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 Laura Austin, a photographer and writer from Los Angeles. Laura says that her work aims to capture the feeling of finally hitting that open stretch of highway at the start of a road trip. Today, she discusses the entertainment she turns to during travel’s quieter moments.



I’m a huge fan of road trips. A lot of my travels take place behind the wheel, which isn’t the best place to read a book, so I prefer podcasts.

Podcasts occupy your mind, which helps pass the time while driving down those long stretches of asphalt. “Radiolab” in particular is one of my personal favorites. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich weave auditory documentaries that dive deep into a wide variety of scientific subjects. The captivating quality of the audio engineering alone makes it worthy of a download — and a go-to for most of my solo road trips.


“The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

This book reinforces an idea that I try to achieve through travel: being present.

During a road trip that passed through Big Sur, I stayed in a magical little hotel room at Deetjens that was filled to the brim with journals featuring entries from fellow travelers who passed through that room. One of the most impactful entries I saw suggested reading “The Power of Now,” so I wrote down the title and bought it when I returned home.

Tolle’s message is simple: we are at our happiest when we live in the now. This book helped me clear my head of all sorts of nonsense during tough times, and  works to perpetuate some of the insights I seek to obtain in my travels.


“This American Life”

This podcast should be a staple in everyone’s audio library. Hosted by my nerd crush, Ira Glass, it does an incredible job at providing an intimate view of other people’s lives and situations. I listened to this podcast for eight hours straight on my first solo road trip from Vermont to Colorado when I was 18 … so Ira and I are basically best friends now. The podcast covers such a wide range of subjects that, with each episode, you are bound to learn something about subjects you never thought you would be interested in.