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Welcome to Podcast 101 - your guide to finding fabulous new podcasts to keep you company on your next trip (or commute!).

First things first, how do I find these podcasts?

There are MANY different podcast players to choose from, so don’t fret! Your choice can be influenced by which smartphone you have, but there are some available on Android and IOS devices. For those of you with iPhones, you have a built in podcast called iTunes Podcast through the Apple Store. I am an Android person, so I listen to my podcasts on Podcast Republic, but I have heard great things about other players that are available on both IOS and Android, they include: PodBean, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Stitcher, and Laughable. Try them out and find the format that best suits you!

And the beauty of podcasts is that they are totally free entertainment - you need WiFi to download them, but once they are downloaded you can listen to them any time, anywhere!

When I asked our team which podcasts they would recommend, the podcast listeners of the group eagerly sent their suggestions. Our dynamic leader and CEO Ismail and our best hug provider business developer Luis both recommended Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn), so it must be good! Our social media guru Lina suggested The Budget Minded Traveler for all of you who love travel (aka: all of you!) and My Social Life, and our networking savvy Zainab recommended On Purpose with Jay Shetty, The Tony Robbins Podcast and Startalk Radio (about space, science and pop-culture).

And with that, here are some of my favourites (each has a link to the podcast’s website/download so you can find out more).

From the start of episode one I was enthralled by this family drama turned absolute tragedy, and the journey to piece together who did it.

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Podcast 101: Your Newest Travel Companion

(Best podcasts of 2019)

True Crime

If you enjoy short 20 - 30 minute stories, you’ll appreciate Criminal by Phoebe Judge. Great voice, great content.

The Dropout was a great listen that follows the story of Elizabeth Holmes and the fallout of her medical device company Theranos. Once the youngest self - made female billionaire in America,  Holmes is now at the centre of a criminal trial that could end with her behind bars. The story of Elizabeth Holmes is both bewildering and captivating - from a brilliant idea that would revolutionize the medical world to a fraudulent scheme that fooled even the most revered minds.

Other podcast recommendations in this genre include: Conviction, To Live and Die in LA, The Teacher’s Pet.

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Recently I’ve been an avid listener of the CBC’s popular podcast Uncover: Escaping NXIVM and Uncover: The Village - two seasons of the same series. The first season follows Sarah Edmonson’s involvement and escape from a cult called NXIVM. NXIVM was a self-help group with a large following. While it engaged in questionable tactics and pyramid schemes, it was generally engaged in self-help practices that enticed thousands. Unfortunately, NXIVM also had a dark inner circle called DOS which is accused of recruiting women into a sex ring where they were branded and encouraged to service the group’s leader Keith Raniere. Raniere and some of his closest associates including the actress Alison Mack, heiress Claire Bronfman, and apprentice Nancy Salzman, were recently arrested and criminally charged. Stay tuned and get listening.

Investigative Journalism

The second season of Uncover is about a mysterious plane crash that I have yet to listen to, but plan to! The third season follows murders in Toronto’s Gay Village, following the arrest of Bruce McArthur - a serial killer who stalked the village.

I have been dealing with a concussion for some time now, and podcasts were a life saver for the period of time where I could not look at screens at all. I listened to Hidden Brain often, and really enjoyed it’s engaging content. I also listened to This American Life (varied content, great storytelling), Locked up Abroad (just like the TV series), Family Secrets (about, you guessed it, family secrets), and I recently discovered This is Love which shares stories of perseverance and obsession. I listened to a warm episode about a woman who swam with a lost baby gray whale while out for an ocean swim, keeping him company as they waited for his mother to find him. The next season, which starts today, is about a club in Italy called “The Ugly Club” (not kidding)!

The Wandure Podcast Library

Podcasts are a true gem. Well in my humble opinion, that is. Not only are they a throwback to the good old days of radio listening - before TVs and smartphones - they are an especially fabulous travel companion. They take up gigabytes rather than kilos, so you don’t have to choose between a podcast and shampoo (you’re welcome)! Even for those who travel super light (side note: I envy your packing skills), podcasts are an easy and non-invasive travel buddy.

Have you contemplated listening to podcasts in the past, but quickly became overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing a winning podcast from the thousands of options in the world podcast library? You are not alone. But believe me when I say that there is something for everyone. Interested in culture? Current affairs? Travel? Mindfulness? True crime? Sports? Investigative journalism? Podcasts are your oyster. Some come in series where you anticipate the next episode in the same way you would anticipate the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy (we know you do it too), while others are released more frequently or with varying topics each week, so you can pick and choose those episodes of interest!

Arguably the series that popularized the true crime podcast genre, Serial is hosted by NPR’s Sarah Koenig. Season 1 (the best season) revolves around whether or not Adnan Syed, who was accused and convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, is in fact guilty or wrongfully convicted. To this day, he refutes his guilt. Syed was recently granted an appeal - the follow up series Undisclosed, hosted by Syed's lawyer, follows this continuing saga.

Over My Dead Body by Wondery has been my new go-to. The host brings you into the murder of Florida State University College of Law professor, Dan Markel. From the start of the first episode I was enthralled by this family drama turned absolute tragedy, and the journey to piece together who did it. Also by Wondery, check out: Dirty John (turned into a popular Netflix show!) and Dr. Death.

