We only started listening to podcasts about a year ago. Numerous people had told us how much they enjoyed them, but it wasn't until we visited some friends in Georgia that we were turned on to a specific one that led us down a rabbit hole to another and then another and then another. Now that we subscribe to them and listen to them regularly, it seems crazy to think that there's anyone left out there who hasn't tapped into this bottomless wealth of knowledge, experiences, and ideas. There aren't hardly enough hours in the day to listen to them all. For a newbie to the world of podcasts, it could be overwhelming, maybe even inhibiting. Why do you think we only started a year ago? So we thought we'd compile a list of our top 4 picks along with some of our favorite episodes as training wheels for anyone who wants to try it out but doesn't quite know where to start. Hopefully, it'll lead to a path that is more suited to individual tastes. For travelers, they're especially great on long journeys when you're tired of hearing the same tracks on repeat or the sound of your own voice. It's almost guaranteed they'll get you riled up, warm your hearts, or arouse your minds.
The most popular podcast of 2015 must have been Serial. Everyone was talking about it. This murder case, akin to that of The West Memphis Three with its gaping holes in the prosecution of the alleged criminal, kept us captivated and wanting to know more week after week. Is he guilty or is he innocent? It was like a volley of opinions back and forth and the fuel for many conversations on the road. There' still a lot of speculation and the jury's still out for us. When the season ended, it kept us hungry for even more.
We remembered hearing about The Moth, a storytelling podcast of true experiences told in the first person narrative that sometimes made grown men cry and their wives' hearts ache. But unless someone found himself in a precarious situation and there was some sort of ooh aah conclusion to it, I wasn't yet sold on the series. Lee, the softy in our relationship who loves rom coms and will watch anything with Ryan Reynolds, would check it out first and if he cried, I'd give it a shot. A few episodes in and several tears later, we were hooked. We downloaded as many episodes as limited wifi could get and binge-listened to them on long bus rides that usually involved border crossings and on early nights when the sun had gone down and the stars took over. It became almost a ritual to fill the silence of remote lands with stories of hope, inspiration, fear, loss, happiness, discovery. After each story, we would glance over at each other to see if we were both affected by it in the same way. Sometimes, glassy eyed, we'd wipe our eyes and let out a sigh, a mutual understanding without any verbal exchange that meant our lives were somehow made richer by these strangers' experiences. Sometimes a smug expression was enough to say that we were entertained, but not entirely invested and we would listen on.
After we exhausted that feed, we moved on to Snap Judgment, a more curated storytelling podcast whose hooks are higher production quality and a whole lot of sass. We were fans and it quickly became the soundtrack to our road trip through Australia and New Zealand.
The ultimate thought-provoking, awe-inspiring, brain-stimulating podcast of them all has got to be Ted Talks. Hands down. We had caught a couple of talks here and there before, but never had we committed to so many hours of back-to-back, brilliant, and beautiful ideas. Topics are so broad and speakers are from such diversified backgrounds that our minds were perpetually challenged and filled with curiosity. It gave us perspective into so many different subjects to which we were (and, to be fair, still are) grossly ignorant.
So what are you waiting for? Download that first podcast and give it a listen!