Until recently I had been enjoying this really cushty work-life situation where I could manouevre myself from bed to desk of a morning in the space of about 15 minutes. I lived about a 3 minute cycle from my office and I was living the dream in terms of commuting.
Then my company decided to relocate to the other side of Berlin and now instead of a quick pedal down the road, it means either a 14km round trip on my bike, navigating Berlin’s terrible drivers (taxis, I’m looking at YOU) and trying to cross Alexanderplatz without being spliced up by a tram.
Although I do often choose to cycle (hello integrated work-out), some days it just doesn’t work out logistically and I am resigned to hopping on the U-bahn. Although it’s still only around half an hour in total, I have found myself getting more and more annoyed about how I am now losing an hour of my day just on getting to work.
Then I discovered podcasts. Although I had dabbled with them for long runs in the past, I wasn’t really au fait with when one should listen to them. But since I’ve become a real life commuter, I can’t get enough of them. I know I could read a book on the train, but that only solves half the problem seeing as some of my commute is also walking.
If you’re also a restless commuter, here are my top 5 podcasts to get you through the morning and evening slog:
1) No such thing as a fish
I’ve never been a massive QI junkie so it’s kind of surprising that I am so keen on this one. It’s basically half an hour of slightly nerdy 20-somethings (at least I imagine them to be 20-somethings?) sitting around and telling each other slightly nerdy facts. Sounds maybe not great but they cover some really fascinating stuff. Like anti-German socks.
2) The Listening Project
A friend put me on to this one as she said she used to listen to it all the time just to get her through a dull work day. The concept is a recording of two people, discussing a particular topic that is important to them. They could be brother and sister, friends, mother and daughter, or have any connection at all. I am completely hooked on this because it is like when you are sat in a cafe and the people at the table next to you are having a really interesting and in-depth conversation about their lives and then they leave. Well, with this one you actually get to hear the full story. Find them in full on the British Library site.
3) The Inquiry
I like to think of myself as fairly up-to-date on current affairs and the like, but the reality is that I don’t make enough time in my day to watch the news, nor do I have any desire to read about anything of importance in a German broadsheet. There are lots of things going on in the world where I am really at a loss to understand what is happening. The Inquiry is a 20-minute ish podcast where experts analyse important questions relating to things such as Europe’s response to migrants dying in the mediterranean, Who wants what in Libya? and Why is South Africa still so unequal?
If anyone, like me, is still struggling to follow what’s going on, then I really recommend going back to your roots and reading about it on the newsround website. Seriously, they write it so that 8 year olds can understand it, and that’s good enough for me.
You know sometimes you just really need to hear about something good? Well once I have got myself all depressed listening about the plight of the Rohingya on the Inquiry, Strangers is the perfect antidote to make myself feel good about the world again. It tells the true stories of people who have done good, or brought about change for the better in their lives despite serious hardship.
5) The One You Feed
I just love the concept of this one. This is the parable it is based on:
The podcasts take the form of a series of interviews with artists, writers and leaders to discuss how they go about ‘feeding their good wolf’ in order to improve their lives.
Apologies to all those podcast-fanatics for whom none of these are anything special, but for those who like me really don’t know where to start when it comes to looking for something to listen to, these are good.
I love that I can now use this time in the day to learn something new or listen to something insightful. So often I find myself thinking back to the subject of the podcast that I have been listening to on the morning commute at a later point in the day and it’s really great in making you think about things you otherwise would never really come across.
Has anyone got any other recommendations? I am also waiting for the new series of Serial to start, as I’m sure they said there would be another one for 2015.