I tend to associate summer with going on vacation, and that means spending some time in transit. And I associate time in transit with time to listen to podcasts. So, whether you’re driving, flying, or just want something to distract if you’re traveling with family, here is my ideal summer podcast playlist:
- This American Life: Hit the Road
The perfect inspiration for a trip is a story about other people going on trips. Or in this case, three stories.
- Judge John Hodgman: “Die Flederhaus” (or as it’s affectionately known, “Bats”)
This podcast regularly makes me think a lot harder than I expect to and suprises me with its depth. But this is not one of those episodes. This episode is just plain HILARIOUS. Two brothers purchase a dilapidated house in Kansas that is infested with bats. Both acknowledge that the bats should be removed, but they are short on funds to pay an exterminator and can’t agree on a preferred alternate method. I have listened to this episode three times and still haven’t heard all of it because of how hard I’m laughing.
- This American Life: Day at the Beach
David Sedaris is known for his ability to make hilarious anecdotes out of mundane experiences. But this is not one of those stories. This is the story of the annual beach vacations his family took when he was a child, and how his sister’s suicide brought the remaining members of his family back to the beach once more.
- This American Life: Accidental Deception
This, however, is a funny David Sedaris story about a time he took the metro in Paris and was mistaken for a Parisian by a Texan. Hilarity ensues.
- How Did This Get Made?: Sleepaway Camp
I am an enormous fan of movies so bad they are amazing. (The recent popularity of Sharknado 2 leads me to believe I’m not alone.) So when I found out there was a podcast about such films, I was ecstatic. How Did This Get Made? is one of my favorite podcasts, and this is probably my favorite episode. I highly recommend that you watch Sleepaway Camp before listening (maybe while on vacation and save this for your trip home?), but it’s an enjoyable listen even if you don’t.
- TED Talks: You Are Always Changing
This is a really interesting lecture on how we change a lot more than we expect to throughout our lives. The effect is surprisingly freeing.
- StoryCorps: Annie
I love love stories and this sweet tearjerker has stayed with me since I first heard it.
- Welcome to Night Vale: A Story About You
I love Welcome to Night Vale, and this is possibly my favorite episode. Probably because it’s a story about me.
- The Moth: A New Map of the World
This is a hilarious story on the perils of confessing too much to a crush.
- Radiolab: “Bliss”
It’s kind of impossible to be in a bad mood after you listen to this. “On day 86 of a 3-month trek to and from the South Pole, adventurer Aleksander Gamme discovered something he’d stashed under the ice at the start of his trip.” This is proof that sometimes, it really is all about the simple things. There’s a video too.
Happy listening and happy summer travels!