The morning commute. Many of us fall victim to those long hours spent in the car, hours that often have the tendency to bring out the worst in us. This frustration is heightened when we’re inching along the freeway, stuck in morning traffic on our way to work. When we finally arrive, we’re grumpy from sitting in our car rather than motivated to start a productive day at the office.
The good news for the commuting woman is that there is a tool to help her restless mind break free from the car jail cell and into another world. This tool is the podcast, a way to take back control over your commute. Podcast selections are endless, providing listeners with their choice of suspense, comedy, education, advice and motivation. Podcast listeners are an inquisitive and passionate community, ready to grasp any opportunity to explore and learn just by listening.
“But where to start?” You might ask. Picking your first podcast is like walking into a bookstore filled to the brim with thousands of books, and then trying to decide on just one. Whether you’re a seasoned podcast lover or new to the scene, here are 10 podcasts perfect for the Darling commuter.
1. If you’re fascinated by the human mind…
Criminal is not your everyday crime show. Instead of the traditional crime show structure of walking the listener through details of a grisly murder, Criminal specializes in crime of a different kind. One episode takes us into the world of a man tasked with breaking up a Venus flytrap theft ring, while another follows the mysterious case of a clever thief with a fondness for rare books. These episodes include both stories and interviews, giving a fascinating look into the minds and lives of criminals and those who fell victim to their crimes.
*Where to start: Episode 5: Dropping Like Flies, Episode 23: Triassic Park, or Episode 22: Ex Libris
2. If you’re a boss lady (or dream of being one…)
Girl Boss is the perfect podcast to get you pumped for a successful day at work. It’s lighthearted with a healthy dose of comedy, however it also dives into the stories of successful women who are making big things happen in their career. The show’s hosts, Sophia and Liz make a point of sharing their own lives with listeners, whether that be what they wore to a party over the weekend, the results of a recent therapy session, or a recent #girlbossmoment. Whether you are a girl boss or on your way to becoming one, this podcast will shed a light of inspiration on your morning drive.
*Where to start: Payal Kadakia, Co-founder and CEO of ClassPass
3. If you consider yourself a part-time detective…
From the creators of This American Life, host Sarah Koenig brings her listeners alongside a story, told week by week over the course of a season. Listeners were so invested in season one of Serial that it quickly rose to the top of the podcast charts. The stories are told with such detailed devotion to the characters and plot that you don’t want the episode to end. Similar to binging on your favorite Netflix series, Serial will get you so hooked that you might just sit in your car once you have arrived at work because you NEED to hear the end of the episode. Start at the beginning and listen in order. Your morning drive will suddenly seem shorter.
*Where to start: Season 1, episode 1.
4. If you’re driving to work but would rather be embarking on an exciting adventure…
Roam + Golightly
Those who long to express their creativity and live adventurously will love this podcast. With an inspiring list of guests, Roam + Golightly proves that it is possible to live authentically when we seek to incorporate passion into our lives in creative ways. You might be sitting in traffic on the way to your 9:00-5:00 job, but if your heart craves adventure, then these interviews will help you find a way to access it. There is no better boost of confidence than hearing inspiring words from those you relate to, both emotionally and artistically.
*Where to start: Episode 1, “Grand Possibilities” with Ziza Bauer of Darling Magazine
5. If much of your day is devoted to thinking about food…
Burnt Toast by Food52
Delightful and charming are the two words that come to mind after listening to an episode of Burnt Toast. If you’re a foodie, this podcast will fill you with inspiration and give you a chance to hear from influential members of the culinary community. Hosted by Food52 cofounders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, the Food52 podcast is a way for you to forget the stress of the day and be transported into the kitchen. You won’t be sitting in traffic, you’ll be cooking with a friend in Italy, enjoying a glass of wine with The Barefoot Contessa, or devouring street tacos in LA. You might want to have some car snacks on hand for this one.
*Where to start: Episode “What We Cook When We Don’t Feel Like Cooking” or Episode “Judith Jones and Her Life in Food”
6. If you want to know the stories behind the music you hear on the radio…
Founded by songwriters Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor from Liverpool, this podcast serves as their own creative outlet. This songwriting team interviews guests such as Lennon and McCartney, Bacharach and David, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Goffin and King, The Lumineers and The Chic Organisation. Hearing the stories behind our favorite songs provides a whole new experience to listening to them. Barber and O’Connor know just what questions they need to ask in order to bring out the best in their guests, giving listeners an intimate look into the minds of musicians.
