We might as well declare the late 10’s the era of the podcast. To many it may look like podcasts are the new blogs; they are cheap alternatives to getting published and anyone can do it (whether you can do it well or not is a different conversation). Podcasts are, at least in my case, replacing the traditional radio programme and are new and popular enough that they can still go viral. With an engaged audience, monetising a podcast might even be possible.
I started getting into podcasts in the mid-2010s when true crime and “Welcome to Night Vale” were all the rage. Autumn is fast approaching in the Northern Hemisphere so as the nights get shorter and the air colder, I want to leave you with 5 travel and mental health podcasts that will educate, inspire and encourage you.
1. She Explores
No travel or mental health podcast library is complete without She Explores. Host Gale Straub interviews women dedicated to the outdoors in her now 3-year-old podcast and community, raising awareness for native communities, the environment, accessible gear and hiking, to discussing classism and unfair working conditions of mountain guides around the world. I learned to love hiking thanks to Gale’s inspirational interviews, and I’ve come to cherish the day whenever a new episode comes out.
Gale’s silky voice and honest accounts of her own experiences with the outdoors guided me in my four-day hike in New Zealand, inspired me to keep finding hiking routes in London, and simply to just go outside as much as possible. She now has a co-host and more than 100 episodes under her belt, each one discussing key topics such as feminism, ableism, racism, colonisation, and ageism. Listen to She Explores here.
2. The Travel Diaries
I discovered Holly Rubenstein’s wonderful podcast almost by mistake. It was one of those early lockdown days and before going on my daily walk, I typed “travel” in my podcast provider app. I was hooked from the start.
In a refreshingly simple form, Holly interviews all of her guests according to “chapters” that include their first travel memory, the trip that moved them the most and their hidden gem, among others.
Rubenstein’s journalistic acumen brings in a line out of famous individuals in the travel world like Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet, supermodel Poppy Delevigne, writer Sophy Roberts and Dr Jane Goodall.
The Travel Diaries is an inspirational podcast if there’s any. Whenever I’m feeling low or about to give up on writing, I only need to play one of her interviews to fall in love with travel writing again. Listen to The Travel Diaries here.
3. Travelling through – The London Pull
I’ve already given Emma Carmichael’s book a review in this blog. After that, she joined me in one of my London Loop walks and interviewed me for her then developing podcast “The London Pull”. As the former owner of epic local gem bookshop Travelling Through, it was great news to hear she was keeping the brand alive.
The London Pull delivers honest and down to earth accounts of life in London by real Londoners, both born in the capital and from other nationalities alike. Season 1 is now live, and I can’t wait to catch up on the last episodes as the autumnal fog rolls in. I speak in Episode 8, and you can listen to The London Pull here.
4. How Not To Travel
I first came across Dr Ki’s infamous Instagram account about 18 months ago, and was fascinated by her bold approach to colonialism and her support of local businesses wherever she goes. Now over 100k, Dr Ki’s empire is based on ethical and local travel. Her mission is to empower small businesses and to break the constraints of the US education system, as well as enabling individuals from lower incomes to travel and enjoy a holiday.
While her style might not be agreeable to everyone – and she has strict rules on how she interacts with her community – her podcast “How not to travel” is an absolute revelation in an era of hours-long programmes. Each episode packs a ton of information into 10 accessible minutes, and leave you wiser and more conscious. Definitely a must-listen for anyone interested in travel. Listen to How Not To Travel here.
5. Trauma Talks
Last but not least, I had to include Trauma Talks in my list of cosy podcasts for the autumn. I’m a bit biased as I know one of the hosts, Jeremy, personally, and of course I’m a big supporter of any of my friends’ creative pursuits.
Friend bias aside, Trauma Talks is a gem in an endless pool of new podcasts. Jeremy and Katherine interview “experts by experience”, in their own words, on trauma-related topics, including loneliness during the pandemic and being imprisoned. Although the topics discussed can be highly triggering or upsetting for some individuals, Jeremy and Katherine are both qualified psychotherapists and as such treat each issue with great sensitivity.
Hearing the first chords of the intro will have you relaxing instantly, and no matter the topic you’ll find yourself wanting to listen intently. There’s a new episode on the first Wednesday of every month, you can listen to The Trauma Talks here.
Have I missed any?
I hope you enjoy some of these recommendations and that you get to cosy up to some of them this autumn. I love to know your suggestions, so do add any podcasts I missed about travel, mental health or any other interesting topic in the comments.