Road trips are becoming my jam. It started last month with a road down the eastern seaboard and then back up north, and then this weekend I drove 22 hours (maybe a little more with traffic) as part of my move from Massachusetts to Florida with only my dog for company.
If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that music alone doesn’t cut it with me. Music is entertaining for about an hour, after that is just becomes part of the tedium. It’s doesn’t really hurry the whole trip up.
Podcasts though are great. They are usually between a half hour to an hour long, and are sort of like a television show or a book, just audio. And while I cannot sit on my bed and watch music for 12 hours straight, I can totally read a book or watch a good show for 12 hours straight. Sure, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but everyone has their guilty pleasures. Plus, I was stuck sitting for 12 hours anyways.
Here were a few of my favorites.
This is a podcast about the things we think about, but generally don’t say out loud. How much money do you make? What’s it like watching someone you love die? Do you deserve your inheritance? Do you resent your siblings? What’s it really like to be a funereal director? A sex worker? The host, Anna Sale, asks all the really blunt questions you’ve probably thought at least one time or another.
2. Mystery Show
In this show, the host Starlee solves a lot of funny mysteries for her friends and some strangers. How tall is a certain celebrity? Why does that vanity plate say “I luv 911”? Starlee is very witty and she throws herself into these things with such a passion that she’s a real joy to listen too.
This is a bit of a nerd podcasts. It’s interviews with topnotch longform journalists about how they do what they do. They talk about structuring the stories, the reporting process, how to freelance, how to make money and life. The interviews are about an hour long and I think I listened to six of them in a row.
4. Love + Radio
The backbone of this podcast is interesting stories – the memories of a revolutionary in Libya, strange art projects, immersive journalists, con artists, etc. The sorts of things that make a good NPR feature. The difference is they use sound in a really creative way I can’t really explain, so you’ll just have to listen to it.
I didn’t listen to this on my road trips because I had already listened to every episode. However, I think this is one of the smartest, funniest shows around. The people they find to interview are fascinating and the hosts have a great dynamic. It’s about the forces that control human behaviors, like emotions, beliefs and psychology. It’ll make you think.