*Where to start: Episode 91: The Lumineers
7. If you constantly wondering how things work…
Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know was recognized as one of iTunes’ Best of 2008 podcasts. And it’s only gotten better from there. Often abbreviated to SYSK, this podcast educates listeners on numerous topics that range from everyday mechanics, to mythological and political. The hosts use pop culture references to give a touch of comedic relief. When listening to an episode of SYSK, you quickly become engrossed in the inner workings of the most random topics that otherwise, you would probably have never stopped to think about so deeply.
*Where to start: How the Gender Pay Gap Works, How Mermaids Work, or How Internet Censorship Works
8. If the words “401k, taxes, and investments” give you anxiety….
So Money with Farnoosh Torabi
Money is confusing. For many, knowing how to responsibly budget, plan, and invest our hard earned money is a constant struggle. Award winning financial correspondent and bestselling author Farnoosh Torabi understands our struggles. The show makes topics surrounding money accessible and relatable, providing candid conversations with top business minds such as Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Gretchen Rubin, Danielle LaPorte and many others. They share their philosophies, failures, successes, habits and luxuries in a way that is easy to understand, even if you don’t have an accounting degree. Coming out of college in debt and drained herself, Farnoosh empathizes with young professionals who don’t feel totally in control over their money and is therefore passionate about educating that demographic on how they can handle their money wisely.
*Where to start: Episode 459, Lauren Greutman
9. If you love pop culture and the sound of Alec Baldwin’s calming voice…
Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin
Produced by WNYC Studios, Alec Baldwin describes his podcast, Here’s The Thing, as a series of intimate and honest conversations. He talks with a variety of guests including artists, policy makers, and performers to learn more about what inspires them, how they got to be where they are now, and what relationships influence their work. The conversations are real, witty, emotional, and inspiring. A successful actor himself, Baldwin connects with his guest on a level that truly does yield honest conversation. And who wouldn’t want a quick visit with Alec Baldwin on their way to work?
*Where to start: Mary Brosnahan on Homelessness in New York or Sarah Jessica Parker and Ian Schrager.
10. If you’re a hopeless romantic…
Modern Love is podcast that features stories and essays, read and written by guests about modern love experiences. Warning: this one might occasionally make you a little teary-eyed on your way to work. One episode will dive into a romantic and tragic love story, while the next will have you laughing at the ridiculousness of someone’s experience with love. The podcast shares love’s joys and tribulations, read by guests including January Jones, Judd Apatow and Catherine Keener, followed by words from host Meghna Chakrabarti, Modern Love editor Daniel Jones and sometimes the essay writers themselves.
*Where to start: The Doorman | Modern Love 22 by Cecily Strong or A Heart Outrun | Modern Love 18
11. If Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is your favorite onscreen duo…
You Must Remember This
You Must Remember This is a fascinating podcast that takes you backstage into the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. The show boasts an impressive list of guest stars such as Dana Carvey, Adam Goldberg, Steve Zissis, Noah Segan, journalists Max Linsky, Mark Olsen, screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Craig Mazin, and many more. Every episode opens with a haunting rendition of the old classic, As Time Goes By, transporting us into the romantic and fast paced days of old Hollywood. Some stories span over multiple episodes, immersing us into the lives of stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford and Frank Sinatra.
*Where to start: MGM Stories Part Fourteen: Elizabeth Taylor from Michael Wilding to Eddie Fisher/ December 15, 2015
12. If you’re in need of some peace and inspiration….
Wonderfully Made is a podcast dedicated to sharing the stories of inspiring women who know their value, and are using their talents to better the world. Founded as a nonprofit organization, Wonderfully Made works towards their goal of helping young women discover, strengthen, and reclaim their true value and worth. For whatever stage of life you are in, their podcast gives you the tools to understand that you can live a life of lasting purpose, beauty and worth. You’ll arrive at work with a renewed sense of peace and motivation.
*Where to start: Episode 1, Allie Marie Smith
What are your favorite podcasts?
Images via Amanda Greeley
Black Girl in Om is also really good. No, you don’t only have to be black to listen.
Sounds Good with Branden Harvey is one of my favourites!
99% Percent Invisible. This one has me so hooked. Great for people that love design and are generally curious about the world.
Excited to add this to my list! Thank you for sharing!
Call your girlfriend!!! Ann and Aminatou are great.
I’m going to have to give this one a listen! Such a great concept. Thanks for sharing!
Love this, thanks!! A few of my favorites are Jess Lively, Freakonomics Radio, The Art of Charm, Tony Robbins, & Think Again 🙂
So happy you enjoyed it, Amy! And thank you for the recommendations!