I'll admit that I was a little late to the podcast bandwagon and didn't really start listening until Serial, but I can't get enough of them now. Whether I'm on the road and am tired of music, or at the gym, or at home wanting a little background noise, I enjoy that they require more concentration than listening to music, but still allow you to occupy your time with other things.
No matter your interests, there is a podcast out there discussing it in detail and they're a great way to delve into a subject more. Here are just a few of my favorites that I listen to weekly.
Everyone who loves to travel, wants to explore a new city like a local. No one consciously sets out to only bounce from one tourist trap to another. Look Like a Local is a travel podcast that takes you across North America (and now Europe). They interview local residents of travel destinations to find out where the best places to eat, see and hang out are. It's great to skim through and find episodes about a destination you are about to visit, or if you are looking for inspiration for your next weekend getaway. You might remember this podcast from when Jackie was a guest and shared her favorite spots in NYC.
In my now frantic quest to learn enough German to not embarrass myself in a few weeks (can you believe it?!), I stumbled upon the Coffee Break German language learning podcast. I enjoy the format and being able to hear natives speak to get a good feel for the accent. The podcast is produced by Radio Lingua and they also have lessons in French and Spanish. To get additional lessons, you can sign up for a paid subscription.
Being an adult is hard. And one of the twenty-something editor, Sam Zabell, at Real Simple is on a mission to take the guesswork out of transitioning out of college and helping other twenty-somethings win at real life. Topics include: taxes 101, cooking for one, meeting people in a new city, apartment hunting and negotiating your first salary. Each week, Sam talks with experts to help answer all of her questions along the way.
Mystery Show is a new podcast about mysteries, hosted by Starlee Kine (you may know her from This American Life), and is a must-listen for Nancy Drew fans. All mysteries are listener submitted and the only rule is that they cannot be solved simply by Googling. I love that Starlee takes you through her entire thought process bouncing from clue to clue and that she is also interested in learning more background about the people she interviews along the way. In some of the episodes, I've been a little more interested in their stories than I have been in solving the case.
And finally, Serial, the podcast that made podcasts cool again. If you haven't listened to season one already, you should stop what you're doing and listen. I can't wait for season two this fall and (hopefully) season three in the spring. Serial follows an entire true story each season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many twists and turns, and the listeners are figuring out what is happening right along host Sarah Koenig. I'm not sure how much of Adnan Syed's success in his fight for a new trial can be attributed to the popularity of Serial and the real questions and mistakes brought up in his first trial, but it was fascinating to watch it all unfold.