I spend a lot of time in my car each day. The Netherlands may have one of the best infrastructures in the world, it’s also a very busy one. On a good day I have about a 40-minute commute, but most days it’s around 1 hour and 15-30 minutes. In order to not feel like that time is completely wasted, I listen to a lot of podcasts. According to Spotify Wrapped 2019 I listened to 183 hours of podcasts alone, out of a total of 443 hours I had something playing. This way it still feels like I’m actually accomplishing something while driving, from learning new things to finishing a new story.
Not all podcasts have to be educational, especially after a long day it’s really nice to just listen to people playing D&D (or similar games). My personal favourite is The Adventure Zone by the McElroy family. They’re in their third season right now, and it’s an absolute joy to listen to. It’s funny, moving, really well produced and overall just a blast. The live shows are also incredibly entertaining. Their latest, The Dadlands, especially so.
If I’m feeling up to learning some new things, Freakonomics Radio never disappoints. I read the book many, many years ago so discovering that there’s an actual podcast (by the writer(s)!) is a real treat. They cover a wide range of topics, but usually there’s a bit of an economic angle to it.
On the same vein as Freakonomics is 99% Invisible. But instead of economics this is about architecture and design. Well… Maybe it started out as such, but having started at episode 300 there’s now a very broad spectrum of things they discuss. It’s always interesting, usually about stuff you’d not normally think about (hence the title). They also feature a few other podcasts from time to time, so you can branch out a little. For example, they recently hosted Cautionary Tales which has piqued my interest.
At the bottom of this page is a list of all the shows I listen(ed) to, but the last one I want to highlight is The Black Tapes podcast. It’s a nonfiction-styled fictional show about investigative journalist Alex Reagan who teams up with paranormal skeptic Dr. Richard Strand and his store of unsolved cases he calls the ‘Black Tapes’. It’s a great show that really sucks you in as the web of conspiracies grows larger. It has finished its run, so you can binge it all the way through to the end. It also spawned a spin-off show called TANIS, but I didn’t enjoy it that much (although I did finish it). TANIS wasn’t as good because it tried a bit too hard to be suspenseful, but instead just drags on forever, never really getting anywhere satisfying.
Let me know if you have any podcasts you think I should really listen to!
My list of car entertainment:
- The Adventure Zone – ‘D&D’ in a podcast!
- Freakonomics Radio – Explores the sometimes unintended effects socioeconomics
- 99% Invisible – ‘Architecture and Design’, but more just interesting background info
- The Black Tapes – A story about a web of mysterious conspiracies
- TANIS – A bit too much suspense building about a mysterious occurence
- The Way I Heard It – Mike Rowe’s short and surprising stories
- Lore – Folklore and mythology stories
- Wolf 359 – Audiologs from a space station orbiting a star
- The Once and Future Nerd – A tale of fantasy and magic