Photo: Alina Mendoza

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I consume information. Like many of us, I spend a lot of time online on my computer and smartphone reading the news, watching videos, scrolling through my social media feeds. That’s a lot of screen time, and for someone who relies daily on email and Google docs and internet research to do my job, and as someone who appreciates good storytelling, I’ve turned to podcasts to inform and entertain me while my eyes catch a break.

Similarly, I’ve increasingly become interested in digital wellness* and how our relationship with technology continues to evolve. In some small way, I consider podcasts an act of self-care; a form of creative nourishment on one hand and an opportunity to unplug from emails and scrolling on the other.

Below are some of my favorites that have served to inspire, teach, entertain and challenge me to consider perspectives beyond my own and immediate surroundings.


Longform

A podcast on writerly beginnings, craft, and all things “how to” on storytelling through interviews with editors, authors, investigative reporters and more. Some of my favorite episodes include interviews with Zoe Chace and Tina Brown

  • Great for: People interested in cultivating curiosity, people interested in the story behind a story
  • I listen to Longform when: When I feel stuck or discouraged about freelance writing (which is often)

Duolingo podcast 

The language-learning app presents true stories in English and Spanish, like the one about hitchhiking through Afghanistan and the one about a chance encounter during the Argentinian dictatorship. I’ve found it an engaging way keep up with my Spanish language listening skills and learn something about culture, history and customs of predominantly Spanish-speaking areas. They’ve slowed the tempo of Spanish-language narration, which I appreciate, and find I can understand nearly every story on the first listen. In comparison, Radio Ambulante is an audio show from NPR that I have to listen to twice (and also read the transcript) to grasp the entire story.

  • Great for: Intermediate Spanish-language learners
  • I listen to Duolingo when: I’m sipping (downing, rather) my a.m. coffee or before bed to squeeze in a quick refresher

Invisibilia

A podcast about “the mechanics” of emotion, per the show’s co-creator in a 2014 podcast episode of Tape, another podcast about the intersection of the business of audio and storytelling. Invisibilia explores the ways in which our inner worlds shape us through cerebral yet relatable stories about patterns, connection and things unsaid.

  • Great for: People who often wonder why we do what we do and how we move through the world today
  • I listen to Invisibilia when: I’m overwhelmed by the 24/7 news cycle

The Trip by Roads & Kingdoms

Interviews with people from all over the food world, plus alcohol, plus deep dives on everything from mezcal to Korean corn bread and lots of personal anecdotes in between. I especially loved this interview with Samin Nosrat (the chef/author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) who brought us the four tenets of delicious cooking.

  • Great for: People interested in food beyond top restaurant listicles
  • I listen to The Trip when: I’m grasping for a sense of adventure or just want to geek out about the cultural and historical context behind food

New podcast alert

The Corporate Dropout

Full disclosure: I used to work with Rachael and April, co-hosts of a podcast about embarking on entrepreneurship, which is all the more reason to share something that’s been in the works for some time. So far, they’ve interviewed women building her own digital marketing, cosmetic artistry and shared workspace businesses and discuss challenges and lessons learned along the way.

*This is an affiliate link, which means I may receive compensation for anything you purchase on the site.
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