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My favourite podcasts

January 15, 2016

I’m relatively new to the podcast game.  My first experience with them was a couple of years ago when a colleague in Laos recommended I listen to Serial.  I did, loved it and anxiously waited for new episodes to be released each week. For some reason though it never occurred to me to search for other podcasts until late last year when I was spending my days lying in a hammock lazily staring at the sun dancing on the waves.

Sometimes I listen to music but more often I have an audiobook filling my ears while I’m in the kitchen, or walking (or the very odd occasion when I work out). When I say an audiobook I literally mean one audiobook, or I should say one of seven – the Harry Potter books.  I’ve been cycling through them for the last five years now and I haven’t gotten sick of them even though I can recite certain chapters nearly word for word.

I know it sounds mad to listen to the same books for years but I have a real thing with audiobooks, if the narrators voice annoys me as they so often do I just can’t listen to them.  I especially hate narrators who don’t change their voices for the characters but just continue in the same monotone for the entire story. UGH! Just thinking about it annoys me!  Part of the reason I love the Harry Potter books so much is that they’re narrated by Stephen Fry – who in my eyes (and ears) is one of the most wonderful human beings currently alive, and who also has a wonderfully energetic and creative voice that is perfectly suited to voicing a bunch of different characters.

I still love Harry Potter, and I’m still listening to them (currently on the Goblet of Fire) but lately I’ve been trying to branch out and embrace the wonderful wood of podcasts! I like them because they engage my brain a little more than a book where I tend to zone out, and they engage my brain more than music does so I can really lose myself in them. I also feel like I’m being exposed to the world even when I’m somewhere like Central America.

Here are some of my current favourites – and a couple of the episodes from each

Fresh Air – each time I listen to this I am struck by just how little I know about the world. Everyone from musicians, actors, politicians, photographers and environmentalists are featured.  I love the variety of topics featured here, and I also love the intelligent thoughtful interviewing by Terri.
Try: Paramedic stories, The Myths of Ancient Rome, & Randall Park Interview

Ted Radio Hour – I don’t watch a lot of TED videos because I find a lot of them tedious, but these podcasts are fascinating and more often than not quite funny.  They incorporate three or four people in each episode and blend some of their TED talk with a short interview allowing for some incredibly insightful conversations.
Try: Believers and Doubters, Just a little nicer & Growing Up

This American Life – This is undoubtedly one of the best podcasts around and its numerous awards reflect that. Each week they tackle a completely different story in a thought provoking yet entertaining way. It’s the kind of show that makes you feel just a little bit smarter after you listen to it. 🙂
Try: Transformers, Abdi and the golden ticket & Three Miles

Women of the hour – If you haven’t yet listened to this gentle and insightful podcast by Lena Dunham you are missing out. There are only five episodes but I’m hoping for more.
Try: Friendship & Body

Serial – The second season doesn’t quite have the same flare as the first, I feel like it jumps around more than Adnan’s story which loses my interest a little, but I’m still enjoying it and hanging in there.

Note to self – This is a little hit and miss.  Some of their episodes I love, and some of them are a bit cutesy, trying-too-hard. But when they get them right they’re good.
Try: A neuroscientists guide to getting organised & 9 things we learned about phones from a teenager

I’ve got the podcast bug now and I’m on the lookout for more so please let me know if you have any other recommendations!

P.s the easiest way to get podcasts for android users like me is through an app called Stitcher, or for iPhone holders through the App store.

P.p.s we’ve moved into a new hostel to get away from the bed bugs in our last place and not only is this place a million times better but it also comes with this little guy! I’ve named him Teddy Bear (or Teddy for short). He’s utterly gorgeous.

pippa vague the traveling anthropologist

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2016 best podcasts

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