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My Favorite Podcasts: A Commuter’s Mental Salvation

Whether you commute by public transportation, car, or the courtesy of your own two feet, we all have to get to work somehow. Fortunately, some of us have short and easy commutes. Others, like myself, have a bit of a drive. Every day I have at least thirty minutes on each end where I am completely alone in my car. Obviously, the silence needs to be filled. Sometimes, I listen to my carefully crafted Spotify playlists to gear up, or wind down, from the work day. Other times, I need to keep my mind engaged on something else entirely.

I know, I know, I am a little late to the podcast game, but in the last year I have really been interested in adding podcasts to my commute. I really enjoy learning about fascinating people and acquiring knowledge about the world. Sometimes I just need a good laugh, or be empowered to think differently. These are the podcasts that I have fallen in love with. Give them a listen and let me know of any others you think I may enjoy!

  1. LeVar Burton Reads: Oh my goodness! I just discovered this podcast in the last week through another podcast. I loved Reading Rainbow as a kid. THIS is the same thing for adults. Each episode, LeVar Burton reads short fiction from renowned authors… science fiction, fantasy, adventure and everything in between. The stories come to life through Burton’s vivid voice and gentle cadence. This is the mindfulness podcast you need to calm your heart and feed your imagination.
  2. Unspooled: I love films and grew up watching the classics with my Mom. In this podcast, Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson break down the AFI’s Top 100 Films list and talk about what makes each iconic. They give wonderful insight into how each film was created and interview industry experts. For any film buff, this podcast is a must.
  3. How Did This Get Made?: To counter Unspooled, this podcast reviews some of the most supremely terrible movies ever created. (The Sharknado episodes are pretty amazing!) Paul Sheer, along with his wife, June Diane Raphael, and friend, Jason Mantzoukas speak very candidly about these films. The results have me continually laughing out loud as I drive.
  4. Mobituaries with Mo Rocca: Biographies fascinate me. I love learning about the lives of interesting, influential, and unusual human beings. This podcast from CBS correspondent, Mo Rocca, digs into the obituaries of many colorful characters. Audrey Hepburn, conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker, and a tree on Auburn’s campus, have been just a few of his subjects.
  5. Minor Adventures with Topher Grace: Yeah, you know the kid from That 70’s Show? Topher Grace leads celebrity guests in all sorts of interesting challenges on this show. Guests are completely surprised by the adventure they take in each episode. Wedding officiating. Song writing. Lie detectors. Who knows what the next adventure will be?
  6. Up and Vanished: Friend and local business owner, Stacey, recommended this one to me. For those who are fans of true crime, this is for you. Podcaster, Payne Lindsey, takes a cold case that the police have given up on, and tries to solve it through some deep investigation. The first season traced the story of missing teacher, Tara Grinstead. It had me on the edge of my seat and ready to commute again, so I could keep listening to what happened. Season two wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I am hoping for a third. (His other podcast Atlanta Monster was also pretty interesting.)
  7. The Daily Show (Ears Edition): This is a shortened version of the previous night’s broadcast from Comedy Central. Since I don’t watch much TV, this gives me a chance to keep up. Trevor Noah and his writing staff are very funny.
  8. This American Life: This is a weekly radio program that has been around since the mid-90’s. The show includes human interest stories about life in America, with first person narratives and interviews on all sorts of topics. Some are quite funny, others are very sad and thought provoking. I have learned so much about the human condition by listening to this program.
  9. Science Rules!: Bill Nye the Science Guy is the host of this call-in show where they explore how science effects every area of life. Reading? Food? Human attraction? He covers it all and reminds us that “We’re ALL science people.”

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