I first truly fell in love with podcasts when our daughter decided to go to a college that was eight hours away, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have always listened to podcasts on vacations, but then I always had new and interesting things to look at out the window, so I tended to be only half listening.
In the Upper Peninsula after you cross the Mackinac Bridge, you are rewarded for a little while with beautiful winding vistas along US 2, and occasional peeks of Lake Michigan. Once you turn off of US 2 though, and head into the interior of the Upper Peninsula, the only vistas are pin-straight country highways, bordered by pine timber forests on both sides. Usually, one or two of the four trips each year, the view consisted of pin-straight country highways, timber forests and snow which covered everything. About an hour and half into the three hour crossing of the U.P. to get to Marquette, I am fighting with all my might to keep my eyelids open. This is where the podcast has become a life saver, literally, if I happen to be driving. I will scroll through my husband's iPod options for podcasts, of which there are many, and pick something that I know will engage my mind for the next 30 minutes to an hour. My favorites are: This American Life with Ira Glass (I love Ira Glass), Stuff You Should Know with Chuck and Josh (always good for a laugh), or The Moth Story Hour. Occasionally I will try something new, but I always return to my favorites.
Recently, I found myself alone in the car for two days of driving to Pennsylvania to meet my friend Andrea for a week of Autumn photography in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon area. I could have done the trip all in one day, but I decided to split it up for the sake of my back, my legs, and my sanity.
Knowing that I would have a lot of time in the car alone, I begged my daughter to borrow her iPod for the trip. Her's has our whole library of music and podcasts on it, my iPod Nano is a bit more limited. So thankfully she agreed, and we traded iPods.
I had recently discovered Elizabeth Gilbert's new podcast series Magic Lessons, based on her new book, The Big Magic. I had listened to all twelve of them while doing the mundane chores related to housework, but I wanted to really be able to focus on them without the drone of the vacuum cleaner. I was halfway across our state before I pulled out the iPod, having stopped at a rest stop for a rest room break. Excited to get inspired by Liz and her various guests, I scanned through the podcasts, found her's, and pressed play. Much to my disappointment, I found that only the last episode of Magic Lessons had loaded. Thankfully though, it was the episode of her interview with Brene Brown. I listened to that interview twice through, which killed an hour of my remaining four hours of travel time.
Done with the second listening of that episode, I was feeling very inspired and eagerly sought out any other creativity podcasts that might be in the queue. As I sat in the second rest stop parking lot and scrolled through the podcast list, my eye caught one in particular, Lenswork --Photography and the Creative Process by Brooks Jensen. I had subscribed to this podcast over a year ago, but had never listened to a single episode. I am not exactly sure why, but I am a firm believer in that nothing ever happens out of the blue.
I started with the latest episode and worked my way backwards. Since I had a year's worth of material, they kept me going for quite a long time. Each episode is only 5-10 minutes in length. Before I knew it I had listened to more than a dozen episodes. Eventually I had to shut the iPod off for a while, my mind was overflowing with inspiration and ideas; ideas for my work, inspiration for things to photograph, and best of all ideas for blog posts.
As I work through these podcast episodes more slowly, now that I am home again, I am taking notes and jotting down creative ideas. I plan to share things that have caught my attention in upcoming blog posts. I am excited to share my thoughts with you, and I would love to hear your thoughts as I delve into these various topics. Maybe I will finally start that FaceBook page I have always pondered starting for the blog, because I would love to connect more with my readers and get some conversations going.
This American Life
Stuff You Should Know
Pennsylvania Grand Canyon