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.At 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.
electro-swing.com – 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.
Finding 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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All 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 random.org 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!
Lets Get Real
Monday 17th of September 2012
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?
Wednesday 22nd of August 2012
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!
Wednesday 22nd of August 2012
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!
Bret @ Green Global Travel
Monday 13th of August 2012
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.
Tuesday 14th of August 2012
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!
Sunday 12th of August 2012
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!
Sunday 12th of August 2012
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 :D
Wednesday 8th of August 2012
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*
Wednesday 8th of August 2012
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 :)