About 6 months ago I discovered podcasts.
I know, I’m a little late to the game in some respects. I’m not the only one, however. I find when I bring what I’m listening to up in conversation, many folks don’t realize that their phone comes equipped with a podcasting app allowing them to listen to thousands of free podcasts on anything and everything they could imagine.
For me it all started when I began to seek out more information about the revitalization of my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. I went to the podcast app on my Apple phone, and typed in Alabama and was astounded at how many options I had to listen to about my hometown and state.
Now, granted, most of them had to do with SEC football. I mean it is Alabama. But as I began to weed through them, I found some that were targeted directly at the topic I was looking for.
That got me to thinking. What other topics are out there on podcasts that I could listen to while I clean house, drive, work, or more? Well, I found many! In addition to several I have found helpful in my small business and blogging, I’ve found a handful helping me understand what’s going on in the world in general better too.
Prepare to have your mind expanded.
These are five podcasts that have served to help me understand and look at the world a little differently.
Being the slight history buff that I am, I was immediately intrigued by the name of this podcast. The hosts of the podcast, Tracy and Holly cover everything from the history of pizza, to deeper stories about the people your high school history books (and many that they didn’t) barely touched on.
I’ve grown a deeper appreciation for Harriet Tubman, Hercules Mulligan and Olive Oatman, to name a few.
While some of the information may seem at first like trivia you’ll never use in real life, I find that knowing these stories and events can serve to give us a better understanding of why things are, even today. You begin to see the bits and pieces of history that have brought us to where we are at this point on the timeline.
2. The Moth
There is nothing I love more than hearing a person’s story straight from their own mouth. The Moth hosts what they call Story Slams all over the world with all groups of people. Each slam has a theme.
I’ve listened to stories from former child soldiers, concentration camp survivors, children of those who suffered from mental illness, to missionaries who infiltrated North Korea. The stories are as captivating as they are breathtaking.
This podcast does come with a warning from me if you are easily offended by language. The stories are raw and real and come from all walks of life. Not every story contains profanity, but some do, and as a writer, I have found them to actually be critical to understanding the full scope of most of the stories and the authentic culture of where they come from.
These stories are important. They help us realize while we all come from different cultures and experience different things, we also react differently and see them through the lenses of our upbringing, culture and experiences. Listening to someone else’s true story helps us become more compassionate and understanding toward each other.
3. Brains On
I can’t always listen to every podcast that I love when I am in the car with my kids because of content. Some content is obviously too adult for them. Never mind the fact the things that interest me makes them want to pull their hair out.
I have a passel of science-loving, nerdy children. Brains On is a science podcast directed to the tween set and all of my kids love it! I kind of enjoy it too, if I’m honest. It’s set up in a way to get them thinking, discussing and problem-solving. We’ve listened to many a Brains On podcast that carried over to the dinner table.
I love that they get ramped up and excited when they find out a new episode has been released.
What are your favorite myths and legends? Chances are there is far more to those stories than you ever imagined. This podcast is fascinating. This one is new for me and had me utterly hooked after one listen.
The first episode I chose centered around the myths and legends of King Arthur and Merlin. It helped me sort out several things I’d always wondered about and retold the stories in layman’s terms. Making them so much easier to understand than many of the books you may have read on the topics.
I’ve already lined up episodes on Ali Baba, Beauty and the Beast, and Hercules.
Chances are, if you listen to NPR at all, you’ve caught Ira Glass and his amazing radio show. When I realized I could listen to virtually every show he has ever published (again, I know I was slow to the party), I may have done an actual happy dance.
This American Life is by far my favorite of the podcasts I am currently working my way through. His recent episodes on the Syrian refugee crisis helped me understand so much better some of the problems faced in the Middle East.
He covers an expansive variety of topics and comes at them from a very simple question every time he starts a podcast on a new topic. Each podcast is something I’ve wondered about at some point.
It’s like he knows what America is pondering then he goes and searches out the answers. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during one of his production team’s planning sessions to find out how they work this magic.
What are you listening too?
Do you podcast? Do you listen to podcasts? We’d love to hear what and if our readers are listening to podcasts. Share some of the podcasts that you find entertaining and engaging with us in the comments below.Ready to grow your brain? Check out 5 of my favorite podcasts.Click To Tweet
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