Podcasts make commutes bearable

Published 9:38 pm Thursday, June 7, 2018

I live exactly 1.2 miles from the Virginia Beach oceanfront and it takes me 42 minutes to get from my apartment to my office in downtown Suffolk.

In one day, without traffic, I spend 82 minutes commuting back and forth to work. Let’s be honest, there is always traffic in Hampton Roads, so it is always more than 82 minutes in a car.

In a year, I waste more than 15 days in my car driving, and to me that annoys me more than anything.

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When I first starting commuting, I would just listen to music or possibly chat on the phone with my husband. After a while, both things become annoying, because I have already recounted my day to my husband before I get home and I hear the same 20 songs every day.

The average person in Suffolk commutes 26.9 minutes to work, according to 2016 data from DataUSA, and 1.15 percent of residents have “super commutes” that are in excess of 90 minutes.

A 26-minute commute means someone is wasting an average of nine days a year.

It took me quite some time to figure out how to fill my time with something that not only interests me but also engages me.

I sometimes listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks are great, but they cost money, and I’m too frugal to be buying audiobooks constantly.

My free option I found, and it’s an option that doesn’t use your cell phone data, is listening to podcasts on my way to and from work.

Reader’s Digest published an article about what successful people do on their commute. Three things that stood out to me were actively seeking inspiration, get smarter and use the time for personal growth.

I think this can all be accomplished in a car ride, and it can be accomplished by listening to free podcasts.

I have an unhealthy number of podcasts on my phone now, and I think it would take over a year to get through them. I listen to NPR Politics, and that is how I fulfill the getting smarter part of my commute. I may work for a newspaper, but I don’t always have the chance to look at national politics. This gives me the opportunity to catch up and think critically about the current politics.

I also have a ton of podcasts that feed my personal growth and my inspiration. Actor Dax Shepard has a podcast, Armchair Expert, and I’ve learned more about mental health, healthy relationships and addiction during his podcast than I have in other parts of my life.

Listening to these also gives me something to talk to about with my husband and friends, and I get to spend 82 minutes listening and thinking critically.