad that you’ll get into podcasts, Victoria, we are both totally hooked. I used to use TuneIn app on my phone – however – it eats through a lot of battery and depends on a good wi-fi signal. That’s what I like so much about the podcasts is that there are as many music ones as talking ones, so I can get new music along with the other podcasts and listen to hour-long mixes, etc. There are also daily news podcasts from all major mainstream media as well. I mean, you just can’t go wrong 🙂 Make sure to share which ones you like – oh and which ones Steve likes too! 🙂

  9. Excellent recommendations here Jess! Downloading a bunch of new ones as I type this. Thanks. 😀

    I’m also a big fan of The Moth, as well as Blogcast FM for internet business stuff.

    1. Hi Matt – thanks! Hope you like the podcasts. I’ve downloaded the Moth and we just listened to Blogcast FM for the first time the other day. pretty good stuff. If you ever get a few new podcasts, feel free to share them with us! 🙂

    1. Cole – if you don’t listen to Pat Flynn, you really have to! Especially if you are going to try and get out of the office and 9-5, Pat’s the perfect example to follow and learn from!

  10. I find This American Life has it’s up/down weeks, but I do love WNYC Radiolab. It’s just enough geeky with humor to learn unknown things, they first hooked me with their ‘Limits’ episode

    1. Dustin, thanks for saying that about this American Life because i must have first listened on an off week and didn’t care for it much. Lately, though, it has been excellent! I’ll check out Radiolab for sure! Thanks for the recommendation!

  11. Love this post! I just wrote down a bunch of the ones you mentioned in your post and also that others mentioned in their comments to check out.

    I went on this crazy podcast downloading spree when I got my iPod and now I love listening to them when I work out because I can multi-task and their length usually makes a good workout length too. The ones I listen to the most are language-related, I’ve been using a lot of various ones to improve my Spanish, and MoneyGirl.

    1. Hi Sky, I don’t know MoneyGirl – will have to check that out. I know what you mean about working out. I find that I work out to a podcast even better than music because i am so engaged in what I am listening to I can run harder!

  12. Nerds after my own heart. I love podcasts more than anything in the world, they’re going to to knock Documentaries of my list of favorite things.

    Just like blogs, the art of self publishing is so powerful. To get to the heart of expression. I have written about podcasts and how they relate to Travel several times. Podcasts were my solace whilst abroad for the year. Kept me to a routine from home.

    Comedy podcasts are my topic of choice, mainly because comedians are naturally expressive, insightful and entertaining. Marc Maron and Pete Holmes are my faves, Pete Holmes in particular I’ve referenced and excerpted on travel posts relating to Synchronicity, dreams and taking risks.


    1. Great – I will check out Pete Holmes for sure – I haven’t loved Marc Maron, but would consider giving it a second chance as well!

  13. Sorry, I don’t have a recommendation for a travel podcast, but this post has certainly got me thinking about going away and listening to some. Especially the point about keeping up with music/current affairs and pop culture. I find that really difficult now that I’m not at home and miss having my favourite comedy shows to watch and laugh along with! Thanks for the inspiration! *dashes off to check iTunes*

    1. Hey Julia, thanks for stopping by! That’s the thing about podcasts – it just allows me to feel plugged in and in on the joke when around non-nomadic types 🙂

  14. Just found this post from you guys and I love it! I made Ana listen to Podcasts throughout SEA on the buses, he he he 🙂

    Nearly all of the ones you mentioned are new to me. I am a die-hard listener of the Radiolab podcasts — I love them intensely. Will check out the other ones. Hope you ladies are doing well!

    1. Thanks Shannon! Hope you’re enjoying some of the podcasts Jess mentioned here. We’ll have to check out the Radiolab podcast! And yes, we’re doing well – only three more weeks left in Mexico, can you believe it 😀

  15. Very cool. Never listened to any podcasts, but I recently listened to a book on CD (Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book) for the first time on our drive from Atlanta to NYC and loved it. I wish I had more free time, as I’ve always wanted to do a world music podcast that would take people an audio journey of our favorite global cultures.

    1. Hi Bret, you should do a podcast – it would be a great addition to Green Global Travel!! I have ideas for you already (obviously, I am obsessed with podcasts). I would recommend finding one or two that you like though and listening to them, it’s like niche radio for all your interests!

  16. I love love LOVE podcasts! Where to begin with recommendations?! I’m currently subscribed to about 35 different ones. My only two real travel ones are Amateur Traveller (with American, Chris Christensen) and Indie Travel Podcast (with Kiwi couple, Craig and Linda). I find both to be easy listening, the former being focused on the ‘where’ of travel, the latter on the ‘how’. Like several other commenters, I’d definitely also recommend The Moth and Radiolab. I also really enjoy a lot of fiction podcast, with something of a sci-fi bent (so may not be for everyone) but the Drabblecast is excellently produced short fiction of “strange stories, by strange authors, for strange listeners, such as yourself.” Savage Love, with Dan Savage (American sex and relationship advice podcaster) is informative, sometimes moving and occasionally hilarious sex advice with a refreshing queer- and sex-positive attitude (though Dan is very opinionated, and doesn’t shy away from the incredible diversity of human sexuality, so if you are easily offended, this probably isn’t for you). One of my goals for this (or next?) year is to start a podcast about my own travels, once my partner and I leave for South America. I’m looking forward to try my hand at being on the other side of the podcasting veil!

    1. Thanks so much for the recommendations, Sam! I actually just discovered Dan Savage and enjoy his show. Jess gave it a try last year and wasn’t too impressed but she might have to give it a second try 🙂 We both tried Amateur Traveller and the IndieTravelPodcast but we didn’t LOVE either one – maybe we just caught a mediocre episode though – I’ll give it a second listen. You have to send us a link to your podcast once it’s live 🙂 When are you going to South America – It looks like Jess and I will be there at the end of the year (until next summer?) – if we’re there at the same time, it would be great to meet up!

      1. It’s true that both of those travel podcasts can be mediocre from time to time. I mostly like the Indie Travel Podcast because I like knowing where Craig and Linda are and what they’re doing! This idea of my own podcast is still just that; an idea. We’ll probably start off blogging, and see how it goes, but it’s definitely something I’m interested in. And, yes, if we are all in the same place next year, my partner (Zab) and I would absolutely love to meet up with you. As a same sex couple, we’re really inspired by your attitude, and love reading about your adventures, so it would be great to feel less stalkery about it and actually talk face to face! We’re planning to leave the London (where we’re from) in mid January 2013, and start in Buenos Aires, then maybe head south, but nothing is fixed yet. We can’t wait!

        1. You definitely made me give them a second chance 🙂 We might just leave BsAs when you get there (at least that’s the plan for now) – but maybe we’ll catch each other somewhere else in Argentina, we’re planning to travel around for at least a month. It would be great if a meet-up worked out, so let’s keep each other updated on our itineraries!! Hope to meet you guys soon 🙂

  17. Just thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. I’ve started a podcast inspired by the quotes and conversations I collected whilst traveling.
    Its me engaging with people on life, consciousness, dreams etc…. I’ll be incorporating Video Game metaphors and pop culture references to lighten it up. Its also just my personality.

    Travel and journey is a good go-to topic and a great jumping off point for storytelling. The technical side is the main sticking point right now. I trust my process will improve over time. Have you ever thought of starting a podcast?

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