{commuter life: podcasts}

Since commuting has become a daily part of my routine, I've taken to listening to podcasts whenever I can to east the pain of the early mornings and long journey through the jam-packed Lincoln Tunnel. Here are a few of my favorite ones that I've been listening to or have recently discovered thanks to fellow podcast-listening friends. Some of these may not be everyone's cup of tea, so proceed with caution, especially the crime podcasts.

Serial — I guess this one is a no-brainer; it was my introduction into the world of podcasts and audio media. Sarah Koeing leads the first season by going through the case of Adnan Sayed and Haemin Lee. As a fan of watching and reading about criminal cases, both fiction (Law and Order: SVU obviously) and nonfiction (documentaries), I was drawn into the story almost instantly. I'm honestly not so much a fan of the second season because the story seems to be dragging along, and the two week breaks are making me lose interest. 

Strangers — I always love a good story, and this podcast by Lea Thau instantly grabbed my attention because of the rawness and realness of the stories, which range from Lea's own deeply personal stories about love and relationships to the story of a wrongfully convicted man. It's always interesting to see life from another person's perspective because of the different trials and tribulations each person goes through in their lives and to take a lesson or two from hearing their story. This podcast discusses the different kinds of relationships that you encounter throughout the course of your life ranging from kindnesses to heartbreaks. A huge bonus: Lea Thau's voice is like pure butter.

Modern Love — I was a huge fan of the essays that were published in the New York Times' column that documented people's deeply personal experiences with love—romantic, familial, and more. Coupled with the readings of these essays with famous personalities, Judd Apatow and Dakota Fanning to name two, the essays come to life as you take a walk in each individual's shoes at that specific point in their lives. At the end of each essay, the host, Meghna Chakrabarti, interviews the authors of these essays to catch up with them from when they first submitted the essays.

Open Accounts with SuChin Pak — Talking about money can be hard, especially when factoring in the technical aspect with all the numbers, and it becomes a topic that's rarely discussed in a real way. SuChin Pak bypasses all the technicalities to dive deeper into the search for answers about the thing that essentially rules everything around us. With conversations with Meyers Leonard and Eddie Huang (my favorite episode), you discover that it is, indeed, okay to talk about money. The conversations dive into the lives of people that you may or may not know to discuss how money has shaped their way of life and what motivates and drives them.

Hidden Brain — Human behavior has always been something that I have been fascinated with, the idiosyncrasies of the human brain that makes us act or react in specific ways. Hidden Brain, hosted by Shankar Vedantam, is a "conversation about life's unseen patterns." From relationships to the way you park your car, the podcast explores the sciences behind the whys of our actions and what makes us tick.

The Memory Palace — By Ed's recommendation and hearing other accolades, I recently started The Memory Palace. I always like starting from the very first episode of any podcast that I come across (you don't need to with this one, just personal preference), so the first several episodes are very short and sweet, each ranging from a minute and a half to five minutes total. The host, Nick DiMeo, takes you on a journey through different historical events ranging from the curious story of the Booths brothers (of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin) to Ben Franklin's Death Ray (what?). Intrigued yet? You won't find these historical stories in your every day textbook, that's for sure.

And now the more harrowing of my list of podcasts. Proceed with caution if you're easily disturbed or cannot handle gruesome crimes.

Criminal — Craving more true crime stories after being left high and dry with the less-than-interesting second season of Serial, I went on the hunt for more and came across Criminal. Hosted by Phoebe Judge, this podcast explores the stories of crimes that aren't necessarily black and white when you take a closer look. The crimes that are discussed range from stolen petrified wood from the Petrified Forest National Park to straight-up cold murders.

Sword & Scale — Mike Boudet dives into the (seriously) dark underworld of crime and the criminal justice's response in this podcast. If you can't handle extremely gruesome details of crimes such as murder, abduction, and rape, I highly suggest you turn around and listen to some of the podcasts that I listed above instead. Of the episodes that I've listened to so far, joint episodes 5 and 6 were the most WTF. The podcast explores crime in the rawest form, from 911 calls to court testimonies; nothing is off the table. I do admit the court testimonies can get a little boring and drawn on, but they give a better insight and a more in-depth view into the cases with commentary from Mike.

Which podcasts do you listen to? Let me know your favorites in the comments below! I'm always looking for new and interesting things that I can listen to and learn in the mornings.