Is there really anything worse than sitting in traffic for an hour on the way to your job? Probably, but it's still no fun. One summer when I spent nearly two hours in traffic each day, I discovered that music just wasn't keeping me preoccupied during the long commute. I found myself arriving at my destination irritable after an hour spent with bad drivers and brake lights. Thankfully, I discovered something that made me eager to ride in the car twice a day: podcasts. As nerdy as it may sound, I started listening to an episode or two a day. I would become so invested in the story that the drive flew by instead of creeping along.
If you're in the car often, or even if you're just looking for something to listen to on planes or in your home, then you should definitely check out some of the following podcasts.
This creative show delves into the unseen forces that shape our lives on a daily basis, from our beliefs and ideas to our emotions and behaviors. It's a podcast based on science and experiments, and you'll immediately get hooked into their interesting search for answers to the big question: Why do we do what we do? Invisibilia is co-hosted by Alix Spiegel, Lulu Miller and Hanna Rosin, who are all award-winning journalists. Join thousands of other listeners to hear fascinating personal stories and to learn more about the way your brain functions.
This American Life
This podcast is one of my long-time favorites. Produced by Chicago Public Media, this radio show broadcasts to about 2.2 million listeners and has won tons of major broadcasting awards. In fact, it's by far one of the most popular radio shows in the entire country. Each episode has a theme, which can vary between serious journalism to comedy. There are hundreds of episodes in the archives, so you've got a large selection of stories to pick from. Each episode is incredibly well-done, and you'll learn something new each time you listen.
Happier With Gretchen Ruben
Ruben, a well-known writer and "happiness expert," decided to bring her knowledge to the public via a podcast she co-hosts with her sister, Elizabeth Kraft. During each episode, the two tackle what they call "happiness stumbling blocks." They also discuss tips and tricks for making your life a happy one. It's an easy listen, and you might walk away with some life-changing strategies.
The NPR Politics Podcast
This podcast might not be as fun as some of the others, but it's definitely informative. Reporters attempt to talk to listeners about politics in a candid, conversational manner. They cover a large range of topics, from elections to issues and fact checks. If you're sick of hearing about politics everywhere else, then you might want to skip this one. However, it is quite different from other political shows, and you might enjoy catching up on news from the world around you.
RadioLab is another one of my all-time favorites. The show is all about curiosity. The hosts question and research a huge range of topics, and each one is presented in a fascinating manner with sound effects and interviews. I never expected to enjoy learning about scientific discoveries or statistical anomalies on my way to work, but this show makes it fun. Like This American Life, RadioLab has a large archive of episodes, so you'll definitely find one that interests you.
A couple of years ago, season one of this podcast took the world by storm. Millions of people were hooked by the mystery, and it became one of the most popular shows to ever hit the air. Now there are two seasons for you to enjoy. Trust me, it's not too late to find out what all the hype is about. If you're anything like me, you'll end up avidly hanging on every word both in and out of the car until you finish.