Our summer day trips yield a ton of memories but also require a whole lot of time on the road. And Lin Manuel-Miranda help me, I think I've figured out exactly how many Hamilton/Moana sing-alongs I can take per week. The number is high, but it is finite.
To mix it up on family trips and on my work commute, I've developed a collection of listening material, and podcasts are a staple. They get me out of my own head in ways that music often doesn't, and they offer windows into perspectives I may never have considered. I learn something new with every episode.
These are some of my favorites. Note that not all episodes are appropriate for mixed-generation listening. I always pre-listen solo before sharing something with Matt that might contain more mature content.
Give one a listen on your next trip, and share your own recommendations in the comments.
Wow in the World is the newest addition to our podcast lineup. Mindy and Guy Raz share science-y stuff in kid-friendly way. They do two shows a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, and with topics like brain freeze, cow farts, and the physics of shoelaces, my kid is riveted. Some of the first episodes were a little noisy, and I think they still have a way to go in terms of calibrating Mindy's character to make her a true partner with Guy Raz, but I am 100% on board for a show that helps Matt consider the everyday wonder around us.
Overwhelmed by the prospect of planning our first family Disney trip, I turned to Shannon Albert at WDW Prep School, and her guidance gave me a framework for planning the best possible trip for us. Each episode offers planning advice, practical tips, and a cure for my post-trip blues.
Another Disney podcast with a very different style. I wasn't prepared to listen to The DIS Unplugged when I first began my Disney planning, as it contained way to much information about things I didn't know yet. Now that I have more of a frame of reference, though, I love keeping up with what's Disney parks and company news. By and large, this one present information in an organized manner and avoids the everyone-is-talking-at-once issue that often plagues panel podcasts.
I once said that if I could no longer teach I'd want a career in food, and I still have culinary side-hustle pipe dreams from time to time. So I am inspired each week by the badass ladies interviewed on Radio Cherry Bombe. From Ellen Bennett and Jessamyn Rodriguez to Martha Stewart and Ruth Reichl, this podcast features women in the food world sharing their stories, both professional and personal. Listening each week leads me to new cookbooks, new products, and new thoughts on supporting the women around me.
My dad introduced me to The West Wing as "another show by Aaron Sorkin" when I was in college. We'd previously shared Sports Night, also created by Sorkin, and he'd become a favorite writer. Needless to say, I'm sentimentally attached and have watched the entire series multiple times, so I love revisiting each episode along with Sports Night and West Wing alum Joshua Malina and musician Hrishikesh Hirway.
Billed as a "comedy podcast about death," this one finds Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green answering listener questions and sharing the latest news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. Sometimes silly, sometimes thought-provoking, Dear Hank and John offers another glimpse into the brains of some of my favorite content creators.
I've listened to the podcasts listed above for a year or more, so I feel confident in recommending them. The ones below are new favorites. I've listened to and enjoyed a few episodes of each and can't wait to dig into them further.
Tumble Science Podcast for Kids: science stories told with the help of scientists
Brains On!: a science podcast for curious kids and adults
Code Switch: journalists of color in conversations about race and identity
Special Sauce with Ed Levine: conversations about food and life by Serious Eats founder Ed Levine
Ear Hustle: a nuanced, first-hand perspective on life in the American prison system
Song Exploder: musicians take apart their songs and tell how they were made
LeVar Burton Reads: beloved Reading Rainbow host reads short fiction selections