Courtesy Wondery

Courtesy CBC

And I’m out of space to explore them, but check out One Plus One  by Wondery, Where Should we Begin? with world famous psychologist Esther Perel, Stuff You Should Know, No Such Thing as a Fish, and The Joe Rogan Experience (people seem to love this, but I haven’t listened to it yet so I take zero responsibility for your enjoyment of it). 

Courtesy This Is Love Podcast

Courtesy TED Radio Hour

And finally, who doesn’t enjoy a good Ted Talk? With Ted Radio Hour you will listen to a themed episode that converges 3-4 different Ted Talks around the same topic. Interspersed with interviews of the speakers, it is informative and captivating! Ted Talks Daily are also a great, inspiring addition to your line-up (think Ted Talks but audio only).

Current Affairs

While I try to garner a wide breadth of news coverage, my news podcasts are predominantly Canadian (true North and free). My favourite is The Current which is a daily podcast from the CBC that provides commentary on world affairs. The host, Anna Maria Tremonti, is a top journalist, excellent interviewer and treats serious topics with utmost care and respect. A must listen.

The Daily was recommended to me some time ago, and I never regret tuning in - the content is always pertinent and interesting. I also enjoy Embedded where the host takes a news story and follows it more in depth, as well as The Axe Files - hosted by David Axelrod (former senior advisor to former President Obama), the podcast is premised in “revealing interviews with key figures in the political [and cultural] world”.

Courtesy The Daily Podcast

If you’re looking for a slightly longer listen on current affairs, check out The Documentary Podcast.

Humour

Last year I had a very challenging work experience that resulted in many unhappy days, but listening to My Dad Wrote a Porno would turn my frown upside down. I literally peed myself from laughter. While it can become a bit redundant after some time, the premise is this: a group of three friends sit around a kitchen table reading aloud an abysmal pornographic novel written by one of the men’s fathers. It is absolutely hysterical. Also, I have heard great things about the humour of Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids and Modern Love - both worthwhile checking out!

Courtesy Modern Love Podcast

Living Mindfully

As you can likely tell from content in other Wandure blog posts, I am big on living mindfully. Here are a few recommendations in that genre, to keep your heart and mind in balance as you navigate the world!

The mindbodygreen podcast is brilliant - great interviews and great content (their online articles are also great!). Also be sure to check out On Being, Where should we Begin?, Hungry for Happiness by Sam Skelly (recommended by Luis’s girlfriend Haley), and Oprah’s Soulful Conversations (Zainab also likes this one!).

Entrepreneurs

When I came across How I Built This, I was thrilled! The host, Guy Raz, interviews a range of successful business founders including the founders of Lululemon, Tom’s of Maine, Five Guys, Bumble and many many more. The interviews are dynamic, engaging, and certainly inspiring.

Planet Money was recommended to me recently, and so far I’ve really enjoyed it! The one episode I listened to was about the emergency landing of a flight in Iran, the experience of the passengers, and the journey of getting the physical plane home. Quite a listen (but maybe not the best to listen to while on your flight).

As someone who is trained as a lawyer, but choosing to steer away from a traditional legal path, Lessons from a Quitter spoke to me on many levels! Premised on interviews with people who have chosen to leave unhappy careers and find fulfilling paths, this podcast is a great listen for anyone navigating the professional tightrope of happiness and professional pragmatism.

Fans of Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den, this one is for you. The Pitch is a panel of investors who listen to pitches by entrepreneurs itching to have their ideas heard and importantly, seeking investment.

Courtesy How I Built This Podcast

Fiction

Up for a little fiction? Check out Homecoming starring David Schwimmer (that’s right, Ross from Friends), Oscar Isaac (brilliant actor), and Catherine Keener (awesome voice) - it is a great listen start to finish. I was sick while traveling in Ecuador and lay in bed listening to this podcast from start to finish - it was great company. Next there’s 36 Questions which is a podcast musical - great songs, fun/depressing content (you’ll see what I mean) - enjoy!  And finally, for fiction lovers check out The New Yorker Podcast where authors read other authors' fictional works.

Travel

And the best for last…travel! Here is a list of travel podcasts that explore everything from a shoestring budget, to mindful travel, to wild travel stories, to how to figure it all out on the road!

So here it goes: Flight of Fancy (wacky places to travel), The Thoughtful Travel Podcast (wild travel stories), Women who Travel (the realities of traveling as a woman today), Wild Ideas Worth Living (making your crazy travel plans happen), Indie Travel Podcast (travel advice), Amateur Traveler (advice on where to go next, and what to do once you’re there), Extra Pack of Peanuts (travel advice from a couple who are traveling the world), and,   This Week in Travel (news and trends in travel).

So plug in your headphones…or connect your new Apple Airpods and get listening! Be sure to post any further recommendations you may have - we love a great new show.

Courtesy Flight of Fancy Podcast

Thirsty for more? Check out our previous blog post on Making your travels as epic as Game of Thrones.

By Chelsea Sauvé   |  May 1st, 2019