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Though the art of being present is an important one, so too is looking forward to the future amid the current lockdown situation. Podcasts are an infinite source we can mine from over and over again, transporting us to different corners of the world, making us crack a smile, and inspiring our travel plans. Culture Trip curates five of the best to tune into now.
Journalist Holly Rubenstein has sat down with some of the biggest players in the travel industry, including editors like Condé Nast Traveller’s Melinda Stevens, CEOs like Mr & Mrs Smith’s James Lohan and influential figures like Jo Malone CBE. Taking us on short-haul journeys of 20 minutes or long-haul trips of 40 minutes, her podcast series – The Travel Diaries – unpicks the seminal travel experiences that greatly shaped her guests’ worlds, the first places they fell in love with, along with their all-time-favourite destinations. It’s an endless pool of inspiration, and is rightly recognised as the UK’s top travel podcast.
Politicians, Paralympians and SAS soldiers are among the 90+ guests that have graced travel journalist Lisa Francesca Nand’s podcast, The Big Travel Podcast. For the best part of 45 minutes, on average, Lisa sets out to explore what it is about travel that inspires us, makes us laugh, love, cry and keep going back for more as she traces childhood experiences to recent epiphanies. She’s not afraid to tackle important issues like how we can travel sustainably in the era of climate crisis (episode 88 with journalist Lucy Siegle); why wildlife conservation is important (episode 92 with journalist Sophy Roberts), and how travel can help heal depression (episode 74 with writer and broadcaster Rhik Samadder). Consider it required listening.
Since 1853, Stanfords has been recognised as the UK’s leading purveyor of maps and travel books with explorers coming from afar to trawl their archive, which is one of the biggest in the world. Meanwhile, since 2016, they’ve been busy leaving their mark on the podcast map with their namesake series. It’s an absolute goldmine, having featured some of the most influential voices in the travel industry. Back in 2016, Kate Adie and John McCarthy discussed their experiences behind the news on the front line; in 2017, Levison Wood spoke about his adventures on his television series Walking the Americas, while earlier this year, survival instructor and author John Hudson covered how strategies for life or death situations can help us excel in our everyday lives.
Releasing new episodes every two weeks, The National Trust Podcast celebrates the beauty of Britain in short and sweet soundbites – usually lasting around 20 minutes. This audio adventure – hosted by presenter Jo Dyson – will take you through the UK’s great landscapes and gardens as it offers up tangible advice you can take away. Take for instance a beginner’s guide to winter walking that features the Wasdale Mountain Rescue team, or a lesson in sensory walking with insights about how to create deeper connections with the natural world. You’ll be cleaning up those hiking boots before the episode wraps up.
Hosted by nomadic couple Nick and Amy Thomson, What The Pho is packed with advice and ideas for budding backpackers. Bringing in characters they meet along the way and talking from their personal experiences, this podcast takes a no-frills approach as it sheds light on both the highs and lows of a destination. Indeed, it calls itself “too honest” at times. Some of the highlights include what to do in Egypt on a budget, how to make travelling the world your full time jam, and the best cuisine from around the world.