Coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill. Flights have been canceled, resorts are drying up, and all trips, large or small, are being pushed back. People are locked up in their homes, looking at the world only through their windows, laptops, and TV screens. Although we need to stay arms distance away, that doesn’t mean you can’t have someone in your ear. Podcasting helps you exercise your imagination, and travel podcasts can be a much-needed distraction from the strange snacking habits of our roommates or scrolling on Instagram.
The activities that once colored our lives are now inaccessible: going to new restaurants, frequenting our favorite bookstore, or enjoying a live comedy show. Most moments of our lives are now being lived in black and white. We are washing down and sanitizing everything. Our houses have never looked cleaner. We haven’t worn a bra since last Tuesday, and the idea of wearing makeup is laughable. The idea of being within six feet of a stranger at CVS is enough to make you hold your breath.
We are living in weird times, but most of us are still living, even through the large setback of being unable to explore. Our ability to travel is how we understand the planet and helps us discover new pieces of ourselves. Traveling is the fullest extension of living. It is life in full vibrancy.
Travel gives us something to look forward to. When we leave our homes, we discover parts about the world that we never expected to learn, and it keeps us feeling connected to a larger whole.
Although our lives have been put on hold, that doesn’t mean our dreams have to. Here is a list of the best travel podcasts to keep the spirit in you aflame.
Given that the closest to nature most of us are getting these days is through the rotating National Park pictures on our desktop, it would be nice to listen to some stories about people who have boots on the ground. Gale Straub discusses the relationships that women have developed with nature, either hiking the Superstition Mountains, doodling with biologists, or running with ultra-marathon racers. Good thing adventure shops are having some great deals on hiking boots right now…
She also has a book! Each photograph is so stunning, and you might forget that you are flipping through a book and wonder where the like button is.
Nick and Amy are a backpacking couple whose podcast explores every nook and cranny of the world. Listeners can enjoy a wide range of content from these two saucy Brits, from travel themed game shows to deep conversations with locals and their own personal stories (and they have been through everything). You can hear of their experiences hiking through Petra, being boots on the ground during the Venezuelan crisis, and finding the best Pastéis de Nata in Portugal. They are #travelcouplegoals for us all.
Strangers Abroad is a narrative travel podcast. Host and solo female traveler, Adrien Behn, carries listeners around in her backpack and records conversations she had with strangers as she treks around the world. She sandwiches each interview with her own stories.
Her second season examines the stages travelers go through while being abroad. The show goes beyond travel hacks and budget tips. Episodes explore the social and psychological aspects of traveling: identity crisis, being lost, the difference between traveling alone vs. together, food orgasms, falling in love with strangers, being stranded on highways, hiking mountains while relapsing, living out of vans, being inspired to make the world better, and ultimately making our way back home.
This is the granddaddy of travel podcasts, literally. This podcast was made when podcasters were frequently confused with video game underlings.
Where Chris Christenson’s name may sound redundant, his content certainly isn’t. Each episode, he finds a local expert on a region and digs deep into the best activities to do, what not to miss, and historical tidbits. With nearly 700 episodes, Amateur Traveler hits nearly every point on the map and gives you great tips on round-the-world tickets, which I’m sure many will be impulse buying the moment we can go outside again.
Don’t worry; this podcast isn’t just people singing drinking songs off tune into the mic and listening to an audio version of beer pong. Chris understands that drinking has always been an essential way to connect with strangers. He interviews local influencers in the places he is traveling to and has them bring him to their favorite local watering hole. Whether it is chatting about social dynamics over Filipino beer or analyzing networking strategies over a pint, Chris knows how to evoke dynamic insights out of people he doesn’t know much about. Good thing he keeps the recorder on while he is throwing all these brews back.
In these times of physical distancing, sitting in the quietness of our apartments, we can take this uncertain time as moments for reflection. Are we living the lives we want to be living? Is your life as adventurous? Spontaneous? Thrilling as you would like it to be?
Did your favorite travel podcast make the list? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!