If you can't be on an adventure, at least you can listen to one
Podcasts might be the solo traveler’s best companion. On a slow bus ride through Thailand, or waiting out a long layover in Munich? Just plug in your headphones, thumb an app, and suddenly you’re in the middle of an engaging conversation. Or maybe you’re stateside, stuck in traffic during your morning commute, and need a story to whisk you back to a foreign land. A good episode can do that, too. Here are some of our favorite travel and adventure-themed podcasts to help you pass the time, no matter where you are.
In January, Anthony Bourdain’s partners at Roads and Kingdoms released the first season of a new behind-the-scenes travel podcast called The Trip, hosted by co-founder Nathan Thornburgh, a former Time foreign correspondent. The show dives into the quirkier side of adventure travel, covering topics like KFC chicken sandwiches in Pakistan, cave dwellers in southern Spain, and bone digging in Madagascar. Bourdain calls it “your passport to all things weirder, deeper, further.”
Line We Loved: “That’s where it began—on a mud path in the jungle. It’s what the Amazon feels like the Amazon should be: a lot of mud, screaming insects, a bunch of leaves cutting up your face.”
Wild Ideas Worth Living
After 20 years as a freelance adventure journalist, Shelby Stanger switched lanes in 2016 to create her own travel podcast. Wild Ideas Worth Living features weekly interviews with well-known explorers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and more—folks like Burton CEO Donna Carpenter, climber Chris Sharma, and shark-attack survivor and photographer Mike Coots.
Line We Loved: “People think of sharks as these man-eating creatures that just want to rip flesh from you. But when I photograph sharks, I’m not trying to focus on the teeth or the jaw, but putting that focus right on the eyeball to show that sharks have life and they’re intelligent.”
Geared toward professionals in the travel and tourism industry, Skift isn’t exactly designed to inspire your next trip to Fiji or Norway, but it will clue you in on what’s happening in the industry—like $65 one-way trans-Atlantic flights from Norwegian Air. Plus, industry insiders will tell you why you shouldn’t write off cruises, what hotels are learning from Airbnb, and how the term “adventure travel” gets misused.
Line We Loved: “We’re seeing a real trend for not just how hotels are going to look after us in terms of accommodation, but how are you going to amuse us as a family unit? [There are] cooking lessons with kids, foraging with kids, diving and snorkeling as a family. The new breed of family hotels is delivering.”
Host and former #vanlifer Gale Straub speaks to women of all ages and across all spectrums who’ve discovered a love for the wilderness. The stories in She Explores feel raw and real. You’ll hear from a hiker who lost her trekking partner, a young woman with Lyme disease, a wilderness guide with an eating disorder, and personal accounts of race, failure, and sexuality.
Line We Loved: “I feel like I’m part of the weather. Being outside, in the elements, in the weather, really informs my artwork.”
Taste Trekkers, a podcast that launched in 2012, is based on a simple idea: Host Seth Resler chats with chefs and foodies from around the world about their favorite places to eat. You’ll learn about the history of ballpark hot dogs, what to order for breakfast in Jerusalem, how to find the tastiest food truck in Portland, and a whole lot more. The takeaway? You can eat like a local, no matter where you go.
Line We Loved: “In one of the mountain cities of Crete, they have a potato festival. It lasts three days, with music and different kinds of recipes. Fried potatoes, baked potatoes. Potatoes everywhere.”
The World Wanderers
Launched in 2014 by a twentysomething Canadian couple, The World Wanderers covers Ryan Ferguson and Amanda Kingsmith’s globetrotting adventures, from Myanmar to Wales to North America. They also interview other travelers who cross their path, like a family with two toddlers who live on the road and a backpacking foodie.
Line We Loved: “We arrive at our Airbnb, and the whole fish-eye lens [must have been] used, and we’re actually staying in what is basically a closet.”
Women Who Dare
Adventure racer Kerry Gross wanted to hear more stories of women doing inspiring things. So she decided to collect them herself. Last year, she set out on a five-month, 5,700-mile bicycle ride from California to Maine, interviewing everyone from a polar explorer to a geoscientist to a garage gear entrepreneur along the way. The first episode of Women Who Dare debuted March 6, so you can get in on the ground floor.
Line We Loved: “After all that stress about finding water, crossing the Cascades turned out to be incredibly easy. I just sat and pedaled and then pedaled some more.”
Elizabeth and Cole Donelson, a young married couple from Kansas City, Missouri, spent a year visiting all 59 national parks in the United States, an epic journey they documented on Switchbacks. The podcast is entertaining even if you’re not planning a visit to a national park, but it’s especially helpful if you are. They offer tips on budgeting, easy-access campsites, and their favorite bucket-list adventures. Though they visited their last park in August 2016, the Donelsons are still putting out a show with updates from a recent trip to Panama and insights they learned on the road.
Line We Loved: “Make sure you have a book or a card game—we liked the Settlers of Catan dice game—in the tent. You can’t just stare at the ceiling while the rain is pouring down.”