The 10 Best Podcasts

My podcast obsession started a few years ago, and podcasts are a basic necessity for travellers… but are wicked awesome for anyone!  I have learned that you go through a lot of bad to find the good.  This list will give you a good place to start if you're a podcast newbie….and if you're a veteran… hopefully this will give you something new to listen to!

First of all - becoming a podcast junkie requires you to have the Podcast Addict app on your phone.  It is a free app you can download easily, and all episodes/subscriptions are free.  You can find podcasts on literally everything.  Any particular diet (from vegan to paleo and everything in between), history, culture, celebrities - you name it! Podcasts beat TV anyday - mainly because they will usually make you smarter AND you can listen while you work,  go for a hike or cycle, or while you do your chores.  Podcasts are the shit! 

Here is the list of my 10 favourites (in descending order) - and I have included my favourite episodes as well.  Enjoy! 

10.  BBC World Service - The Documentary

If you know me - you will know I have a documentary addiction.  This podcast takes a subject, and does a full docu-podcast on the topic at hand.  I believe one of the best habits you can get into is continually growing and learning - and I have learned soooo much from this podcast - on so many random and interesting subjects.

Best Episode - "Black Lives Matter:  The Story of a Slogan"  Listen Online Here

9. The Intelligence Squared Podcast

Intelligence Squared is the "world's premier forum for debate and intelligent discussion".  But with controversial debate motions and experts on either side - this is a podcast that will definitely make you question your own initial opinions. 

Best Episode - "True or False - The World Would be Better Off Without Religion"  Listen/Watch Online Here 

8. Dan Carlins Hardcore History

Dan Carlin is a hardcore about his history (hence the name…) and gets IN DEPTH on the topics that he covers.  These podcasts are very long - usually 2-3 hours, and many topics are in series, so total coverage of each topic could be 9+ hours!  But… it is unbelievably interesting and definitely worth the subscription!

Best Episode:  "Logical Insanity" (on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki) Listen Online Here

7. The World Wanderers Podcast

I found this podcast a few years ago while doing research on Peru… and was surprised to find out one of the hosts was an old friend from middle school (not one that I have any connection too now… but still a fun and super random fact)!  I was really pulled into these personal tales of international travel - by a couple who have done two 6 month long backpacking trips.  They cover all topics from budget to personal stories and the challenges of wanderlust.  A great resource for those about to embark on a backpacking trip or just people who are obsessed with travel (like me…). 

Best Episode:  "Ayahuasca Experiences in Peru"  Listen Online Here

6. Ted Radio Hour

This varies from Ted Talks (short, powerful discussions on a wide range of topics) in the sense that it choses a particular topic, and takes segments from numerous Ted Talks that fit the discussion.  The topics also vary - but are always usually engaging and worth a listen!

Best Episode:  "7 Deadly Sins"  Listen Online Here

My favourite podcasts

5. Strangers

Strangers had me hooked from episode one.  I will never forget it… I downloaded the first episode on a whim to give it a try… and two minutes into my hike I remember sitting at the base of a tree because I just wanted to LISTEN (that was Stephen Rochelle:  A Father's Story).  Strangers covers true stories from… complete strangers.  It reminds you that everyone has a story - and almost everyones story is insanely interesting.  I have laughed, and on more than one occasion cried while listening to Strangers.  This podcast is one you cannot miss.

Best Episode: "Franky Carrillo:  Life"  Listen Online Here

4.  Embedded by NPR 

"Embedded takes a story from the news and goes deep.  What does it feel like for a father in El Salvador to lie to his daughter about the bodies he saw in the street that day? What does it feel like for a nurse from rural Indiana to shoot up a powerful prescription opioid? Embedded (EMBD) takes you to where they're happening."  - Source

Embedded is another one that had me hooked from my first episode.  Getting the personal stories from the headlines is not only interesting, but super valuable to relate on a human level to the issues covered. 

Best Episode:  "The House - Inside A Small Brick House At The Heart Of Indiana's Opioid Crisis" Listen Online Here

3. Democracy Now

Democracy Now is a daily, independent news program.  It is direct, un-biased, and will keep you informed about the news that actually matters.  You get the facts without the "fluff" (that news stations such as CNN/Fox News provide).  Plus - its host is Amy Goodman…. who is just legitimately the most bad-ass BOSS journalist you will ever come across (she settled a civil lawsuit with the Secret Service and the Minneapolis Police Department in 2008 with $100,000 and an agreement to educate officers in First Amendment rights of members of the press & public after the unjust arrest and detainment of both herself and her colleagues for reporting on protesting at the 2008 Republic National Convention*).  

This is a daily podcast that you can listen to online here

2. Serial

Be careful with Serial - because it is addicting, you are about to binge-listen.  There are two seasons, and each season covers a true crime story, and each episode is a chapter in the story.  The host (Sarah Koenig) is delving deeper into the story in each episode… and you are left on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what is discovered next.  So fucking good.  

As for best episode… each story is a season, and I loved season one while Kris was addicted to season two.  Luckily they are both available to listen to online here. 

1. The Joe Rogan Experience

Joe Rogan for World President!  For real though… we talk about Joe Rogan in our house (erm… camper) like he is the 4th member of our family.  His podcast has changed the way I think about literally everything.  I completely credit my over-turned lifestyle to Joe Rogan.  He has to be one of the most influential people to our generation… and if he isn't, he should be…. and he certainly has been a huge mentor to me.  He has the most crazy, sometimes random, but ALWAYS interesting people as guests on his show - and he always allows them to do the talking.   Also, while I still recommend having the Podcast Addict App on your phone (this allows you to download podcasts and listen while you are out of wifi range) - you can subscribe to the Joe Rogan Experience on youtube, and listen there as well!

Best Episode:  Episode #712 - Wim Hof (The "Ice Man") Listen Online Here 

* Source: Wikipedia

There you have it!  Are you a podcast junkie?!  I am always looking for new ones … and I definitly want to know your favourites!  Let me know in the comments below or on twitter/instagram @wayfaretrail 


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