Anyone else need a little break from the grindiest grind that is pandemic existence with small children? Or pandemic existence generally? I, for one, definitely do, and I’ve found some solace — and a few giggles — in these fun escapist podcasts that make me at least feel like I’m getting a change of scenery.
And I’m so excited about all the escapist podcasts I found, from pop culture to travel to the comedy we all need right now. I hope these tide you over until you can actually take a vacation. Orr at least escape your kids (and some of the news these days) for a quick listen.
We’ve sorted them by:
-Pop Culture Podcasts
-Travel Podcasts (of course!)
Pop Culture Podcasts to Help You Escape
To me the best part about watching fluffy reality TV is analyzing the episodes later with friends, and Here to Make Friends scratches that exact itch. This podcast lovingly pokes fun at The Bachelor while examining it through a feminist lens, so you can feel better about watching a dozen perfectly primped women vying for the attention of one suitor in a contrived and competitive setting.
I don’t know about you, but my quarantine experience has been seriously lacking in the bodice-ripping department. So of course I’ve been loving Bridgerton and this hilarious podcast, Bridgerton with Mary and Blake, which analyzes every episode. How’s that for an escapist podcast — you get both a new world, and a whole new century! The hosts are both actors so they both have interesting, behind-the-scenes perspectives on how the show was made. Long live #boncon (bonnet content)!
For anyone else who set big self-improvement New Year’s resolutions for 2020 only to be blindsided by COVID, I present this completely silly podcast. The hosts pursue their goal with tenacity and singleness of purpose, and that goal is meeting Tom Cruise. Which apparently is challenging even if you’re a B-list celebrity like they are (#sorrynotsorry).
Storytelling Podcasts to Help You Escape
Meet Cute may be the quintessential escapist podcast, and not just because our CEO Kristen writes for this podcast! It’s kind of like a modern, portable audio version of a Meg Ryan romcom from the 90s. In other words, something we all need in our lives at the moment. Check out Kristen’s episode, The Conference Hotel. And listen to a super fun Spawned podcast interview with author and Meet Cute founder, Robert Wilder.
If an escape to the country isn’t far enough, try Wolf 359, a fiction podcast set on a space station light years away from planet Earth. The show draws inspiration from the golden age of radio and tells a serialized story about the crew week by week. It’s also performed by real voice actors so it’s a nice break from the chattier podcasts I listen to.
I love listening to short story podcasts, though most of them are read by the authors, who aren’t aren’t always the greatest narrators. Enter Levar Burton, whose velvety voice lends itself perfectly to reading short stories from some amazing up-and-coming authors! All stories are hand-picked by Levar, whose taste is just as impeccable as you’d expect, making this an escapist podcast for anyone who loves fiction of all kinds. (And if you love Levar, make sure you listen to his appearance on our Spawned Podcast – he’s wonderful!)
Comedy Podcasts to Help You Escape
Sick of the nightly TV news? Me too. The hosts of the Bananas podcast skip the depressing or commonplace news stories to bring us only the most bizarre and hilarious current events. The hosts’ witty and silly banter makes it even more fun. If you didn’t think an escapist podcast could include actual news, think again!
If you loved Nicole Byers in Nailed It! but need more of her (don’t we all?), check out the Newcomers podcast. She and Lauren Lapkus explore the hugely popular series that they somehow missed. In the current season they’re taking fresh eyes to The Lord of the Rings series. There’s something really amusing about hearing these familiar series’ through the lens of someone’s totally new to it.
Travel Podcasts to Help Us Escape. Literally.
Of course any favorite escapist podcast list has to include the Outside podcast, produced by Outside magazine. It helps foster a healthy sense of wanderlust for when we can get out there again. Host Peter Frick-Wright interviews some amazing guests, from champion rock climbers, to base jumpers, to a researcher who’s teaching people how to breathe better to improve their health.
Whether you’re getting outside or just fantasizing about it, I think the She Explores podcast will feel like a refreshing escape. I love how inclusive and thoughtful the hosts are — they don’t just talk about great destinations, but also how to make the outdoors more accessible to POC. Plus you’ll find practical help like how to deal with your period when you’re spending time in the great — but bathroom-less — outdoors. Have a listen; it’s inspiring on so many different levels
Similar to the Outside Podcast, I’ve found listening to Wild Ideas Worth Living is a good way to live and travel vicariously. While maybe I can’t drop everything to cycle across the country, I really enjoy hearing from the guests on the show who did — and what they learned along the way.
Top image: Juja Han via Unsplash