Whilst you’re waiting for the new episodes of Season Two, I thought I’d put together a bit of a guide to the best adventure podcasts, epilepsy podcasts, and culture podcasts for you to enjoy. Listening to podcasts has been a huge part of my life even before I started making one. I originally got into them when I was travelling a lot for work, (I can’t read on trains or buses without getting travel sick!). And then, when I came back from walking the Camino, podcasts about other people’s adventures helped me to process my own trip, and connect with other adventurous people from afar.
Now, much of the world is existing at a distance and it makes it an interesting time to be a podcaster. The medium is great for forging a human connection (it still feels strange that I am invited into people’s lives through their headphones) and taking you out of your regular life, whilst fitting into it at the same time.
It seems that podcasts also fit into the current global situation. Some reports are saying that podcast listening is already up by 18% since the lockdown due to coronavirus. Anecdotally, I am definitely getting more questions from people about what podcasts to listen to. And because my podcast tastes are pretty eclectic (a bit like Seize Your Adventure itself!) I thought I would address this in a few different blog posts, starting with my top five adventure podcasts.
These podcasts inspire me, both in the content and style of podcast structure. They are telling narratives that are interesting and make me want to get outdoors, but they are often important as well, exploring our culture as a whole through the commonality of adventure.
Listening to these podcasts are a great way to mix up your days. And most of them also have a great online presence, including Facebook groups, where you can connect with others from afar - something we could all do with at this time!
Hosted by Willow Belden, this podcast looks at big questions through storytelling about getting outside. The episodes go from very intimate stories about personal experiences and traumas, to more philosophical and sociological looks at the way we relate to the outdoors. Out There was a big influence on Seize Your Adventure. If you like the narrative episodes of SYA, you’ll love Out There. Why not start with my episode?
This podcast has some amazing interviews from some really exciting women (I had to avoid ‘inspirational’ there!) The host, Sarah Williams, is so good at opening up honest conversations. She has spoken to hundreds of women and interviews cover all aspects of taking part in adventure and endurance challenges: mental, physical, emotional, family and relationships, cultural, financial. Tough Girl has covered all the continents, and pretty much every sport. There’s over 250 episodes to choose from - but you can hear my interview for Epilepsy Awareness Week last year.
Outside Voices is a pretty new podcast, but has quickly become one of my favourites. To start off, it’s another podcast with a pretty epic pun - host Sarah Shimazaki goes in deep to narratives that are often not represented in “the Great Outdoors” - i.e. those ‘outside’ the common depiction of ‘outdoorsy’. In the five episodes so far, some comments about outdoor culture have resonated deeply with me, having been treated as ‘different’ when epilepsy is mentioned. But more often, it teaches me about things that I have never had to consider. Plus, the intro music by LIVS always makes me happy. Start with E1 Sharing the Stoke with Olivia VanDamme to shift your perspective on surfer culture.
She Explores is similar to the Tough Girl podcast in its aim, but the host Gale Straub approaches the idea of amplifying women’s experiences of the outdoors in a very different way. The interviews are interspaced with scripted content from Gale, and music music and sound design, which guides the listener and invites them to consider the episodes differently - and sometimes get involved. She Explores has a number of episodes that explore an idea through listener contributions. And yes, I’ve snuck onto this one a couple of times as well!
Another one with a really fun intro music, Outside/In uses investigative journalism to explore the natural world and the way we connect with it, use it and exploit it. I particularly like the episodes that question the cultural approach to the natural world, such as Can You Feel the Lies Tonight? which looks at the accuracy of Disney’s The Lion King in a very pedantic way.
There are a few others from stalwarts of the adventure community that I listen to and didn’t quite make it to the top five:
Mountain - Christopher Sleight
This missed the top 5 by a whisker! It has great narratives, mostly based in Scotland. I particularly love Seat of All Seats, which has both linguistic and musical merit talking about Gaelic names and music.
The Wild - KUOW
Similar to Outside/In, this has more of a focus on animals, conservation and the relationship to the areas on the boundary between wild and civilisation
The Outdoors Fix - Liv Bolton
Inspiring people to enjoy the outdoors, through interviews in the outdoors. The minute of nature at the end is particularly nice (the most recent ‘sound of nature’ was crowd sourced because of the lockdown!).
Outside - PRX
The podcast arm of the most famous outdoor/adventure magazine there is. Outside has great investigations into personal narratives, cultural aspects of outdoor sports, and the science or sport.
Recently re-launched as a type of community radio to help connect people during the lockdown for COVID19. It was described quite aptly as being like the pirate radio station in the Deathly Hallows book!
Living Adventurously - Alastair Humphries
The king of microadventures, this is another great one for exploring what adventure can mean, with questions to get both the guests and listeners think.
Also (there are so many now I think about it!):
Ramblings by BBC Radio 4