I initially began this blog with the opening line: “I can’t even remember how I got into Podcasts. Perhaps a friend recommended them? I’m not sure, but I ended up listening to them when I moved to London last year.”

And then…

“So, I actually can remember now – during a train journey through the Swiss mountains, a friend of mine told me about The Moth, and she played me a clip.”

It wasn’t a groundbreaking moment in my life, but it did stay with me.

I wasn’t sure which podcasts to download, or where to start so I looked at the iTunes podcast chart and, me being me, I downloaded a tonne of podcasts, but over time, I’ve found a few I absolutely love and constantly find myself going back to. I’d say they’re person-centred stories or storytelling at its best, and each episode focuses on one clearly defined topic or theme – I guess each story is completely different because it’s each individuals interpretation of said topic.

I don’t listen to them all the time, but when I do, I find them so gripping, I become a little obsessed – possibly because the stories are often either really funny, motivational or intense, which can affect my mood.

These podcasts have literally had me crying with laughter, and on the verge of bursting into tears while sitting at my desk at work. And sometimes I have more questions than answers – like really deep questions. When I was in London, I’d call my mum on the way home from work, posing all of these deep, intense questions and when it got too much, she’d say: “Fliss, you’re listening to too many of these pod things – give yourself a break.” 

So here are five of my favourites – in no particular order – and a few episodes that really stand out in my memory – its not a comprehensive list, and doesn’t necessarily represent all of the funny or moving episodes I love, it’s a collection of episodes that have stayed with me long after I’ve listen to them, for one reason or another.

1. Serial

The first podcast I really listened to and the most downloaded podcast of all time (possibly ever). Serial examines two legal cases, both of which have serious flaws. A lot of evidence is presented and discussed each week, through questions, research, expert witnesses and from those involved. I was surprised the second season was not a continuation of the first, but it was equally gripping.

2. The Lapse

One of the things I love most about this podcast, is the fact that a guy in Canada, Kyle Gest, genuinely creates them from his room. He describes the podcast as “Where we tell true stories, gussied up”.

I love his style and his passion, he clearly loves storytelling and he’s dedicated to presenting them in the best possible way.

A few of my favourite episodes:
Any Jupiter Diego story
Hole in my sock – Natasha porter
Taking my parents to burning man

3. Risk!

A podcast I only really got into this year, but I love. As the name and show intro: “the show where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share” suggest, some of the tales told rouse some intense feelings. I particularly love the “best of” episodes. And on another note, I love the honesty of the host Kevin Allison – he’s a big part of why this podcast is great.

A few of my favourite episodes:
O Canada! – fave song
Outta control
On second thought

4. The Moth

As I previously mentioned, this was the first podcast I ever heard, when my friend played a soundbite. It’s hard hitting at times, but, like the majority of the podcasts listed here, the emphasis is on the person telling the story.

A few of my favourite episodes:
Kimya Dawson: Mariah and the haunted forest (had me laughing so hard)
Bat boy – my first day at the Yankees
Brian Babylon – summer job (which I originally heard on an episode called ‘Busted’) – I was literally crying with laughter at my desk at work when I first heard this story!

5. TED Talks / NPR TED Radio Hour (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

Perhaps the most consistently inspiring of all, and with a huge range of topics, there really is something for everyone. They discuss things I’ve never heard of or even considered – I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from them.

A few of my favourite episodes:
Data – A love story 
Why we lie
Keeping secrets – loved this one
Getting organised – very inspiring
The end of privacy
Making mistakes

The Economist said 2016 would be the year of the podcast – do you agree? Do you have a favourite? Or any recommendations?

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