Do you listen to podcasts or do you read books on your commute? As you might know from reading this blog or following me on Twitter or Instagram: I like books. A lot. They are my go-to on my daily commute to work. Which is the reason I found my way to podcasts a bit late, a bit indirectly and a bit haphazardly. That being said, I’ve come to really like a few of them, so allow me to introduce them to you.
In 2017 I went on a group trip with Intrepid to Morocco. It was a wonderful trip that I truly recommend: we travelled around in a little bus with our group of 12 to see as much of the country as possible in the space of 2 weeks. Now, that means a significant amount of time spent on a bus. I can’t read in cars or busses as it makes me really sick (only on trains and planes this usually works). So what to do?
In the past I had listened to a few audiobooks on long bus journeys, but found them a bit hit and miss. A lot of it depends on the voice of the reader and how good the book is. Mostly I would listen to the ones I found on Librivox – they are free and read out by volunteers (I’m also secretly hoping something like this will still exist when I retire so I can spend my days reading and recording books). Anyway, as I had heard a few people go on about podcasts, I decided to give them a go. It’s a while ago but I believe I googled a bit and went for the following selection:
- Monocle’s The Urbanist: I discovered the Monocle magazine when I was waiting for a friend in the library (great meeting point if you have friends who are often late). So I was very happy to later on discover their radio/podcasts. My favourite is The Urbanist series – ‘about the cities we live in’. They are short and savvy podcasts, usually about half an hour, and I really feel like I learn something from every one I listened to. They do require a bit of focus, so not ideal when you’re already nodding off.
- Call your girlfriend: This one is a podcast by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. The topics were quite Amercian so I don’t think I got all the references. However, I remember them discussing Hilary Clinton after her run for president, which is a topic most people are somewhat familiar with, I think. It was also refreshing to hear two women having such open and frank conversations.
- The Allusionist: ‘A podcast about language by Helen Zaltzman.’ For a language geek like me, that line is enough to win me over. If it isn’t for you, I’ll let the Guardian convince you. An episode I still remember and quite liked was about Technobabble, the words that are invented and used in sci-fi.
In the past few years I’ve followed my interest in sketchnoting and handlettering, which you can read all about on this blog as well. That also meant that I started following a lot more Instagram accounts from creatives, and that’s how I found out about Creative Peptalk. I’m nowhere near any of the recent episodes as I’m a bit OCD when it comes to stuff like this – I signed up to the newsletter to get access to the first 100 episodes and started listening from scratch.
A bit long and full-on sometimes, but I really like them. The podcast is presented by Andy J. Miller who is an illustrator and makes this podcast for fellow creatives. It’s funny, it’s inspiring and it’s useful. Some of the analogies are really random but often crack me up. One that stuck with me was the ‘6 ways to be a happier creative’. I really want to listen to that one again and do something useful with it.
This year (2019) my partner and I did another big trip that involved a lot of bus rides as we travelled through Georgia (the country). So I went on another quest with my friend Google and found these gems:
- Ctrl +Alt+Del: To be honest – I had never heard of the podcast or presenter Emma Gannon beforehand. So thank you Internet! Which is quite appropriate, because that is mainly what the podcast is about: Emma talks to her guests about their relationship with the internet. Only – in the random few I selected, downloaded and listened to on holiday that topic isn’t really discussed as much. So maybe the podcast (already over 200 episodes) has trailed off a bit? In any case, I really enjoyed listening to them and can’t wait for my next long bus journey to dive into a whole lot more of them. Current fave: the one with Elizabeth Day.
- How I built this: Not sure about you, but I LOVE those video’s that show you how something is made. This is the podcast equivalent, in interview form. There are so many interesting stories in this collection, and I’ve only selected a few about some brands or companies I know: Canva, Five Guys, SoulCycle and Burt’s Bees. Definitely recommended for aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
- Sh**ged Married Annoyed: recommended by a Northern friend of mine. The downloaded files of the episodes were too big to put on my prehistoric MP3-player (see picture above) and take with me on holiday, so I’ve started listening to them at home while I’m doing chores. It’s quite funny and there are some very recognisable moments about relationships.
Right, so those are my current favourites. Got any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!