Put on your ear buds — 5 podcasts for the newbie listener

Listening to podcasts can save your life.

Okay, maybe not save it, but definitely improve it.

Whether finding inspiration through personal essays, learning the ABCs of investing or smart travelling, being entertained by a comedic skit or having your membrane stimulated by “the world’s best human guinea pig” Tim Ferriss, podcasts bring the smartest, inspiring and funniest people in the world right into your living room (or wherever you might be).

And all you need is a pair of ear buds and a cell phone.

Commutes are less stressful, exercise isn’t as boring, and I don’t spend my evening downtime watching lame TV shows. Instead, I’m using my extra time to learn something, be it a life lesson, a new way to meditate, an awesome vegan recipe or how to solve a really pressing problem.” — Victoria Fedden, The 10 best podcasts to help you change your life.

Although still an unfamiliar medium for many, podcasts are rapidly gaining momentum in today’s data-hungry culture — according to a 2016 study, an estimated 21 % of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month. First known as audioblogging, podcasting has roots dating back to the 1980’s; with the advent of new technologies and ready-to-use platforms to create and share audio narratives, pocasting is not only reaching new audiences but also giving rise to fresh voices from every stratum of society.

Best of all, no matter your interests, there’s a podcast sure to pique your curiosity.

Here are just a few of our favourite pods

  1. Zero to travel Jason Moore knows good travel: he’s been living a travel-centring life since 1997. His podcast is a structured mishmash of interviews with fellow nomads, strategic wallet-friendly world globe-trotting and tips on living abroad. Dive into the secret world of flight attendants, find out what it’s like to resettle abroad or learn about the Nordic Theory of Everything.
  1. This American Life A weekly public radio show with an audience of 2.2 million listeners, This American Life has been around since 1995 and its host Ira Glass is known to most (if not all) podcasters and podcast lovers. “There’s a theme to each episode that is explored through a mix of journalistic stories, comedy routines, interviews or essays.” Pure genius.
  1. CBC’s The Sunday Edition “An eclectic blend of conversation, documentaries, personalities and music” The Sunday edition is hosted by broadcast journalist Michael Enright with regular contributions from award-winning broadcaster David Gutnick. Listeners can expect anything from a talk (and tea!) with a reformed neo-Nazi, a discussion with The Good Immigrant’s editor on being a person of colour in post-Brexit UK or Montreal darling author Heather O’Neil’s musings on finding magic in dark places.
  1. Extra pack of peanuts  Travis and Heather, intrepid travellers, share their insights on how you too can “travel like a millionaire, without the bank account”.  They discuss things like that time they scored a $5 flight to Rio for the World Cup, frequent flyer miles (and how to travel the world on the cheap by using them the right way), finding budget rentals and (even cheaper!) alternative accommodations.
  1. Love + Radio features “in-depth, otherworldly-produced interviews with an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime.” Wondering which episode to listen to? Go for “The Silver Dollar” and “How to argue”, a two-part episode where black musician Daryl Davis — who has made it his life’s work’s to befriend white racists — talks about having successful arguments (or critical and civil conversations) with people with stark opposing views.

What about you? Are you a podcast aficionado, and if so, what audioblogs would you recommend?