Sometimes long car rides—where landscapes of ever-changing scenery pass by your window—deserve a narrative beyond the beat of a song to go with them. They deserve a story, or, more accurately, a podcast. But how to choose the right one?
Just as musical taste varies between individuals (and even yourself on a day-to-day basis), so will what you want to listen to in the car. This list includes podcasts that’ll make you think, laugh, talk, and maybe even change your life. One thing that’s guaranteed: They’ll keep your attention as you go from point A to point B. Pick and choose between the suggestions below, or binge just one (isn’t that what long car rides are for, anyway?).
The Joe Rogan Experience
Since 2009, comedian and sports commentator Joe Rogan has been having longform, in-depth convos with big names in the worlds of comedy, sports, Hollywood, science, and everywhere in between (Dr. Phil was just on the show). In one episode, Rogan and his guest might drink whiskey, get high, and wield Samurai swords, but they’ll also broach topics like the the end of the universe and whether or not we’re actually living in a simulation (actually, that was just Elon Musk’s interview).
In 2004, ABC news correspondent Dan Harris had a panic attack on live TV. Since then, he’s gone on to write a book, launch a meditation app, and start a podcast: 10% Happier. In it, meditation pros, psychologists, social scientists, journalists, and other mental health experts (including big names such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) sound off on meditation, happiness, and how to change your whole life through a little bit of mindfulness.
How I Built This with Guy Raz
For the I-kind-of-want-to-launch-my-own-company-but-don’t-quite-know-where-to-start guy: The founders of businesses you know, use, and love (JetBlue, Five Guys, Burton) will answer some of your biggest questions, namely: How’d you come up with that? You’ll learn a thing or two about the process of entrepreneurship itself, too, as many guests talk about their biggest screwups.
As one listener puts it: “Dax Shepard is very, very guy-friendly: Stern without the raunch (mostly) and deeper than you’d expect.” The podcast explores the “messiness of being a human” through Shepard’s interviews with guests who run the gamut—a Swedish-English author who studies addiction and mental health, John Gottman, co-founder of the Gottman Institute, and Jay Leno.
WorkLife with Adam Grant
Ever curious about what someone else’s job is like? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant will show you, taking you behind the scenes of creative, out-there, and intriguing work places around the world, like The Daily Show writers’ room and the International Space Station. You’ll learn about how work gets done in different environments and ways to make your work days a little bit better.
It’s just one season, but this scary true-story podcast is enough to make the hours pass by (while also making you think twice about ever going under the knife again). In it, you’ll hear the tale of Christopher Duntsch, a Dallas neurosurgeon who was convicted of malpractice after 31 of his patients were left paralyzed or seriously injured after surgery. As one listener puts it, “It’s absolutely mind-boggling that this kind of thing can (and does) happen within the medical community.”
Health buffs (and those who need a kick in the ass) will appreciate host Emily Abbate’s impressive guest list of leaders in the fitness and health industry, like Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace, and Marcus Antebi, founder of Juice Press. But it’s their stories of how they overcame tough points on their fitness journeys that’ll give you the push you need.
For people who love a good story, this long-running podcast features everyday people telling stories to live audiences. Every episode includes three different tales that vary in theme (think: funny, sad, general life lessons). They’re captivating because they’re real and raw. “The stories are usually all relatable and the funny ones actually make me laugh out loud,” says one listener.