Traveling immerses us in the world, but sometimes in the less eventful moments in between destinations, we just need to escape. “The Layover” is a weekly roundup of books, music, podcasts, and other forms of entertainment brought to you by your favorite world travelers.
This week, we reached out to Jack McDermott, a traveling, adventure, and lifestyle photographer and filmmaker based out of Seattle, Washington. Jack’s love for photography and exploration has grown from his passion for the outdoors, and he strives to capture the moment and inspire those who follow his work. Today, he discusses the entertainment he turns to during travel’s quieter moments.
“A Moment Apart” by Odesza
I’ll listen to anything and everything while traveling. Whether it’s hip-hop, electronic, or alternative, I always can find something to match my mood.
Currently, I’ve been loving the new Odesza album. Listening to it straight through provides a chill setting for photo editing, driving, or even drifting off to sleep on a plane. I’ve always been a fan of the electronic duo, but I think this new album might be one of my favorites. The album takes you on a journey, with narration and layers that enhance its overall meaning. I have such fond memories of listening to it on my trip up to Banff National Park, driving through the night while vibing out to Odesza’s electronic beats.
Podcasts offer a great alternative to music while driving or flying.
My current favorite, “S-Town,” is produced by longtime “This American Life” producer Brian Reed, who tells a story about the events in a small town in rural Alabama. The story begins like a true crime story, following a suspected murder, but it soon takes twists and turns that no one expects. Reed tells the story captivatingly, weaving in recordings from conversations and phone calls with the people from the town. Similar to an audiobook, this short narrative — only seven episodes — draws you in and keeps you listening until the very end.
I don’t read as much as I’d like to. Instead, I find myself writing in my journal quite often, documenting anything I can think of. I have a few journals, but sometimes I’ve even written on napkins or old receipts. I have one specifically for travel and another for everything else. Since I was 14, I’ve been documenting the day-to-day events of my trips. Describing sights, smells, locations, and people brings me back to the exact place and feeling from a past trip. I also keep foreign currency, postcards, and anything else I can find in the journal itself, little tokens I can take with me forever.
Whenever I’m flying, sitting in an airport, or about to go to bed, I always find time to jot down a few notes about new ideas or perspectives I’ve gained. I love writing about my current situation, what I’m struggling with, or how I’m feeling inspired. Looking back on these moments helps me see so much of my own growth, even over a short span of time. My second journal is used for more organizational, everyday use: planning photo shoots, places to go, budgeting for trips, and doodling. I am a very visual person, so writing down plans I’ve imagined helps me create new goals and ideas. A lot of introspection goes on while I’m journaling. It’s an incredibly valuable hobby that anyone can try — all you need is a pen and some paper.